The WikiLeaks' State Dept. cables revealed so far have been mildly entertaining. For example, American diplomats reported on President Sarkozy of France (according to the NYT):
But the cables also convey a nuanced assessment of the French leader as a somewhat erratic figure with authoritarian tendencies and a penchant for deciding policy on the fly. ... By January 2010, American diplomats wrote of a high-maintenance ally sometimes too impatient to consult with crucial partners before carrying out initiatives, one who favors summit meetings and direct contacts over traditional diplomacy.
... Mr. Sarkozy was criticized by European diplomats referred to in a cable for an â€?increasingly erraticâ€? last half of his 2008 European Union presidency.
â€?Combined, these stories have bolstered the impression that Sarkozy is operating in a zone of monarch-like impunity,â€? said an Oct. 21, 2009, cable.
In December 2009, Mr. Rivkin told Mrs. Clinton: â€?Sarkozyâ€™s own advisers likewise demonstrate little independence and appear to have little effect on curbing the hyperactive president, even when he is at his most mercurial.â€? He added: â€?After two years in office, many seasoned key ?‰lys?©e staff are leaving for prestigious onward assignments as a reward for their hard work, raising questions as to whether new faces will be any more willing to point out when the emperor is less than fully dressed.â€?
Nothing terribly surprising here, but gossip is fun. I especially look forward to (hopefully) forthcoming cables about Berlusconi.
What I'd really like WikiLeaks to leak, however, is the exact counterpart of this: what French diplomats are telling Sarkozy about Obama. It would probably be a lot more interesting than what the American press has told the American public about Obama.
For example, if Sarkozy tends toward mania, the obvious question is: does Obama tend toward depression?
Obama's own memoirs suggests that the President suffered through significant depressive episodes in roughly 1981-1983 (a period when his sister asked his mother during a visit, â€?Barryâ€™s okay, isnâ€™t he? I mean, I hope he doesnâ€™t lose his cool and become one of those freaks you see on the streets around hereâ€?) and 2000-2001 (of the 18 months following his crushing defeat by Bobby Rush, Obama wrote, "Denial, anger, bargaining, despair — I'm not sure I went through all the stages prescribed by the experts. At some point, though, I arrived at acceptance — of my limits, and, in a way, my mortality.")
Is Obama entering a third depressive phase?
I don't know, but it would seem both interesting and important. Of course, the American press hardly noticed Obama's references to his first two depressive phases, so we can hardly count on them to be on top of this question.
On the other hand, I would suspect the energetic Sarkozy has been pestering his diplomats in Washington to keep him apprised of the Most Important Man in the World's mood swings. Maybe some day we'll be able to read what they've found out.