Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel

Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel

Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel

Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel


"Part of a series of books in honour of the inspirational Michael I. Handel Written by distinguished scholars and practioners of intelligence Explores the topics of intelligence analysis, surprise and deception One of three volumes in honour of the teachings of Michael I. Handel, one of the foremost strategists of the past three decades, this collection explores the paradoxes of intelligence analysis, surprise and deception from both historical and theoretical perspectives. Written by a distinguished group of scholars and practitioners of intelligence from the United States, Canada and Israel, the volume's essays reflect the topics that Handel explored throughout his professional career."


This volume is a tribute to the life and work of Michael I. Handel, one of the world's leading theorists of strategic surprise and deception. Handel was fond of paradox. Indeed, it formed the foundation of his view of strategy and intelligence. Nothing illustrates this better than his essay 'Intelligence and the Problem of Strategic Surprise', which forms the first chapter of this volume. the fact that many of the volume's other contributors echo this chapter's themes is a testament to the influence of Handel's approach. His influence on the study of intelligence was great, though less than it might have been had he not died early, at the age of 58, in June 2001.

Born on 1 November, 1942 in Haifa, in what was then British Palestine, Handel was the only child of refugees from Hitler's Austria. Most of his extended family perished in the Holocaust. After undergraduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the 1960s he came to the United States to study for a PhD in the Government Department at Harvard. He completed the degree in 1974. in addition to serving as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard in this period, he taught briefly at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. His dissertation became his first book-Weak States in the International System (London: Frank Cass, 1981)-a project that began a long association with this British publisher.

Before completing his dissertation Handel published a monograph, Israel's Political-Military Doctrine, Occasional Paper No. 30 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Center for International Affairs, 1973), one of the first major analyses of Israeli strategy. This appeared on the eve of the October War in the Middle East. Like many Israelis, Handel was shocked by the Arabs' successful surprise, and turned his attention to analyzing the political, technical, and psychological reasons for the Israeli intelligence failure. He published his findings in a monograph-Perception, Deception, and Surprise: the Case of the Yom Kippur War (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1976)-and as an article in International Studies Quarterly.

The project on the Yom Kippur War started Handel on a life-long career in theorizing about strategic surprise, misperception, and intelligence warning, and their effects on international politics and military strategy. His second book was The Diplomacy of Surprise: Hitler, Nixon, Sadat (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for International Affairs, 1981). He published a Davis Institute monograph, Military Deception in Peace and War (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1985), an article on diplomatic

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