For defenders of WikiLeaks who claim there's been no harm done: Do you really want to support one of the world's most repressive regimes? Robert Mugabe had his thugs disrupt the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe, but in a compromise, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was made prime minister. One leaked State Department cable reports that Mr. Tsvangirai in 2009 pleaded with U.S. and European diplomats to maintain sanctions, which focused on the assets of the Mugabe regime, in order to keep pressure for political reform. He acknowledged that in public he felt obliged to call for an end to the sanctions. Mr. Mugabe's appointed attorney general is now investigating Mr. Tsvangirai for treason.
I didn't find this argument persuasive when offered by Mr. Kirchick and I don't find it persuasive when offered by Mr. Crovitz, either. There are plenty of people who can reasonably be blamed for the situation he outlines. There's Robert Mugabe. There's Mr. Tsvangirai, for choosing to serve as prime minister in Mugabe's regime — "one of the world's most repressive" — rather than insisting on his complete ouster, and for two-facedly telling U.S. and European diplomats one thing and the voters of Zimbabwe a second, different thing. It's always a risky thing, and rarely a good move, for a politician in a democracy to tell the voters one thing while telling someone else something else. There are the American government and the United Nations for failing to execute a better policy there, and the international press for playing little attention to the situation there. Not to forget the people of Zimbabwe for letting this all stand, or the former colonial power on the scene, Great Britain. Wikileaks and its defenders would have to rank pretty low on the list.