Yesterday after going half-blind reading (and translating) all those Wikileaks cables, I realized there was heavy use of the word “interlocutor”. I for one was more familiar with its grammatical meaning but in the terms of these cables, it means something else:
An interlocutor is someone who informally explains the views of a government and also can relay messages back to a government. Because an interlocutor does not express an official view, communications between interlocutors are often useful at conveying information and ideas.
More precisely, the term comes from the Latin for between (inter) and speaker (locutor). A less formal way to describe such a person in modern English would be a “go-between”.
The only problem with these cables is that these people who are “go-betweens” the American Embassy and the Romanian government aren’t minor functionaries. They are literally the major political players in Romania. Let’s go through the list of just the PD-PNL:
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu: Tariceanu met regularly with PolChief and other Embassy Officers before and throughout the campaign. He speaks excellent English.
Teodor Stolojan: The Embassy maintains a close relationship with Stolojan and he met regularly with the Ambassador prior to his decision to pull out of the presidential race. We expect those good relations will continue.
Valeriu Stoica: The Embassy knows Stoica well, and PolChief and others have met with him regularly.
Mona Musca: Musca, a valued Embassy interlocutor.
Cristian David: David is a close and reliable contact for the Embassy.
Cristian Boureanu: Boureanu is a regular Embassy interlocutor.
Emil Boc: Boc is a longstanding Embassy contact, appreciated for his candor and accessibility. He speaks excellent English.
Sorin Frunzaverde: Frunzaverde holds pro-American views and is an Embassy interlocutor.
Cosmin Gusa: Gusa speaks fluent English. He meets regularly with PolChief and other Embassy interlocutors, as well diplomats from other countries.
Basescu regularly reports in as well, begging for the U.S. to send in more FBI agents amongst other things.
And while not a politician, Dinu Patriciu regularly reports in to the American Embassy as well.
Is there anyone, besides Corneliu Vadim Tudor and his PRM gang, who isn’t running to the American Embassy on a regular basis to curry favor? And I’m sure Purple Glasses would be going as well if he thought anyone would listen to him.
After reading all these cables, I’m coming to the conclusion that this country is being run basically like high school – a lot of cliques, a lot of ever-shifting alliances, a lot of snitching, tattling, gossiping and rumor-mongering. And everyone is trying to kiss up to the “cool kid”, which in this case would be the American Embassy.
Gee, maybe if I wear this leather jacket, the Cool Kid will notice me! Gee, maybe if I give the Cool Kid a piece of timely gossip, he’ll notice me! Gee, maybe if I snitch on members of my own party, the Cool Kid will reward me somehow! Gee, Cool Kid, can you send in more of your FBI buddies? That’d be AWESOME.
Pitiful and disgusting at the same time.
In America, high school is hell. The movie The Breakfast Club (1985) used sharply-delineated characters to illustrate the social divisions that exist in many/most schools: the jock, the prom princess, the stoner, the brain, the geek. It’s a caste system, where positions are won by looks, money, or athletic ability, and the hierarchy is maintained by ostracism, teasing, and violence.
Minus the “violence” part, this is an apt description of what’s going on with the political elite in Romania and the American Embassy. While Basescu certainly doesn’t appear to be a “stoner”, he’s definitely considered to be an alcoholic. And I guess Elena Udrea would be the “prom princess” in this scenario, LOL.
I almost feel sorry for those few politicians in Romania who don’t speak English well enough to get some good “interlocution” done with the ambassador. I’ve been to the American Embassy (as well as its former satellite office here in Cluj) many times and I can tell you exactly what’s down there: about two dozen Americans who speak English and no Romanian and several hundred Romanians who do all the work and all speak wonderful English.
The Americans, evidently, sit back in their office and compile idiotic reports on oligarchs (using free intern labor) and then graciously usher in these toadying Romanian politicians and let them run off at the mouth. Then the material the snitches… err the “interlocutors” provide is summarized in a misspelled telegram and sent off to Washington. Then it’s time for another round of golf!
Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.
And yet we all know exactly what’s going to happen as a result of these leaked cables – absolutely nothing. Just about every politician in Romania already has been involved in a business scam, a criminal enterprise or something else illegal, immoral or unethical. These cables are just “icing” on the “cake” of ineptitude and wrongdoing that is the government of Romania.
I swear that one of these days I’m going to learn some German, drive down to Sibiu, pick up Klaus Johannis, head down to Snagov, dig up Vlad Tepes’ sword and then begin a major house-cleaning in this country. Every last one of these cowardly, evil, corrupt, old guard thugs and their cronies need to be wiped off the political map. I’ll buy a bloc near the American Embassy for them to live in and then they can go over for coffee and chocolate-chip cookies and “interlocute” anytime they like and leave Romania the hell alone.
I, for one, am sick of this. And I just wonder when we’re going to do something about it.