The leaking of sensitive information isn't new. But the actions of a certain US soldier in leaking truckloads of diplomatic cables is a clear game changer.
Those cables run the gamut of international relations, laying bare a huge number of sensitivities of a large number of nations. Yet there's irony that has largely been overlooked: next to none of the revelations are a surprise at all. They're pretty much what we expected to be happening behind the scenes: what governments really think of each other and of key world issues. (One might be seen as an almost-surprise: China being all but ready to ditch support of North Korea. But doesn't that make eminent realpolitik sense?)
Having a ready outlet for leaks means never having to scrounge around for a publisher. Anything is up for grabs, open to leakage.
This could lead to significant upheaval. At the very least, it renders gentle diplomacy potentially useless as a tool of international politics. The absence of that option is sure to lead to more direct conflict, if the only conversations to be had are necessarily open ones. More direct, honest communication, true, but more blunt and abrasive, too.
On the flipside, there is plenty of scope for abuse of this concept. Strategic release of disinformation may become the tool of choice for intelligence agencies. This can be an equally destabilising force in international relations.
It's not clear that all this will come to pass. But certainly that single massive leak action is having a global effect, and fallout both overt and covert is inevitable.