HIR's FIRST PRINCIPLES
Premise 1. The way to do better geopolitics is to have a
more accurate representation of the intentions and capabilities of other
players in the international system.
Premise 2. The Government of the United States, the most
important geopolitical player, has the strongest motivation to do better
Therefore: The Government of the United States works very
hard to obtain a better understanding of the intentions and capabilities
of other players in the international system.
Fact: CIA director George Tenet said in the year 1998
that the budget on that year had been a little under
27 billion. Recently, a US Intelligence official said in a press
conference that the yearly budget was now 44 billion. But the truth is
that nobody knows for sure, because the budget for US Intelligence is a state secret.
Hypothesis: The Government of the United States has very
good information—definitely better than my own—on which to base its
Premise 1. The Government of the United States, for many
years running, has been the most powerful in the world.
Premise 2. Idiots don’t become the most powerful people in
Therefore: The Government of the United States is not run
Hypothesis: If the Government of the United States behaves
in ways that seem idiotic to me, then a) there is something I don’t yet
understand; or b) the people running this government has different
values than my own. Or both. (And I have yet to accept this, which is
why I think the behavior is idiotic.)
Premise 1. The true preferences of someone are revealed in
his/her expensive behaviors.
Premise 2. Saying “My intentions are X” is not expensive
Therefore: Speech acts (e.g. public and official
declarations) don’t necessarily convey information about the true
intentions of those running a government.
Hypothesis: If the government of the United States
consistently, year after year, spends billions of dollars and achieves always
similar results, and if these results contradict the publicly declared
intentions of government officials, the publicly declared intentions must
be deliberate deceptions.
These three arguments are the motivation for most of the research
you will find in this website.