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'A profoundly disruptive force' : the CIA, historiography and the perils of globalization

By Richard J. Aldrich


This essay argues that, since 1989, the CIA has been slow to understand the transformative impact of globalization upon its own activities as an intelligence agency. While the CIA spent considerable time examining global trends as part of its work on generalized strategic analysis, its thinking about how globalization would change its own business was less prescient. This problem is explained in terms of the way in which debates over the CIA have been framed historiographically. While intelligence studies as a subject has been successfully integrated into mainstream international history, it has failed to make the same connections with international relations. As a result, those debating how intelligence might change have tended to focus quite narrowly on matters of bureaucratic organization and have taken only limited interest in global politics. This is stark contrast to those working on the subject of terrorism and counter-terrorism, who have engaged in wider debates about world affairs. This needs to change, since the perils of globalization remain the over-arching challenge for the CIA over the next ten years

Topics: JK, JZ
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/02684527.2011.559139
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