Cable to Hillary Clinton

Dear USG,

¶1. The more diplomats have their insults published, the more it will become known as 'undiplomatic' to be tactful.

¶2. The next time Wikileaks release diplomatic data, they should team up with the gossip press and let Spiegel and Guardian concentrate on political matters.

¶3. Gossip is of course essential in diplomacy because a bit of court society survives in it. Personal friendships, not elected politics, determine international relations: If Obama and Merkel don't get along, neither do Germany and the US. Not much has changed here since the 17th century, and we still call it 'representation'. If we could bring ourselves to return to marriage politics, US relations with countries such as Greece or North Korea could see long-term benefits from Clinton-Papandreou or Bush-Kim matrimonies.

¶4. When people say 'France' in Shakespearean plays, they are often referring to the King of France: "Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord." This is how we have to read the press when talk is of international relations. "Germany wants to maintain trade surplus"? Yes, she does. After the cable leaks, western media insinuated that 'Egypt', 'Saudi Arabia', 'Jordania', etc. wanted Iran attacked. Literally, of course, that could not be true: Last summer, another poll in six Arab countries found that "an overwhelming majority of the population believe that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons [sic!] and should not be pressured by the international community to curtail its program"; a majority of 57% also "say that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, the outcome would be 'positive' for the Middle East." But in polite reporting, 'Egypt' is not the rabble; Egypt just had dinner with Israel.

¶5. Speaking of metaphors: Department needs to sort its out. Mahmood Ahmadinejad is a) Hitler, and b) physically attacked by an Ayatollah. A Bishop slapping the Fuhrer in the face? If you insist it must be the Nazis, try Goebbels or something.

¶6. Post requests visual intelligence on Libya's Ukrainian nurse.

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