Diplomacy and Intelligence
Jennifer E. Sims
This chapter discusses the role of intelligence, deception, and covert action in the practice of diplomacy. Intelligence is defined as the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information for competitive decision-making. With superior assessments of the conflicts in which they are engaged, decision-makers can gain competitive advantages over adversaries in both peacetime and war. Intelligence thus affects the distribution of power in the international system while making that distribution more or less transparent to states, depending on its quality. Done well, intelligence provides critical support to diplomacy, including strategies of coercion, confidence-building, and deterrence that depend on a thorough understanding of the target state's reactions, vulnerabilities, and intentions. It also enables secret policies, such as covert action, surprise attack, and strategic deception. Given that successful diplomacy involves deft use of hard and soft power in appropriate mixes and at the right time, and that this success sometimes requires secrecy, deception, and the breaking of laws overseas, the techniques employed by the "dark arts" raise ethical questions, especially for democracies.