America’s Military Weakness?

Regular readers will know that I believe that the global debt picture makes conflict — proxy or direct — between America (the world’s great debtor) and its creditors highly likely in the next century. Already America and Eurasia are engaged in media, cyber, and information warfare. Recent Iranian threats to close the Straits of Hormuz — an arterial shipping channel — could give America and Israel an excuse to directly engage the Iranian state.

Alas, it seems America has a chink in her armour, one demonstrated perfectly by Iran’s retrieval of an intact American spy drone. That drone didn’t crash: its intact appearance suggests one thing — that it was landed.

How could that be possible?

From VeteransToday:


The national insecurity stakes just went up once again.

Being in the armed forces of any country, at any time, has always been a hazardous occupation.

But thanks to the gross incompetence, malfeasance and short sightedness of our current and former elected officials it just became much, much, deadlier to be a US Serviceman.

“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise”,  to quote Gomer Pyle. The secret spy mission to create photographic proof of Iranian nuclear intentions has gone horribly wrong.

China is the country of origin for many, many of the semiconductors used by the US Military. It was most likely that China provided the hardware with the secret backdoor that allowed the Iranians to seize control of the Stealth drone while the drone was on a secret CIA mission over Iran.

Working together, they captured a state of the art US Military stealth aircraft.

What this means to all US Military personnel serving anywhere in the world? It means that control of any electronics system in any type of platform, can be seized and used against the military that launched it.

So what can America do about such security holes?

No electronics system within any platform is safe as long as there is any non-domestic electronics content.

Components from China are OK for a flat-screen TV, but not for critical weapons systems. Chinese components simply cannot be trusted.

Every system down to the component level must be recalled.

Any and all suspect components must be replaced, immediately before we actually place our fighting men and women in harm’s way with compromised systems.

As a country we need certain strategic industries. In this computer age, we need a strong and vibrate semiconductor industry we cannot safely or prudently outsource this to China.

In the interim, the Pentagon should stand down all weapons systems activated since 1998, and re-activate the older, but trustworthy systems.

If this is true, there can be no war against Iran or Syria in the near future.

Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China will be free to stampede over American interests in Eurasia.

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America’s Eurasian Endgame

I have written before of the Chinese aim in this great international game:

I believe that the current world order suits China very much — their manufacturing exporters (and resource importers) get the stability of the mega-importing Americans spending mega-dollars on a military budget that maintains global stability. Global instability would mean everyone would pay more for imports, due to heightened insurance costs and other overheads. China also recognises that while America falters and struggles under the weight of its military burden, its lack of growth, and its deep debt concerns, Chinese military strength can grow at a much faster pace thanks to Chinese domestic growth, and a high domestic savings rate. They are happy that their dollar pile — China has over $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves — can still buy plenty, and they want its value to remain as stable as possible. But above all they want to gradually diversify out of those dollars and into productive assets.

So, if China is happy with the status quo, or at least where the status quo is going, what does America want out of all this?

America wants to keep the free lunch of oil and goods for dollars and treasuries that is so swiftly evaporating. Someday soon America will have to bring more to global trade than its role as global policeman, its universities and a humungous stack of freshly-printed dollars. While some may carp about the demand created by the American consumer, consumption is not production — consumption does not bring anything to the party except dollars, and the rest of the world already has plenty of those. Some day soon, when the dollar is no longer recognised as the universal reserve currency, America will have to face up to the fact that consumer goods and oil will cost more and more in dollars — and she will either have to choose to be poorer, or to manufacture more, and generate more energy at home.

A sensible American plan going forward would recognise this, and would be developing the means and the infrastructure to end America’s free lunch — specifically, through redeveloping American manufacturing capacity and supply chains, and scaling back America’s role as global policeman. Unfortunately, I see no such thing from government, and very little from private industry. America is clinging onto the old foreign policy doctrines — that if America is powerful enough, and if she can retain its role as global hegemon and world policeman, then she will always be free to consume a chunk of the rest of the world’s production and resources, because her currency will forever be the global reserve. But that simply isn’t true — Russia and China have already ditched the dollar for bilateral trade.

Sadly, America’s foreign policy is ever-more fixated on interventionism, and maintaining the petrodollar standard.

Essentially, American exceptionalism has created a blindness to reality. Humungous debts to hostile creditors often makes an empire fall. Resource and energy dependency often makes an empire fall. Yet America just continues spending ever greater amounts on her military, and just hopes for the best. Every President since Carter has promised to reduce American oil dependency, but there has been no substance to that.

So — absent any real progress on reducing dependency — America’s endgame seems to involve taking the Arab Spring to Tehran, Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing, and having the new middle classes of consumerist Americanised zombies take out uppity creditor regimes — and replace them with Facebook-friendly State Department-endorsed place men, and adhering more closely to edicts out of Washington.

That way, America’s free lunch can go on forever.

Gibson Guitars: A Great American Company

Is over-regulation killing American industry? From NPR:

In the hottest part of an August Tennessee day last Thursday, Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz stood out in the full sun for 30 minutes and vented to the press about the events of the day before.

“We had a raid,” he said, “with federal marshals that were armed, that came in, evacuated our factory, shut down production, sent our employees home and confiscated wood.”

The raids at two Nashville facilities and one in Memphis recalled a similar raid in Nashville in November 2009, when agents seized a shipment of ebony from Madagascar. They were enforcing the Lacey Act, a century-old endangered species law that was amended in 2008 to include plants as well as animals. But Juszkiewicz says the government won’t tell him exactly how — or if — his company has violated that law.

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