No one who is familiar with the title "White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer" would dare imagine that the men and women who speak for presidents can be counted on to speak the truth.
But those who might want, for reasons of partisanship or ideology, to imagine the end of the Bush-Cheney era ushered in more frank and responsible White House communications will surely be disabused of that foolish notion by the response of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to the latest WikiLeak.
When Clinton and Republican leaders in the US House and Senate extended permanent most-favored-nation trading status to China in 2000, they were informed by leading human rights activists from around the world that doing so would harm the interests of union organizers, democracy campaigners and religious and ethnic minorities in China and countries—such as Tibe—that it occupies. The regular renegotiation of trade deals had given the United States leverage to pressure China on human rights issues; extending permanent MFN status to China severely reduced that leverage.
The same thing has happened in Latin America and Africa, as the United States has negotiated and implemented permanent free-trade relationships that make it dramatically harder to effectively challenge human rights abuses.
Yet, Gibbs now condemns the WikiLeaks disclosures as a serious threat to the cause, claiming that "such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United Sta