Robert D. Kaplan’s Geopolitical Bunkum: Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor
16 May 2014 – By Steve Breyman – Truthout
Readers of Time were recently treated to an absurd take on Ukraine, Putin, “the West” and a bunch of other stuff by journalist Robert D. Kaplan, “chief geopolitical analyst” of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., popularly known as Stratfor.
Stratfor bills itself as a “private global-intelligence firm” that provides “strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs.” Some bamboozled critics and fans call it “the shadow CIA.” Its mocking critics claim “Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive.”
In addition to having its interns use Google to “gather intelligence,” Stratfor reportedly operates by paying corporate and foreign policy informants via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards for inside information that it then repackages as “analysis” and peddles to those of its 300,000 subscribers and clients – who include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the US Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Henry Kissinger, and Dan Quayle – foolish enough to pay for it. It also follows the online antics of activists (including PETA and the Yes Men), “monitors the media” (for, among other things, coverage of Union Carbide’s chemical massacre in Bhopal 20 years on) and provides “information on the financial sector.”
Anonymous hacked Stratfor servers two years ago. The hackers turned over five and a half million emails to Wikileaks, which published them on the web. From the emails, we learned that Russia and Israel sold out arms deal customers to their enemies, the United States has a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, unnamed Pakistani intelligence and military officials knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and other such not very surprising nuggets.
Kaplan published “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.”
According to his Wikipedia page (from where this biographical background comes), Robert D. Kaplan, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is a New Yorker who served in the Israeli army, traveled around a lot, and reported on fundamentalist resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan for Readers Digest. His 1993 book Balkan Ghosts allegedly convinced Bill Clinton “against intervention in Bosnia,” a result Kaplan found appalling. Kaplan or whoever wrote his Wikipedia entry, fails to explain how Clinton’s 1999 war against Serbia, complete with thousands of bombing sorties (including against the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade), massive industrial destruction, grievous civilian casualties and lasting environmental damage constituted nonintervention.
In 2000, Kaplan published the essay “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.” He’s consulted for the Army, Marines and Air Force. He’s lectured at war colleges, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. These institutions embrace people like Robert D. Kaplan because he tells them what they want to hear. …more