Review: Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization

4 Star, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Crime (Organized, Transnational), Information Society, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Edited by Michael Miklancic and Jacqueline Brewer

4.0 out of 5 stars First Class on the Illicit Networks Not Legalized by US Congress, December 15, 2014

This is a first-class book on the convergence of many illicit networks that Congress has not legalized. A sure sign of the book’s very high value and inherent quality is the Foreword provided by Admiral James Stavridis, whose own book, The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO I just reviewed most favorably.

The foreword very diplomatically brings out two core points: that many “small” or informal or non-state threats are converging to create a firestorm that most states are not trained, equipped, nor organized to address; and that we must, if we are to prosper going forward, begin to think in holistic terms — whole of government, whole of society, whole of international society — all phrases used by Admiral Stavridis.

Since I have been saying this since I first ghost-wrote for General Al Gray, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, the 1989 article “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s,” whose most unique element was the characterization of the differences between conventional threats and emerging threats, all of this resonates with me.

From the National Defense University Press, which I hold in very high regard, this is the single best book I have seen on the diversity of the illicit threat networks. Each chapter is individually brilliant and all of them offer compelling turns of phrase and good graphics. “Deviant globalization” and “the geography of badness” jump out.

There are three flaws, each easily corrected in a new edition of this book, which I do recommend:

01 The book desperately needs an index. This is the most common deficiency found in think tank and government university publications and one I abhor. The lack of an index is the main reason why this book loses the fifth star.

02 The book lacks a coherent focus on the failure of intelligence.

03 The book would benefit from a preface or an epilogue that acknowledges the single most important lesson I myself have learned since I started championing intelligence reform in the 1980’s: if you lack integrity at the strategic and policy levels, if you fail to do counterintelligence against financial, religious, and ideological traitors at the strategic and policy levels, then you will never, ever, get it right in acquisition and operations.

Here are some other books that round out the strong value to be found in this book:
High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years To Solve Them
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy
Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage
The Eagle’s Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

We are out of balance. We will never, ever, be successful against illicit networks as long as we ourselves are the gold standard for legalized illegitimacy.

Semper Fidelis,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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