Review: Turmoil and Triumph My Years As Secretary of State (Hardcover)

5 Star, Diplomacy

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5.0 out of 5 stars His views on intelligence (secret bad, open good)–Of Lasting Value,

March 31, 2006
George P. Shultz
This is one of those rare memoirs that combine ease of reading, common sense, and substantive greatness. Much much easier to absorb that Henry’s Kissinger’s turgid prose.

Although no longer in print, there are a number of copies floating around, and as long as I was using the book for a new article on strategic intelligence, I thought I would offer up my notes from the flyleaf for the Amazon community. My page numbers are from the 1993 hard cover edition.

Secretary Shultz is a former Marine and says early on in the book that his wife is part of a “package deal.”

Some extremely thoughtful views on competition in the information age, and very strong explicit angry statements against the “cult of secrecy.” Clearly understands the revolution in communications and information technology. p 18

Has some real issues with flaws in raw open source information loaded with unfiltered bias. p. 26

First director of OMB, p. 29, does not evince concerns over the disappearance of the Management function over the years.

Crisis management still not making proper use of open sources of information including commercial imagery, p. 44

CIA under Bill Casey too independent and unreliable. p. 50

Diplomatic “gardening” consists of SecState visiting counterparts on their home turf. p. 128

Vatican intelligence, p. 150

Emphasis throughout on values, integrating cultural policy, cultural strategy, cultural warfare

Firehose of information, nothing offered by intelligence or by information technology managers helped deal with it. p. 272

CIA “wild plan” for Surinam, p. 297

CIA “out of control” in mining Nicaraguan harbors, p. 307

Faulty intelligence to the President, p. 312

Intelligence pattern over time: first alarming and then vague, -. 425

On Strategic Defense Initiative, going to a briefing only to be asked, “Is the Secretary cleared?” Dumbfounded by this. p. 492

“So much for our intelligence” faulty biography on Soviet Premier Tikhonov, p. 493

State/Schultz versus Defense/Weinberger “poison” sapped government cohesion, p. 498

Security reviews, ridiculous impositions, p. 544

CIA botches Yurchenko, p. 595

Intelligence cooking the books, p. 619

Bottom line: Intelligence let this Secretary of State down, and does not appear to have gotten any more competent since then despite a doubling of its budget from $25M to $50M or more (some estimates suggest $70B total).

If you are interested in grand strategy, unified national security (using ALL of the instruments of national power wisely), and the vagaries of a really rotten Presidential inter-agency management process, this book is well worth buying used.

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Review: Security Studies for the 21st Century

5 Star, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Force Structure (Military), Future, Military & Pentagon Power, Strategy

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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Structured Education for Adult (Policy) Readers,

August 30, 2000
Richard H. Shultz
This book is actually a guide for professors, with chapters presenting specific courses in security studies complete with fifteen-week outlines and all recommended readings. It is in my view a very fine structured reading program for the adult policy maker who is well beyond the need for going back to school, but much in need a fast means of coming to grips with the dramatic changes that have occurred in our international security environment. Early on it addresses the competing approaches to security studies-from the traditionalist national, international, and regional security approaches to the emerging transstate (non-state actors acknowledged as major sources of conflict and instability) to the global (to include human rights, environmental protection, economic prosperity, and social development as fundamental security issues). It’s iteration of the weaknesses of 20th century security studies reads like a list of current biases inherent in those prescribing defense reform today: overemphasis on theory (or worst-case scenarios); insufficient attention to non-combat missions for military forces in peacetime; excessive focus on the US, Europe, and Russia to the exclusion of the rest of the world; too little attention to culture and the relationship of culture to conflict deterrence and resolution; insufficient attention to history prior to World War II; and finally, a neglect of non-military instruments of power and their interaction with the military. Intelligence in particular is singled out as being a relatively recent open topic for discussion, meriting more study. The chapters on Transstate Security by Roy Godson (on non-state actors and the growing prevalence of “global ungovernability”) and on Nontraditional Uses of Military Force by George H. Quester, as well as the introduction and conclusion by Richard H. Schultz, Jr., are each, alone, worth the price of the book. Each chapter, with its course outline, discussion, and recommended references, is worthy of careful examination by any serving or aspiring policymaker. However distinguished one’s pedigree, we are all students today, and Graham E. Fuller is correct when he notes on page 124 that “most policymakers do not even fully realize the dynamics of the new world we live in.”
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