THE SIREN CALL OF THE BLOGOSPHERE
Via Kent's Imperative
, I learned that George Friedman
is now blogging
. KI also has a critique of Stratfor itself, a taste below:"Stratfor thus stands somewhat apart from the rest, as an independent shop in continuous operation for over a decade. But in that decade, its track record has been exceptionally unsteady. It first made its bones during the Kosovo crisis, with unique new information sources (in an area where few shops had anything at all) and the occasional innovative but solid analytic line. Its attempt to act as a “global” shop in the mould – and even, boastfully, claiming competition with – CIA, did not fare so well over subsequent years. Occasionally, they have a good piece. But often their analysis reflects their hiring strategies, which Friedman himself proudly holds up as an ideal model – the selection of young students, fresh from university, with no prior intelligence experience. Stratfor claims this allows them to build new analysts with no “bad habits” that might have been learned in the intelligence community. However, it ensures that they have a workforce that will always lack substantive experience, creating a shallow bench on accounts. This can be quickly and professionally fatal on hard targets, or when they step into areas in which existing analysis is a career long affair for an entire analytical sub-specialty (such as oil market dynamics). While we are great believers in the value of the beginner’s mind, and of the importance of Smoking Mirror
, we think Stratfor’s approach goes a bit too far."
Personally, I have never been as high on Stratfor's products as other bloggers in the foreign policy/intel/military/national security area (nor have I ever slammed them, for that matter), my preferences running toward RAND
, The Jamestown Foundation
and several other think tanks. I tend to mentally segregate Stratfor in an unnamed category alongside Seymour Hersh
and Yossef Bodansky
but many rungs above MEMRI
and the DEBKA file
. I'll read what they had to say and go "Hmmmmmm...." Perhaps this is unfair; I candidly admit this arises from an intuitive prejudice or instinct on my part rather than any kind of systematic analysis and if anyone cares to argue otherwise, I'll give them a fair hearing in the comment section.
I'm not really intending to post on comparative value of analytical sources, however. What I found interesting in this bit of information was that Dr. Friedman, already having a substantial platform in Stratfor, arrived at the conclusion that blogging would, nevertheless, be a value-added activity for his ROA
( "return on attention
"). Why ?
My guess is the interactivity and connectivity/network-building of blogging is a qualitatively different medium for broadcasting information from the very Web 1.0 Stratfor. One that reaches an audience of potential allies
, not mere consumers of information.
Labels: analytic, blogging, IC, intelligence, kent's imperative, Stratfor