By George Friedman* – Geopolitical Futures
One of the hardest problems of foreign policy is developing an accurate evaluation of a potential adversary’s intentions and capabilities, which are frequently separate realities. I discussed this recently in a piece that pointed out the degree to which the United States misinterpreted the Soviet Union’s intentions and capabilities. The Soviets were focused on reconstruction after World War II, something that required decades of work. A war that would devastate Western Europe gave them no incentive to start a war. The United States, meanwhile, was obsessed with counting equipment, not evaluating the ability of the Soviet logistical system to support a massive offensive. The U.S. focused on worst-case intentions and capabilities. The real ones were very different.
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*George Friedman (Hungarian: Friedman György, Budapest, February 1, 1949) is Hungarian-born U.S. geopolitical forecaster, and strategist on international affairs. He is the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures, an online publication that analyzes and forecasts the course of global events.