Winners and losers of Wikileak 'two-faced diplomacy'
The Wikileaks cables reveal most graphically the hazards of two-faced diplomacy - saying one thing publicly and another in private.
For this reason, it is not the United States that is most damaged by them. Its diplomacy is largely transparent and therefore there are no stunning revelations about hidden American agendas.
It is evident that their diplomatic cable system has carried all sorts of wild or questionable assertions - but that, after all, is one of the main reasons why these messages were classified.
True also, the cables expose US double standards with regards spying on the United Nations in New York, while remaining signed up to treaties honouring its sanctity.
It is also evident that the issue of computer security has been highlighted and foreign leaders may think about expressing themselves quite so bluntly to the Americans in the future.
However, they will continue to talk to the Americans on all manner of subjects because of the power that the US wields and its ability to solve some of the problems these interlocutors face.
If you want Iran bombed, or rebels in your own country hit, who else are you going to call?
For this reason those left horribly exposed by these cables include King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who urged the US to bomb Iran, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, who got US planes to attack rebels in his country, while saying his own air force was doing it, and the Chinese officials who cheerfully told the South Koreans that they expect their wayward ally North Korea to implode and would like the South to take over.
These leaders and ministers, among many others exposed in the cable traffic, are guilty of adopting completely opposite positions in public and private.
And while it is true that the likes of the Saudi monarch or Yemeni president already face violent internal opposition, it is reasonable to ask whether the exposure of their hypocrisy has made their assassination more likely?
As for the US, knowing what these cables reveal, the interesting thing is how restrained they have been. Their principal allies in the Middle East - among them Saudi Arabia, Israel and Bahrain - have urge them repeatedly to bomb Iran and they have not done so.
Pakistan has declined to ensure the security of its nuclear materials, but the US has stuck to diplomacy rather than sending in Delta Force to grab them.
The age old question with leaks is "cui bono" or who benefits?
In this case one could argue it might be violent insurgents in Yemen or Afghanistan, or an Iranian president who seeks constantly to steal a march on his Sunni Arab neighbours.
Perhaps it is better to ask this time who is harmed. Certainly the US State Department will carry out a major review of who has access to its classified materials, but the damage mainly has been done to America's less salubrious allies.