As the students of the Romanian relationships with the West are preparing to welcome the 3rd, and last, installment from Watts' contribution on the subject, it is worth taking a look at a couple of American echoes to his first two volumes.
From the first enclosed review, from page 169 in the original publication, authored by Joseph S. Gordon, we learn the critique of someone who questions Watts' thesis and Romania's maverick position. Gordon faults Watts for not developing a "coherent narrative" towards his stated objectives, or, stated in other words, for failing to show the forest while belaboring on its many a leaf. Neither being sure about the standard employed by Gordon in his assessment, nor about a competing narrative or even factual correction of the arguments marshaled by Watts, I have to question the utility of the review beyond being an illustration for a telegraphed hatched job.
Yes, history is far from being an exact science, so that leaves room for competing interpretations. Yet, it so happens that Watts' critics cannot muster more than summary dismissals of his works, which is somewhat reassuring for his theses with the diligent readers.
From Gordon's critique, I take however a point: Once the groundwork of unearthing the facts has been done by Watts, more analytical work could help one arrive faster at conclusions. Surely, more facts, especially competing, could and should recenter the analytical arguments, if/when they become available. Until then, the historian would do well the consider Watts' works foundational.
The second enclosed review, from page 220 in the original publication, authored by Christopher E. Bailey, reads like an antithesis to Gordon's. The reader should also notice the chronology of these reviews in the same publication, the American Intelligence Journal, Gordon's in volume 29, No 2, Bailey's in volume 32, No 1.
At first sight, the Romanian reader should not overlook the nature of the US intellectual debate surrounding even a remote subject, such as the Romanian relations with the West during the Cold War. The between the lines readers can almost extrapolate the historical debate in terms of competing visions at the center of American power. Ideas and visions have their ebbs and flows, not always in line with some Platonic notion of truth.
|Joseph S. Gordon, a retired Colonel in the USAR who is currently the Colin Powell Professor of Analysis at the National Intelligence University. He was also recently elected Chair of the International Association for Intelligence Education.|
|Christopher E. Bailey, faculty member at the National Intelligence University, specializing in national security law, processes, intelligence ethics, and strategy.|