Spy vs Spy: Great for The Movies, Bad for The World

Gustave Doré (1866)

In the latest installment of the long running drama that is our perennial love affair with covert operations, an ex-CIA agent is accused of orchestrating one of the largest US intelligence failures, the destruction of its asset network in China.

Standing sentinel on the branch of a tree was an old rooster, adroit and cunning.

Brother, said a fox, softening his voice, we are no longer in a quarrel. A general peace reigns this time; that’s what I came to announce. Come down, so I can hug you. Don’t delay me, please. I have twenty more stops to make, without fail. You and yours can roam free now without any fear. We are at your service, as brothers. Go ahead and build the celebratory fires tonight. In the meantime, come receive my loving, fraternal embrace.

Friend, replied the rooster, I never dared hope to hear such sweet good news than this you bring of peace. And it is a double joy to get it from you. I see two greyhounds coming, who are, I’m sure, messengers sent to bring this same news. They are moving quickly and will be here in a moment. I’m coming down. We can have a group hug.

Goodbye, said the fox, my road ahead is long. We will rejoice in this successful conclusion of peace another time.

The gallant hiked up his britches asap and made for the hills, unhappy with the outcome of his strategy.

And our old rooster laughed to himself to see the fox’s fear. After all, it is a double pleasure to play the player.

In the spy vs spy world, China has had reason to crow since 2010 apparently, as it dismantled the foxy American web of informants. Amazingly (or not!), 7 years have passed since then and the world has not been thrown into disarray by this breach.

Which begs the question, what do spies do? — other than spy on each other, of course. And provide material for John Le Carre novels. Have US-China relations been observably worse in the last 7 years (or possibly better)? Oh but it’s secret, so we don’t know, you say. True. And false. Because if whatever the spies are doing and now not doing, because they’ve been eradicated, is invisible to the naked eye, then my point stands.

Spying is a life or death game, not because it is important, but because that’s what spies do, kill or be killed. No doubt the US has been eliminating its share of Chinese assets.

The pleasure of victory is in playing the player. Unfortunately, in that process, we solidify enmities and spend a lot of money that might be put to actually productive uses — education, healthcare, infrastructure, to name a few.

I like nothing better than a double-cross, triple-cross, quadruple-cross movie, in which a succession of players are played, like nesting Russian dolls.

Leave foreign affairs to diplomacy couched in respect, authenticity, integrity and transparency. Isn’t that the formula for fewer deaths and more peace? The roosters and foxes ought to stick to the movies.

What are these Fableogs?

Fable en Français

Tagged in Fable, Fable, Jean De La Fontaine, Ex Cia Agent, Us Intelligence Failure, China Relations

By Mina Samuels on January 23, 2018.

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Exported from Medium on March 17, 2018.



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