Of course, there are all these discussions about the consequences of such disclosure for international relations, its influence on American and worldwide public opinions.
But what about the consequences on scholarly historical work?
Two random links to begin with:
“Why Wikileaks is bad for scholars “, by international politics Fletcher School professor Daniel Drezner
“US embassy cables: a banquet of secrets” in The Guardian , by essayist/ public intellectual/ journalist (?) Timothy Garton Ash
Any other reactions by scholars/ public intellectuals you’re aware of?
Is the forced “declassification” of such recent historical material, at such a huge scale, a blessing or a curse for international relations scientists and for historians?
Are they/we “equipped” intellectually to deal with such material, to analyze its context, its subtext, its “truthfulness” ? To make sense of it? To tell a story out of it? What does the material reflect: the course of history, actions, opinion, prejudices, decisions, other? How distinct/close is/should be the work of a scholar as compared with the work of these journalists at the NYT, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, who are trying to sort out these millions words, cut through it, report it, make sense of it to the reader? Is it their very short horizon? Does it mean it will necessary take the historian a 1/5/10 years immersion into the material to tell the story behind such and such cable? Is it at all possible? What will the exploitation of these cables say about the possibility to write contemporary history? Or if that material is unimportant/ unexploitable/ secondary/ flawed/ biased, why and how is it so?
Does any precedent exist in history/ history of science/ history of culture/ history of economic something? I mean, is there any instance you know in which the unanticipated early disclosure of some historical material have forced historians/ analysts/ journalists/ story tellers to reconsider/ rewrite their stories?
Do historians/ scholarly archivists in relation to historians have any duty in the face of such flow of material (setting aside questions regarding the legality of the disclosure) : do they have to sort the material, provide finding aid, reference it?
And if these are not the right/ meaningful questions to filter what is currently happening, what else?