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Okay, I’m going to descent from the trend here. I’ve been reading Stratfor since the ’90s. I’m a Poly Sci major with an interest in in International Relations and Geopolitics.
Stratfor’s most fascinating side has been it’s military analysis. This is not surprising, a lot of the people working there have military backgrounds.
The story that really did it for me back then was when the F-117 got shot down. Or rather before it got shot down the guys at Stratfor detailed how the Russians had people in Serbia working with equipment they had sold them to make it happen. The conclusion: highly likely.
Then it happened. At which point Stratfor detailed exactly the next steps of what would happen to the crashed plane and the parts. 6 moths later, buried deep in the LA Times was a story what had happened to the shot down plane 3 months prior.
Their analysis during the Iraq war was absolutely spot on. As soon as troops arrived in Baghdad they were screaming “Insurgency.” Rumsfeld and Cheney denied it and the whole adventure was so much worse off for it.
They’ve been screaming about Iran since the Getgo. All the analysis I hear on the MSM about Iran’s influence and their strategic goals I’ve read first on Stratfor. Usually by weeks and months.
They’ve pointed out in Egypt that it wasn’t the protesters getting rid of Mubarak, but the Military and the regime hadn’t changed. Again, something the regular press never picked up on until almost a YEAR later.
During the Iranian protests they pointed out they would have zero effect on the government there, as the “middle class” made up such a small fraction of the population. The only reason everyone in the west believed otherwise was because the only people the western reporters talked to were English speakers, who all happened to live in the cities that make up less than a third of the population in Iran. MONTHS after things quieted down you finally found that kind of reporting in MSM. Reading those articles was like reading summaries of Stratfor analysis that had come out months prior.
If you are an absolute news junky and been through an IR 101 class that focused on Realist Theory, you don’t need Stratfor to tell you a lot of these things. But by news junky, I mean someone who’s JOB it is to read the news from a Realist Theory perspective every day for 8 hours a day.
99% of the stuff released by Wikileaks is stuff everyone who read Stratfor already knew. Did clients ask for some pretty stupid things? Yeah. If you’ve ever held a job, you’ve been asked by your customers to do some pretty stupid things too I’m sure. And your management has certainly had some pretty hairbrained ideas you had to implement as well. It’s called business.
In the end, reading Stratfor for non-military or non-Geopolitical analysis has never been all that great. They’ve been screaming about China’s looming economic disaster for more than a decade as if it was imminent. Now, some 10 years after they first started screaming about it, you can find economists and global investors starting to freak out that it is going to happen. Stratfor does admit their mistakes and every quarter lists them. So it’s not all bad.
As for this being “good” PR for both, I don’t think so. Wiki leaks is winning this one hands down. Much like Climate gate made perfectly legitimate science and scientists look stupid, so do the people at Stratfor who were doing their jobs well look.