Premise 1. The way to do better geopolitics is to have a more accurate
representation of the intentions and capabilities of other players in the
Premise 2. The Government of the United States, the most important
geopolitical player, has the strongest motivation to do better
Therefore: The Government of the United States works very hard to obtain a
better understanding of the intentions and capabilities of other players
in the international system.
Fact: CIA director George Tenet said in the year 1998 that the budget
on that year had been a little under 27 billion.
Recently, a US Intelligence official said in a press conference that the
yearly budget was now 44 billion. But the truth is that nobody knows for
sure, because the budget for US Intelligence is a state secret.
Hypothesis: The Government of the United States has very good
information—definitely better than my own—on which to base its
Premise 1. The Government of the United States, for many years running, has
been the most powerful in the world.
Premise 2. Idiots don’t become the most powerful people in the world.
Therefore: The Government of the United States is not run by idiots.
Hypothesis: If the Government of the United States behaves in ways that seem
idiotic to me, then a) there is something I don’t yet understand; or b) this
government has different values than my own. Or both. (And I have yet
to accept this, which is why I think the behavior is idiotic.)
Premise 1. The true preferences of someone are revealed in his/her expensive
Premise 2. Saying “My intentions are X” is not expensive but cheap.
Therefore: Speech acts (e.g. public and official declarations) don’t
necessarily convey information about the true intentions of a government.
Hypothesis: If the Government of the United States consistently, year after
year, spends billions of dollars and achieves always similar results, and
if these results contradict the government’s publicly declared
intentions, the publicly declared intentions must be deliberate
These three arguments are the
motivation for most of the research you will find in this website.