Review: The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

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Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Loch Johnson (editor)

4 out of 5 stars In Thirds: Interesting, Politically Correct, Pap

WARNING NOTICE: This is not a current book. It is a reprint of the 2010 publication that was out of date across many chapters when it was originally printed. The Routledge book, Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies is the far better book if you want something that is both current and moderately innovative.

Final Review:

I’ve given up on this book. I got through the first fifteen entries, and had a paragraph on each, but finally concluded that on the one hand, the book consists largely of old contributions that have been recycled into a new (2010) collection, and on the other hand, the publisher and editor tried to cram so many contributions into one book that they are all shallow. The average grade across the first fifteen is a C, with two A’s and one D. On balance I am increasingly dismayed by the incestuous circle of self-citing “scholars” and a handful of practitioner-authors who are all on the same party line and largely ignorant of everyone else. There are too many errors of omission of both fact and of alternative authoritative references from outside the incest circle.

If you have an interest in my many other summary reviews of books on the craft of intelligence (decision-support), seek out free online Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most). All of my reviews always lead back to their respective Amazon pages.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World

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Dec 19

Allen Roland: Honoring Chalmers Johnson, Prophet of Truth + Empire Meta-RECAP

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Allen Roland, Ph.D.

Allen Roland, Ph.D.

Prophet for a Dying Empire

Every dying Empire has its truth telling prophet and America had its own with Chalmers Johnson. Johnson correctly compared the decay of the American empire, with its well over 600 overseas military bases, with the fall of the Roman Empire whereas the Senate becomes a wealthy corporate club and irrelevant compared to the ruling Military Industrial Congressional Complex

by Allen L Roland

Chalmers Johnson was a truth teller and prophet in a political environment where few would stand up to the interests and secrecy of the Pentagon and the intelligence community ~ and since his passing in November of 2010, many of his prophetic fears have been realized in the Obama administration.

Johnson, author of Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis,The Last Days of the American Republic, talks in this video interview about the similarities in the decline of the Roman and Soviet empires and the signs that the U.S. empire is exhibiting the very same symptoms ~ overextension, corruption and the inability to reform. (Watch at least the first 20 minutes and also the very end where he predicts an economic collapse)

Johnson’ s main points were; The United States is treading the same three steps as the former Soviet Union;

  • Inability to deal with corporate corruption.
  • Imperial over-stretch is leading to fiscal insolvency ( 600 plus bases throughout the world )
  • Inability to reform, thus accelerating the inevitable fall.

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Jun 1

Review: Polarity Management – Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems

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Amazon Page

Barry Johnson

5.0 out of 5 stars Much Less Complicated Than Expected, a Great Workbook,April 16, 2012

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I bought this back in December 2011 when I was scrounging around for books on panarchy (see for instance, Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. It stayed in my pile as other books moved because my first impression was that it was more complicated than I cared to deal with and might – shudder — even include mathematical formulas. I was wrong.

This is a very straight forward book that I recommend as a read-ahead or work book for any group seeking to radically evolve their internal decision making processes away from the current standard of “I talk, you listen; I decide, you obey.” It has clear charts, the right amount of white space, and I put it down thinking very well of the book.

Panarchy is an evolution of the whole systems approach to anything, with the clarity and integrity of FEEDBACK LOOPS among the elements being the core of any successful system. If everyone does not talk; if everyone does not listen; if everyone does not decide; if everyone does not act in harmonization with all others, system failure is inevitable.

Interesting to me, because Harrison Owen is a friend and mentor, this book is a restatement, in panarchic terms, of his path-finding work, Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide–I also recommend his more recent Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World.

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Apr 16