World News Brief, Thursday December 1

US insists Wikileaks won't harm diplomacy, yet other countries expected to clam up; Markets driven by Euro fears; Obama proposes Muldoon-like pay freeze for public sector; South Korea cancels military drill; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Attempts to Minimize WikiLeaks Fallout


The Obama administration attempted to minimize the fallout (WashPost) from the disclosure of more than 250,000 State Department cables, insisting its diplomacy with other countries would not be damaged or changed as a result of the leaks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the disclosure "not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community." Her comments came as she prepared to launch a trip to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was mentioned in the cables, showed support for Clinton (NYT) in a meeting Monday, calling Turkish-America relations a "model partnership" and thanking her for briefing him on the cables' contents.

Still, many analysts expect foreign governments to be less open in dealings with US officials and foresee US diplomats hesitating before sending information to Washington. The cables could also aggravate relations between the administration and Congress. Some documents, for instance, indicate China dismissed US attempts to choke off the flow of military technology from North Korea to Iran (WSJ), which could stoke lawmaker frustrations about Chinese policies.


A New York Times editorial says the most revealing aspect of the WikiLeaks documents was "the absence of any real skullduggery." The Obama administration's diplomatic engagements are largely appropriate, compared to "the Bush administration's abuses."

The Economist says WikiLeaks has value, in that it imposes a check on unelected government bureaucrats "scattered about the world in America's intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices [who] largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret."

The release of US diplomatic documents could harm vital US national security interests in Pakistan and Yemen, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.


PACIFIC RIM: South Korea Cancels Artillery Drill

South Korea's military announced a provocative artillery drill (Yonhap) on the front-line island shelled in a deadly North Korean attack, then immediately cancelled it Monday.

Japan: Japan said it will send an envoy for North Korean nuclear talks (WashPost) to China amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.



- Obama Proposes Two-Year Pay Freeze
- Eurozone Debt Fears Grip Markets



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