Larry asks important question:
Let me start with a simple analogy. You are tooling down the road on a BMW S1000RR “crotch rocket” at 100 miles per hour. You see Toyota sedan a couple of hundred yards (i.e., 183 meters) ahead with an elderly codger at the helm getting ready to pull out into traffic. Do you think it matters if he sees you? Damn right it does. If he pulls out in front of you a collision is inevitable unless you dump the bike, which means you will skip along the pavement like flat rock flung over a still body of water. Or, you’ll hit the car and be launched into low orbit and wind up as bloody pulp. Neither is pleasant to contemplate. It would be nice to know what he is thinking, right? So do you think it matters if the United States correctly understands what the leaders of Russia and China are thinking? And, conversely, does it matter if the leaders of Russia and China correctly discern the intentions of U.S. leaders? The answer–YES on both counts.
Read this excellent piece at Larry’s blog. It is this ever important issue of situational (I know where my enemy is) and tactical (I know what my enemy is going to do) awareness which is applicable not just to war but to human activity as a whole. That is why also intelligence craft exists from good ol’ human spies to space-based ISR assets.
It goes without saying that the United States lacks understanding of her “enemies” completely. And it is dangerous, as Larry concludes:
We face a comparable dilemma in the breakdown of communication between Washington and Beijing. False assumptions reinforced by wrong conclusions almost inevitably lead to a deadly miscalculation. Normally, the national intelligence agencies of a nation are supposed to provide a dose of truth and reality. That is the real danger facing America now. The CIA and the FBI are politically compromised and are institutionally averse to telling the President and his team they are wrong. While I no longer have access to current U.S. intelligence, I still hear things through the grapevine of former colleagues and the news is unsettling. There was a time when there were “Dutch Uncles” in the CIA. A “Dutch Uncle” is one who admonishes sternly and bluntly for the benefit of the recipient. Instead of a Dutch Uncle, the intelligence community is behaving more like Wormtongue, a rogue villain in Lord of the Rings. A dangerous situation when our leaders need to understand correctly what the other “guys” think.
Should have the United States known what they were dealing with in terms of Russia in 2014, there would have been a higher probability of this Ukrainian clusterfuck being avoided. But they seem to never learn, and now, they face a complete military and political disaster and a crashing defeat of their “plans”, which have been nothing more than practical “sublimation” of the delusions, ignorance and incompetence of people who conceived them. As Mark Chapman, in one of the most hilarious hyperbole I read in years, noted when talking about a particular BSer, who do populate plans-making circles in the West:
The foregoing considered, it will not surprise you, then, that I would be as likely to eat soup made from boiling turnips and Boris Johnson’s bicycle seat as I would be to pay attention to further gobbling from Lucasville.That’s the only way of dealing with people, who, as Larry puts it, do not get that: It Is Critical to Understand What the Other “guy” Thinks.