The First and Second Oldest Professions

Thoughts in and around geopolitics.

1999
It’s been reported that Russian operatives penetrated the files of several U.S. companies and government agencies, potentially compromising vital American secrets. I use the word “operatives” because what used to be called spies are now called operatives, and an operative working as a spy in the digital world is increasingly referred to as a hacker. In honor of John le Carre, who recently passed on to the safe house of eternity, we should think a bit about espionage, a trade that creates far fewer suave martini drinkers than it creates, in the words of Len Deighton, seedy civil servants hanging on for their pensions. Spying has an ancient and even holy origin. In the book of Joshua, the eponymous protagonist is planning to assault Jericho. He needs more information on Jericho’s military capabilities and preparedness. He orders two men – I will assume they were well trained and suited for the mission – to infiltrate the city, collect information and provide information on its order of battle. Their first task is to get into Jericho, then find people who can pass unobserved inside the city. On the city wall they find a woman named Rahab, a prostitute who presumably lives […]

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George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, 2020 describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.



His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.