A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

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Authors: Zachary Shore
Tags: General, History, Modern
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© Zachary Shore 2014
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Shore, Zachary.
A sense of the enemy : the high stakes history of reading your rival’s mind / Zachary Shore.
p. cm.
Summary: “A bold explanation of how and why national leaders are able—or unable—to correctly analyze and predict the intentions of foreign rivals”—Provided by publisher. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–19–998737–5 (hardback) 1. Political leadership—Psychological aspects. 2. Heads of state—Psychology. 3. Enemies—Psychology. 4. Psychology, Military. I. Title. JC330.3.S56 2014
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Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

For my parents


Number Worship
The Quant’s Prediction Problem
NO ONE KNOWS PRECISELY how Hans Lippershey came upon the invention. One legend holds that some children wandered into his spectacle shop, began playing with the lenses on display, and suddenly started to laugh. Tiny objects far away appeared as though they were right in front of them. The miniscule had become gigantic. Though the truth of that tale is doubtful, the story of the telescope’s invention remains a mystery. We know only that four centuries ago, on October 2, 1608, Hans Lippershey received a patent for a device that is still recognizable as a modern refractory telescope. 1
Not long after Lippershey’s patent, the device found its way to Pisa, where it was offered to the duchy for sale. Catching wind of this new invention, Galileo Galilei quickly obtained one of the instruments, dissected its construction, and redesigned it to his liking. 2 Galileo intended it, of course, for stargazing, but his loftier intentions were not shared by the Pisans. This new tool had immediate and obvious military applications. Any commander who could see enemy ships at great distance or opposing armies across a battlefield would instantly gain a distinct advantage. That commander would, in effect, be looking forward in time, and, with that literal foresight, he could predict aspects of the enemy’s actions. The telescope offered its owner a previously unimaginable advantage in battle. It brought the invisible to light. It altered the perception of time. It presented a genuine glimpse into the future, beyond what the naked eye could see. We don’t know whetherLippershey, Galileo, or some other crafty inventor made the first sale of a telescope to a military, but when he did, that exchange represented one of the earliest mergers of Enlightenment science with the business of war. From that moment on, modern science

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