Julian Assange should write a new cookbook, and a certain best-seller. Take a Leak* would offer not only recipes about what to do with that rarely used political vegetable, but also what not to do when preparing the diplomacy menu.
President Obama’s “friends and allies” dinner guests, for example, could certainly take a leak ? especially after dinner when they’ve drunk forbidden spirits and feel vulnerable.
The Saudi royalty and other “moving slowly toward democracy” rulers in that vaguely Middle Eastern area, will not eat Congressional pork, but anything else the waiters put on their plates ? and in their glasses — will inevitably draw compliments, no matter how the stuff tastes.
These friends and allies never tell us the truth ? are they even honest with their own multiple wives? ? and we don’t care: they sell us oil and make sure the residents of their kingdoms, who detest us, don’t get a chance to vie for political power. Incidentally, those straightforward residents of the oily realms — the majority ? possess different levels of negativity toward the Western world: ranging from violent hatred to murderous dislike.
The royal and even “elected” dinner guests (Egyptians, for example) fear Iran because it has a religious-based government, which actually gets elected, and because Iranians are dominantly Shia; the petroleum-based Gulf monarchies are Sunni.
Like Israel, a country they supposedly hate because of what it has done to their Palestinian brothers, the Gulf royalty also fears a nuclear-armed Iran. Just one of those Little Boys or Fat Men (names affectionately given to the first bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) might change the power dynamics of the region. The deeply dishonest moguls ? our good friends — don’t worry about Israel’s two hundred nukes since they have a tacit agreement to do nothing serious to displease the Jewish state they claim to despise.
Since they fear their own people, Iran becomes a deeper concern because those naughty Ayatollahs in Tehran might stir them up and make them more confident in their potential while the Iranian government sends in arms as they’ve done for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
Whether our Arab “friends” label their “subversive” opponents members of the Muslim Brotherhood or agents of Al Qaeda or the Late for Dinner Party (plain old Democracy), it doesn’t matter. Some of those fanatical people in Saudi Arabia get payoff money from White House dinner guests or their close relatives so they won’t make trouble inside the kingdoms: little things like funding their madrasas (religious schools) and mosques and financing their arms buying needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So serve them a leek for dinner!
One aged leak ? like steaks, they’re better that way — would show how Washington helped the Iranian leader (the Shah in the old days) to launch a nuclear program. Would such a leak leave a bitter taste; or make the chewers nervous that Washington might wish Iran to play a major role in the region?
In the mid 1970s, the Shah said he claimed the “right to a full nuclear fuel cycle, including reprocessing of spent fuel.” (The National Security Archive, “The Iran Nuclear Program 1974-1978” edited by William Burr.)
Ford and Carter agreed to help Iran, but not with nuclear weapons production, despite Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s attempt to make Iran into a southern U.S. defense surrogate.
During the 1974-1976 nuclear negotiations, Kissinger presented his view: “They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn’t address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons? I don’t think the issue of proliferation came up.” (March 9, 2005, Washington Post) For Kissinger, the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran was primarily a “commercial” proposition. (Burr)
Kissinger didn’t think Iran could develop nuclear weapons in the near future ? albeit he had to consider the possibility. Ten years later, top Reagan officials provided high-tech missiles to the Ayatollahs. Old information (Iran-Contra scandal), but who remembers?
What would such amnesia curing dinner leaks do to U.S. diplomacy?
Perhaps, the guests might ask questions about the nature of U.S. friendship ? apart from the gooey connection ? as opposed to actual strategic interests!
Another leak ? perhaps for dessert ? would reprint a statement from President Woodrow Wilson that outlined the diplomacy of truth. This notion would cause dyspepsia not only among the foreign dinner guests, but the Washington national security big shots as well.
On January 8 1918, Wilson wrote: “The program of the world’s peace…is our program.”
First among his famous fourteen prerequisites to peace was “Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
Wilson never put his words into action for a good reason. The only beneficiaries of such a policy would be the vast majority of the American people and the rest of the world. So the Europeans, Japanese and Americans got into World War II and so on.
Well, a leek dinner would be fun and afterward might require a dose of bicarb for most of the guests.
*A cookbook the late Paul Jacobs planned to write.
SAUL LANDAU is an Institute for Policy Studies Fellow. His new film is WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP.