U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy

By Mark M. Lowenthal | Go to book overview

8
Intelligence in the Post-Cold War World

In January 1989, George Bush was inaugurated as president, the first former DCI to accede to that position. Within 10 months of his inaugural, the entire post-World War II order in Europe collapsed, with the Soviet Union acquiescing to the peaceful dismantlement of its satellite empire and to the reunification of Germany. At the same time, the power of the Soviet Union itself diminished daily as its economic system neared collapse and its political system struggled between those favoring ever more rapid steps toward more responsive and more democratic government and those clinging to the older levers of control. Nine months after the collapse of the old order in Europe, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait; five months later Iraq was forcibly ejected by a broad United Nations (UN) coalition largely formed and led by the United States. In August 1991, Soviet hardliners staged an abortive coup against Gorbachev, which in turn led to the rapid demise of Communist control and the eventual dissolution of the USSR into its component and now separate republics. In this rush of dramatic events the role played by the intelligence community and its future were both questioned, even as Congress and the president continued to cope with oversight issues stemming from Iran-contra.

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