Over the past week, the New York Times has run stories about the troves of diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks.org. We can't help but notice, however, that the Times has shown a clear bias in their reporting, focusing exclusively on cables related to countries like China, Iraq, the Koreas, Afghanistan, Yemen--you know, "interesting" countries. Relatively nothing has come from the diplomatic outposts of our less intransigent or confrontational neighbors in the community of nations.
Fear not, though, the Solipsist has gained access to these most sensitive of reports from our least sensitive of embassies. Herewith, a sampling.
Sometimes, foreign-service officers let their feelings get the best of them, as we see in this cable from a mid-level staffer in the US consulate in Paris:
March 2008: Attended a gala at the Presidential Palace last night. Could not help but notice that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is FREAKIN HOTTTTTT!!!!!! I'm not talking "hot-for-a-First-Lady" hot, like Hilary [REDACTED] or Lady Bird [REDACTED]: I'm talking supermodel, leave-your-wife-for hot! I mean, if she weren't shacking up with, y'know, the POF [President of France] I would TOTALLY hit that. I'd be on her like flies on camembert. . . .
A somewhat common malady among longtime diplomats is "Graham Greene Syndrome." The most prominent sign of infection: a tendency of those stationed even in the least exotic postings to write world-weary reports in overly florid language. Consider this report from the director of the passport office in El Paso, TX:
June. . . June. . . I've forgotten the date. The days blur together like water lilies in a post-impresssionist painting. I look at the memo pad on my desk. It's actually May 17. Nelson comes into my office. He barely suppresses a sardonic grin as he hands me the stack of G-318's to sign off on. I picture him with Elise, on the porch of my house, sipping gin and tonic and thinking that they're getting away with something. It takes all my will to convince myself that I care.
Outside my office window, a blood red sun sets blindingly over the parking lot. The kids at the Jack in the Box across 17th Street move like phantoms behind the tinted glass. The constant stream of cars on the freeway sounds like nothing so much as a mass of automobiles streaming along miles of asphalt.
I processed only 17 H-19 (x)'s today. Down from 19 yesterday, but more than the 16 I did on Monday. As I pick up my jacket and head out for the night, I wonder if the world--my world--will still be here tomorrow, as it was today, as it might be for many days to come.
Other signs include increasing paranoia:
October 13, 2009: Lunch with the Canadian Minister of Travel and Tourism today. He was pleasant--too pleasant. He asked if we would be willing to help promote "Saskatchewan-a-thon," a nineteen-day festival of all things Saskatchewanee. I couldn't help but notice that he kept trying to make eye contact with the waiter--even after the waiter had filled his water glass. Obviously a spy.
Saskatchewan-a-thon is clearly nothing more than a pretext for a full-scale invasion. We should fortify the border, particularly in those states that lie near this supposed "Saskatchewan." A pre-emptive strike at the Canadian capitol--wherever that is--should be considered.
Finally, some leaked memoranda reveal embarrassing oversights in State Department programs:
February 13, 2009
TO: Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton
Regarding the staff meeting of February 7: After careful review, my staff and I have confirmed that you were right: Hawaii IS, in fact, a part of the United States. Preparations for closing the embassy have commenced.
(Image from Wikipedia)