OODA OriginalUncategorized

Far Reaching Indeed

H/T: Michael Rubin at The Corner

Two basic urges meet head-on in this area, and conflict is inherent in this collision of interests. These urges reveal themselves in daily news accounts of killings and terrorism, of pressure groups in opposition, and of raw nationalism and naked expansionism masquerading as diplomatic maneuvers. The urges tie together the tangled threads of power politics which—snarled in the lap of the United Nations Assembly—lead back to the centers of Islamic pressure and to the capitals of the world’s biggest nations.

The first of these urges originates within the Moslems’ own sphere. The Moslems remember the power with which once they not only ruled their own domains but also overpowered half of Europe, yet they are painfully aware of their present economic, cultural, and military impoverishment. Thus a terrific internal pressure is building up in their collective thinking. The Moslems intend, by any means possible, to regain political independence and to reap the profits of their own resources, which in recent times and up to the present have been surrendered to the exploitation of foreigners who could provide capital investments. The area, in short, has an inferiority complex, and its activities are thus as unpredictable as those of any individual so motivated.

The other fundamental urge originates externally. The world’s great and near-great powers cover the economic riches of the Moslem area and are also mindful of the strategic locations of some of the domains. Their actions are also difficult to predict, because each of these powers sees itself in the position of the customer who wants to do his shopping in a hurry because he happens to know the store is going to be robbed.

In an atmosphere so sated with the inflammable gases of distrust and ambition, the slightest spark could lead to an explosion which might implicate every country committed to the maintenance of world peace through the United Nations Organization. An understanding of the Moslem world and of the stresses and forces operative within it is thus an essential part of the basic intelligence framework.

I’ll buy a round for anyone who can prove that the author wasn’t ignored, laughed at or dismissed as the office curmudgeon who couldn’t get with the program-of-the-day. It was a different time back then so s/he probably gutted it out till retirement but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out that s/he got treatment similar to that of Julie Sirrs and Kie Fallis.

What strikes this former IC analyst is the clear and unambiguous content. There is only one instance each of the words “likely,” “possible” and “probable” in the entire piece. This stands in stark contrast to the work pumped out today, which must be at least double-sourced with “proof” and heavily caveated so that all possible outcomes can be addressed (makes it easier to fend off charges that you were wrong). Compared to today’s IC output, which is basically a Reader’s Digest version of source reporting, the fact that there is actual analysis in it is amazing. I feel like I’ve come across a first-edition Dickens in a rack of comic books.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.