The Intelligence Community’s Dumb Isolated View of the Future by David Swanson

U.S. Out Of Everywhere

Image by Danny Hammontree via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy
January 24, 2017

Thank you to Tom Engelhardt for pointing out that the people who couldn’t predict the end of the Soviet Union, the crimes of 9-11, the decency of numerous whistleblowers, the election of Donald Trump, the likelihood that utilities in Vermont would point out that they had not been hacked by Russians, or — I’m willing to bet — the timing of rush hour in Northern Virginia, have just predicted the shape of the future of everything. Of course they’ve gotten it all ridiculously wrong, but they have revealed things about themselves rather than about the world in the process.

Many of us would list climate chaos and nuclear war as the big dangers to avoid. The “community” of U.S. spies lists: “the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics” as examples of dangers the future holds. These people may be paid billions of dollars by us primarily to keep secrets, but they don’t keep their contempt for democracy secret very well.

They do admit to the obvious: “For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War.” But they don’t actually mean that this might be for the better. They interpret it as a catastrophic victory for barbarians. Here’s their very next sentence: “So, too, perhaps is the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II.” Dethroning the United States does not, of course, guarantee anarchy. It could mean more respect for rules than before. But belief in the inevitability of anarchy might help make it more likely as it motivates U.S. behaviors. That’s why these “intelligence” people are not just useless but dangerous.

Here’s the next sentence: “It will be much harder to cooperate internationally and govern in ways publics expect.” Oh, well then, let’s forget about any sort of turn toward cooperation. Let’s stick with secretive unaccountable force. That ought to work. And, coincidentally, that’s the business the “intelligence” “community” is in. This sort of “report” is in this regard the same as Cheney’s “Defense” Department report finding that Halliburton should be given lots of contracts.

Also: “information ‘echo chambers’ will reinforce countless competing realities, undermining shared understandings of world events.” Remember, this is written by people in the business of producing propaganda. They are denouncing competition. Their solution is not to abandon propaganda but to invest more heavily in it. In a later paragraph they seem to suggest humility or even decency in proposing not to “impose order” on chaos, but what they propose instead is the use of “information.”

Much of the general failure of these people to predict things accurately seems to result from their mental blocking of the concept of blowback. Because “terrorism” responds to “war,” intentional ignorance of resentment of war creates an inability to make general predictions about terrorism. This new document states: “The threat from terrorism will expand in the coming decades as the growing prominence of small groups and individuals use new technologies, ideas, and relationships to their advantage.” Terrorism comes from prominence and technologies and ideas? What?

Also, desired enemies not engaged in aggression, specifically China and Russia, will — it is predicted — engage in “gray zone aggression.” Uh-huh.

This band of professional spies and saboteurs then blurts out another bit of truth, followed by a radical misinterpretation: “Overconfidence that material strength can manage escalation will increase the risks of interstate conflict to levels not seen since the Cold War.” Since that’s already true it’s not much of a prediction, but at least it’s honest. However, it’s followed by this: “Even if hot war is avoided, the current pattern of ‘international cooperation where we can get it’—such as on climate change—masks significant differences in values and interests among states and does little to curb assertions of dominance within regions.”

Come on! Russian and Chinese desires not to be attacked, not to be ripped off, and instead to grab more wealth for themselves, have nothing to do with divergent “values.” No nation on earth is dominated by people who want to be bombed or exploited. Most if not all are dominated by people who’d like more power and material wealth. Conflict arises between these governments for the obvious reasons, not because non-Americans have weird “values.” On the contrary: certain Americans have truly twisted values, and the rest pay them buckets of money to guide the government in the direction of what they call “intelligence.”

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. War Is A Lie: Second Edition, published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016. I’ll come anywhere in the world to speak about it. Invite me!

from the archives:

Abby Martin: Russia’s Transformation From an American “Colony” to it’s “Number One Threat”

We Are Facing Dangers On All Sides

Chris Hedges and Abby Martin: What Is The Purpose Of The Intelligence Report?

Chris Hedges: We Have To Grow Up + David Swanson: Anti-Russian US Establishment Willing To Risk Nuclear War

The Power Principle: Empire – Propaganda – Apocalypse (must-see)


Secrets of CIA (2006)

10 thoughts on “The Intelligence Community’s Dumb Isolated View of the Future by David Swanson

  1. Pingback: Chris Hedges: The Future of the US Empire Under Donald Trump – Dandelion Salad

  2. Indeed. It is so absurd. One can only wish for a better climate of thought, one that recognizes the irresponsible immaturity and juvenile presumptions of self-importance these idiots allocate to themselves. Well, the gloves are now already off as the new POTUS commits to ratcheting up the ecocidal pipeline index, alienating all indigenous peoples everywhere, and throwing bowls of 1930’s dust in the face of educated environmental activists worldwide, and the majority of climate scientists…

    I suspect President Trump believes he can rely upon Israel (& Russia) to eliminate ‘IS-daesh.’ However, Mr Trump will find himself dealing not only with Russia, but Turkey and Iran very swiftly…never mind China! So really the big question is whether Putin has a remote clue about climate concerns or it’s just going to be a great big orgy of Arctic extraction with major Mediterranean gas concessions allocated to Israel. Not a likely scenario if Iran and Turkey have anything to say about it….besides, there’s this altogether insignificant question of water…!!! This is a dire situation.

    Things are looking extremely grim with an illiterate jack-ass of a TV casino king at the helm. Politeness will soon fail (mine already has…). The only optimistic thought I can conjecture is that he will be completely shunned by the “more civilized” members of the international community (whoever they may be….hmmm?) that is, unless they all want French-revolutionary scale insurrection on their doorsteps.

    Remember Country Joe ‘n the Fish? Whoopee folks!

    Bravo David Swanson ~ watch your back my friend.

    • gee David …funny … i never took you for an elitist. dont you get it . ? Trumpster plays dumb . he is far from it . he beat his own party . he beat the entire media . he beat the dems . he beat the pollsters . the pundits . and he is moving at the speed of light as president and signing this and that and is organizing for more seats for 2018 ..while the Dems wallow in excuses …and will just keep losing .

      this is no hick . Trump understand and has talked about how Muhammad ALi fights . Ali said ” I will knock my opponent out ..and i will pick the round to do it ”. People think that Trump late night tweets are emotional like a big baby . far from it . it is stradegy to DOMINATE THE NEWS CYCLE for free media . SHOCK VALUE. notice during the olympics he did not say a word about them . why ? he dominates 18 out of the top 25 stories in the country .. when he ran fro president .

      he is a relentless gladiator . and he got the workers verses the smirkers ( elite ) to get a win …flipping blue states to red. this is not an apologetic on Trump . i did not vote for him . Those who keep underestimating him and making fun of him WILL.LOSE.EVERYTIME. he talks now about 8 years in the white house . not just 4. they all lost to Ali . Trump never missed watching a fight ringside . the first private citizen never held office or never in military is now president .

      i kept warning people that Trump would win and they all laughed at me . what a clown they thought and said . they are still stunned . i am a third party man as you know – but i studied what he was doing and LO will attest to the fact that i kept predicting to everyone Trumpster would win . and guess what – my prediction now – he will keep winning and winning and winning … until the elite stops laughing . this election was as i said the workers against the smirkers . the medias days are numbered and so are the professional political class . and they know it .

      now because a private citizen took the white house more private citizens will run for every office . the powers that be hate this ! and some of them will win . some wont .

      • Elitist, hmmm, maybe, only insofar as I am not an apologist for atrocity, nor do I accept isolationism as a realistic policy in a joined-up universe. A lot of truth in what you say, and hey, yes I also picked up on the probability of a Trump success when I realized we had to face ‘thinking the unthinkable…’ so I am with you there. I also agree, let us not underestimate the gauche, illiterate persona. He may want to sting like a bee, but a dancing butterfly ‘he ain’t.’ Of course it should be pointed out that even Ali got that wrong ~ bees that sting, die.

        The irony of the situation is this: the all-American Trump wants to reinvent the wheel of life, but to do that he needs to study wheels more carefully, not just brag about his skill in figuring out the difference between an axle, its bearings & the tread.

        Two clever people he needs to pay (more?) heed to: Lester Brown ~ ‘Plan B’ and Amory Lovins, ‘Factor 4.’

        • Bill Kauffmans ” America First ” documents people who did their best on all sides of the ideological line to keep us out of WW1 and WW2 as well as Veitnam and Korea .

          my liberal dem friends are pushing this red scare stuff . this is the danger . I am not a fan of Trump or Putin .
          people know I have been a critic of both . but they MUST stop this new cold war NOW !!!

        • and might I add – the unthinkable is not Trump winning . elections come and go .
          the unthinkable is nuclear war between Russia and America .

          this is what the losers are pushing for .

      • A bit of an update is due here Rocket…as I think it is much wiser to actually listen to Pres. Trump than just feed off the cacophony of criticism. Far better, to get some idea in true Irish fashion, what race the outsider is running direct from that horse’s mouth, not from the gaggle of drunken punters; nor even the trainer & jockey.

        I’ve just been listening to Sean Hannity’s much touted interview with Trump for FOX, and apart from Mr Hannity’s cringingly sycophantic familiarity with the President elect, I have to say it is quite an enlightening insight; a candid encounter with a very active, nimble and focused mind. Mr Trump is not stupid. His world is entirely the world of the “deal.” In a perverse sort of a way, it is a very refreshing attitude to politics.

        He may be hedging his bets on some key fronts, now that he has been debriefed on critical issues like the destructive power of nuclear weapons; so it is evident that he clearly listens to those who know a thing or two. He is far less arrogant than Barack Obama, with whom he seems to have established something of a mutual understanding.

        We had better wait now to see where we shall have arrived at after his first “hundred days.” He comes across as an extremely pragmatic character, a man of few words and limited rhetoric; but I don’t think we can just dismiss him as a bigoted opportunist. On the contrary, this is someone who not only thinks hard but is prepared to listen ~ even if only in a sort of predatory fashion; whether he will listen to the right people, is another matter.

        I dare say one thing though, that the Saudis had better be careful.

  3. Pingback: Glen Ford: There is No Such Thing as a Progressive Movement That is Aligned with the CIA – Dandelion Salad

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