Category Archives: National Security

S. 1867 is to Occupy Wall Street as Monica Lewinsky was to President Clinton’s Impeachment

In Clinton’s impeachment that culminated from four years of Ken Starr’s investigation, we saw the overreach of our government involving federal investigators, the U.S. Congress, and an impeachment committee that pursued Bill Clinton’s definition of the word “is”. After years of attempts to hang the President on such matters as Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster, his impeachment rested on the President’s perjury about two fellatio protagonists and his attempt to not tell the American people about his sexual proclivities.

This massive use of state power to expose the President’s sex acts was seen by the American people as abusive in the end. Yet, I for one, had been lulled by the moral majority in the years leading up to President Clinton’s impeachment into a false reality that America had not slipped morally to the point where it was common place for young ladies to perform such acts as came to be known through Clinton’s trial as “non-sex”. I mistakenly believed that America was experiencing a thousand points of light even though an epidemic of “non-sex” Herpes cases were occurring amongst our young people at the same time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

It took the extraordinary spectacle of his impeachment to expose the social atmosphere of our nation. Not only were the nature of our President’s physical characteristics and sexual exploits embarrassingly exposed but so was the trend of our nation’s sexual culture. And shockingly, Larry Flint, Hustler Publisher, exposed the hypocrisy of sexual improprieties of Republicans that participated in his impeachment. Larry claimed to have exposing evidence of a dozen such cases. For instance, Bob Barr, who had run his congressional campaign on family values, was exposed for his cheating and abortion. Flint also uncovered Gingrich’s affair with Callista Bisek.

This whimsical, topsy turvy, and simultaneously extravagant spectacle of government excess turned over a slimy stone exposing the slithering underbelly of hypocrisy in Washington and the mirrored behavior of our populace they represented. We had projected through our government representation our expectations in Washington and then felt the sting of judgmentalism as their spectacle shined a light on our trending culture.

Now we once again have been exposed in New York, Oakland and elsewhere as the roots of excessive governmental overreach have broken the surface of our collective consciousness. We watched in horror as our police power struck down peaceful, sitting, interlocking arms of protest with overreaching sprays of pepper into their yet idealized faces. This act perhaps marked the beginnings of a shift in understanding of our culture’s police trend and of its mirrored excesses in Washington.

Our response to 9/11 was to let the pendulum of justice swing wildly toward the restriction of liberty in the name of security. Left unchecked, our police powers have grown like weeds underneath the tarp of Homeland Security into an intertwining local, State and Federal complex supported by our Congress that is entangling our society in a future of perpetual terroristic defensive war. Occupy Wall Street is the fluky exposure of this societal trend just as Linda Tripp’s secret audio tapes of Monica Lewinsky crying about being moved by Clintonites away from the White House to protect the President became the fluky exposure of our nation’s sexual social trends in the 1990s.

Occupy Wall Street just happened to shock America into the notion that our nation has become much more of a police state than we ever imagined. S. 1867, the bill that allows American citizens that are suspected as terrorists to be locked up indefinitely without trial is just another data point in the now emerging reality of our acceptance of such servitude.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, National Security, Occupy Wall Street, social trajectory

America Must Default Now

Remember the classic story of the leak in the dike? A young boy hiking along a dike in Holland stuck his finger in a leak that threatened to collapse the dike and let the waters of the North Sea rush in to destroy his village. He stayed the night holding fast to his duty until the men of the village came to find him and to repair the leak. The legend goes that this small boy, acting on his sense of duty, saved his community with his single act of bravery and that all of Holland might have perished had he not. Perhaps not the prime moral of the story but as important, had the village leaders not found this young patriot and quickly repaired the dike, he would have perished and his bravery would have been in vain. It took a village to ultimately stop the dike from collapsing.

The Tea Party has been America’s little Dutch boy. Tea Partiers claim that America’s debt is as ominous as the stormy North Sea bearing down on the dikes of Holland, threatening to destroy our economy. They also suggest that just as the dikes of Holland held back the seas, America’s economy must hold strong against our national debt to keep it from limiting our future. Seeing our historic deficits as powerful enough leaks to collapse our nation’s credit, in 2010, the Tea Party rose up to stick their finger in the dike, pledging to stop America’s excessive public debt from growing further until we could agree on a path for recovery. In the meantime, other leaks have sprung up on America’s dike.

Clearly, our Federal budget is not the only ill that is afflicting us. Another little Dutch boy, the Occupy Wall Street movement, with just as much valor and patriotism as the Tea Party, has now climbed the dike to stick its finger in political leaks as equally important as our federal deficit. Occupiers have identified the illicit bond between Wall Street bankers and our politicians that threatens to diminish America’s future and they pledge to remain on the dike until all of America can persuade our leaders to relieve both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Streeters from their patriotic duties.

Unlike Holland, where village leaders relieved the little Dutch boy’s first aid plugging of the leak by repairing their dike, our nation’s leaders have been conspicuously absent in rushing in to relieve our patriotic Tea Party and Occupy Wall Streeters from their first aid missions. Our President and presidential candidates are reluctant to present bold reformation plans, Congress’s Super Committee is unable to compromise on material Federal budget reductions, the rest of Congress is unwilling to put forth substantial jobs bills or to work on restructuring a healthier business environment, our state and local governments are dangerously close to insolvency by refusing to resize to fit lower tax revenues, our banks are refusing to restructure upside down mortgages that are stagnating America’s private economy, and our multinational corporations are unwilling to reinvest in America’s workforce.

Without substantial and coordinated efforts by all in leadership to increase our national productive output, to support corresponding jobs that can sustain a right sized government budget, and to reduce our public debt that is stagnating economic growth, America’s dike will collapse. Whatever we do going forward to solve our leadership crisis, whatever the terms of restructure, Our leaders must know that Middle America will not complacently wither through decades of high unemployment nor will our military complex accept the eventual severe lack of domestic military resupply capability that will result from such languishing. America must now face the inevitability of “DEFAULT”.

The word default is an enemy of the state yet its effects are already sinisterly invading our country. Our Federal government has already defaulted on the value of the dollar with its stimulus and quantitative easing. Our state and local governments have already defaulted on public services to keep bloated public employees in place. Our multinational corporations have already defaulted on America employment by slashing work forces to sustain profitability through the monetary collapse. Our bankers have already defaulted on their obligations to provide financial liquidity, first by choosing to bet against America and then by creating the monetary implosion that sent millions of Americans into foreclosure and bankruptcy. Now, the American people must join in this cacophony of defaults by forcing a restructuring of America’s business and political environment to sustain our families and our country into the 21st century.

Americans must default on our support of indefinite extensions of trillion dollar budget deficits that reflect commitments to unsupportable baby boomer ideals of social justice and vast military dominance. We must default on our submission to government policies supporting unrealized promises that free trade and globalization would enrich all Americans. We must default on our acceptance of the status quo shenanigans of a financially democratized two party system that places the overwhelming benefit of the few over the welfare of the many. And as importantly, we must default on subservience to the mountain of debt that has been yoked to our economic future for the benefit of bankers, multinational businesses and political parties.

Ultimately, the legal power of Americans to default rests in Government acting on our behalf. However, rather than focusing on these transformative needs of the electorate, America’s government representatives are locked in an addictive trance, fixated on meeting the desires of powerful masters. To constitutionally affect change, we will have to break the grotesque relationship between Wall Street, multinational corporations, and Congress; one in which Congress depends upon bankers’ and businessmen’s’ financial elixir for re-election, where Congress has the power to dole out favors, contracts, tax breaks, and laws in return for their election fix, and where bankers have the power to print money to support Congress’s illicit behavior. If America is to ensure an equitable solution in which our Congress, bankers and businesses help to fix the mess they’ve made, we must forever sever our enabling support for this addictive relationship.

If we do not act to break these addictive bonds, our Federal Government will most certainly continue to provide cover for banks and businesses while authorizing massive deficits that expand its growing $15 trillion dollar debt. If not forced by the Tea Party or international credit rating agencies to finally face its unsustainable lack of institutional moral fiber and financially driven dearth of governing judgment and foresight, Congress will recklessly inflate our dollars beyond any semblance as a safe store of value. But private debtors do not have the luxury to print money. Private debts can only be repaid by the output of our people. We now have to decide if our output will be used to invest in America’s future or to pay our mounting Federal debt.

Certainly our multinational corporations have been given free rein to invest where they will and to employ whom they will. Because of substantial market opportunities to the East, America’s ignorance in creating a hostile business environment at home, and our bankers, businessmen, and politicians’ complicity in exploiting both, our multinational corporations have chosen to invest overseas. Yet somehow, America’s politicians hoped that our businesses, which are made up of citizens of this great country, would also act as model “virtual citizens” making business decisions in the best interests of all Americans. Our government even went as far as to dictate from the decisions of our Supreme Court these hopes. The Federal Government’s complicity with bankers and multinational corporations would be much more guilt free if they could imagine businesses having a patriotic conscience, but alas the vast majority do not. Our businesses are hardwired for maximum, risk adjusted profit and for the reasons previously mentioned, maximum profits exist offshore.

No American Dutch boy movement has yet risen to force government to soberly recognize business’s profit nature. Until such a movement pressures Congress, it most likely will not create laws to protect the public from the more destructive nature to our economy of business’s international profit motive, nor will it attempt to find win-win solutions to harness this profit motive for the mutual benefit of both multinational businesses and our people.

Certainly America’s bankers have created their own free rein to conduct at will commerce by the power of their purse. Unfortunately, this rein has been out of alignment with America’s domestic interest for decades. Now that our bankers have indebted America beyond our ability to pay, they will fight any attempts by others to loosen their financial hold on our political system. America’s bankers would have Congress force us to stagnate in debt for decades while China surges past us into the new millennium, and why not?

Bankers used our debt to place investment bets on China’s rising over the past three decades, and in so doing shorted America’s future. They now are counting on Americans to pay this historic debt to protect their clients’ and their own disproportionate, concentrated, and increasingly risky investments in China. Because they placed their mountain of eggs in one basket, A sure bet is that our banker’s actions going forward will be singularly focused on ensuring that America complies with the terms of our debt obligations, whether or not they are in our best interests.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has become the little Dutch boy in defense of America’s interests against international bankers and they have rightfully begun asking if we should follow the terms that have been structured by America’s bankers. Our bankers set the initial terms of indebting America beyond its means to repay. They reneged on terms of protecting us from over indebtedness and covered up their own complicity in doing so. And now that they have extracted maximum debt from America, our bankers are threatening to destroy our economy if we even question their bastardization of the American financial system.

Occupiers are rightfully asking why our bankers set lending terms to soar America’s debts to levels that they knew through historical ratios could never expect to be paid without a high degree of default. Why were bankers comfortable in doing so? Were they hoping that the American ethic of fiscal responsibility would hold even when seduced into unchartered waters of financial servitude? It seems that betting banks’ fortunes on mere hope would be too risky. Did they expect that banks could dictate to our government that it subordinate the will of the electorate to that of America’s financially elite, even if excessive debt deteriorated America’s future? This strategy was successfully exploited before and therefore less risky, but given the emergence of social media democracy, it is becoming self delusional. Whatever their reasoning at the start of the housing Ponzi, bankers’ fortunes are now so dependent on maintaining the status quo that they will defend it with all available measures, even if exposed to the light of day.

Given the stagnating wages of our citizens for the past three decades, Occupy Wall Streeters are right to question why bankers did not meet their obligations to protect America from excessive debt. The prime reason that America awards bankers the right to charge us interest is because we expect our bankers to discern who is capable of repaying debt, and to judiciously discriminate by providing loans only to those that meet repayment qualifications. It is for this sole risk mitigation responsibility of protecting America from excessive debt that we pay America’s bankers such a disproportionate percentage of America’s wealth. Otherwise, we could pay technicians much less to merely print and distribute money.

Occupy Wall Streeters are right to question our bankers why in the height of the frenzy they threw away loan ratios that historically protected Americans from default. Why as America’s debt began to dramatically climb beyond the safety of these ratios did our bankers ignore warning signs and press for even more debt? Why did they pass out credit cards like Halloween treats? Why did our bankers create even more, no income verification, zero money down, speculative debt instruments to extend this bubble to unprecedented heights? Why when some Americans asked why loan ratios were no longer employed, did America’s bankers tell them that we had entered a new economy in which the old ratios no longer applied, one in which appreciating real estate values now dominated the loan equation?

Based on our bankers’ logic, housing prices could just continue to inflate forever without end. The fallacy in their folly to forget fundamentals was that underlying debt has to be paid by the wages of America’s citizens, and these wages were not rising but were in fact stagnating. When the housing bubble burst, we sadly realized that there was no new economy, but instead that greed had only temporarily supplanted old ratios and finance fundamentals. In the wake of America’s monetary collapse, with ratios now re-established, and with debt far exceeding them, America is now faced with the reality of choosing between stagnation and default!

Finally, Wall Streeters are right to ask why America’s bankers are threatening that if we do not honor our public and private debts then they will destroy our economy. What a spurious argument! Were not our bankers complicit in driving America to this debt precipice of their own making? And now that we have arrived at this critical juncture, are not these same bankers arguing that if we fail to honor the predicament in which they placed us that they will cut us off from future credit and capital? Yet theirs is a hollow threat, because it is only by America’s authority that America’s bankers are even given the right to create credit and capital from thin air on our behalf.

Without the self delusional support of a Fed like central bank to cover their losses, European bankers do not need to be cajoled by an Occupy Wall Street movement to accept partial responsibility for excessive European debt in order to stave off full absorption of a complete default. When German led banks first told the Greeks that they must surrender their livelihoods and enter into decades of an austerity program to repay their bank debts, the Greeks simply said “NUTS!” European bankers have since struggled but have finally and responsibly put forth their newest Greece restructuring plan including a bank “forgiveness” of 50% of Greece’s debt held by the banks. And Greece will most likely not be the last to see its debt reduced as other European countries will ultimately demand equitable treatment as well.

America’s bankers are not ready to accept default. Surrounded by the Fed and both political parties, they are well hidden from public view. Yet America’s little Dutch boys are on the dike exposing their defenses. The Tea Party will continue to press Congress to stop the spending. Without the cover of political largesse to mollify the masses, many of America’s politicians will then be forced to take sides, either openly exposing their support for globalist policies in a vain attempt to gain financial backing for re-election in the face of the electorate, or retreating from previous indefensible positions to save their political feathers from the onslaught of social media exposure. As more Dutch boy politicians are elected, America’s bankers will be left exposed in the open.

Occupy Wall Streeters will continue to root out America’s bankers, exposing unpatriotic profiteering. They should have no illusions that banks will respond to sit-ins or even to riots by agreeing to absorb debts as did the European banks. Yet in clarifying through their movement for the American people our bankers’ complicity, America’s social democracy will build political will to force a realignment of political power that will insist on equitable treatment of debt in America just as elsewhere across Europe.

For what other choice will our bankers have in the end really? When debt becomes so excessive that it strains the ability of a nation to repay it, then it loses its character of debt. If a nation defaults on its debt and international banks cannot force it to repay, then the banks have only the choices of either forfeiting their debt, as the European banks have chosen to do, or exchanging their debt for equity if allowed by the nation and as I have proposed in my set of solutions.

Once America’s little Dutch boys persuade America’s leadership to join Europe’s leadership in returning our nations to economic health, our bankers will have no choice but to join the ranks of the disillusioned and disheartened elite. America’s bankers will finally meet Europe’s bankers in dispassionately determining how they will discharge our excessive debt. When America’s banks accept their partial responsibility for America’s failure to thrive, Americans’ debt of $54 trillion dollars which threatens to stagnate our economy for decades, leading to even greater job losses and further threatening our national security, will be held back behind the water tight dikes of a renewed and prosperous future.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, China, European Crisis, Job Voucher Plan, Multinational Corporations, National Security, Social Media Democracy

Washington D.C. Requires a Step Change in Evacuation Capability

Last week U.S. officials accused the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, with a plan to employ Mexican drug traffickers to kill the diplomat with a bomb as he ate at a Washington restaurant. This potential act of war highlights the brazenness to which state sponsored terrorists have risen and also raises multiple homeland defense and emergency response issues that have been previously discussed but take on new character now that the alleged plot involves a known developer of nuclear weapons that has raised a terror threat against our state, an illegal crossing our national borders, a plot to involve drug organizations that have networks throughout our country, and a planned attack within our capital.

Overlaying this incident with the recent gridlock in DC caused by a minimal earthquake and it elevates the task of improving the status quo evacuation capability of our nation’s capital region to a higher priority. A year ago, I spoke extensively with state leadership in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and emergency leadership of Washington DC about developing a comprehensive evacuation and sheltering plan to dramatically improve the region’s evacuation capability. The plan would include the evacuation of hospitals and other medical facilities as well as shelters in the capital region.

The discussions I conducted entailed achieving a step change in capability by a comprehensive, interagency review of impediments and development of an interagency strategic plan for systematically eliminating these roadblocks through a prioritized method over a multi-year period to significantly improve the region’s capabilities. An overview of the concept can be found on http://www.epi-center.us under ASCEND.

Leadership of each state at the time understood and agreed that the vision I laid out could significantly improve the region’s capabilities and was needed. Most also conveyed that the work involved and the coordination to achieve such results would be significant. In the end, the task seemed potentially overwhelming to some given the difficulty of financing, commitment of time, coordination of efforts, and legislative changes that might be required, and the difficulty of raising the priority of the project to all agencies across state lines. The momentum to overcome status quo inertia seemed insurmountable to many of the leaders given the substantial efforts that had already been consumed to achieve the status quo.

The recent earthquake that caused gridlock in DC clarified more than ever that the corridor is in need of a comprehensive evacuation process that mitigates the mountain of impediments existing in the current system. The idea of hardening the capital for in-situ response is feasible for many disasters but leaves it extremely vulnerable to others.

We know that DC is a terrorist target and that those intent on terror have witnessed the same gridlock that America saw in the aftermath of this minimal earthquake. Apply any number of insidious or natural events that make evacuation imperative and we now know that the status quo will not achieve what is necessary to affect the safe and orderly evacuation of the capital region for all citizens. Apply the brazen attempt to bring a bomb into the district and it heightens the urgency to act.

Every time a real test of our emergency response capabilities shows the limitations of our integrated system, it calls for a widening of scope and scale of strategy and tasks within our imaginations of what can be achieved. The DC earthquake is no different. And now that the world is imagining from this real life event what might be achieved against America’s capital, it is imperative that the emergency community get on with redefining a step change evacuation goal for the capital region.

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America’s Asian Military Bases Must be Re-engineered, Resized, and Replaced

As America continues its campaign to subdue threats of militant Islam, cells of Al Qaida are now quietly sitting out the Arab Spring, reducing their threat to the United States even further. Yet our decade long focus on diminishing threats in the Middle East has drawn our attention away from a much greater threat to our national security, that of an escalating and interconnected Asian economy. China’s regional political and economic power now challenges a cornerstone of America’s foreign policy, the regional stability provided by our omnipresent military. Ultimately, a weaker American military role threatens the very security that America’s multinational corporations counted on when they embarked on a historic transfer of wealth from America to the East during the past three decades.

At the end of WWII in 1945, the United States placed massive encampments both in Germany and in Japan which later became our forward bases to deter communism during the Cold War. After WWII, the U.S. along with Russia separated Korea into North and South. This action created war in 1950, after which we set up bases along South Korea’s DMZ. America’s dual military Asian front still includes 129 military sites in Japan, three quarters of which are located on the islands of Okinawa, and 117 military sites in South Korea.

America’s placement of troops in Asia, our successful containment of communism, the Soviets distraction in Afghanistan for a decade beginning in 1979, and China’s simultaneous opening of their economy to the West gave American capitalists the relative safety to flood the East with investments. America’s factories throughout Asia coupled with “free trade” policies in the West supported East Asia’s phenomenal growth and strengthened regional political ties that built an economic juggernaut with China at its hub. The subsequent rise of China to preeminence has created a magnet that is drawing Japan and both Koreas toward her future. Their shifting alliances from the West to the East are now building momentum to pull the ground beneath America’s Asian bases out from under us.

A political battle ensued in 2008 in Japan to close the flagship of America’s Japanese military bases, our military complex on the islands of Okinawa. Located 1,800 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, the islands of Okinawa were occupied by 110,000 Japanese forces in a battle toward the end of the WWII that ended in the death of 150,000 of its civilians in the bloodiest battle of the war. Afterward, to the resentment of the Okinawans, the United States built a military complex covering over 20 percent of the main island that continues to house over half of the U.S. military personnel in Japan to this day.

Resentment to America’s occupation of Okinawa has increased over the years and with Japan’s growing ties to the rest of Asia, support for America’s continued military presence is waning. Japan no longer requires our military for defense, now that it supports its own highly advanced self defense force of 250,000 with the sixth largest military budget in the world. Our negative cultural influences in Japan, including crimes, noise, pollution, and our nuclear footprint have also created growing animosity.

In 2008, the progressive wave that swept Barak Obama to power in America also placed Yukio Hatoyama in the seat of power in Japan. Born into a Japanese democratic family dynasty similar to America’s Kennedys, upon his election Prime Minister Hatoyama promised to move Japan away from an American centric focus to strengthen Asian ties. In his short term in office, he stopped support for America’s Afghanistan efforts and warmed relations with both Korea and China, recognizing the East’s future importance to the fate of Japan. One of Hatoyama’s main campaign promises was to close the American bases located in Okinawa. When he was unable to accomplish this critical goal, he resigned in 2009. However, his leadership represented a rising tide among the Japanese people toward the East.

In 1991, Japan opened normalization talks with North Korea by formally apologizing for its occupation from 1910 to 1945. And though Japan’s war crimes still affect her relationship with China, Japan is now China’s largest trading partner. Nonetheless, in August of 2011, China called Japan’s questioning of her “overbearing military build-up” irresponsible. China increased its military spending 12 percent this year to $100 billion. (At this rate of increase, China’s military budget would equal America’s in 15 years)

Like Japan, South Korea has claimed the United States as an ally since WWII. As North Korea has one of the world’s largest standing armies of 1.2 million men as opposed to South Korea’s 700,000, and as North Korea also has a substantial advantage over South Korea in offensive weapons, the United States has continued to be an effective deterrent. Yet South Korea is also becoming weary of our continued military presence.

After having been liberated from Japanese occupation in 1945 and after having repelled China out of its country in 1950, South Korea officially opened ties to Japan in 1965 and to China in 1992. After announcing its sunshine policy in 1998, South Korea significantly advanced its relationship with North Korea and has been re-orienting itself toward reunification of the peninsula ever since. While still an ally of the U.S., South Korea nonetheless has become the most active promoter of strong ties between Asian countries including China. Both countries have been aggressively investing in their mutual neighbor, North Korea. China holds enormous sway with North Korea, as 75 percent of North Korea’s trade is with China alone.

After establishing diplomatic relations in 1992, in just ten short years, South Korea advanced China as its number one trading partner in 2003, surpassing the United States. In 2008, the two countries announced their relationship as a “strategic cooperative partnership.” With South Korea’s aggressive Sino-shift, nationalists within the country are actively questioning America’s involvement. The Korean War is less prominent in their minds and they are resistant to America’s new terrorism focus. Most recently, South Korean citizens have opposed a naval base on the island of Jeju that allegedly will be a transit for U.S. warships opposing China. However, as recent as today, South Korean officials denied that the United States will use the base for an offensive purpose.

China seems to be disciplining South Korea into its fold. Over the past decade, skirmishes between North and South Korea have given each the opportunity to exert their dominance. After multiple provocations by North Korea prodded South Korea to take a more firm military stance in 2008, North Korea sank a South Korean Navy vessel in 2010, prompting the U.S. to hold joint naval exercises with South Korea in the contested waters of the Yellow Sea in response. North Korea then attacked a small South Korean Island in the Yellow Sea.

Instead of siding with South Korea over this incident, China rebuked her. Recognizing her growing interdependence with China, South Korea’s response to China has since been to press even harder for diplomatic and economic relations while giving lip service to the United States of her continuing need for military and diplomatic ties.

Ultimately, the path forward for South Korea, North Korea, and China is clear, albeit potentially rocky. China and South Korea are aiming for $300 billion in bilateral trade within four years and their trade is growing at 22 percent per year. Negotiations toward a free trade agreement are also ongoing. For peace, stability and prosperity of the region, South Korea and China will ultimately build a path through and including North Korea in trilateral agreement, eventually reuniting the two Koreas.

What do Japan and South Korea’s overtures to the rest of Asia mean to the United States? We may find that soon our bases in both countries that we used to extend the strength of our military and to provide political stability that multiplied our economic strength coming out of WWII and that of our trading partners, will no longer be political acceptable to either Japan or Korea. The era of our military proximity to China may end.

Yet we no longer use these bases to contain communist aggression. The Cold War is over and war with China is unlikely in the near term. Maintaining bases in Japan and South Korea as deterrents to war is costly, and bases for counter terrorism in such places as Indonesia, certainly do not call for such a large footprint. Our proximity to China and to a militarized North Korea does present a surprise advantage to any future enemy attack, à la Pearl Harbor. We do still have defense commitments both to South Korea and to Taiwan but what is the size footprint required for those diminishing needs?

We are in Asia to hold onto the remaining power we gained in WWII, yet China’s political and economic alliances have usurped the protective military measures that once bound the East to America. As China gains economic strength and pressures our commodity and trading relationships, protection of shipping lanes from our major trading partners to the United States will become a critical priority. That priority will likely require, however, a different mix of bases than we currently operate. As we develop a stronger military corridor, in the interim, U.S. interests in South East Asia will be well defended by its allies Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

While the East Asian region may benefit just as South Korea is now by keeping America as a counterbalance to any potential future China aggression, East Asia will certainly not allow the United States military to pursue any containment policy aimed at slowing China’s growth. America therefore needs to rethink its military role going forward in Asia with an eye on protecting our transplanted manufacturing that is vital to our economic and national security. However, the massive post war forward base mentality that is draining America’s military budget while no longer achieving earlier vital objectives is not in our nation’s best interest.

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Filed under China, Foreign Policy, National Security, War

Is It Time to Rethink Our Military Foreign Base Strategy?

Empires have historically extended military reach to extract value from other countries. At the height of its power in 117 AD, Rome maintained 37 foreign military bases within its extended empire. Great Britain had 36 such major bases at its zenith in 1898, quartering troops in major cities of its colonies, the likes of which incited America to revolution. The United States now maintains 37 major bases, similar to other historical empires.

However, America’s military dominance extends well beyond its major bases, or any empire in history. With a military budget of over $1.4 trillion a year, the United States spends twice the budget of all other nations combined, supporting 1,200 bases on foreign soil, controlling 95 percent of the world’s foreign military bases at a cost of $120 billion a year (Not including Iraq and Afghanistan). Our military has grown staggeringly to consume the majority of America’s tax dollars, supporting:
• 2.5 million military personnel
• 800,000 civil service and private hires
• Deployments in 135 countries with bases in 63 countries valued at $700 billion
• 865 foreign bases (Not including 200 in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps an additional 200 unlisted sites)
• 4,400 domestic U.S. military sites
• 22 million acres of owned land and an additional 10 million of leased land
• 845,000 owned buildings

Yet our foreign bases concentrate on outdated strategies of antique wars (735 out of 865 bases) rather than transferring and transforming to future strategic security needs:
• 289 Germany
• 230 Europe (Including 30 NATO, Not Including Germany)
• 129 Japan
• 117 South Korea
• 48 Middle East (Not counting Iraq and Afghanistan)
• 16 strategic supply Islands
• 15 South and Central America
• 6 East Asia (not Including S. Korea and Japan)
• 2 Africa
• 1 Australia

We have built amenities to support our foreign bases such as 230 military golf courses yet have established wasteful and unclear military goals for our foreign bases. As an example, about 200 bases were built in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the $2.4 billion was spent building a dozen bases that originally were intended to continue America’s history of establishing outposts in defeated lands. In addition to airports and fortifications, we built 25-meter swimming pools, football and softball fields, full-service gyms, squash courts, and movie theaters. Now, we are preparing to turn these bases over to Iraqis who have shown a propensity to gut and loot our bases only hours after our departure.

If America’s military strategy is to protect the American people, then its foreign base budget is overtly out of line with its mission, and has misplaced priorities outside our national interest. If it is to tamp down on past international aggressors, their American allegiance can in no way justify our current base expenditures. If it our strategy is to continue our pre-globalization era colonization strategies of projecting gunboat diplomacy to control the world’s commodities, it has already been encircled by China’s alternative worldwide strategy of commodity collaboration. If it is to secure our significant share of the world’s energy resources, our unintended destruction of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is quickly destroying any military control of oil and gas options except for conquest and occupation.

Continuance of our fixed base strategy has outlived Russia’s dominance, sourly witnessed North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear circumvention, and now faces a Chinese military buildup that will technologically outmaneuver our aging fleets. America cannot be bludgeoned by our political system that continues to waste precious military expenditures on outdated military structures at the expense of a national strategy to propel us much more cost effectively into a more militarily secure future that stresses agility as opposed to foreign fortresses.

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Without Economic Security, America Has No National Security

A corporation’s mission is to provide profit to their shareholders. Other stakeholders must be satisfied so that they support the corporation, yet America has no law against maximizing profit to the detriment of other stakeholders.

When China opened its doors after 150 years and created special economic zones in which American companies could set up shop as long as they brought their trade secrets and intellectual capital, 40,000 did just that without reprisal from the United States. It certainly was not illegal to do so, and of course, the American consumer was rewarded with somewhat lower prices.

Another stakeholder, Congress, got enormous campaign contributions by China bound corporations, and there certainly isn’t a law against that. In fact, America turns a blind eye to average senate races costing 10 million dollars that have been paid for by our corporations and banks, more than 90 percent of campaign donations. We do not fault our Congress for passing laws to help their corporate constituents nor do we fault our Supreme Court, whose recent ruling on Citizens United gave corporations the unique status of having citizen rights without citizen responsibilities.

By paying the $150 dollar fee to become a corporation, businesses gain property rights that are sacrosanct in America. Corporations can sell property even if it harms others, in most cases. In a very few, such as that is being raised with GE, when a corporation attempts to sell a trade secret or intellectual property that could put our fighting men and women in harm’s way, we stop the sale in the interests of national security. But when 40,000 companies took their intellectual property to China, America did not claim national security.

And why would we have when the China gold rush began in 1979? Our industrial belt had been rusted by international competition and we were told that globalization would bring millions of jobs to America. It did but it took tens of millions more away. We were also told that imported goods would be cheaper than American ones and they are. But the cost of lost jobs, lost wages, less taxes, fewer factories, transferred intellectual property, future GDP growth, trade imbalances, and greater interest on trillions of borrowed debt was way costlier than the savings from Chinese trinkets.

By moving millions of jobs off shore, we gutted regions of collaborating industries like Detroit, Youngstown and Pittsburgh, whose workers, engineers, scientists, and businessmen intermingled to create next generation developments that would grow America’s future prosperity. But can we fault our corporations just because their collective actions cost America millions of future jobs and GDP? No, we cannot for our laws do not even suggest that American corporations should consider our citizenry as stakeholders. And in 2011, America has not yet even considered that our economic security is directly tied to our national security.

Without yet considering how we will support a future war of attrition without domestic factories, our nation has not yet debated our financial security. America now has bulged her budget to 3.4 trillion dollar budget yet collects only 2.2 trillion in federal taxes. We are forced to borrow from the Chinese the very dollars we give them for their trinkets, while keeping 30 million of our citizens underemployed. Our credit rating has finally been lowered because of this folly, and now our Congress is faced with making deep cuts to our budget which may include substantially reducing our military capability.

We have not connected our past decisions to allow our corporations to give millions of intellectual properties to the Chinese in trade for access to their markets and to their cheap labor to our national security. Yet these decisions have in fact lessened our national security, because without economic security, we have no national security.

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Filed under Federal Budget, Foreign Policy, Multinational Corporations, National Security, U.S. Tax Policy