Little known fact: the intelligence war between the East and the West started long before 1945. And not only that; it did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 90s either. Indeed, this silent conflict has been lurking in the background of virtually every major historical event since 1917. The intelligence wars of the past century have been defined by theft, driven by fear, and dictated by tyrants from Stalin then to Putin and Xi Jinping now. But today, the age of the traditional clandestine secret service is over, and open source is the coin of the realm. So are we prepared to compete with China and Russia on these new battlegrounds?
Calder Walton is an historian at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He received a doctorate in history from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he also helped to write MI5’s authorized hundred-year history. He is the general editor of the three-volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence. His previous book, Empire of Secrets, won the Longman-History Today Book of the Year award. His new book is Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West.