Woodrow Wilson had it wrong about America. The United States is not a morally superior nation and its elites have always been just as corruptible and obsessed with secrecy as any in Europe. His plea for open diplomacy never had a chance on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. If Wilson's idealism was seriously wounded at Versailles, it was killed outright by the Republican majority in the Senate which refused to ratify the peace treaty he brought home. Why? Largely because of the desire to frustrate and ruin a Democratic president. Sound familiar?
Can one imagine circumstances in which diplomatic interaction necessities secrecy? I am sure one can. However, those circumstances should be exceptional. They should not constitute the norm. And, there should be clear criteria as to what constitutes such circumstances. Arriving at those criteria should be part of a widespread public debate over a seminal right– the right to know what your government is doing in your name. At this point you might ask, what widespread public debate? Well, the one that supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks are trying desperately to begin.