Academic journal article Military Review

Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances and Coalitions from 1914 to the Cold War

Academic journal article Military Review

Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances and Coalitions from 1914 to the Cold War

Article excerpt

KNOWING YOUR FRIENDS:

Intelligence Inside Alliances and Coalitions from 1914 to the Cold War edited by Martin S. Alexander. 304 pages. Frank Cass and Co., Portland, OR. 1998. $22.50.

Supposedly, most of the CIA's still-classified historical files relate to the sensitive topic of spying on friends and allies. Knowing Your Friends concerns an often-neglected theme and with the broader one of inter-allied intelligence relationships. These case studies of perception and misperception are certainly relevant today, when the United States has more seeming allies than overt enemies. Awareness of their capabilities, limitations and agendas is vital.

Knowing Your Friends contains an introduction and 10 essays by competent specialists in intelligence studies. Although the editor hoped to provide focus by limiting topics to the World Wars and Cold War eras, the essays are still quite diverse. Some concern the tactical and operational levels of warfare, others with strategic and diplomatic relationships. Military readers will find some contributions more relevant, but there are topics here for many interests.

Martin S. Alexander's introductory essay calls for more research in this field and points to some key questions. Is intelligence about allies different (better, worse) than about enemies? Are there preconceptions or biases that are taken for granted but should be questioned? Do political views warp objectivity? How do national styles affect the collection and sharing of intelligence? …

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