The Secret World

Hence, while ‘Brexit’ appeared as a disappointment and letdown to many people in the West – and at first, I was one of them to be quite honest – in reality, ‘Brexit’ was the ultimate act of political independence and economic freedom which in essence emancipated and salvaged London from the moral failings and moral transgressions of Washington and Brussels as well as from their fancies and whimsical policies. It goes to show that no one is perfect and flawless, and that experience and the expansion of one’s knowledge can change both the judgments and the opinions of people, as long as we admit our mistakes and maintain an open mind over the course of time. 

‘Brexit’ was also a masterclass in the art of intelligence. It has been argued that intelligence is the “missing dimension” of the history of politics and international relations and its analysis and study. Intelligence is also meant to be exchanged and shared in order to avert full-blown conflict and war between different groups or nations whose relations are fraught with distrust and tensions. 

As a result: “Intelligence has become a central feature of the national security enterprise, but it was not always so.” As mentioned before, the various streams of intelligence throughout society as a whole have to first be brought together and then analyzed. In turn there are “analytic missions” and “operational missions” involved in what is largely a secret world of intelligence. Moreover, the intelligence world is where a “battle of ideas” takes place and this “battle of ideas” is meant to influence a political process that is contingent to the intelligence world. 

In many cases – and especially in the United States – intelligence is “tailored” to suit the political process as well as the preferences of certain politicians. But the goal of intelligence is to retain “objectivity” and to formulate policy rather than subjecting itself to the fancies and whims of politicians. Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate how nothing good can come out of the subjugation of the intelligence world to the fancies and whims of politicians. 

Hence, the core dilemma or problem of the intelligence world or at least the core dilemma or problem of intelligence officials in the United States can be stated in the following manner: “The problem is, in some ways, a producer-consumer difficulty: the intelligence agencies (producers) are always under some pressure to produce analyses that conform to the beliefs of those officials to whom they report. The result can be adulteration of the quality of the product, either because producers fashion their products to meet consumer demands or because consumers reinterpret and distort intelligence to meet their own needs.” 

It follows that intelligence is “cherry picked” by politicians and “instead of using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy” which is the way things are supposed to work, politicians tend to use intelligence “as the basis on which to justify a policy on which [they] have already settled.” Because the organization and structure has been reversed, in the sense that the contingent has been made necessary and the necessary has been made contingent, it follows that accurate intelligence in America “is all too often unavailable” and in turn intelligence is “supplemented by dubious historical analogies” to borrow from Arthur Schlesinger. But hopefully, we have done the very little that we can to fill a portion of the intelligence void which has been created by such an organization and structure. 

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