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‘Mirror Imaging’ and America’s Dangerous Middle East Illusions, By HENRY A CRUMPTON and ALLISON MELIA (WSJ)

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May 3, 2016

Tehran and Riyadh don’t operate under Western assumptions: Religion is their political ideology.

Intelligence officers are taught to avoid “mirror imaging.” That is, assuming your adversary shares your analytic reference points and thinks the way you do. Americans tend to ascribe to other countries the best of our own values: tolerance, equal opportunity, rule of law, freedoms of speech and religion, and separation of church and state. But many countries do not share these values. Two of them are among our most problematic foreign relationships: Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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