Sunday, December 6, 2009

James I. Walsh's "The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing"

James Igoe Walsh is associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of European Monetary Integration and Domestic Politics. His research and teaching interests include national security policy, human rights, and international cooperation.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing, and reported the following:
Like almost every author who takes this test, my first reaction to looking at page 99 of The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing was "Ford Madox Ford was wrong."

My second reaction was, I hope, a bit more thoughtful. "My" page 99 starts out with a detailed summary of the complaints that political leaders in the European Union have made about their counterparts' willingness to share intelligence. This is inside baseball stuff -- it is not going to give a casual reader a good sense of the book's argument. It is an example, though, of the key barrier to effective intelligence sharing, which is that one state cannot reliably insure that another is living up to promises to share fully and honestly.

Page 99 gets better towards the end. There it begins to suggest that that solution is closer European integration of intelligence activities. That is, these countries would be better off if they applied some of the institutions they have developed to govern trade or money to intelligence sharing. A key benefit these institutions provide is the ability to monitor partners to determine if they are complying with their promises to share. You will have to keep reading, though, if you want to find out why this is unlikely to happen.
Visit Jim Walsh's blog, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue