Jalees Hazir The latest tranche of Wikileaks has laid bare the crooked interactions that take place behind the smokescreen of American diplomacy. By releasing the manuscript of cables sent to Washington DC by American diplomats stationed around the world, the website blowing the mother of all whistles has now filled in the irritating blanks between warm handshakes and plastic smiles that we see in the media, unveiling the mysterious matters of mutual interest that we were never meant to hear about. Pakistani citizens, already concerned about the spineless servility of their leaders to a heartless foreign master, are not amused to learn how bad their grovelling actually is. Obviously, there is an urgent need to counter the duplicitous manipulations of the United States in the garb of diplomacy. The policy of divide-and-rule has been historically used by colonisers to control the internal dynamics of the societies and states they wish to rule. The cables related to Pakistan released by Wikileaks bring out in graphic detail how it is done. More than the meddlesome American officials and diplomats, our leaders are to be blamed for defining this perverted equation; pouring their hearts out like psychological patients on the couch, expressing their gratitude and loyalty like courtiers, and seeking favours and permissions like obedient schoolboys. It is them who willingly equip their superpower godfather with the power to play one against the other and manipulate the political dynamics in the country to its advantage. The negative role of the United States in global affairs is a cause of concern but, before pointing our guns in that direction, we must focus on the conduct of our civil and military leadership and their lack of unity and coherence on national issues. It is true that the classified information now available to the public only goes to confirm what many already knew. But it does more than that. It exposes the advanced stage of the problem, driving home the urgency to change this self-oriented anti-Pakistan behaviour on part of those in charge of our destinies. There is no point in dismissing WikiLeaks as rubbish, nothing new or even a conspiracy. The US government has not denied the authenticity of the released cables and none of the various Pakistani leaders quoted in them has said that he did not say what was reported. The cat is out of the bag, and rather than discrediting the information, it would be far more productive to take corrective measures to restore some order to the house. The good part is that we dont need a bloody revolution to bring about the much-needed changes. Of course, a lot depends on how much our leadership has learnt from its mistakes. So far, those exposed have tried to gloss over the damage. The US Secretary of State called up the President of Pakistan and they agreed that the leaks would not affect the relationship between the two countries. In simple words, it means that business would go on as usual. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet has charged that WikiLeaks has attempted to harm Pakistans image. The Prime Minister is going around trying to downplay the significance and credibility of the information, and various government and opposition spokespersons are trying to create justifications for the irresponsible behaviour of their leaders. These are the last things Pakistani citizens want to hear. The only way to control the negative fallout of the WikiLeaks, and to restore any semblance of respect for Pakistans current leadership, is to put into place a mechanism to project and promote our national interests in a more effective manner. After all, why must the American ambassador and every visiting official be given access to everybody who is anybody in the country? The need to rationalise the protocol becomes even more evident after the expos of what goes on in these meetings. The interaction of diplomats and various ranks of American officials constantly visiting Pakistan should be restricted to the relevant personnel on our side. Rules regarding meetings between Pakistani and US officials should be made and followed, keeping in mind the divisive games they come to play here. Why should American congressmen meet our Chief of the Army Staff? Does it make sense for our post-Eighteenth Amendment ceremonious President to be so intricately and directly involved in government affairs, and available to every two-bit American official for heart-to-heart discussions? Is it okay to allow these visiting officials and diplomats to have regular private meetings with the heads of our political parties and civil society and business leaders? Besides, to ensure that the discussions stay on course, they should be shared with the public - word by word. Furthermore, to curb the tendency of key players pushing in different directions and washing their dirty linen in closed-door meetings with the wily American officials, it is important to arrive at a consensus on our national interest and clearly define our policy goals vis--vis the United States. Instead of cribbing and complaining about each other to show their sincerity to their unlawful masters, why cant our leaders sit together and iron out their differences, especially those relating to our relationship with the US? It is not difficult if they keep in mind that their rightful masters are the people of Pakistan in whose name they occupy their high offices. It is said that human beings have an immense capacity to grow and improve themselves. Hopefully, our leaders would hear this wake-up call and mend their ways, bringing some sanity to how they represent us and promote our interests. Im sure the large-hearted citizens of Pakistan would forgive their past mistakes if they start behaving themselves. The writer is a freelance columnist.