Written by: Corey Washington
Primary Source: Zero Ideology
A few years ago Time ran a story listing the 10 Biggest Intelligence Failures in History.
- Pearl Harbor
- Bay of Pigs
- Tet Offensive
- Yom Kippur War
- Fall of the Shah
- Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
- Fall of the USSR
- India-Pakistan Nuclear Test
- Iraq WMD
- 9/11 Attacks
These were failures of US intelligence, but of course other countries have intelligence agencies that experience failures equally damaging to their national interests. The US failed to foresee the Arab attack that started the Yom Kippur war (#4), but more importantly so did the Israelis. #7 the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a failure from the US point of view because the CIA and NSA did not predict it, but it was even more of a failure from the Soviet side because their intelligence services did not see how catastrophic it would prove to be for their economy. The invasion is widely regarded as having rapidly accelerated the USSR’s decline, leading to its dissolution at the end of 1991.
Over the last few months, commentators have been speculating about the effects that Russia’s annexation of Crimea will have on the Russian economy. If it brings on European development of alternative sources of energy, it could end up significantly hurting Russia in the long term. It may then be seen as resulting from the kind of intelligence failure that led to their war in Afghanistan. It appears that both moves were sparked by fears of having a pro-western government on Russia’s borders rather than any rational process of decision making that one hopes would precede such serious steps.
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