Intelligence Briefing for CEOs

Kevin Meyer at Evolving Excellence posts an interesting article entitled “A Global Intelligence Briefing for CEOs.” The author, Herbert Meyer, is described as a CIA official in the Reagan administration and “the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union’s collapse.”

Mr. Meyer lists what he calls “Four Major Transformations” and discusses their ramifications. The Four Transformations are the war in Iraq, the emergence of China, shifting demographics of Western civilization, and restructuring of American business. Selected excerpts:

The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly. … Most of the instability and horseplay is coming from the Middle East. That’s why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power, they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world.

Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world’s major economic engines, aren’t merely in recession, they’re shutting down. … The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be smaller than that of Yemen. Russia has one-sixth of the earth’s land surface and much of its oil. You can’t control that much area with such a small population. Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men – a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia.

These themes will be familiar to readers of Thomas P.M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map, Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, and Mark Steyn’s America Alone (full disclosure: I haven’t read the latter). Also, to some extent, Michael Silverstein’s Treasure Hunt. Mr. Meyer seems to see the same data as these authors, but sometimes draw different conclusions. For example:

China’s quest to assure it has the oil it needs to fuel its economy is a major factor in world politics and economics. We have our Navy fleets protecting the sea lines, specifically the ability to get the tankers through. It won’t be long before the Chinese have an aircraft carrier sitting in the Persian Gulf as well. The question is, will their aircraft carrier be pointing in the same direction as ours or against us?

Mr. Barnett, on the other hand, sees a “near-peer” future conflict with China as the ultimate red herring – but agrees on the importance of imported energy to China.

The article is also posted at Salt and Light, with a little more background.

UPDATE: This post is generating a lot of search engine interest. Welcome! If you find Mr. Meyer’s article interesting, you should take a look at the seminar that radio host Hugh Hewitt is running with Dr. Thomas Barnett, author of The Pentagon’s New Map. The most recent installment is here.

UPDATE: Further context from Tao of Defiance.

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