Various agents of globalization, including the internet, mass media, social networks, and technology, mostly shape intelligence processing in foreign policy making in the current international system.
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On one hand, the emergence of the internet and social networks are praised for enhancing information analysis among foreign policy makers while on the other hand, it is accused of impeding secrecy, which is important in strategic security.
Lowenthal notes that the intelligence community faces a number of challenges in the internet age because they rarely process any piece of information without members of the public acquiring it at the raw stage (Lowenthal 4). For instance, he gives the example of the Snowden leaks, which had a great impact on the US foreign policies at the time.
Snowden exposed various secrets of the US government, especially the country’s foreign policies towards the European countries, including Germany. Roger Hilsman believes the existence of the media, especially the print media, plays a critical role in foreign policy making since it paves way for proper analysis of intelligence. Policymakers rely on it before designing the best policies for the state (Hilsman 10).
The scholar revisits history when Donovan established the secret intelligence agency during the reign of President Roosevelt in 1941. The policy maker reviewed various articles and books that other government officials wrote before advising the president on the best option.
His view was that reading the books found in the congress library would give additional information on the lifestyles of policy makers, their daily activities, and the risks they take in formulating and implementing policies. In this regard, the media plays a critical role in facilitating foreign policy formulation process, as well as enhancement of intelligence analysis.
In his analysis, Rovner observes that intelligence collection has a brighter future mainly because of the emergence of sophisticated technologies and development of the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
(Rovner 21) Through the complex media channels, policy makers are in a position to collect intelligence more easily and disseminate them to the public in time. If the US is to intervene militarily in any foreign state, intelligence is critical. Rovner suggests further that counterterrorism policies cannot succeed without equipping intelligence agencies with the current technologies.
This means that the social networks, the internet, and the media provide important information as far as terrorist organizations are concerned. After the 9/11 attack, the US has consistently relied on the social media to analyze the functions of terrorists, their ways of operations, and their leadership structures.
Through the internet, the intelligence agencies are in a position to evaluate any security threat and the available opportunities (Sherman 18). The social media destabilized the governments in North Africa, particularly Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. The US intelligence community has been quick to borrow from this experience.
However, the intelligence community in the community has failed to make sense of the information prompting some analysts to claim that the internet and the social media do not play any role in formulation of foreign policies (Warner 19). It is observed that the new technologies, including the media, the internet, and the social networks have a role to play in intelligence collection and dissemination.
Unfortunately, they present certain challenges since they are rarely controlled. The ideas of various scholars and analysts suggest that the intelligence community in the United States has a brighter future due to the availability of the internet and the media.
Hilsman, Roger. “Intelligence and policy-making in foreign affairs,” World Politics, 1.4 (1953) 1-45. Print.
Lowenthal, Mark. From secrets to policy. London: Sage Publications, 2014. Print.
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Rovner, Joshua. “Intelligence in the Twitter Age,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 26.2 (2013) 260-271.
Sherman, Kent. Strategic intelligence and American foreign policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949. Print.
Warner, Michael. “Wanted: a definition of intelligence”, Studies in Intelligence, 46.3 (2002) 15-22. Print.