7 Dis 2010

Selat Melaka Dalam Senarai Terbaru WikiLeaks

Washington - Laman web WikiLeaks semalam mendedahkan satu senarai rahsia Washington mengenai lokasi-lokasi infrastruktur di seluruh dunia yang boleh mengancam keselamatan Amerika Syarikat (AS) sekiranya diserang pengganas.

Semua prasarana itu melibatkan sejumlah kabel dasar laut, pos komunikasi, pelabuhan, sumber galian firma strategik, laluan perkapalan dan lombong di negara-negara bermula dari Britain hingga ke New Zealand dan merentasi rantau Afrika, Asia Barat serta China.

Senarai itu bermula dengan sebuah janakuasa hidroelektrik di Quebec, Kanada yang dianggap sumber kuasa utama rantau timur laut AS manakala sebuah kilang Siemens di Jerman penting kerana menjadi pembekal bahan kimia utama bagi AS.

Turut dianggap penting oleh Washington dalam senarai WikiLeaks itu termasuk beberapa kilang vaksin penyakit cacar dan anjing gila di Eropah, sebuah kilang penawar bagi bisa ular di Itali dan sebuah firma Jerman yang menghasilkan produk rawatan untuk keracunan plutonium.

Selain itu, AS mengawasi kabel bawah laut, sistem satelit dan loji pertahanan di Britain yang dianggap boleh mempengaruhi keselamatan negara kuasa besar itu sekiranya ia diserang.

Tidak ketinggalan dalam senarai berkenaan adalah beberapa lombong kobalt di Congo, transformer elektrik besar Hitachi di Korea Selatan di samping laluan perkapalan utama dunia seperti Selat Melaka dan Selat Gibraltar.

Pentadbiran AS menyifatkan Persimpangan Paip Gas Nadym di Rusia yang merupakan kemudahan gas paling utama di dunia dan Pusat Industri Ras Laffan di Qatar sebagai kritikal dan tidak boleh dibiarkan jatuh ke tangan pengganas.

Menjelang 2012, Qatar merupakan import terbesar gas petroleum cecair AS.

Pendedahan terbaru itu dijangka meningkatkan lagi tekanan politik ke atas WikiLeaks dan pengasasnya yang berusia 39 tahun, Julian Assange.

Pada Jumaat lepas, Assange mengumumkan di Internet bahawa dia telah meningkatkan kawalan keselamatan dirinya selepas menerima beberapa ugutan bunuh. - Agensi

WikiLeaks boost for LKY

While the government pondered over the potential impact, many Singaporeans felt happy to learn that their country was able to punch more than its own weight in global geopolitics.

OFTEN described as an apathetic lot, Singapore youths are getting a first-hand lesson on big power diplomacy from criminally leaked documents.

Among those who move their preoccupation beyond getting a degree and building a career, not many are interested in dealing with the complexities of world diplomacy.

Last week was an exception. Singaporeans woke up to find Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s confidential assessments on Asia, and some of its leaders, being splashed scandalously in world headlines.

The private talks between Lee and US Deputy Secretary James B Steinberg in 2009 became part of a massive diplomatic leak by a whistle-blowing website – WikiLeaks.

It raised Singapore’s global profile by a few dubious notches. The reaction at home has been mixed.

A shocked government joined the global chorus of protest. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern” over the “damaging” revelation.

At 87 and one of Asia’s veteran statesmen, Lee had occasionally played a middle-man role between China and the United States, especially in their early relationship. He now finds that his frank – at times embarrassing – opinions meant for top American ears, being widely accessible.

For young Singaporeans who read the cables, the reaction was different from that of their government.

While the authorities pondered the potential impact of the exposure, many Singaporeans felt happy to learn that their small country was able to punch more than its own weight in global geopolitics.

“We’re especially proud of Lee. At 86 (last year) when he was described as mentally weakening, Lee was able to articulate so cogently on complex Asian issues,” a young engineer told me. “Without Wikileaks, we would not have known.”

While the majority believes the leak is irresponsible, there are some who welcome the chance to read about current discussions of problems, and not having to wait 50 years to do so.

”What the public usually read is bland communiqu├ęs which virtually say nothing. What impresses me is the straight talk contained in the cables,” said a mass communication undergrad.

A few advocated governments to be more open in releasing non-sensitive documents. “It will give a useful insight to ordinary people to know how leaders view each other and the world. This should become more accessible because their action affects all of us,” said a retired army officer.

“Diplomacy should not be the domain of a few politicians to the exclusion of everyone else,” he added.

What did Lee tell the Americans?

I have gone through the cables and thought it generally gave a balanced and non-controversial reflection of Lee’s political philosophy about these countries.

Except maybe for one!

In his talk with Steinberg, Lee called the North Koreans ‘psychopathic’ with a “flabby old chap for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation.”

MM Lee said the Chinese do not want North Korea to have nuclear weapons and do not want North Korea to collapse. However, China “would prefer a nuclear-armed North Korea” over the prospect of a collapsed North that would mean South Korea take-over and China faced with a US presence at its border.

Other major points are:-

1. China – Lee gave the Americans his ratings of China and its crop of leaders. The pragmatists are in charge, he said. There is nothing Communist about it. They just want to preserve one party rule.

“China is worried about its dependence on the Strait of Malacca, and is moving to ease the dependence by means like a pipeline through Burma,” said the leaked document.

2. Taiwan – Beijing aims to bring Taiwan into its fold by forging greater economic links and that it did not matter if the process took one or even three decades, Taipei Times reported. What mattered to China was that Taiwan did not declare independence.

3. Japan – Lee said he believes Japan may well “go nuclear” and the Chinese must have factored this into their calculations.

4. Korea reunification – After seeing what happened in Germany, Lee said South Korea does not want immediate unification with Pyongyang.There will be new leadership with new thinking but there will still be a North Korea.

Some Singaporeans saw a hidden hand behind the massive leak of 250,000 diplomatic cables. Veteran commentator Chua Chin Leng noticed that the information leaked so far is very damaging only to Asian, African and Arab countries. “Their inter-state relations are going to plunge into the abyss if the leaks were real.

“The first casualty will be the Saudi King, Chua blogged. He will be in trouble with the Iraqis and the Iranians if they took the leak seriously. Why were there no leaks on Israel?” he asked.

Chua continued, “North Korea will lose confidence in China as its unquestionable supporter. China will be seen by North Korea and its allies as unreliable.”

So far, most affected leaders have taken it with diplomatic calm, which convinced me that it will unlikely cause any serious rift between Singapore – especially Lee – and the countries he talked about.

At times the inimical Lee has been accused of speaking too frankly about neighbouring countries or their leaders. This time, however, it is different; his talk was confidential and leaked out, not uttered in public.

An old friend of mine who has been critical of Lee’s policies in Singapore told me that he was impressed by the ageing leader’s lucidity when articulating Asia’s problems.

“What it tells me is that he should have left local politics to his successors and concentrated on the world stage long ago.” -thestar

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