Are Strained Relations a National Security Concern?

According to Wikileak’s Kristinn Hrafnsson, “If we are talking about strained relations or embarrassment, that does not fall into national security concerns.”

Let’s look at that for a few minutes. It is unlikely that any nation or group would be more likely to actually attack us over “embarrassment” or “strained relations.” It is also unlikely that the relations with countries such as England, France, or Germany would be so strained that it would have any effect on national security. Let’s face it, in many business relationships, which is essentially what we have here, people have opinions of the other parties that they don’t broadcast, and the people involved in it know that. If I had to guess, Angela ‘Teflon’ Merkel, and Nicolas “susceptible and authoritarian” Sarkozy are probably just glad that some of what they have undoubtedly said about the U.S. diplomats and leadership was not made public. So while some feeling were undoubtedly hurt, I think most of them know it’s business.

The situation get a lot more complicated when you are dealing with countries where the relationship is not as good, especially in the Middle East. Countries are going to be less likely to help us if they think that confidences will not be kept, even if the release was not by the U.S. government. Take Iran for instance. If we are contemplating military action against Iran, knowing where other countries in the region stand is vital. If the Saudis do not trust us, they might not be so quick to throw their support in, especially before it is asked for. Their support or lack of it could make fundamental changes in how such a war would be fought, which is definitely a national security concern. Countries may also be less likely to aid us in the war on terror, especially if leaks might open them up to retribution that may not have occurred otherwise.

So whether the leaks were meant to undermine our security or just embarrass us, they do impact our security, and we should respond appropriately. espionage


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