In the immediate post Vietnam era the CIA was the bogeyman who was responsible for the state of all banana 'republics', the backwardness of African nations, the deaths of everyone from Dag Hammerskold to Malcom X, purveyors of cocaine to americans who happened to be black in Watts, and plotting the overthrow of the whole gamut from Castro to Allende, not excepting the sluttization of the 1st lady of Canada.
But hey, these guys were DOING THINGS. The headlines said they were wrongheaded things, but they were things. Of course, one might also argue that some of these (real, unheadlined) things weakened the enemy without sending 150,000 men to Baghdad.
Now most of the errors occur from behind desks in a kindler gentler world.
The China Thing
U.S. intelligence takes softer line on China . . .
Senior U.S. intelligence officials warned last week that China’s rise could lead it to become a global threat, as Beijing’s demand for energy drives it toward greater control of oil-rich regions of the world.
China’s leaders last year sought to align foreign policy with goals related to domestic development, including gaining access to new sources of energy, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte stated.
China is trying to develop friendlier ties with the United States and states on its periphery to “assure peaceful borders and to avoid perceived containment by other powers.”
Negroponte noted that China sought to improve ties with Japan and said the “prospects for cross-strait conflict with Taiwan diminished.”
Diminished? Based on what, you putz? Taiwan's reticence to hold a plebiscite on separation?
His conciliatory comments contrast sharply with last year's Pentagon’s assessment of Chinese military power. That report stated that China’s arms build up appears directed to projecting power far from its shores. However Negroponte noted the PLA has weapons systems that pose credible threats to U.S. platforms
“The Chinese are developing more capable long-range conventional strike systems and short- and medium-range ballistic missiles with terminally guided maneuverable warheads able to attack United States carriers and airbases,” Negroponte said.
Now silly me, but it sounds like, short of the explanation of a direct deterrent existential threat to the people of the USA, this just MIGHT be interpreted as a threat in being to all american forces that might be assigned to help Taiwan defend itself in extremis. But what do I know?