Albert Wohlstetter—the delicate balance of error




The purpose of this essay is to explore Albert Wohlstetter’s relationship to the IEDSS in terms of Wohlstetter’s lobbying for the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) and the arms race generally via his private company, Pan Heuristics. I also examine his role in a complicated range of other organisations that gathered around the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (or ‘Team B’ as it was known) including: the National Institute for Public Policy, the Aron-Wohlstetter European-American Workshop and the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy. I also trace Wohlstetter’s involvement in fostering a nascent group of neo-conservatives and I conclude with an examination of epistemic community theory, setting out how it was partially derived from an interpretation of Wohlstetter’s influence on the arms debate.  Here I contend that it describes features of a propaganda organisation.

Wohlstetter’s influence in Europe can be traced to a visit to the UK in 1976 at a conference at the behest of the Ford Foundation-funded International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Critics put forward charges of pseudo-science and argued that he brought a spurious impression of objectivity and a de-humanizing amorality, but Wohlstetter denied any such “ideological” bias (Moss, 1976). Wohlstetter’s (1976) ‘Racing Forward? or Ambling Back?’ was published in Leopold Labedz’s Survey at the same time as the IISS conference.  Its denials of the arms race preferred a different analogy that moved from mathematics to topography:

The point was to test whether the competition looked like a “spiraling” or “exponentially increasing” arms race, or rather like something else. (Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com, 2008)

Wohlstetter’s essay also appeared in Robert Conquest’s (1977) ‘Defending America,’ (published by Basic Books).[1]  These publications represented Wohlstetter’s role in ramping up the Cold War and to support these drives in the 1970s he would foster the group that became neo-conservatives associated with the Project for a New American Century, groupings that are also a commonality of many of the individuals named below (Zarate & Henry, 2009).  Previously in 1959 the IISS had published the first issue of their journal Survival that contained Wohlstetter’s ‘The Delicate Balance of Terror,’ with other essays on how the Western colonial powers could fight a successful insurrectionary or revolutionary war.  A new school of UK strategic thinking was urged by Survival that I would identify as continuing in the IEDSS (Economist, 1959).

According to Gerald Frost, Albert Wohlstetter contacted him after seeing the work of the IEDSS:[2]

Dully impressed he bought me tea at the Ritz and continued to send ideas and suggestions and copies of things that he wrote.  He was a sort of intellectual influence and guidance in the same way Elie Kedourie was, or Leonard Schapiro or Mel Lasky. (Frost, 2009)

When he met Frost, Wohlstetter was on the board of a group of elite lobbying organisations devising, orchestrating and profiting from US foreign policy, including: the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1985-1992), the Defense Policy Board (1986-1992) and in 1986 he was appointed Co-Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Integrated Long-Term Strategy.[3]  In Europe, Wohlstetter conducted  semi-covert Cold War proselytising via the American Institute for Strategic Cooperation (AISC) that operated within his private consultancy, Pan Heuristics, then profiting from the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) (Online Archive of California, 2009).  It is this complex nexus that provides the basis for the examination below.

Set up in 1987 the little-known AISC was again funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, as part of Wohstetter’s role in a network of Atlanticist and militaristic propaganda and lobby organisations.  The AISC’s remit combined military strategy with: “the interrelations of military and civilian technology and military power and economic growth,” similar to my description of the orientation of the CSIS.  The AISC’s work complimented that of another part of Wohlstetter’s extensive network of organisations, the American Institute for Security Research, also discussed below.  The AISC’s organising committee was comprised of Wohlstetter and Roberta Wohlstetter, his wife and the President of the AISC.  Others included Richard Brody and Zivia Wurtele of Pan Heuristics; Fred Hoffman, the director of Pan Heuristics and also a key US government adviser on what became the SDI (Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1983) and Henry S. Rowen also with Pan Heuristics and the CIA.[4]  Other directors included Brian Chow of RAND; Eliot Cohen of the US Naval War College who worked with Roy Godson at the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence run by the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC) (PR Newswire, 1988).[5] The AISC also included Helga Walter, a German affairs expert and deputy director of the NSIC (Washington Times, 1992) who worked with the IEDSS’ Jean-Marie Benoist (Washington Times, 1990a) and Samuel Huntington.[6]  James Roche, an executive at Northrop Grumman who became the Air Force secretary was also with the AISC and the AISC also worked alongside the Heritage Foundation’s vehicle for promoting SDI, High Frontier (McMahon & Gormley, 1995).

Pan Heuristics (1985) ‘Quarterly Report,’ stated that the organisation was under contract to the US military, and carried out the SDI’s political marketing for the US government, a process also discussed below.  As previously noted in 1985 the IEDSS published four works defending and promoting the SDI, written by: Lord Chalfont, Clive Rose & Peter Blaker, Werner Kaltefleiter and Michael Ruehle: essentially these were propaganda disguised as explanation, preying on anxiety with a focus on encouraging the arms lobby and discouraging domestic dissent in line with David Abshire’s public diplomacy project that promoted the SDI.[7]  In this focus on Wohlstetter I will also contextualise these drives as following the trajectory of the modulations of the propaganda themes involved in ‘selling’ the SDI in terms of its European perspective.  This included the role of the Heritage Foundation, High Frontier and High Frontier-Europe that I briefly examined in the chapters on Edwin Feulner and Lord Chalfont with the Times’ promotion of SDI.

In Europe, and largely in secret, Pan Heuristics kept contact with Manfred Worner (then the German defence minister), together with representatives from the German Foreign Ministry and Army.  In the UK they worked via Malcolm Mackintosh, an advisor to Thatcher on Soviet matters, and a Council Member of the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism (an offshoot of Brian Crozier’s Institute for the Study of Conflict) also funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (Media Matters Action Network, 2011). I previously mentioned Mackintosh in the section on his colleague, Leonard Schapiro, in connection with their work reorganising MI6.  (John) Malcolm Mackintosh was an expert on the Soviet military and the nuclear industry who ran the Soviet and East European Affairs desk at the Cabinet Office. He was the liaison with MI6 having been recruited to MI6 by George K. Young (Herald, 1992; Dorril, 2000: 60-62). In the UK the SDI lobbying was undertaken directly by Pan Heuristics’ Fred Hoffman, at the behest of the US NSC (Pan Heuristics, 1985). Pan Heuristic’s ‘Quarterly Report’ stated that its purpose was to support the CSIS’ Fred Iklé’s work with the Nuclear Strategy Development Group, and I will also examine this relationship in the context of Wohlstetter below.[8]

Some initial assessment of Wohlstetter’s influence on the Cold War can be inferred from the statements made when he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, along with fellow adviser Paul H. Nitze.  Here Reagan placed Wohlstetter at the pinnacle of an elite stating that: “Many of the basic concepts and requirements for deterrence in the nuclear age—analysis on which we’ve operated—can be traced to this outstanding individual” (Nelson, 1985).  My focus on the logic of deterrence includes how the SDI was managed, promoted, distorted and exploited.  Another influence on the IEDSS’ conception of strategic thinking that Gerald Frost cited was Keith Payne, a specialist on ballistic missile defence with whom the IEDSS directly collaborated.[9]   I will return to Payne below, as part of an examination of the significant and integral role of experts such as Wohlstetter’s in the propaganda and lobbying network I have set out.


The Safeguard program

Although ostensibly predicated on new technology, as far as Wohlstetter’s role in it is concerned, the SDI project was part of a continuum.  Wohlstetter had long been an advocate of a military build up.  In the late 1960s, as part of this, he participated in sustained attacks on dissenting scientists to promote the case of the ‘Safeguard’ anti-ballistic missile system.[10]  Here he sided with the lobbying group the American Security Council against the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) (Wohlstetter, 1971).[11]  The Nixon Administration’s Safeguard program had envisioned using nuclear-tipped missile interceptors to defend US land-based strategic forces and the protective bunkers of the US’ political and military elite, against attacks by Soviet ICBMs, not unlike some versions of the SDI (Zarate & Sokolski, 2009).

ORSA’s (1971) report of the affair, which took two years to compile, had inter alia, accused Wohlstetter and other scientists of: “the use of misleading data,” and of being: “factually in error” (Times, 1971c).  It raised a number of important questions concerning the relationship of scientists to governments when they adopt the kind of overstatement and selective use of evidence that is evident in politicians and propaganda.  In the case of Wohlstetter and others this was further problematized, but for the purposes of this study illuminated, with an awareness of their participation in the network, the apparatus, of foundation-funded committees essential to promoting the Cold War.

It is important to reiterate that Wohlstetter denied that the arms race existed while continually urging an increase in defence spending; similarly he denied that the development of new technology encouraged such a race (Wohlstetter, 1974a).[12]  In a 1974 debate in Foreign Policy involving Wohlstetter, Paul H. Nitze, Joseph Alsop, Morton H. Halperin and Jeremy J. Stone; Wohlstetter argued that the proposition that: “systematic overestimation of future adversary strategic forces is the driving engine of the arms spiral on our side,” but this concealed a reality whereby: “a theory of regular over-estimation grew with the fact of underestimating the size of future Soviet offense forces” (Wohlstetter, et al., 1974).  Wohlstetter’s argument was questioned by Halperin and Stone who countered with:

In fact, the very existence of his article reflects in a small way some of the institutional forces of selective disclosure to which we refer.  Somehow the numbers of vehicles upon which Wohlstetter makes his case have been declassified, but not the sections of the same classified Posture Statements that deal with the other aspects of adversary strategic postures […] in general, Wohlstetter’s article has many flaws and is filled with unrelated and underivable obiter dicta. (Wohlstetter, et al., 1974)

Halperin and Stone also related Wohlstetter’s position and vested interests to the suppression of ‘national security’ information and its contradictory use as a ‘leak’ for propaganda purposes: a predicament exposed by Daniel Ellsberg who knew Wohlstetter at RAND.  So I will also explore critical questions surrounding what authority collegiate scientific bodies have and how their groupings function in terms of the politics of military procurement and the political marketing of the Cold War.  I will restrict this to a brief examination of ‘epistemic community’ theory, itself partly based on Wohlstetter’s modus operandi.

tattaween, wind and fire

Nascent neo-conservatives

While at Chicago University, Wohlstetter was also known for attracting a nascent neo-conservative group, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle who became an integral part of the ‘community’ he formed to manipulate intelligence for propaganda purposes.  Wolfowitz was a key figure in the British American Project for a Successor Generation, and in a 2004 speech to the Aspen Institute in reference to his education in ‘Conflict Architecture’ he stated that:

Paul Nitze has had a huge mark on my career over many, many years, starting with 1969, when I was still a very much wet-behind-the-ears graduate student who came to Washington to work with three great men: Paul Nitze, Dean Acheson, and Albert Wohlstetter. (Bogart, 2005: 1)

Pan Heuristics also included Zalmay Khalilzad (the ambassador to Iraq, nominated to succeed John Bolton as the US representative to the UN) who is also with the CSIS.

Wohlstetter was also said to have sent Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz to work on the staff of Senator Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, to enhance the lobbying on behalf of the US defence industry, and for Wolfowitz and Perle to join the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy (History Commons, 2009).  With the eventual ‘Team B’ Nitze would use Wohlstetter’s assertions in testimony to accuse Henry Kissinger and the CIA of dangerously underestimating the Soviet Union’s military strength and its intentions. As Craig Unger put it:

This was the beginning of a thirty-year fight against the national security apparatus in which the [neoconservatives] mastered the art of manipulating intelligence in order to implement hard-line, militaristic policies (History Commons, 2009: 1).

As a member of RAND’s research council and chairman of its research program on conflict in allied, neutral and satellite countries, the studies Wohlstetter carried out in the 1950’s were all done for the US Defense Department, and were for the most part highly secret (Pace, 1997).

Wohlstetter, via an enduring influence on Richard Perle and others in his group,[13] was the key influence on ‘Team B,’ to promote the renewed Cold War military subsidies of the arms race in the face of potential reductions by the Carter administration (Kaiser, 1977). Also a mentor of Herman Khan, Wohlstetter, with a background in mathematical logic, was one of the first ‘defence intellectuals’ or ‘strategic analysts,’ applying ‘systems analysis’ to the problems of war, quantifying issues that had not been quantified before and producing conclusions supported by a mass of figures. This is akin to Mills’ concepts of both abstract empiricism and crackpot realism.[14]  Wohlstetter’s mission was to help the US maintain its strategic superiority: increasing the ‘versatility’ of its vast nuclear stockpile, but as Nacht (1975) succinctly put it:

One of the questions which we have to ask ourselves as a country is what in the name of God is strategic superiority? What is the significance of it, politically, militarily, operationally, at these levels of numbers? What do you do with it? (Nacht, 1975: 163)

By establishing a crucial distinction between a first and a second strike force, Wohlstetter and his community, via their work in RAND, virtually invented nuclear deterrence, and exploited it commercially via their private consultancies as ‘deterrence’ became both a sine qua non of the Cold War and a staggeringly lucrative commercial military-industrial field.  Deterrence was framed as a survivable, controllable and therefore credible strategic force.

Wohlstetter’s long term influence on the strategic implications for Europe can be traced back to one of his earliest RAND studies in 1951 using ‘systems analysis,’ that undertook to consider where would be the best places for the US Air Force to locate the new bases it planned to build in Europe.  Since then US defence policy included maintaining the ability to strike back if struck, with Europe being the place where a nuclear war would be based largely to save money (Economist, 1972).  In the1980s it would be Science Application Inc., the parent company of Wohlstetter’s Pan Heuristics that would prepare the study of the ‘most useful’ countries in which to base cruise missiles (Associated Press, 1983a).  Science Applications Inc. was founded in 1969 by J. Robert Beyster who: “aggressively packed his company with former generals, admirals, diplomats, spies, and Cabinet officers of every kind,” including Melvin Laird (Crocodyl News, 2011). It was also to Science Applications that Reagan turned to develop the SDI programme (Washington Post, 1985).  Its biggest source of income had long been surveillance, especially for the CIA: it still organises propaganda networks that conduct psychological warfare for the Pentagon through its Strategic Communications and Information Operations Division (Chatterjee, 2010).  In 1982 in a circular process both the Pentagon and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency used Science Applications to prepare studies on qualitative and quantitative analysis that would prepare the agencies for recommending positions to be taken on the ABM treaty (Washington Post, 1981c).  A full study of Science Application Inc. would take me beyond my subject.  I will continue to outline the complex nature of Wohlstetter’s work further and to introduce the community he created that influenced the theory and also return to the Safeguard affair.

ride out

The National Institute for Public Policy and the Aron-Wohlstetter European-American Workshop

As I stated, Keith Payne was cited by Frost as an influence on the IEDSS, and was a member of the US International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) becoming President in the late 1990s.  In 1981 he founded the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP) and again this was funded by the large Foundations.[15]  Payne’s (1996) ‘The Truth About Nuclear Disarmament,’ is a typically glib ridicule of any form of countenancing of disarmament and a shepherding away of sixty Generals and Admirals who endorsed a nuclear disarmament statement (Payne, 1996).

As regards the SDI, in his 1983 March 23 televised speech, Reagan had initiated a (potentially) radical departure in US strategic policy in his suggestion that the policy of nuclear deterrence through the threat of strategic nuclear retaliation was inadequate.  On this sudden rejection of the continued reliance on nuclear deterrence, Michael Howard was quoted as saying: “It’s as if the Pope announced that he no longer believed in original sin” (Lakoff & York, 1989: 219). Payne and Colin S. Gray, also with NIPP, were some of the key writers to interpret this new message in specific publications (Foreign Affairs, 1984).[16]  Payne‘s writing played on the insecurity that: “the US government, and the host of “experts” who advise it, actually know a great deal less about the practicability of deterrence (which is to say about war, peace, and survival) than they think they know” (Payne, 1996a: x). Payne (2001) on the fallacies of Cold War deterrence was based on his work at NIPP and both books were influenced by Herman Khan and William Odom and both were part of NIPP.

The NIPP ran the journal Comparative Strategies, co-sponsored by the Center for Security Studies and prepared propaganda material against the Peace Movement and co-ordinated various propaganda themes.  It is highly likely that its propaganda work fed into IEDSS publications, given its board of editors. These included: Keith B. Payne, working with Colin S. Gray in Europe; Kathleen Bailey (USIA, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) and with the Active Measures Group[17]; Kenneth Adelman (the Director of the ACDA); Frank Barnett (NSIC); Jean-Marie Benoist (IEDSS); Lord Chalfont (IEDSS); Angelo Codevilla[18] (Hoover Institute); Pierre Hassner (who ran the European-American Workshops); Werner Kalteflieter (who wrote for the IEDSS on SDI); Laurence Martin; Richard Pipes; Jean-Francios Revel; Eugene Rostow; Michael Ruhle (CSIS and NATO, who also wrote for the IEDSS on the SDI); and Richard Shultz (Hoover Institution, NSIC) who worked with Roy Godson on psychological operations (Comparative Strategies, 1994).

The founding chairman of NIPP, George H. Wittman was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger described by Blumenthal (1986: 30) as a key component of the network he described, centring on the Heritage Foundation (American Spectator, 2009). In his memoirs, Michael Howard (2006) offered an assessment of Wohlstetter’s network: “In the USA a group of hawks formed a well funded Committee on the Present Danger, consisting largely of pupils and associates of Albert Wohlstetter, who urged the breaking off of arms-control negotiations and massive rearmament.”  Howard added that Thatcher was: “temperamentally inclined to agree with them,” while the Foreign Office was not.  From here Thatcher is said to have sought further options and asked the CPS’ Hugh Thomas (who had contacts with the IEDSS) to set up a committee to draft independent recommendations for the conduct of the UK’s foreign policy consisting of Howard, Leonard Schapiro and Elie Kedourie (both with connections to the IEDSS).  This offered deeply pessimistic views that the Soviets were on the march and determined on world conquest.  Howard added: “We put together a totally incoherent document which deserved to go straight into the waste paper basket and probably did” (Howard, 2006: 192-193).

Emanuel Adler’s (1992) focus on this Cold War epistemic community was on their activities in trying to create an international shared understanding and practice of nuclear arms control but was this aimed at capturing the debate?  An alliance between the epistemic community and powerful senators began to take shape during the 1968-1969 congressional ABM (‘Safeguard’) debate.  I have noted that an aspect of this took the form of a deceptive illusion with organisations such as the Committee on the Present Danger arrayed to sabotage any meaningful reduction with the epistemic community’s activities including tackling those who opposed them.  But it is important to note that Adler observed that: “hegemonic ideas structure not only the political agendas but also the political games of other countries.”  He also contended that Reagan, aided by Edward Teller, Richard Perle, and other members of the ‘deterrence community,’ devised the SDI not as a complement but as an alternative to arms control.  To my mind the epistemic community Adler discerned was a propaganda operation (Adler, 1992).

The Executive Committee of the EAW, or the Aron-Wohlstetter European-American Workshop, as it was also known, that was picked out as a node in the community’s network, included Devon Cross, who from 1984-1993, was the Director of the Smith Richardson Foundation, and who worked with the Washington Quarterly, the CSIS’ magazine.[19]  The European-American Workshop, later became the European American Institute for Security Research or (EAI) as it shadowed the policy process (Zarate & Sokolski, 2009: 62). There was little on the organisation that reached the international press, but its work, such as Paul Henze’s (1983) ‘Russians and the Horn,’ was used by the Heritage Foundation.[20] The activities of the European-American Workshop was the basis for Adler and others’ formulation of epistemic community theory, and one of the problems of the theory is where the ‘community’ ends—in one sense it falls prey to the confluence of individuals operating in multiple different capacities.  Other NIPP members included Donald A. Hicks, the senior civilian official in charge of new weapons development for the Department of Defense who worked with Northrop and Boeing (PR Newswire, 1986). Wohlstetter was a consultant to Northrop (see below) and the EAW looks like a Hoover Institution and Science Application Inc. commercial offshoot, merging with Pan Heuristic’s various organisations.

The Workshop also worked with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, (the model for the NED) such as with the European-American Workshop on Current Security Issues, in Bonn, 1982-1983, described as a small gathering of members of the American, German, and some other European political elites.  This was used by Helmut Schmidt to assure “young dissenters” (who would soon be dealt with in the ‘Successor Generation’ projects previously described) and Reagan administration officials that his government and party would carry through on planned NATO nuclear ‘modernization’ (Pond, 1981).  Lawrence S. Eagleburger, then Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, also used the Workshop to reinforce the US government’s position (New York Times, 1981c). The EAI included Richard R. Burt, also with RAND, the Hudson Institute and the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the New York Times (Public Papers of the Presidents, 1985). The then director of the National Security Agency, William E. Odom (who wrote for the IEDSS and organised their New Atlantic Initiative) promoted the threat of a Soviet attack in: “The Implications of Active Defense of NATO for Soviet Military Strategy,” presented at the 1984 European American Institute for Security Research Workshop (Foreign Affairs, 1985). The European American Institute for Security Research was funded by the Carthage Foundation, part of the Scaife Foundation and in 1979 by the Ford Foundation (Media Matters Action Network, 2011a). Wohlstetter’s Pan Heuristics Services, Inc., his California-based consulting firm dealt in security policy with the funding coming from clients that included the US departments of State and Defense as well as private corporations (Rightweb, 2011).

If I return to the Safeguard affair it represented a split in elite opinion: the US Senate had defeated the bill that would have halted the missile defence system by one vote (The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1969).  It led to a 1969 meeting between Wohlstetter, Dean Acheson and Paul Nitze and their announcement of plans to form a bipartisan committee to assure “balanced debate” on major defence issues, in response to opponents of the huge military programs (New York Times, 1969). Indeed, one of the grey areas of epistemic community theory is this crossover of the supposedly two poles of US politics.  The Hudson Institute then published ‘Why ABM,’ backing the Safeguard system with contributions from Wohlstetter (Holst & Schneider, 1969).[21] Kahn’s contribution: ‘The Missile Defense Debate in Perspective,’ used an intransigent rationality whereby he considered that the public debate had been one-sided because: “ninety percent of the scientists who normally speak in public, or who consult part-time for the government on defense issues, as well as the vast preponderance of the public literature on the subject, opposed ABM” (Holst & Schneider, 1969: 285).

By 1972 both Wohlstetter and Khan were employed under the Nixon government as advisers (New York Times, 1972). At this point Wohlstetter joined the trustee’s council of the Freedoms Foundation, this was a large-scale quasi-religious, militaristic propaganda organisation run by retired Gen. Harold K. Johnson, Col. James W. Gerard and the NSIC’s Frank Barnett (New York Times, 1972a).[22] The Freedoms Foundation had worked with the American Bar association’s Standing Committee on Education About Communism, chaired by Morris I. Leibman (American Bar Association Journal, 1967: 585). I set out in the chapter on George Urban how this Committee linked to the CSIS and the NSIC and identified Barnett’s role in political warfare and psychological operations.

In 1969 Wohlstetter and Paul Nitze had set up the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy that included Richard Perle. This was a lobby to fund an antiballistic missile system that could preserve a US second-strike capability by intercepting incoming Soviet rockets in the sky (Blumenthal, 1987). Later, as SALT negotiators slowly moved toward a new treaty in the late 1970s, the Committee on the Present Danger, founded by Wohlstetter, Nitze and Richard Perle, advanced an updated ‘window of vulnerability’ theory whereby putative Soviet nuclear superiority was translated into a geopolitical offensive.  The Committee also promoted the development and promulgation of Wohlstetter’s argument that the purpose of ‘arms control’ should be to advance national security, not to: “stop the arms race” (Blumenthal, 1987).  Blumenthal also found that:

Wohlstetter’s ideas became Perle’s ideas; his network Perle’s; and, as Perle travelled through the bureaucratic catacombs of Washington, his first mentor remained on call as his intellectual Virgil—always “enormously helpful,” says Perle. He himself was never an original strategist. His views were mostly elaborations of Wohlstetter’s. (Blumenthal, 1987)

Wohlstetter’s argument was expressed in his (1975) work for the US Strategic Institute that would form part of the wider context for ‘Team B’s’ (1976) ‘Intelligence Community Experiment in Competitive Analysis: Soviet Strategic Objectives: An Alternative View,’ although Wohlstetter declined the invitation to join Team B (Wall Street Journal, 1977).[23]  Wohlstetter’s estimates of the Soviet build up did not attempt to factor in the role of Soviet deception in US estimative errors or factor in misinformation about the Soviet Union concerning defense spending, fed to Congress by the CIA or other agencies, that would demonstrate a knowledge that could separate facts from propaganda.  Clearly with scant access to closed societies, US intelligence was vulnerable to internal and external deception (Zell, 1985). Wohlstetter’s work, unlike the ‘Pentagon Papers’ did not attempt to penetrate the arcana imperii, the deliberate falsehood used as a means to achieve a political end: it presented a pseudo-environment.[24]

RAND’s James Digby (1980) noted that in 1975, the problems of bringing US and Western military force to bear on the NATO flanks and outside NATO had begun to get consistent attention in several related series of workshops, including the European-American Workshops.  Wohlstetter: “would address these sessions with ideas like those he later wrote for one of a series of articles for the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.”  This also noted that Wohlstetter took part in a Workshop on “The Alliance and the Persian Gulf,” held at Elvetham Hall (near London), 27-29 June 1980.  Here Wohlstetter produced (1980) ‘Half War and Half Policies in the Persian Gulf (Digby, 1980). Digby assisted Wohlstetter in organising these and other conferences, along with Pierre Hassner (Zarate, 2009: 62; Thompson, 1978: 84). According to Garthoff (1994a: 941) Wohlstetter, Henry S. Rowen, James F. Digby, Thomas Brown,[25] Laurence Martin, Uwe Nerlich and Johan Jorgen Holst (mostly of RAND) were the key defence intellectuals of this group. They were not without their propaganda connections.  Hassner wrote for Labedz’s Survey and would work for the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales and the NED (National Endowment for Democracy, 2007). He was part of a 1985 collection ‘European Peace Movements and the Future of the Western Alliance,’ edited by the CSIS’ Walter Laqueur and Robert Hunter, attacking the peace movement (Laqueur & Hunter, 1985). Johan Jorgen Holst was part of the collection (1984) ‘Challenges to the Western Alliance,’ edited by Joseph Godson and Charles Douglas-Home and published by Times Books and the CSIS, probably as part of Project Democracy, that I discussed in the chapter on Frost (Godson, & Douglas-Home, 1984). Holst was a member of the Trilateral Commission and chairman of the Center for European Policy Studies that worked with the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and was financed by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (UPI, 1986; Nucleonics Week, 1985).[26] Garthoff asserted that they chose to accent the extreme positions, and although not all of a piece, as opponents of the SALT agreements their efforts were to end détente and encourage the move to assert US power in Europe.

The main account of the group (as a group) frequently cited is Kaplan (1979) that is extended in Kaplan’s (1983) ‘The Wizards of Armageddon,’ in which he focused on a small elite of  ‘defense intellectuals,’ who he termed the ‘thermonuclear Jesuits,’ who would: “devise and help implement a set of ideas that would change the shape of American defense policy, that could someday mean the difference between peace and total war,” and who conspired to bring about the nuclear arms race.  Kaplan later quoted Richard Perle admission that: “deployment of the [European] missiles never made much military sense and have created divisions within the NATO alliance out of proportion to their worth”  (Kaplan, 1979; Kaplan, 1983: 254). It is important to note here that these ‘defense intellectuals’ claims of dominance did not come from their mastery of military matters, but from their adaptation and application of theoretical and quantitative analyses to issues of strategy such as ‘Rational Choice Theory’ (Associated Press, 1983c; Amadae, 2003).

Digby (1980: 2-3) stated that Wohlstetter headed the organisation that ran the EAW without mention of his own involvement, or what that was; an indication of the partial record we have of these conclaves. In connection with this type of activity, in 1985 Wohlstetter’s consultancy Pan Heuristics Quarterly (previously classified) report on ‘Integrated Long-Term Defense Strategy’ portrayed him as an important Atlanticist link:

Wohlstetter was in communication by phone with a number of Americans and Europeans concerned with SDI in preparation for a meeting on SDI at Ditchley Park in England.[27]

This was the meeting with the IEDSS. According to RAND, these also included the 1984 ‘Fault Lines in the Soviet Empire: Implications for Western Security,’ held in Ditchley Park, May 18-20, a key juncture in the SDI lobbying (Van Oudenaren, 1984).[28]  Digby also worked for Pan Heuristics (Brody & Digby, 1989).


Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy

The Hoover Institute makes no mention of Wohlstetter’s involvement in the IEDSS.[29]  Wohlstetter was 77 when he joined its advisory council and his writing of the period included contributions to Commentary, Foreign Affairs and the National Interest.  In the mid to late 1980s he co-chaired the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (CILTS).  The membership of Commission included: Anne L. Armstrong, former US ambassador to the UK and with the CSIS; Zbigniew Brzezinski; William P. Clark, Reagan’s deputy defense secretary and later National Security Advisor who replaced Richard V. Allen; W. Graham Claytor, Jr., Carter’s Navy secretary and later Deputy Secretary of Defense; Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster (ret.), Eisenhower’s staff secretary and later Supreme Allied Commander, Europe under Nixon; Adm. James L. Holloway, III (ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations; Samuel P. Huntington; Henry Kissinger; Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel prize-winner; Gen. Bernard A. Schriever (ret.), a US Air Force proponent of space and ballistic missile research; and Gen. John W. Vessey (ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com, 2008a).

Headed by Fred C. Iklé, the Commission was essentially the military-intelligence establishment mustering its intellectual energy to produce a new national security strategy and bigger budget at a time of considerable disorder at the NSC. largely because of its involvement in the Iran-Contra arms scandal and confusion in Reagan’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.  Without any public notice CILTS was formed with the aim of restructuring US offensive and defensive forces for the next 20 years. CILTS final report (1988) ‘Discriminate Deterrence,’ outlined a strategy for the next 20 years entirely predicated on the existence of the Soviet Union (Cushman, 1986).

The Comission’s panel’s remit was extraordinarily broad: Wohlstetter was advising on matters ranging from the support of insurgencies against governments hostile to the US, to nuclear war strategies incorporating anti-missile defences, trends within the Atlantic alliance and biological and chemical weapons, to questions of Soviet military research on anti-satellite weapons (Iklé & Wohlstetter, 1988).[30]  The CILTS issued a statement that its: “strategy must provide credible responses to a wide range of possible attacks. It cannot rely on suicidal responses,” leading to an endorsement of the SDI (Cushman, 1986).

The Heritage Foundation had used Pan Heuristic’s work in its Future Security Strategy Study, headed by Fred S. Hoffman, director of Pan Heuristics, and the parallel review on strategic policy overseen by Fred C. Iklé (Hoffman, 1985).  The new thinking on ‘strategic defense’ as opposed to ‘deterrence’ needed some expertise, some marketing (Foelber, 1983) and this was largely the role of Wohlstetter’s European American Institute for Security Research and his 1985 position on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.[31]  As I observed in previous chapters, Daniel O. Graham and High Frontier were also working as a lobby for the SDI, with writers such as Colin S. Gray, assuring the public that the project was not destabilising (Grey, 1981: 69).

Financially, RAND Associates, through its Logicon Inc. subsidiary received a $2.9m three-year contract from the Defense Nuclear Agency that was mostly run through the Pan Heuristics division.  According to the General Accounting Office, it was asked to investigate allegations that the CILTS spent its money lavishly, that its membership does not provide the balance of viewpoints required by law and that there were conflicts of interest in parcelling out work to contractors (Business Wire, 1986a).  Pan Heuristics did extensive work for CILTS and almost all the members were hawkish Conservatives who endorsed SDI under a different name (Wilson, 1988).[32] Lakoff & York (1989) found that the SDI was a classic example of: “misplaced faith in the promise of technological salvation,” and that the project was initiated on the basis of political rather than scientific judgment in a deliberate effort to bypass the ordinary process by which innovations in military technology were proposed, reviewed and adopted (Lakoff & York, 1989).


The propaganda projects around SDI

Standing in contrast to Chalfont’s (1985) promotion of SDI, E. P. Thompson’s (1985) more thorough-going assessment uncovered covert aspects of the Heritage Foundation’s propaganda role, viewing it as part of arms contractor’s: “bribery, fraud and scandalous profit levels” (Thompson, 1985: 162).  An undated Heritage Foundation paper marked ‘Inhouse, Secret,’ was leaked to the European and US Peace Movements and Thompson used it to outline that in 1982, the Heritage Foundation’s High Frontier saw the SDI as an opportunity to undercut and: “fast-thaw the nuclear-freeze movement” (Thompson, 1985: 157).  Gen. Dan Graham commended the proposal as an effective counter measure, as outlined by a High Frontier consultant, John Bosma.[33]  In the proposal Bosma proposed a strategy of emotional and political ‘packaging’ by which Star Wars was to be marketed, advocating a radical approach that tried to disarm ballistic missile defence opponents by stealing their language and the cause of arms control.  Bosma’s document outlined each step of the strategy, including its orientation towards Europe.  These are set out as:

  • Representing the cause of SDI as bipartisan.
  • Capturing the rhetoric of protecting cities.
  • Gaining the support of vocal and outspoken allies of the US (“there should be major efforts to develop an offshore constituency that is very sophisticated and who’s voice will register in US debate”).
  • Re-orientating the Church’s and other Peace group’s to turn them against one and other. (Thompson, 1985: 94-95)

This was to be accomplished using an umbrella group of allied interests with a façade of a liberal and moderate orientation, fronted by figures such as Henry Kissinger. High Frontier and other New Right groups would hide their sponsorship behind ‘centrist’ groups, ‘neo-liberals and moderates.’  To reach the target audience the lobby would:

…extend from its original supporters in Congress, the aerospace industry, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover and Hudson Institutes, Commentary magazine and Reader’s Digest, the Wall Street Journal and the […] Washington Times, veterans and pro-civil-defence groups, Ed Teller… (Thompson, 1985: 96)

The project was also timed to correspond to the election cycle.  The Heritage Foundation was said to have been embarrassed by the leak, and, despite it being on Heritage notepaper, disclaimed it.  As Thompson noted their (1984) ‘Mandate for Leadership II,’ advocated much the same ‘marketing of bad faith’ and the take over of the peace movement with SDI marketed as ‘nuclear free.’[34]

It is in this context that the IEDSS’ network’s activities on the SDI can be viewed.  In its late (1984) editorials the Times, insisted that any criticism of Reagan’s (1983) off the cuff rhetoric on defensive rather than offensive weapons (a nonsense) was aiding the Soviets.[35]  In its letters page, when questioning on strategic stability was presented they would be countered by the ISC’s Stewart Menaul or others working to promote SDI.  Here the language in countering opponents mimicked the rhetoric of the Peace Movement (Alford, 1984; Menaul, 1984).

A spate of conferences supporting the SDI emerged at this point, coinciding with Abshire’s public diplomacy projects starting with a 1984 July 25, event organised by Aims of Industry, featuring High Frontier’s Dan Graham (Times, 1984d).[36]  As reported in the Times this was couched in terms of attacking offensive weaponry, the denial of strategic destabilisation and adverse affects on arms reduction talks, and the idea that the ‘shield’ would protect Europe.[37]   Other sources say that Graham’s conception of SDI via High Frontier was beyond anything Reagan had imagined and was based on a system of industrial colonies capturing military control of space (Economist, 1985).  Stuart Menaul, and other parts of the network produced (1984) ‘The Technology of Ballistic Missile Defense,’ for Aims of Industry.

As I have set out, Menaul was part of the lobby group High Frontier-Europe.[38]  Menaul’s (1984) defence of SDI in the Times December 29 was followed up by one from Gerald Frost, of the same date: these followed an editorial of the previous day (here Frost used the IEDSS’ ISC address).  The Times then published David Hart’s defence of the SDI on January 5 1985, and again on June 3, wherein Hart presented the Peace Movement as a disease and a Soviet-backed weapon to destroy the Alliance.  Starting on June 12, 1984-1985 there are some 306 mentions of the SDI in the Times, but no previous mention of the project or attention to Reagan’s 1983 speech (Menaul, 1984; Hart, 1985).[39]

Lord Chalfont’s contributions to the Times’ support of SDI on February 21, 1985 attacked Bruce Kent and were another example of stealing the Peace Movement’s rhetoric (capturing the moral high ground).  It argued that CND were supporting Mutually Assured Destruction and tried to encourage internecine squabbles within the movement, following the injunctions of Bosma’s plans.  Chalfont was published again on August 19, 1985, to tie in with Weidenfeld & Nicholson’s publication of his IEDSS work on SDI that misrepresented SDI’s genesis.[40]  Richard Perle’s (Times-backed) attacks on Geoffery Howe prompted by the Committee on the Free World conference ‘Beyond 1984,’ previously mentioned, came on March 20, 1985 and included: Richard Pipes, Michael Ledeen, Elliott Abrams, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz all then working on US propaganda (Times, 1985f).

Rose (1985a) writing from RUSI, chided the Times for its misrepresentation of Howe’s position (defended by Thatcher) and the nonsense of the shield defending Europe.[41]  Frost reignited the attacks on Howe, again from the IEDSS address, a few days later (Times, 1985j).  Colin Gray’s interventions were written from the NIPP address and formed regular attacks on Lawrence Freedman as the SDI was modulated by the US propaganda apparatus from making nuclear weapons obsolete to semi-protecting missile sites (Gray, 1984). In Europe all matters relating to issues on the SDI, its public diplomacy, came under the control of David Abshire, his defense adviser Laurence J. Legere and Col. Robert C. Hughes.[42]  According to Hughes, they tried to control the issues Europeans raised against SDI with a: “whirlwind of concepts, initiatives and ‘actions,’” that acknowledged that political “chicanery” and extravagant claims warped the SDI project (Hughes, 1995: xvii; Freidberg, 2000; Freedman, 1997).

In the chapter on Frank Shakespeare I set out how one aspect of the attacks on the Peace Movement engaged in by Shakespeare and Richard V. Allen’s psychological operation was with the American Catholic Committee. Wohlstetter can be identified as joining in the campaign against the American Catholic Bishops misgivings about a small elite conducting a nuclear war and promoting the ‘Star Wars’ initiative following Reagan’s speech of 1983 (Wohlstetter, 1983). This, entirely unscientifically and disingenuously, argued that:

…as the President suggests, threatening to bomb innocents is not part of the nature of things. Nor has it been, as is now widely claimed, an essential of deterrence from the beginning. Nor is it the inevitable result of “modern technology.” (Wohlstetter, 1983)

It also demonized as E. P. Thompson as some kind of taint affecting rational argument, used in a guilt by association method (without any discussion of what Thompson argued) and quoted Pope John Paul II’s observations that: “pacifist declarations” frequently cloaked plans for “aggression, domination, and manipulation of others” and could: “lead straight to the false peace of totalitarian regimes” (Wohlstetter, 1983).[43] I turn now to the theory that attempted to explain these complex groupings.

count b

Epistemic Community Theory

One key organisation that influenced the construction of the theory of ‘epistemic communities’ (Haas, 1992) was the European-American Institute for Security Research (EAISR) one of Wohlstetter’s Cold War think tanks discussed in context above.  This related to Haas’ focus on policy coordination, and I would highlight his avoidance of any elaboration of limited features, processes and nodes of the wider propaganda network I have identified. The theory of epistemic communities does not include factors such as: the implications of the level of connections and interconnected histories of such groups, the existence of mendacity and levels of deception, or the crises of the structures of knowledge and the concatenation of commercial arrangements, moral responsibility and cognitive rationality.[44]

I view the theory as a partial account of propaganda networks dominated by a liberal practicality in the form of a pluralism very hesitant to explore relations of power in terms of privilege and exploitation.  I also believe that the theory does not adequately express the ethical obligation on the part of individual social scientists to the object of their study; or explain their reduction to professionalized specialists who rarely speak on bigger public questions, while political, economic, and military power became thoroughly centralised.[45] Before returning to Wohlstetter I will briefly examine the concept of the epistemic community (Hass, 1997) for the purposes of identifying whether the IEDSS and its associated organisations engaged in activities that would conform to the theory or contradict it.  This is also related to Wohlstetter’s role in attracting the nascent neo-conservatives while at Chicago University; his work with Pan Heuristics Services Inc.; his influence of defence strategy and his engagement with other members of the IEDSS.[46]

The IEDSS could be said to loosely conform to this theoretical definition of a transnational network of ‘knowledge-based’ experts and pundits whose definitions of problems were aimed at decision-makers in an effort to frame what the problems they faced were, what form discourse should take, the methods of approach and the likely outcomes.  This is what Peter M. Haas and others termed an epistemic community, largely in response to arguments circulating within the journal International Organisation (Haas, 1992).[47]  These studiously avoid any reference to C. Wright Mills despite the nature of their subject matter, and although raising many informative points seem an elaborate form of liberal obfuscation.  One basic problem left unanswered by the theory is its dimensions, its extent: where does the community end and begin, who is part of it and who is not?  Another related problem with this is its domain assumptions: in terms of specifying the conditions under which a particular theory will apply.

According to Emanuel Adler and Peter M. Haas (1992) there is evidence (that they do not specifically cite or explore) that a “community of experts,” the European-American Workshop (EAW), chaired by Albert Wohlstetter: “induced NATO to deploy Pershing II missiles at the end of the 1970s as a counter to the threat of the Soviet SS-20s.”  Part of the introduction of their theory was a call was for some type of investigation into this (Adler & Haas, 1992: 387). Adler (1992: 110) also added that: Wohlstetter, Herman Kahn, Richard Pipes, Eugene Rostow, Colin Grey, Fred Iklé, Keith Payne, Edward Teller, Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman were united in a set of beliefs that maintained that any co-operation with the Soviets would: “lead to instability and was dangerous.”  This was a challenge to the whole process of international co-operation: now a nuclear war was said to be survivable and winnable.

Haas discussed the value of the concept of epistemic community in understanding the way in which specialist technical advice can re-orient state behaviour and explain convergences in international policy, stating that epistemic communities: “are channels through which new ideas circulate from societies to governments as well as from country to country” (Haas, 1992: 14). A (1988) report by Iklé, Wohlstetter, Brzezinski and Kissinger, who were fairly representative of the group, had stated that the first aim of long-range US missiles in the event of a Soviet attack was to slow down or stop the attack by hitting airfields, troop concentration and supply lines to confine the war to Europe, somewhat alarming the US’ NATO allies (Economist, 1988). So the ‘community’ also contained a ‘public diplomacy’ dimension that intertwined with wider US projects.  Kenneth Adelman even admitted in the UK that: “the real aim of SDI was to create a point defense for American ICBMs, and that the rationale of population defenses was merely public relations for the program” (Uhler, 2001).  Payne, who was with the Hudson institute—something of a commonality—as I noted, was an influence on the IEDSS (Haas, 1997: 110). Iklé was also an exponent of psychological operations and political warfare, writing for the NISC and also involved in the de-stabilisation campaigns in Nicaragua and El Salvador: arguing, with Jeane Kirkpatrick, that any right-wing death squads were in fact Communists (Iklé, 1989; McMahan, 1984: 105).

Another problem arises in that it could be argued that the IEDSS should not be termed an epistemic community because the ‘epistemic’ relates to knowledge in terms of how it relates to the degree of its validation and forms of rationality.  Possibly a distinction is necessary: critics of the IEDSS have maintained that disinformation rather than valid knowledge was its raison d’être (allied with, and possibly justified by raison d’état).  The theory acknowledges, but has little room for the machinations of the more ideologically motivated elements of largely unaccountable intelligence services, including the practice of disinformation.  Possibly the term might, like public diplomacy, be used to disguise a propaganda operation. It tends to ignore the sub-culture of political action committees, think tanks and so forth, that multiply to form an ersatz consensus; and it fails to include more prosaic pecuniary motivations relating to the consultancies that worked with the military contractors, or really outline how the front groups arranged at various junctures in the policy process were in an organised or semi-organised manner, and related to larger overarching ventures, such as ‘Project Democracy’ or David Abshire’s work.[48]  Here what would be needed is a parapolitical dimension coupled with an orientation within the classic tradition in sociology, but neither are present.  And why is there no focus on the language?  Why not employ Mills’ concepts such as vocabularies of motive: here rather than expressing something which is prior and in the person, language is taken by other persons as an indicator of future actions (Mills, 1940: 439).

Adler’s (1992) ‘structurational’ interpretation (influenced by Anthony Giddens) preferred to rival its claims against Steve Weber’s ‘structural’ interpretation.  Weber was said to hold to a view whereby a new structural organising principle is mediated by ideas and then influences state interests; while Adler’s approach was that epistemic communities establish interpretations of interests as practices that then organise and coordinate state behaviour (Adler, 1992a: 103-104). To my mind both are beginning their measurements from different points on the circle Lippmann outlined: the insertion between man and his environment of a pseudo-environment (a stereotype). To that pseudo-environment certain behavior is a response; because it is behavior, the consequences, if they are acts, operate not in the pseudo-environment where the behavior is stimulated, but in the real environment where actions eventuate and the cycle returns with the environment (reality) viewed differently.

These communities can be orientated as an outgrowth of the subsidised warfare state, including public diplomacy, using the instrumental rationality of disinformation and propaganda to aid exclusive elites.[49]  The fact that the theory was influenced by Joseph Nye, who coined the phrase ‘soft power’ for US propaganda and psychological operations, is another anomaly here, until the work of International Organisation is viewed in terms of its own part in infra-elite rivalry and the internal propaganda of the Cold War (Nye, 1990; Nye 2004).

International Organisation was funded by the large, wealthy and conservative World Peace Foundation (WPF) in 1947, more recently it has been published by the University of Southern California (USC). Over the years WPF trustees have included: Alger Hiss (1948-1950 when he was arrested); Edmund A. Gullion, who invented the term ‘public diplomacy’ (1965-1985) and represents the WPF’s connections to Tufts University that I touched on in the chapter on Richard V. Allen; and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. who coined the term ‘soft power’ (1972-1977 with a second term from 1981-1987) representing the magazine’s connection to the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (World Peace Foundation, 2004: 41).

If the early editions of International Organisation are examined it transpires it was set up to document the US’ involvement in the UN: ultimately this was the arena that the drama of the Cold War was enacted and then framed by International Organisation.[50]  It represented the liberal wing of the US elite, with founding editors including: Harvey Bundy (special assistant to Henry L. Stimson) who was President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, and a relative of McGeorge Bundy; Frank Aydelotte of the Institute for Advanced Study (who wrote ‘The American Rhodes Scholarships,’ that reviewed the creation of the Atlanticist Rhodes-Milner Round Table Groups); Percy W. Bidwell of the Creel Committee, involved with the setting up of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); George Hubbard Blakeslee the founder of the Journal of Race Development, later renamed the Journal of International Relations, which in turn was merged with Foreign Affairs; Christian Herter (the US Secretary of State from 1959-1961) who also participated in the 1919 meeting that resulted in the CFR, and who with Paul Nitze (a distant cousin by marriage), co-founded the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); and Leland M. Goodrich, Professor of International Organization at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.   By the 1970s the magazine had come under the control of Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye.

Although unacknowledged, Sundström’s (2000) observations of the governmental decision-making process and epistemic communities framed it within Lippmann’s definition of the formation of stereotypes:

National decision-makers find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the steadily swelling river of information pertaining to different issue-areas. Eventually, they will need someone to abbreviate the information into manageable portions. This translation-process opens up new avenues of influence, as the experts who will perform the interpretation, unlike traditional advisers, can slant the information on which the decision-makers will base their deliberations, as well as present their views on how this already coloured information, should be interpreted. With growing internationalisation, the experts in various issue-areas will meet their extra-national peers, to discuss problems and possible solutions. If this information-exchange is frequent enough, the national expert will be coloured by his colleagues’ views, or, rather, by the aggregate views of the international community of experts to which he belongs—the epistemic community. (Sundström, 2000: 4)

Sundström breaks down Haas’ definition of epistemic communities, and also drawing on Haas (1992) it can be stated that an epistemic community is a network of professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain and an authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge within that domain or issue-area.[51]  The professionals may be from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds but must have characteristics similar to the indicators of an elite I outlined previously that can be paraphrased as:

(1) A shared set of normative and principled beliefs, which provide a value-based rationale for the social action of community members.

(2) Shared causal beliefs, which are derived from their analysis of practices leading or contributing to a central set of problems in their domain and which then serve as the basis for elucidating the multiple linkages between possible policy action and desired outcomes.

(3) Shared notions of validity—that is, intersubjective, internally defined criteria for weighing and validating knowledge in the domain of their expertise.

(4) A common policy enterprise—that is, a set of common practices associated with a set of problems to which their professional competence is directed, presumably out of the conviction that human welfare will be enhanced as a consequence.[52]

Understanding of the IEDSS and its interlocks with networks of the Mont Pelerin Society’s ‘phantom academy,’ the Foundation funded right-wing think tanks, magazines and groups and the IRD and CCF via this theoretical standpoint is complicated by the covert, propagandistic and ideological nature of such a confluence: its para-political nature whereby facets of the network engage in disinformation, smear and intimidation tactics, sometimes at the (deniable) behest of government or other state agencies or ad hoc groups.  Think too of the destruction of MI5’s files on subversion in the 1970s and 1980s mentioned above: how then can influence be measured?  The use of the IEDSS by governments and other agencies (or elements within them) is somewhat opaque, but on the other hand much information has emerged since the end of the Cold War, which can be used to gain an insight into this.  Nevertheless it is impossible to believe—but important to acknowledge—that every member of the IEDSS knew what Crozier was doing for example.

However, Haas’ elaboration on the motives why decision-makers will seek the advice from the epistemic community include uncertainty and inadequate information about the situation at hand, inadequacy of available general knowledge needed for assessing the expected outcomes of different courses of action). At this juncture the decision-maker:

…lacks many of the conditions facilitating a focus on power…[it is difficult] to identify their political allies and to be sure of what strategies are most likely to help them retain power…[and] poorly understood conditions may create enough turbulence that established operating procedures may break down, making institutions unworkable. (Haas, 1992: 14)

IEDSS material was aimed at specific influential groups, such as politicians, as consumers of its output; with other groups, such as CND singled out and targeted as the subject of its propaganda and excluded from debates as I have mentioned.  This is because the epistemic community Adler writes of—Wohlstetter’s—wanted to use and control the ‘arms control’ approach in spite of their differences over arms control itself (Adler, 1992: 111).[53]  This was approach was accompanied with specific publications, being imputed with the kudos of charismatic and elite figures at their ‘launch,’ such as with Lord Carrington and ‘Protest and Survive.’[54]

The uncertainties that create a dependence on ‘experts’ are exacerbated in matters that fall under the rubric of security and defence and their attendant secrecy, evasion, unfamiliarity and information-complexity and classification.  This fosters an increase in the deference paid to ‘technical expertise.’  With its make-up of key government advisers, and ministers, the IEDSS also conformed to another key component of the definition of the epistemic community, as Sundström (again drawing on Hass) outlined:

If the epistemic community is to exert any influence over policies, they must have links to the actual decision-makers. Without such power-links, epistemic communities would have questionable significance as Haas points out when he states that “…it is unclear how effective consensus knowledge is, as an independent variable, at explaining or predicting state behaviour”. He also offers us more practical pointers: “…epistemic communities can insinuate their views and influence national governments and international organisations by occupying niches in advisory and regulatory bodies.” (Sundström, 2000: 4)

While acknowledging that contextual factors shape epistemic influence (the Cold War in the case of the IEDSS), an understanding of the extent and intent of certain networks, why epistemic communities are successful in influencing the direction of policy change, and how they operate would be important to expanding the concept’s utility.  Haas argued that understanding the research agenda, involved identifying:

(1) The community membership.

(2) Determining the community members’ principled and causal beliefs.

(3) Tracing their activities.

(4) Demonstrating their influence on decision makers at various points in time.

Through this optic the IEDSS would be a closed epistemic community and as such have an ambiguous status: few employees, not quite a policy institute or a think tank but functioning as part of an epistemic community, that, through statements, conferences, publications and reports attempted to: bolster support for US foreign policy as directed by the Heritage Foundation; increase military spending and support for the SDI; stifle opposition to the siting of nuclear weapons and advocate a more aggressive global war against the then Soviet Union, which was extended to cast dissent as part of a Communist conspiracy.  The IEDSS was also a component of the social psychology of how people were conditioned by authority figures and institutions in regard to the state holding to policies that would lead to (and entailed) the committing terrible acts against their fellow human beings.



Wohlstetter is more generally associated with RAND, and as an influence in 1962 advising President Kennedy as part of his ‘Brains Trust’ on the Cuban Missile Crisis and encouraging the escalation of the war in Vietnam.  Notably some of these dealings were outlined by Daniel Ellsberg who was a friend of Wohlstetter’s, until Ellsberg’s disclosures in the ‘Pentagon Papers.’ The then President, Lyndon B. Johnson was amongst the people the ‘Pentagon Papers’ were kept secret from. I will conclude with some observations that Ellsberg made on experts and secrecy.[55]

Daniel Ellsberg worked for Robert McNamara when the Tonkin Gulf incident was fabricated with the priority to seek a wider war.  Ellsberg was a leading thinker with RAND on decision-making after uncertainty (focussed on whether to launch missiles after ambiguous warning) much in the Wohlstetter mould. Of the effects of ‘really high’ secrecy, Ellsberg said he instructed Henry Kissinger on it by saying:

Henry, you’re about to get a lot of clearances, higher than top secret, that you did not know existed.  That’s going to have a sequence of effects on you.  First, a great exhilaration that you’re getting all this amazing information that you didn’t know even existed, and the next phase is that you’ll feel like a fool for not having known of any of this, but that won’t last long.  Very soon you’ll come to think that everyone else is foolish: ‘what would this expert be telling me if he knew what I knew?’  So in the end you stop listening to them. (Ehrlich & Goldsmith, 2009)

Reading Wohlstetter it might be overlooked that all the over preparation was for a war in which both sides would share in mutual ruin.  Reading Thompson, Ellsberg or Mills we are reminded that our subject includes mass murder, mass extinction.  And we are reminded too that this expensive default created the run-away political structures: the hostile ideologies, the ‘epistemic communities,’ the covert security operations, the smear campaigns and the propaganda required to sell the Cold War.  The IEDSS also played their part.  On Wohlstetter I will return to C. Wright Mills’ guiding view that:

Among the men of knowledge, there is little or no opposition to the divorce of knowledge from power, of sensibilities from men of power, no opposition to the divorce of mind from reality. (Mills, 1955: 604)

I think too that certain theoretical asumptions as explanation should be questioned.[56] The theoretical approach of epistemic communities largely ignores the implications of situation that Mills put as: “when men of knowledge do come to a point of contact with the circles of powerful men, they come not as peers but as hired men” (Mills, 1955: 605).  Moss (1976) observed that Wohlstetter could: “decide what he wants to think about, with the likelihood that he will be paid handsomely for it, travel anywhere to find out things, talk to nearly everyone, see classified documents.”  So he is an appropriate model of Mills’ assessment of the man of knowledge as ‘expert,’ as a hired technician who is dependent on a livelihood that, in effect, functions as a prime sanction and control of thought control.[57]  The concomitance of this, as Mills predicted, was the expansion of official secrecy and the surveillance of those who might divulge to the public what they are not supposed to know: with nuclear weaponry, the entire series of decisions concerning production and use were made without any genuine public debate: the facts hidden, sources of information closed, distorted and lied about.  If we are to pursue this then the specific organisations Wohlstetter and others instituted and the relationship between three key aspects: the establishment of power, the establishment of orthodoxy and the establishment of institutions must be clearly understood.

[1] Many of Wohlstetter’s writings were published by Basic Books, such as (1977) ‘Defending America.’  Wohlstetter also contributed the (1980) ‘Meeting the Threat in the Persian Gulf,’ Survey, Vol. 25, No. 2, Spring.

[2] In the interview Frost added laconically: “Digby Anderson once joked that he was saving money on social work so that I could spend them on bombs.”

[3] These affiliations were also while Wohlstetter was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution (1980-1997).

[4] A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Henry S. Rowen, had previously been president of RAND. The New York Times (1971) suggested that his resignation from RAND was as a result of the Military’s dissatisfaction with the release of the ‘Pentagon Papers.’  Nevertheless, Rowan was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the US Department of Defense in 1989.  He had been chairman of the (Reagan-created) National Intelligence Council (NIC) at the CIA (1981-1983) co-ordinating the work of CIA officers, particularly in preparing critical national intelligence estimates for the White House.  He reported to William Casey who had appointed him.  It was here that Casey’s Soviet-blaming (1980) ‘Patterns of International Terrorism’ was promulgated (UPI, 1981).  The NIC was ‘Team B’ institutionalised, with contemporary reports stating: “Wohlstetter’s earlier charge that the intelligence community had “systematically” underestimated Soviet missile deployment is taken as the guiding gospel” (Washington Post, 1981b). Rowan was a member of the Defense Science Board since 1983 (Bush, 1989) and part of the small group that advised George P. Shultz on a review of Soviet policy, with others including: Caspar W. Weinberger, Donald Rumsfeld, Norman Podhoretz, James Buckley, Robert McFarlane, Paul Wolfowitz with Rowan representing the CIA (Washington Post, 1982).  This fed into Kenneth Adelman’s use of Rowen-type arguments against arms control negotiations (Washington Post, 1984c).

[5] Mets (1977) noted that the NSIC was based on the assumption that neither isolationism nor pacifism could provide realistic solutions to the challenge of 20th century totalitarianism, and that it was involved in a variety of activities designed to influence public opinion through the “intellectual elite that leads the way.”

[6] The architect of the quasi-Stalinist ‘forced urbanisation’ in the Vietnam War, Huntington had been an aide to Brzezinski in the Carter administration’s NSC, who in the 1980s wrote CIA-funded studies for Harvard’s Center for International Affairs’ journal International Security (Economist, 1986a).  An ‘expert’ on war somewhat akin to Ithiel Pool de sola, Huntington would join Wohlstetter in the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy, discussed below.  Huntington wrote the chapter on the US in the (1975) ‘The Crisis of Democracy’ a report on the ‘governability’ of democracies for the Trilateral Commission. Somewhat emulating Oswald Spengler, this was largely a propagandistic attack (David Abshire was involved in preparing it) on intellectuals who questioned the elites who were reasserting themselves in David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.  For a critique of the work see Chomsky (1981).  Huntington was a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (based around Henry Jackson’s push for military expenditure), which had links to the Committee on the Present Danger.  He also founded the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, in 1979, as part of the NSIC, that included: Ray Cline, Roy Godson, Robert Pfaltzgraff, Richard Pipes, the NED’s Allen Weinstein and others (CSI, 2008).  He also became part of the International Advisory Board of the IEDSS’ New Atlantic Initiative.

[7] Chalfont, Alun (1985) ‘SDI: The case for the defence;’ Kaltefleiter, Werner (1985) ‘The Strategic Defence Initiative: Some implications for Europe; Rose, Clive & Blaker, Peter (1985) ‘Perception and reality: Opinion Poll on defence and Disarmament;’ Ruehle, Michael (1986) ‘Preserving the Deterrent: A Missile Defense for Europe.’ Hughes (1995: 48) stated that 1985 was a key year for SDI propaganda in Europe that turned around attitudes on the SDI via a US public diplomacy project overseen by David Abshire.  This searched for the “right audiences” to influence and a group called the “Truth Squad”to counter opinion pieces that “misrepresented” the SDI (critics singled out included Denis Healy and Lawrence Freedman). By mid-1985 supporters were said to have included a number of influential members of the political elite, retired military leaders and former government officials in the major NATO capitals as well as think tanks and study centres.

[8] Iklé was a research assistant at BASR at Columbia University studying the social effects of bombing cities for the US Air Force, writing with Ithiel de Sola Pool and Wilbur Schramm in their (1974) ‘Handbook of Communication’.  He was with the social science Dept. of RAND (1968-1973) and also part of the Committee on the Present Danger who saw himself as part of “the permanent bureaucracy” (Bernstein, 1988; CSIS, 2011a).

[9] Payne would go on to write (1992) ‘Countering proliferation: new criteria for European security,’ for the IEDSS.

[10] Zarate & Sokolski (2009) outlined the ABM affair from a supportive perspective but added that the US Congress voted to shut down the Safeguard project in 1975.

[11] Sanders (1985) noted the American Security Council’s support of SDI alongside the Committee on the Present Danger, but that the CSIS and Heritage deliberately distanced themselves from each other.

[12] This was not restricted to Wohlstetter.  Brown, et al. (1975: 12) in an essay titled ‘Methods that obscure and methods that clarify the strategic competition,’ for Pan Heuristics, argued: “generally speaking, one wants to stop an arms race.  But does it make sense to talk in the same way of stopping arms competition.”

[13] Perle dated Wohlstetter’s daughter and: “worked for a few months in a think tank set up by Westinghouse, then came to Washington in 1969, at Wohlstetter’s invitation, to help campaign in favor of the anti-ballistic missile” (Kaiser. 1977).   See also Perle’s (2009) ‘Commentary: Arms Race Myths vs. Strategic Competition’s Reality,’ in Zarate & Sokolski (2009).

[14] Wohlstetter (1936) explored one of the tenets of Logical Positivism: “The proposition represents the fact by virtue of a structural identity between it and the fact,” that took on Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein.  With such government experts we return to a form of ‘positivism’ and the position that all facts exist independently of the observer and that thus certain observers are value neutral compilers of facts.  Wohlstetter was something of a believer in Karl Popper’s verisimilitude.  For Thompson (1980) the question was: “What if events are being willed by no single causative historical logic (‘the increasingly aggressive military posture of world imperialism’, etc.)—a logic which then may be analysed in terms of origins, intentions or goals, contradictions or conjunctures—but are simply the product of a messy inertia?”

[15] According to Rightweb (2010), the NIPP is a think tank working for defence contractors such as Lockheed Martin.  In the 1980s it worked on ‘winnable’ nuclear war strategies and the SDI, alongside groups such as the Committee on the Present Danger and the ‘Team B’ nexus.  It received more than $4m from the Conservative Foundations, including: Carthage, Earhart, Olin, Bradley, Sarah Scaife and Smith Richardson.

[16] Colin S. Grey wrote ‘Reflections on Empire: The Soviet Connection’ and ‘SDI Policy Issues,’ in Levine (1989) and ‘The Soviet Threat in the 1990’s,’ in Fleron, et al. (1991).  Levine was an associate of Stephen Haseler’s who also wrote (1982) ‘A Heritage Roundtable: The Nuclear Freeze,’ The Heritage Lectures, No. 14.

[17] Bailey was also with the US Dept. of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research responsible for the Interagency Committee (involving the CIA, DIA and the ACDA), that responded to Soviet Active measures with its own ‘psy-ops.’  The work with USIA was connected to foreign public opinion polling and analysis 1983-1985 (National Institute for Public Policy, 2011).  On the Active Measures Group see: Bailey (1986). Although heavily redacted this shows that the Group disseminated propaganda material on the World Peace Council and the other activities of the Peace Movement.  Its work was championed by Brian Crozier in Crozier (1996).

[18] Codevilla wrote (1982) ‘NATO Today: Curing self-inflicted wounds,’ and (1988) ‘The Cure That May Kill: Unintended Consequences of the INF Treaty,’ for the IEDSS, based on Codevilla &Wallop (1987) that decried the reduction in funding for SDI. They quote Walter Lippmann on the run-up to World War II: “the disarmament movement has been tragically successful in disarming the nations that believe in disarmament.”  Given a clearance by the CIA the book revealed the contents of a crucial, highly classified NSC directive by Reagan on SDI, to attack Reagan.  I previously discussed Codevilla’s work on the SDI and with the Heritage Foundation in the chapter on Gerald Frost.  He was an early advocate of a space-based laser system before Reagan’s 1983 speech (Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1981); who took part, as a staff member of Malcolm Wallop’s, in a key meeting with Reagan, Edward Teller, Fred Iklé, Caspar Weinberger and other scientists that started the funding of SDI, based on Teller’s work on lasers (Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1982).

[19] In Intelligence Squared (2004) she appears with the IEDSS’ John O’ Sullivan.  Raymond Aron was one of the founders of the Hudson Institute. Cross is the sister of Frank Gaffney of the Committee on the Present Danger et al. (Rightweb, 2012).

[20] Henze (1983) was the basis of Phillips (1985) ‘Ethiopia’s Kremlin Connection,’ a Heritage Foundation Backgrounder: it promoted the idea that the Ethiopian famine was caused by the Soviets.

[21] This also included work by Wohlstetter, Herman Kahn, Raymond Gastil (also with Freedom House), Schneider and other future members of Team B’.

[22] Founded in 1949, the ‘Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge’s’ honorary chairman had been President Eisenhower, and at this point was Richard Nixon (Freedoms Foundation, 2012).  It has presented awards and funds to Billy Graham (Times, 1955); Walt Disney (Times, 1963); Wernher von Braun (New York Times, 1970) and Jeane Kirkpatrick (Associated Press, 1983b).  It was used as a platform for numerous aspects of Cold War propaganda: including awarding prizes to Alexander Solzhenitsyn at the Hoover Institution (US News & World Report, 1976).  Other members included Arthur Schlesinger.  After the war, Eisenhower helped to establish it to emphasise his belief in the foundational importance of faith in God to confront Communism’s atheistic ideology.  In 1954 this led to the law forcing the insertion of the words “under God” into the pledge of allegiance US citizens are still forced to recite (The Providence Forum, 2011).  Other founders included: Nelson Rockefeller, Pamela Harriman, Brooke Astor and other members of the US elite (New York Times, 1985).  The ‘freedoms’ have changed from those that appeared on the cover of Atlantic Magazine in 1949, and obviously ones such as habeas corpus or trial by jury have been suspended in some cases.  The Foundation was started by three advertising executives (Don Belding, Kenneth D. Wells and Edward F. Hutton), and engaged in ‘economic education’ and a system of cash awards and medals for those who engaged in an: “effective device of continuously selling the American system to its peoples” (Treese, 1995: 244).  It published work with the J. Edgar Hoover Library on Communism in the American Freedom Center, see: Utley (1951).

[23] See also Wohlstetter’s (1975) ‘Legends of the strategic arms race,’ for the United States Strategic Institute, later adapted in ‘Racing Forward or Ambling Back.’  On Team B see: Robert Zarate’s introductory essay to (2009) ‘Nuclear Heuristics,’ op cit.  Laird (1977) is another contribution to this project, aspects of which can also be seen in Pfaltzgraff, et al. (1981).  This was comprised of papers from a 1979 Conference hosted by the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on ‘Intelligence: Deception and Surprise.’ The participants included psy-ops experts: R. V. Jones, Roberta Wohlstetter, Ithiel de Sola Pool, Richard Pipes and William Colby.

[24] Several members of the US Murphy Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy, reached a fundamental conclusion that broad and sensitive clandestine collection operations, ‘dirty tricks,’ have been and are carried out only when approved by senior policymaking officials (National Security Record, 1978).

[25] Brown was part of RAND and wrote the (1969) ‘Statistical Indications of the Effect of Military Programs on Latin America, 1950-1965,’ and (1973) ‘Quantifying Uncertainty into Numerical Probabilities for the Reporting of Intelligence,’ and contributed to (1984) ‘The RAND Winter Study on Non-nuclear Strategic Weapons.’ A former deputy assistant secretary of defence, he became a vice president of the CIA-connected consultancy, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, a major intelligence and military contractor (Washington Post, 1981d).

[26] After Norwegian politicians stalled on the issue, the Oslo government appointed Foreign Under Secretary Johan-Jorgen Holst to enable the stockpiling of heavy US arms and military equipment in Norway for US Marines who would be airlifted there in the event of conflict with the Soviets (Washington Post, 1980a). Holst wrote for the IISS’ journal (Holst & Melander, 1977).

[27] The link has been removed.

[28] Van Oudenaren (1984) argued that intra-bloc, intra-leadership and mass-leadership splits between countries within the Soviet sphere of influence could be exploited in NATO’s political and military strategy.  It concluded that the beneficiary of efforts to undermine the Soviet’s in Europe may not be Europe itself, but areas where the Soviets would have to scale back its activism.  This was presented by John Van Oudenaren, a researcher at the IISS, then on the Policy Planning Staff of the US Department of State and then with RAND (US Department of State, 2010). Van Oudenaren is now part of the Atlantic Partnership with Antonio Martino (Atlantic Partnership, 2006).

[29] Drawing on the Hoover Institution’s archives: in 1958 Wohlstetter became an Adviser to the US delegation, Geneva Conference on ‘Surprise Attack’; from 1961-1967 he was a consultant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Paul Nitze), and thereafter consultant to the Department of Defense throughout his career; he served as a consultant to various corporations and institutions, including Research & Analysis Corp., Stanford Research Institute, General Electric, and the Northrop Corporation; from 1969-1971 he was a consultant to the US National Security Council; in 1970-1971 he became a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford; in 1970-1992 he was a member of the Executive Committee and Director, Strategy Group, California Seminar on Arms Control and Foreign Policy; from 1971-1997 he was a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel; from 1974-1997 he was a founding partner and Senior Consultant, PanHeuristics; in 1975 he was President, European American Institute for Security Research (EAI); from 1975-1988 he was Chairman of the New Alternatives Workshop; from 1979-1992 he was Vice President, Security Conference on Asia and Pacific (SECAP) and President, American Institute for Strategic Cooperation (AISC); from 1990-1997 he was active in the affairs of the Balkan Institute (Online Archive of California, 2009).

[30] The Future Security Environment Working Group (FSEWG) was one of several working groups that provided analyses to the Iklé-Wohlstetter Commission bears a strong resemblance to the American Institute for Strategic Cooperation discussed above.

[31] For example: Wohlstetter (1985) argued: “Today many theorists of global disaster seem unable to decide whether threatening cities and assuring mutual destruction is an evil or a good thing.”  See also: Hoffman, et al. (1987).

[32] Wohlstetter had been the author of a (1963) ‘Scientists, Seers, and Strategy,’ for Foreign Affairs, where he questioned the growing authority of scientists in areas of national defence traditionally filled by civilian politicians and the military.  Mills (1958) outlined that in both the US and USSR an alliance existed between business and the military, based on a commonly held ideological commitment to the Cold War, that exerted a strong influence on perpetuating high levels of military procurement and research and development.  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1988: 47) stated that 60% of SDI research and development contracts in 1986 were awarded to 20 corporations, with those on committees and commissions being employees or board members of military corporations that since received $2.8bn in SDI contracts, and moved to change conflict of interest security or restrictions.

[33] According to Lakoff  & York (1989) the document was identified as ‘National Security Report? #46: High Frontier: A New Option in Space.’ Of Thompson they state: “That a professional historian should attach so much significance to a document of such doubtful provenance and bearing is a striking illustration of the degree to which political passions often influence judgments on SDI.” Lakoff and York do so after emulating Thompson’s analysis.

[34] When Reagan met Gorbachev, in November 1985, Gorbachev informed him that the Soviets had already developed a response to ‘Star Wars’ that was far less expensive and would be ready for use in less time; somewhat contradicting the assertion that attempts to match the US military build-up bankrupted the Soviets, or that the SDI technology convinced the Soviet leadership that it could not compete technologically: thus compelling it to restructure its economy (Gorbachev, 1995: 407). Hessing (1998) contextualised Wohlstetter’s (1974) article in Foreign Policy, the Committee for the Present Danger and Team B’s work within the “tumultuous period,” the repetitive alarmist propaganda, which seized upon anything—including the CIA’s underestimates—to destroy détente and stampede the US electorate into unthinking support for the new Cold War.

[35] The same line in the Times (1984e) can be seen elsewhere e.g. Times (1984) December 20; Times (1984) December 24, and with Geoffrey Lee Williams, also (1985) September 3.

[36] This ran the ‘Mutually Assured Survival’ line.  The conference also included Edward T. Gerry Systems, the Architect for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and part of the Fletcher Panel who argued that a: “completely leak-proof defence” was not necessary.

[37] Aims’ Michael Ivens (Times, 1985i) wrote a possibly slightly misinterpreted letter, probably drawing on the conference, focusing on propaganda, saying: “no high frontier protagonist claims that it will be infallible,” High Frontier is not rendered in upper case, but their protagonists were present at the conference led by Graham.

[38] Menaul’s papers show that there was also a (1985) Wilton Park Conference on November 7, ‘Arms control in the age of ‘Star Wars:’ implications of an end to Mutually Assumed Destruction,’ organised by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.  In 1985, the Centre Européen de Relations Internationales et de Stratégie (CERIS) held a conference on ‘Space Defense and Deterrence,’ Menaul’s papers contain a copy of letter from Fred C. Iklé, to the IEDSS’ Jean-Marie Benoist, the Chairman of CERIS. Menaul was a guest speaker (Menaul, 2005).  From 1978-1982, Menaul was in correspondence with the Heritage Foundation (Menaul, 2005a).

[39] The first mention of SDI in the Economist was in 1984, December 1, in connection to the Heritage Foundation’s recommendation of it.

[40] The US version of Chalfont’s work: ‘Star Wars Suicide or Survival?’ brushed aside Reagan’s initial notion of making nuclear missiles impotent and obsolete as a misinterpretation of the project, that avoided the difficulty of the debate, which the book did little to resolve, wherein the arguments kept changing.

[41] The Times dispute was eventually played down by Reagan (Times, 1985k).

[42] Legere worked on the ‘pacification’ programme in Vietnam with Edward Lansdale according to declassified documents, and in the US’ covert strategies in the Congo in the early 1960s (Cooper, 1972).  Schwar (1995) stated that in 1963 Legere said that McGeorge Bundy: “…said in the most serious way that he felt there was really no logic whatever to ‘nuclear policy.’ What he meant by this was that the military planners who calculate that we will win if only we can kill 100 million Russians while they are killing 30 million Americans are living in total dreamland.”  Gavin (2001) argued that declassified documentation revealed that elite planners (including the President and Secretary of Defense) did not: “buy into many of the core strategic arguments surrounding the flexible response doctrine when it came to America’s role in Europe.”  This expressed difficulties with the implications of a Rostow-led use of notions such as ‘doctrine’ and ‘strategy’ in connection with basic policy.

[43] The essay also attacked Petra Kelly and the Greens in Germany.  A similar message appeared in Wohlstetter (1983a) and in several articles in Foreign Affairs.

[44] An epistemic community, in a pure sense, would be those who accept one general version of a story, or one way of validating and verifying a story.  But one would have to question the somewhat loose term ‘community,’ or whether the habits of dominant political tendencies and factions are explicated in a significantly new way by the theory.  What of Max Weber’s ‘collegiate bodies’?  In terms of these findings: substantively collegial bodies have authoritarian, manipulative and coercive consequences as well as procedurally integrative ones.  Generally speaking, Michel Foucault is cited as a forerunner of the term with his elaboration of a mathesis as an episteme used to enable cohesion of a discourse which unites a given community and its followers.  Mathesis universalis is a hypothetical universal science born from the desire for a perfect form of language modeled on mathematics envisaged by Descartes (and opposed by Vico’s ‘New Science’).  Systems theory would call this process of forming a self-maintaining epistemic community the formation of a mindset reinforced by positive feedback.  There are also numerous terms in usage such as idée fixe, idée reçue, or the cenacle, clique, conclave or coterie; and indeed Galbraith’s notion of the purveyors of conventional wisdom or received wisdom, which aimed to describe how the rudder of the ship of state could be manipulated by small groups.  Galbraith’s (1969) ‘The Affluent Society,’ is, like many of his works, noted for his wit and wisdom, e.g.: “wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding.”

[45] Zald & Lounsbury (2010) resembled early efforts by Mills, in their call for the development of an institutional approach to the study of elites and command posts that would draw on contemporary theories of power and culture to inform our understanding of policy making and implementation.

[46] It is interesting to contrast the theory to Lippmann’s often quoted remark: “When we all think alike, then no one is thinking.”

[47] Earlier mentions of the term occur in Haas (1989) again in International Organisation.  This traced it to the literature on the sociology of knowledge of the 1970s, and, in its adaptation to international relations to Ernst B. Haas.

[48] It is entirely ignored in the theory, but Weber’s critique of bureaucratic rationalization was based on a distinction between instrumental rationality and value rationality.  Because bureaucracy is mainly instrumentally rational in its operations, those in control at the organizational apex may use dedicated bureaucrats for purposes that are purely materialistic and self-interested, involving the transfer of allegiances from transcendental values to immediate materialism—this was also the basis for Weber’s critique of socialism (Waters, 1989: 949).

[49] In some sense the concept of epistemic communities emerged as the liberal wing of the US elite rounded on the success of the neo-conservatives in influencing government as they began to regain the Whitehouse with Clinton.  ‘Soft power’ seems to have emerged after the fall of the Soviets and the emergence of the US with no comparable military competitor.

[50] International Organisation also covered the development of Atlanticism, NATO, the WEU, and the European Movement.  Numerous writers appeared in it over the years including Max Beloff (1959) Vol. 13, No. 4 on the Atlantic Congress; Reinhold Niebuhr (1950) Vol. 4, No. 1, on UNESCO; Roy S. Godson (1980) Vol. 34, No. 1 on US Labour.  In 1970 it stopped reporting on the UN and became more theoretical.

[51] What Adler’s (1992) essay outlined was scientists behaving as politicians and financial entrepreneurs behaving as scientists: ‘Strategists’ rely on a priori inductive reasoning, abstract models and von Neumann and Morgenstern’s game theory with war defined as some kind of cost/benefit analysis.

[52] This could be paraphrased further with (1) An ideological bias (2) Opportunism (3) Careerism (4) A tendency to connive.  It is interesting to compare the definitions with Doob (1950: 419-442) that included that:  “Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority […] Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign,” and that: “Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.”  Doob was Policy Policy Coordinator of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information during World War II, and then became Professor of Psychology at Yale University.  Goebbels’ original document is held at the Hoover Institute.

[53] Its status as a closed community mirrored the communities it tried to influence. Drahos & Braithwaite (2000: 311) observed that epistemic communities in nuclear regulation have been much more closed than in drug regulation and it is extremely rare for NGO representatives to be at the table, although there are incidences where material previously kept secret was shared with other specialists (although we have observed the game of strategic leaking of ‘classified’ information.  The IEDSS was clearly involved in distancing unwanted NGOs (CND) further from the proximity of the decision-making process.

[54] Carrington launched the publication according to Frost (2009). Adler recognised prestige as a component of the influence of the epistemic community that is again a basic propaganda component.

[55] Johnson (2008) stated that Wohlstetter’s activism on behalf of US imperialism and militarism lasted well into the 1990s, this would coincide with his influence on the IEDSS.  Johnson also claimed that the rise to prominence of Ahmed Chalabi (the Iraqi exile and source of false intelligence to the Pentagon) in Washington circles: “came about at the instigation of Albert Wohlstetter, who met Chalabi in Paul Wolfowitz’s office.”  The American Enterprise Institute, named its auditorium the ‘Wohlstetter Conference Center,’ yet Wohlstetter: “…was briefly a member of a Communist splinter group, the League for a Revolutionary Workers Party.  He avoided being ruined in later years by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI because, as Daniel Ellsberg told Abella, the evidence had disappeared.”

[56] Haas does argue that comparative studies of organizations would be necessary in identifying where the community is present in a certain policy area, and where it has been active, and identifying those in which it has not been active or wholly absent.  In one sense this is what I have attempted here.

[57] One of the sources Mills drew on in ‘On Knowledge and Power,’ was Milosz [1953](2001).


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