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November 21, 2008

For a Mere 30 Billion Bucks, Here Is What You Get!

By: Bernard Chazelle

Every 4 years the best and the brightest in the US Intelligence community get together and peek into their $30 billion crystal ball to tell us what's coming. OK, they missed the fall of the Shah, they missed the demise of the Soviet Union, they missed the Internet bubble, they missed the credit crunch crisis, they missed the electoral success of Hamas, they missed the rise of Putin, Saddam's WMD were a slam dunk, but, never mind, this time they REALLY REALLY get it right! Check this out -- this is not a spoof: these are genuine quotes.

Excerpts from Global Trends 2025 by National Intelligence Council:

Canada will be spared several serious North-American climate-related developments -- intense hurricanes.

What? No more intense hurricanes in Saskatoon???

A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons.

Any moron could say that a terrorist use of a nuclear weapon would demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons. What makes you a US Intelligence analyst is the most deliciously felicitous addition of the adverb graphically.

The Middle East will remain a geopolitically significant region in 2025 based on the importance of oil to the world economy.

This sounds like drivel but it's not: it's a nasty swipe at Barbados! (CIA humor)

No history of the past 100 years can be told without delving into the roles and thinking of such leaders as Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or Mao Zedong.

Wait! What about Gerald Ford? (I've been told that, because of budgetary constraints, the report hopes to double as a history textbook for 2nd graders.)

With high [oil] prices, major exporters such as Russia and Iran would have the financial resources to increase their national power.

A sustained plunge in oil prices would have significant implications for countries relying on robust oil revenues to balance the budget or buid up domestic investment.

Or, as that famous spook, Charlie Brown, used to say, "I'd rather be rich and healthy than poor and sick."

To be a US Intelligence analyst requires the ability to write English as a second language:

The views of Western Europeans appear to be buoyed to the extent that the United States, its key allies, NATO, and the EU deepen practical multilateral approaches to international problems.

While you deepen your practical multilateral approaches, consider this interesting discrepancy between this report and its predecessor. Today we're told:

A global multipolar world is emerging with the rise of China, India, and others. The US is one among many global actors who manage problems.

But 4 years ago, the prediction was:

The 2020 Report projects continued US dominance, positing that most major powers have forsaken the idea of balancing the US.

So how can we trust these clowns if they contradict themselves every 4 years? Now they got me all worried about hurricanes in Saskatoon...

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at November 21, 2008 06:10 PM

they knew the real $#!+ was in 2021 and it killed them keeping it secret....

Posted by: hapa at November 21, 2008 07:02 PM

to be even more fair to them, no one could have predicted™ how climate change, unregulated global finance backed by an asset bubble, the mideast democracy project, the commodification of food, and walking away from every imaginable peaceful agreement would turn out.

Posted by: hapa at November 21, 2008 07:09 PM

I guess Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't graphic enough for their taste.

Posted by: Gus at November 21, 2008 07:09 PM

"The US is one among many global actors who manage problems."
At first, I thought I'd sleep a lot better tonight, just knowing that.
But then I thought that those sly, Yale-educated CIAers chose the term "global actors" very carefully. And it occurred to me that this is a Sphinx-like prediction, because by global actors they were thinking of actors from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre that burned in 1613.
These learned types couldn't tell us directly what's in store for us, so they chose to send us back in history to discover just how today's "global actors" will manage our problems.
A bit too clever, perhaps, for those of us who didn't spend four years in New Haven.

Posted by: donescobar at November 21, 2008 07:16 PM

I was bothered by that CIA report, but then I read the comment by Werner Wennig, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Bayer:
"The pursuit of profit is an innate human trait."
All is forgiven, you brokers and bankers. You're just human, all too human.
I bet the desire to torture or drop bombs on Cambodian or Iraqi kids are "innate human traits" too.
All is forgiven, Dick and Henry and W.

A golden retriever I know exhibits none of these traits. But then, she's only got canine traits. Maybe researchers can find a cure for these human traits. Injecting canine ones?

We could, eventually get used to them. Fetching is better than bombing and could even provide more fun.

Posted by: donescobar at November 21, 2008 07:45 PM

if global climate change continues according to current predictions, there is every reason to be worried about hurricanes in saskatoon in about 20 years...

Posted by: raincoat at November 21, 2008 07:48 PM

Yeah, but Saskatoon will be spared the really bad hurricanes. Therefore, the coconut trees up there won't be knocked over.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 21, 2008 08:19 PM

Man, you guys are ON FIRE. Four posts in the past two days? And no filler, either. Each scores points against the ruling class, in a way that's not being done elsewhere, and with humor, besides!

Now I'm feeling guilty that I get all this good stuff for free. Guess I'll have to go buy Schwarz's damn book...

Posted by: SteveB at November 21, 2008 08:19 PM

Hey, jerks! Strong hurricanes regularly come roaring north up the East Coast and screw up Canada's Eastern Seaboard (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, parts of the Quebec, and Newfoundland). Not to Katrina-level, but dangerous and destructive enough for us.

Posted by: Hairhead at November 21, 2008 11:23 PM

Robert Parry of Consortium News has bit different take on the CIA.

When the Soviet Union – the CIA’s principal intelligence target – collapsed without any timely warning to the U.S. government, the CIA analytical division was derided for “missing” this historic moment. But the CIA didn’t as much “miss” the Soviet collapse as it was blinded by Gates and other ideological taskmasters to the reality playing out in plain sight.

Goodman was not alone in identifying Gates as the chief culprit in the politicization of the CIA’s intelligence product. Indeed, Gates’s 1991 confirmation hearing to be George H.W. Bush’s CIA director marked an extraordinary outpouring of career CIA officers going public with inside stories about how Gates had corrupted the intelligence product.

There also were concerns about Gates’s role in misleading Congress regarding the secret Iran-Contra operations in the mid-1980s, an obstacle that had prevented Gates from getting the top CIA job when Casey died in 1987.

Plus, in 1991, Gates faced accusations that he had greased his rapid bureaucratic rise by participating in illicit or dubious clandestine operations, including helping Republicans sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s Iran hostage negotiations in 1980 (the so-called October Surprise case) and collaborating on a secret plan to aid Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein (the Iraqgate scandal).

I’m not defending the CIA who in my opinion should be disbanded however it is looking like Obama wants to keep Gates on which really ought to augment all the Clinton Cronies Obama is surrounding himself with. More war? Yes we can.

Posted by: Rob Payne at November 21, 2008 11:45 PM

Has anyone checked the DC water supply for lead content?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 22, 2008 12:32 AM

It’s the fluoride content, reduces IQ.

Posted by: Rob Payne at November 22, 2008 12:43 AM
A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons.

I believe this refers to the infamous al-Qaeda PowerPoint presentation, "2nd Quarterly Report on Projected Destruction of Baltimore", which includes a number of excellent photoshopped examples of what the ruined city might look like.

Posted by: saurabh at November 22, 2008 01:57 AM

I don't like hurricanes. They're bad.

Posted by: Tiffa at November 22, 2008 02:13 AM

No, 'where it's dry, it will be drier; where it's humid, it will be more humid.' Definitely a problem to Spain now, and to the Southwest US.

Posted by: Woodyeofalb at November 22, 2008 10:20 AM

Don't call me stupid!

Posted by: abb1 at November 22, 2008 10:42 AM

Any communication containing "robust" should be suspect.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout at November 22, 2008 11:19 AM

I predict that all the satellites and gps and computers in all 18 components of the US intelligence community cannot find a pirate until he wants to be found. What a collection of Ouija Board drivel.

Posted by: drip at November 22, 2008 02:52 PM

Prof Chazelle, thank you very much for the post. Wanted to read the the whole original report but it is very long and it will have to wait but I found something interesting.

A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons.

The original statement states
A terrorist use of a nuclear weapon or an escalating conflict between two nuclear powers,
such as India and Pakistan, would graphically demonstrate the danger of nuclear weapons,
prompting calls for global nuclear disarmament and energizing counterproliferation and
counterterrorism measures.

Amazing! Neither country has ever used an atomic weapon against anyone. India has always had "No First Use" policy ( of course, I wish, they would destroy their weapons, period), BUT Cheney is always threatening to nuke Iran and he means it and USA had sold 1000 Bunker Buster Bombs with nuclear capability to Israel in September this year with Israel having full intentions of using them. Wonder why the report is so COY about mentioning these two countries!!

And I thought, calls for global nuclear disarmament would be a good thing for humanity. I guess, I was wrong!!

And aren't CLUSTER BOMBS graphic enough for them which continue killing and maiming forever without mentioning other monstrosities? Or they conveniently did not mention it because US did not sign the treaty to ban them?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at November 22, 2008 04:46 PM

By the way, that's 'Hereford'.

Posted by: Mike at November 23, 2008 04:39 AM

By the way, that's 'Hereford'.

Not the way Rex Harrison said it. I distinctly heard three r's in there.

Posted by: SteveB at November 23, 2008 06:36 PM

>No more intense hurricanes in Saskatoon???

Sh. We get them; we just call 'em blizzards.
Americans think they are a DQ ice cream treat.

Posted by: bartkid at November 25, 2008 02:51 PM