March 8, 2005

Sobering Possibilities

A previous posting highlighted some sobering possibilities in international politics.

A recent editorial by Arnaud de Borchgrave only reinforces some of the growing geopolitical challenges and risks:

Imagine a world where Russia and the European Union of 25 nations, and Russia and China, and the EU and China, all find more in common with each other than with the United States...the seeds of such an anti-U.S. entente were planted in Europe last week.

In Brussels, President Bush told the EU3 — France, the United Kingdom and Germany — it was their responsibility to quash Iran's nuclear ambitions and the United States would not negotiate directly with the totalitarian theocracy in Tehran. The U.S. position was judged absurd by the EU3 before Mr. Bush arrived. And it was still deemed absurd after he left…

Russia, meanwhile, says it is satisfied the mullahs are not playing with nuclear fire and it will go on helping Iran's peaceful nuclear power program. Score one for a rapprochement between the EU and Russia over Iran.

Next comes the EU plan to lift a 15-year-old arms embargo against China next June…

The last major crisis between China and...[Taiwan] 1996. As volleys of Chinese missiles plunged into the sea near Taiwan, Mr. Clinton quickly dispatched two carriers to the region. Today, say Pentagon war planners, carriers wouldn't scare Beijing the way they did then. China now has the latest Russian submarine torpedoes that can arc around a carrier, attack from the stern and knock out its giant propellers.

What the Chinese want from European defense industries are the electronics for command and control, as well as communications and surveillance, to achieve command of a modern battle space, the way the U.S. did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Congress has already blown the whistle. The House recently voted 411-3 to warn the EU if it lifts the arms embargo on China, the U.S. will halt technology transfers to Europe. The Senate will follow suit shortly. The Europeans are now drawing up a list of American "civilian" technology transfers they say have added muscle to China's military girth. Score one for rapprochement between the EU and China.

It is yet to dawn on U.S. gatekeepers that 6.7 percent of Chinese defense imports come from the United States and only 2.7 percent from Europe…Russia gets most of China's $15 billion defense market.

On the third front — Russia's democracy deficit — cooler heads prevailed…Mercifully, Mr. Putin and President Bush focused instead on the survival of civilization — combating nuclear terrorism. Russia still has thousands of nukes, some of them still loose, and scores of still insecure nuclear materials storage facilities. Ten billion dollars has been spent in 10 years under Nunn-Lugar legislation to foil would-be terrorists seeking to acquire Russian nuclear know how. Another $20 billion — half from EU and Japan — has been committed to finish the job by 2010.

CIA Director Porter J. Goss recently testified terrorists "have targeted nuclear weapons storage sites." Former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn believes it would be a miracle if leakage has not already occurred…

In the meantime, the United States has introduced a new counterintelligence policy:

The Bush administration has adopted a new counterintelligence strategy that calls for "attacking" foreign spy services and the spy components of terrorist groups before they can strike, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday...

The new mission for counterintelligence is to identify foreign spies and terrorist threats, and then develop "a counterintelligence doctrine of attacking foreign intelligence services systematically via strategic counterintelligence operations," [National Counterintelligence Director] Miss Van Cleave said.

The offensive counterintelligence strategy is part of the Bush administration's policy of pre-empting strategic threats. It is also part of President Bush's announced plan to promote democracy and freedom and undermine global tyranny, she said.

In the past, counterintelligence often was limited to "catching spies."…

In the battle against terrorists, new counterintelligence activities will target the intelligence services of state sponsors of terrorism, such as Syria and Iran.

"The intelligence services of state sponsors may represent the key links in the global terrorist-support network," Miss Van Cleave said. "Terrorist groups perform traditional intelligence activities in the way they gather information, recruit sources and use assets."

Under the new strategy, U.S. intelligence agencies will more aggressively work to disrupt terrorist operations by targeting their intelligence links.

The strategy was approved March 1 by the president, and formal guidance to the CIA, FBI and other security agencies involved in counterintelligence work will be issued in the next several weeks…A formal report on the strategy also will be made public and sent to Congress…

Miss Van Cleave's comments came as FBI and CIA officials at the conference said the threat from foreign intelligence services -- specifically, Russia and China -- is growing.

Barry Royden, a veteran CIA official, said Russian intelligence services are targeting U.S. troops in the Middle East for recruitment as agents, as well as seeking recruits among Americans in Russia.

Russian intelligence officers are using "very aggressive actions and operations," including blackmail, extortion and entrapment "to try to get people to commit espionage," Mr. Royden said…

Tim Bereznay, a senior FBI counterintelligence official, said Chinese intelligence activities are a major threat -- specifically, Beijing's covert targeting of U.S. weapons technology.

Counterintelligence against Chinese spying "is our main priority,"…

"China has somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 front companies in the U.S., and their sole reason for existing is to steal, exploit U.S. technology," Miss Bronson said…

China has "an aggressive military modernization program and we're concerned about that aggressive military modernization program, and that's probably going to be one of the biggest challenges in the combination of the counterintelligence and technology security world in the next five or 10 years," Miss Bronson said.

America faces some determined and powerful foes. For the sake of freedom around the world, we must never forget that - and then act appropriately in response.


The news in this March 13, 2005 article notes that:

China's top legislative body has approved a resolution that authorizes Beijing to use military force to prevent Taiwan from declaring its move against any formal secession attempt by Taiwan as a last resort...The law also declares that the status of Taiwan "is China's internal affair, which subjects to no interference by any outside forces."


Here is some additional news on Russia and the energy industry.