October 01, 2002

Economic Intelligence

2 min

The modern U.S. Intelligence Community was conceived and developed as the result of the "Hot War" in the 1940s and the recently ended 50 year "Cold War." Throughout that period the focus of the Community's efforts were primarily: 1) communist political activities; and 2) military capability and plans. The dramatic changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have altered that focus, perhaps forever. While the world has not returned to the "pre-apple" Garden of Eden, the continuing military threat we and others face is far different than that of a decade ago. The "ism" of most concern now is no longer the philosophy of Marx and Lenin, but the resurgence of intensely religious isms of ancient lineage. These changes in our global world have and will continue to produce profound changes in our domestic agenda and the structure and focus of our government.

In adjusting to the New World, it is important to remember that the Soviet Union did not collapse as the result of a weakened military or the threat of opposing military might, but from a failed internal economy, fueled by the technology of communications and the ideology of freedom. The presence of Western military might and the nuclear umbrella may well have been "necessary" conditions, but they were by no means "sufficient." The Soviet Union collapsed despite the fact it had a strong military, if not at least in part as a result of the unbalanced governmental attention to military needs. One of the lessons of the decade is a reminder that true national security rests on a strong economic foundation, not mere military might.

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