The Two Meetings
The second meeting was with four U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers (FAO). This meeting was just a briefing of the Political/Economic climate of Northeastern China. It was very interesting to observe the differences in the Civilian Foreign Service Officers (FSO) and the Military FAOs. As with any and all nations, China is enormously complex. From topics as disparate as the China/North Korea relationship to the economic development of QiQihar City, Heilongjiang Province to “Wildcat” (unauthorized) coal mines accidents in Jilin Province a FSO is tasked with having a solid understanding of them all. The FAOs are afforded the luxury of being more singularly focused on China as a threat and thus have only a cursory understanding of the above topics. They seemed to lack the comprehensive view of Chinese culture and politics. This is only my observation from that one meeting. (However, it also a criticism/argument that permeates this article on Military Intelligence gathering in Afghanistan)
Those two meetings were the highlight of my work week. I hope to have more interesting topics next week.
*The views expressed on this blog posting are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.