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Unformatted text preview: r i c h a r d h . i m m e r m a n † Intelligence and Strategy: Historicizing Psychology, Policy, and Politics* The years since September 11 , 2001 , have been heady ones for historians of U.S. foreign relations. Enrollments in our courses have exploded, and we have been eagerly sought after by the media. Our expertise in things past evidently pro- vides us with the credentials to provide expert commentary on the present. This problematic relationship notwithstanding, for those of us who write about policymakers and policymaking, the events of the recent past fit comfortably within the boundaries of our scholarship. We dissect the processes by which those who manage U.S. foreign relations and national security receive and assess advice and information. In theory, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other components of the intelligence community (IC) provide much of the grist for the policymakers’ mill. Good strategic intelligence (the “big picture”) does not guarantee good policy, but, holds the received wisdom, the better the intelligence, the more informed the policymaker. Hence the better are the chances for formulating good policy, however one defines “good.” The converse is less ambiguous: bad intelligence all but assures ill-informed policy and dramatically increases the likelihood of “bad” policy. Different administrations connected the dots differ- ently, but they all connected them somehow. Or so I thought. 1 My efforts to decipher the policymaking process and the contributions of intelligence to it drove my forays into the hybrid field of political psychology. 2 Most recently concentrating on cognitive dynamics, I studied attribution theory, *This article expands on my address to the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, June 23 , 2007 . I thank Tyler S. Immerman for her valuable research, Douglas and Raymond Garthoff for their comments, and Fred I. Greenstein and Bob Jervis for their decades of advice, encouragement, and inspiration. † Subsequent to delivering this address, I became assistant deputy director of National Intelligence for Analytic Integrity and Standards. The views expressed in this publication are my own and do not imply endorsement of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or any other U.S. government agency. 1 . Tim Weiner, “Langley, We Have a Problem,” New York Times , May 14 , 2006 ; Richard L. Russell, Sharpening Strategic Intelligence: Why the CIA Gets It Wrong and What Needs to Be Done to Get It Right (New York, 2007 ), 8 – 9 . 2 . The two books that most inﬂuenced my trajectory are Fred I. Greenstein, Personality and Politics: Problems of Evidence, Inference, and Conceptualization (Chicago, 1969 ) and Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ, 1976 )....
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- Fall '09
- Cold War, National security, Central Intelligence Agency