Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks and the Toughness Meme

I keep seeing comments like this: "Assange is a rank coward.  If he really wanted to show his bravery, he should expose the secrets of Russia, or China.  There’s plenty of dirt there from the trafficking of the organs from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners to the murder of Russian investigative journalists.  But no, he targets the US, because he knows that if he went after Russia or China, her would be dead in two days.  Instead he attacks the US, a country that respects the rule of law and will not come after him until we can make a reasonable legal case against him. "

Even granting the premise, the correct answer to this is: so what? The United States is the biggest power in the world, with troops in more than 100 countries and the power to influence (if not steer) the destinies of many more. What our government does, then, is of interest -- not just to taxpaying citizens, but to the entire world. The United States might not be quite as willing to assassinate Julian Assange for digging into its secrets, but that fact doesn't make our secrets any less relevant to many people around the world. Julian Assange isn't tough enough to go after the Russians? Really, who cares?

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