The idea was that America was so corrupted and so greedy that we would eventually disregard our own national security in pursuit of a short-term profit. Ironically, it turned out that the Soviet system died under the weight of its own corruption. Communists, at least in practice rather than theory, tend to be just as greedy (if not more so) than capitalists. The Soviet Union is gone and America remains.
What Lenin may have missed is that America’s sin of greed is perhaps overshadowed by our gluttony. Yes, greed was at work in the last downturn but so was overconsumption. As a nation, we are at least as guilty in our buying habits as we are in our selling. One example is that the nation has about $19 trillion in Federal government debt, not to mention unfunded liabilities valued in the $100s of trillions, or private debt which is much greater than GDP already. From one view, this enormous quantity of debt could be the rope with which we hang. We buy goods and services from China and they claim the debt we incur to them is a weapon they can use against us. But that is just one example.
Another example is that we, until the shale boom, massively favored foreign oil over domestic production. Over the years, we sent trillions of dollars overseas to regimes that promoted hostility against America. As former Director of Central Intelligence once said, “we are funding both sides of the war on terror” with oil imports.
We’ve discussed another concern in regard to Chinese corporations welcomed with open arms on Wall Street. Despite serious issues being raised, the SEC allowed Alibaba to list on the NYSE via the largest IPO in history. This was AFTER the Hong Kong Stock Exchange turned down the lucrative IPO because it broke their rules on corporate governance.
The problem is that we have lost any real sense of national security. We ignore borders as if they were irrelevant. We are so globalized that we rarely consider national security issues when we make economic decisions. Yet this is precisely where the next war will be waged.
The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement may be a prime example. Reports suggest that for the first time in decades, the clause that America retains the right to assert national security interests has been left out. I have not read the agreement and am solely reliant on press reports. If this is true, however, it is astonishing and extraordinarily threatening as explained by political consultant Charles Ellis in a December 21 Breitbart article by Alex Swoyer:
“The text of the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries reverses policies that were originally put into place to prevent a foreign takeover of the nation’s infrastructure, argues political consultant Curtis Ellis, who adds that the deal threatens U.S. national security interests.
Previous U.S. trade pacts stated in no uncertain terms that the national security interests of the United States are determined solely by the U.S. government and supersede any provisions of the pacts. The U.S. government had unfettered power to protect our national security interests as it deemed necessary – even if its actions might violate the terms of a trade agreement.
But the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reverses this precedent. As a result, other countries could claim our national security interests violate the T.P.P. agreement and force the U.S. to pay billions of dollars in damages.
Additionally, the Islamic Sultanate of Brunei — a country that’s a party to President Obama’s trade agenda — has outlawed Christmas and threatens to place offenders in prison.”
In other words, it appears that national security and our nation’s sovereignty have been ignored entirely by a lengthy document that appears to favor foreign interests over our own. This is appalling and a serious departure from modern precedent. The claim is that other nations such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand all included national security provisions even as we did not. If true, this is a blatant disregard for American sovereignty.
Another frightening example can be seen in how we have outsourced a good deal of coding and cyber security to firms tied to the Russian regime.
Really? Can it be true that the Pentagon (inadvertently) outsourced critical coding to Russian firms? Sadly, the answer is that this happened (despite being against the law and the two firms involved in the work had to pay multi-million dollar fines when caught).
From The Daily Beast on November 4:
By Patrick Malone, Center for Public Integrity — November 4, 2015
The Pentagon was tipped off in 2011 by a longtime Army contractor that Russian computer programmers were helping to write computer software for sensitive U.S. military communications systems, setting in motion a four-year federal investigation that ended this week with a multimillion-dollar fine against two firms involved in the work.
“On at least one occasion, numerous viruses were loaded onto the DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] network as a result of code written by the Russian programmers and installed on servers in the DISA secure system,” Kingsley said in his complaint, filed under the federal False Claims Act in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 2011.
[To CONTINUE READING at The Daily Beast….]
Unfortunately, this is not isolated. We also know that a good deal of American cybersecurity in the private sector has been hired out to a Russian company with close ties to the Russian government. From Bloomberg earlier this year:
March 19, 2015
Kaspersky Lab has published reports on alleged electronic espionage by the U.S., Israel, and the U.K.—but hasn’t looked as aggressively at Russia.
Kaspersky Lab sells security software, including antivirus programs recommended by big-box stores and other U.S. PC retailers. The Moscow-based company ranks sixth in revenue among security-software makers, taking in $667 million in 2013, and is a favorite among Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians and reviewers on Amazon.com. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Eugene Kaspersky was educated at a KGB-sponsored cryptography institute, then worked for Russian military intelligence, and in 2007, one of the company’s Japanese ad campaigns used the slogan “A Specialist in Cryptography from KGB.” The sales tactic, a local partner’s idea, was “quickly removed by headquarters,” according to Kaspersky Lab, as the company recruited senior managers in the U.S. and Europe to expand its business and readied an initial public offering with a U.S. investment firm.
In 2012, however, Kaspersky Lab abruptly changed course. Since then, high-level managers have left or been fired, their jobs often filled by people with closer ties to Russia’s military or intelligence services. Some of these people actively aid criminal investigations by the FSB, the KGB’s successor, using data from some of the 400 million customers who rely on Kaspersky Lab’s software, say six current and former employees who declined to discuss the matter publicly because they feared reprisals. This closeness starts at the top: Unless Kaspersky is traveling, he rarely misses a weekly banya (sauna) night with a group of about 5 to 10 that usually includes Russian intelligence officials….
[To CONTINUE READING at Bloomberg Business Week…]
There are other examples of Russian Cyber Security firms that are potential national security threats. One was reported by Bill Gertz on December 16:
By Bill Gertz – – Wednesday, December 16, 2015
U.S. intelligence agencies recently identified a Russian cybersecurity firm, which has expertise in testing the network vulnerabilities of the electrical grid, financial markets and other critical infrastructure, as having close ties to Moscow’s Federal Security Service, the civilian intelligence service.
The Russians (as well as the Chinese and Iranians) understand modern warfare and have been covering their bases in case we become adversarial. We can know their playbook by watching actions in Ukraine. The upsetting thing is that despite this knowledge, we continue to ignore the national security implications and outsource critical capabilities to potential adversaries. Previously, we were warned that we might greedily sell the rope on which we would hang. Now, however, it seems we may be the buyers of that rope instead, even if the end result is the same. It is time we wake up and make American national security and sovereignty a priority.
Full article: Are We Now Buying the Rope On Which We Will Hang? (Global Economic Warfare | Kevin D. Freeman)