I've been ignoring the Wikileaks stuff coming out in a great gush of blood from the bleeding wound of American diplomacy, partly because I'm deeply uncomfortable with the exposure of US diplomacy, since secrecy is necessary to diplomacy, and partly because the "revelations" are anything but.
There are a couple of interesting nuggets, like this on one the split between different wings of the PRC's diplomatic corps on the "diplomatic truce," but in the main the Wikileaks revelations have discussed things that everyone knew already. Yes, we already knew that Beijing was using ECFA to push the annexation of Taiwan. We already knew that Lien Chan's APEC appointment was approved in Beijing; he's their boy. We knew that ECFA's impact on FTAs was wildly overstated. We knew that the major KMT politicians don't like each other. What's surprising, in its way, is how conventional the AIT reports are. If you follow Taiwan politics and read the news, you already knew what was going on. The reports show that US diplomacy had different public and private faces, but we already knew that too.
What's also conventional is how the WL reports have played out in local politics, showing once again how The Foreigner Validates and how The Foreigner Doesn't Understand. The DPP has used the Wikileaks revelations to bash the KMT; where the KMT has been embarrassed, it has mumbled that foreigners don't understand Chinese well enough to get what was said. The principle of Foreigners Validate can always be countered by the principle of Only Chinese Can Understand Chinese.
I think it's important to remember that the AIT reports are written by highly intelligent individuals who are on temporary assignment to Taiwan, who may have their own agendas -- and are in some cases pathologically anti-Taiwan -- and should be treated as just another information resource with a respectable potential for bullshit.
Sadly, since these are out, you can be sure that US diplomats will be getting a cold shoulder from key policy-makers around the world, a great handicap for US information gathering efforts.
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