Terrifying for the US, it is like having ones innermost thoughts revealed unto the world at large. To create an analogy, confidential correspondence between civil servants are the innermost thoughts of the state. Unarticulated, granted, but forming the very basis of its actions. If the despatches were not intentionally leaked, as conspiracy theorists will often surmise, the US diplomatic establishment would be feeling, for lack of a better word, naked right about now.

The leaks certainly are going to be making life much tougher for the State Department and its army of diplomats the world over. It would be difficult for them to cultivate sources and have officials say things in confidence to them. If a figure like the Saudi monarch was ratted out (as the Saudis would like to think) then third-tier royals in smaller Gulf states would think thrice before spilling the beans on a particular subject to American chums. If that indeed is the case, the US might feel a need to overhaul the entire system of diplomatic reportage, making things more, rather than less, open. Contrary to what the WikiLeaks team keeps saying.

Coming to the leaks themselves, they are quite a buffet table. There are the unflattering remarks by the Saudi King about President Zardari, his egging on the US for an attack on Iran, the USs plans for a possible reunification of the Korean peninsula if the DPRK were to simply collapse, colourful assessments by US diplomats about almost all the major European leaders and other such ditties.

Closer to home, King Abdullah can simply deny the statement about the Pakistani President. The way patriotic Pakistanis can deny having ever said that President Zardari, despite his flaws, is the democratically elected leader of his people, an attribute the current Custodian of the Two Mosques can never have.