August 2, 2012

Blinded By Beijing

Blinded By Beijing - Bill Gertz
“The report is the latest in a series of challenges to what critics say has been more than a decade of faulty U.S. intelligence analyses of China that underestimate Beijing’s development in an apparent bid to play down the threat it poses to regional security and the resulting need for a U.S. response.”

Comment: This story addresses the sadly consistent and cyclical tale of “getting it wrong” when analyzing our competitors. Having been in and around this type of analysis at the national level for over a decade, this is what typically happens: hard working “field agents” and analysts assemble what they know or think they know. Reports from different agencies are compiled, consolidated, summarized and forwarded through many layers of bureaucracy. Each layer filters it, with key individuals often applying their own perspective. Political considerations and biases are added. The final result can often be a watered-down, politically tweaked, policy-encumbered assessment that leads to misguided decisions. Not always...our intelligence and military communities produce terrific material in many cases. But, high-profile cases like China or Iran that carry equally high-profile policy implications seem to draw out the worst analysis. For more on China’s efforts, see: The Dragon's New Teeth.

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