Taking the long view: comparing the 9-11 Commission and the Warren Commission
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/16/2004 - 23:16 ] #
I seem alone among my colleagues in comparing the 9-11 Commission, formerly known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, and the Warren Commission, formerly known as the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, yet I find it instructive in comparing the two in terms of the tenor of the times in terms of the relationship between government and its citizens, the scope of information considered, how the commissions operated, how data was declassified and progressively shared, how the conclusions were released, and how those conclusions were received.
From my viewpoint, I find the current commission to be light-years ahead of the earlier one in terms of balancing public and private interests, presenting data in 'bite-sized' morsels that can be discussed, reasonably validated, "sniff-tested, and assimilated. Thus it is all the more surprising to me that some significant portion of the US electorate continues to believe in an al Qaeda-Iraqi linkage despite the information now coming to light. From what I can determine from CNN newscasts, this belief may be part of the rationale of the Vice President's continued pursuit of the pre-war Iraqi-al Qaeda operational cooperation.
In reading today's two 9-11 Commission reports, Overview of the Enemy and Outline of the 9/11 Plot, I was further startled to learn that we knew effectively all of the data "somewhere" but could not assemble it (except it would seem under the duress of a commission review), how ignorant we were of al Qaeda's capacity to plan and operate worldwide, and how flexible was their organization in the face of vast internal disagreements as to targets, timing, and staffing that would have derailed or surfaced the plan of a lesser organization. I am left to conclude that our hubris is extraordinary to the point of being dangerous. No wonder that elements of the Chinese military feel that we are a 'beatable' adversary with an over reliance on C4IR tools.
Thinking of how our government reached this impasse, I found it instructive to review the comments made this morning by the nonpartisan Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change. This reading is ever more poignant when one reads Chinese sources that refer to a US "unipolar" diplomatic approach in contrast to the Chinese "multipolar" approach contained in its "Peaceful Rise" diplomatic initiative that seeks to "advance without upsetting existing orders." Both are worth a read. The contrast could not be more great.
Staff Statement No. 15: Overview of the Enemy
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
16 June, 2004
Staff Statement No. 16: Outline of the 9/11 Plot
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
16 June, 2004
Bush's Unsupported Assertion
Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004; 10:32 AM
White House Briefing
By Dan Froomkin
Retired Diplomats, Military Commanders Fault Bush's Leadership
Administration Unable to Handle Global Leadership, Former Ambassadors, Generals Say
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 16, 2004; 3:32 PM
'Peaceful rising' seeks to allay 'China threat'
By Bruce Klingner
Mar 12, 2004
CHINA'S PERCEPTIONS OF THE USA: The View from Open Sources
Dr. Michael Pillsbury
October 19, 2001
InfoT Public Infrastructure Defense Public Strategic Risk Public
First proof of concept virus for mobile phones
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/16/2004 - 20:11 ] #
Proof of concept viruses most often presage variants, from the original authors or other groups, with much more hostile payloads. (The rare exception was a Palm handheld virus.) The first mobile phone virus, Cabir, has appeared, using Bluetooth to scan for target phones within range (30 meters). While this infection range is "small" in comparison to WiFi, I can see it having good effect in crowded, transit areas such as airports, conferences, and tradeshows. The proof of function status of the virus is also reflected in the need of the target to accept a file of unknown source.
The attack is sufficiently simple that the only surprise is that it has not occurred sooner. I vote with those that expect increasingly hostile payload variants as the current volume and ubiquity of cell phones offers the kind of target and associated ego boost that would follow a successful attack.
First mobile phone virus created
BBC NEWS 16 June 2004
Published: 2004/06/16 07:44:40 GMT
Cybersecurity Public InfoT Public
Electoral buffeting in Europe
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/15/2004 - 21:54 ] #
While we in the US were focused on Iraq and our domestic issues, Europe's electorate turned in the lowest voter turnout ever tallied by the European Parliament even as that electorate turned out, or turned upon, many of its constituent national governments.
While there are many victims, notable among them supporters of the US-led Iraqi effort or of a strong European Union, most incumbent parties received a thrashing, giving rise to a consistent underlying theme is a drop in voter support of the European Parliament as its powers have expanded to the point that it "has the power to approve nearly 80 percent of EU legislation," can pass on "the EU's EUR95 billion budget and can fire the European Commission."
Little known to most US readers, this powerful body is about to try to hammer out a draft EU constitution, create Euro-coalitions among parties with similar political leanings, and pass on the merits of Turkish EU candidacy. The recent vote could be both buyer's remorse on the part of newly admitted states (which usually have a high voter turnout) and a signal to the legislatures of member states to proceed very cautiously.
I see the original six signatories of the Treaty of Paris (France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands) as the core of European nations that had borne the brunt of fighting on what became the "allied side" of the post WW II divide. (France was intent on anchoring West Germany into western orbit, while blunting its military growth and so deflecting further Soviet ire.) As EC, and now EU, membership expanded southward and now eastward into former Warsaw Pact nations, it has been my opinion that it will be harder and harder for members to find common cause and effective collective policy. (They certainly will bridle under continued French hegemony of EU foreign policy.)
This is hardly the vision that rose with Jean Monnet (also here), arguably Europe's architect of union in the wake of WW II, who voiced the idea that European union was "was indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations." I have often wondered where Monnet himself drew the boundary on a functioning European organ.
Europe's National Governing Parties Suffer Heavy LossesWorld Bank Development News
14 June 2004
InfoT Public Strategic Risk Public
Where is the greater madness: Khobar, Saudi Arabia, or Washington D.C.
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/8/2004 - 11:38 ] #
Over a period of two days I was driven to wonder where was the greater madness, marveling at the contrasting legal and cultural models that gave rise to such disparate views, and thinking of the gulf to bridge when each considers themselves sane and the other mad:
(1) A Saudi cleric's fatwa delivered not at an obscure mosque but to the web decreed "that the dead can be mutilated as a reciprocal act when the [Infidel] enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses, or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation. In the second category, the reasons include "to terrorize the enemy" or to gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior.
(2) A Justice department classified report on interrogation methods rising from the inability to produce sufficient results from conventional methods described "a range of legal issues related to interrogations, offering definitions of the degree of pain or psychological manipulation that could be considered lawful," but resolved that normal strictures on torture might not apply "because nothing is more important than "obtaining intelligence vital to the protection of untold thousands of American citizens""
It is a symbol of the two cultures that the former was delivered to the widest audience while the latter was delivered to the narrowest. The jury is still out on the Saudi's response to the fatwa as they know that the House of Saud is the ultimate target. Similarly, the jury is still out on the formal, public US response to this view of the observing of the Geneva Conventions.
I suggest that one read both (and I also cite the Post if the Journal is not at hand) and try to think of the larger system at play here as well as the secondary effects to all parties in continuing on their current paths. Mind you, I tend to favor the Israeli model in which we formally deny and selectively employ over a blanket rejection that puts dangerous tools into the hands of the unsupervised and unskilled while opening our already low global image to further predation and our troops to further peril.
NEW VIOLENCE, OLD PROBLEM
The Saudis Fight Terror, but Not Those Who Wage It
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
New York Times
June 6, 2004
Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture
Security or Legal Factors Could Trump Restrictions, Memo to Rumsfeld Argued
By JESS BRAVIN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
June 7, 2004; Page A1
Memo Offered Justification for Use of Torture
Justice Dept. Gave Advice in 2002
By Dana Priest and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 8, 2004; Page A01
InfoT Public Strategic Risk Public Terrorism Public
Partisanship and polarization: Antithesis of good analysis
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/7/2004 - 22:54 ] #
Circling the Wagons, an Op-Ed piece on partisanship and its role as fundamental element of polarization by David Brooks left me saddened as he spoke to the collapse, even the retaining of pretence, of a "perfectly rational world [in which] citizens would figure out which parties best represent their interests and their values, and they would provisionally attach themselves to those parties [such that if] their situations changed or their interests changed, then their party affiliations would change."
Instead, he cites "Partisan Hearts and Minds" which argues "that party attachment is more like attachment to a religious denomination or a social club [and that once that affiliation has been formed] people bend their philosophies and their perceptions of reality so they become more and more aligned with members of their political tribe."
I thought what a disastrous dialog of the deaf this is between factions of any kind, political or otherwise, and what a failure it would be in terms of 'analysis' were these factions actually trying to sway one another. I was reminded of the interview comments made by Ambassador Robert Blackwill when he spoke of the tribes of policymakers and intel analysts and what a great difficulty it was to get them to talk bidirectionally and usefully to one another for any sustained period of time. Blackwill noted that "mutual ignorance" was the cost of "tribal tensions between analysts and policymakers."
This loss to an intelligent American discourse is all the more painful when one thinks of Heuer's Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, a volume that I still find fascinating not for its hard science but its focus of the so-called soft skills that include analysis of competing hypotheses, cognitive biases, and the effect of those biases in evaluation of evidence, perception of cause and effect, and estimating probabilities.
The world of Heuer and Brooks could not be more different and the effects more damaging to those who "win" or "lose" the presidential election as we must not throw away the other half of the electorate. I would ask that if you read Brooks and feel that there is a need for something better, give Heuer a look and take the time to apply it in conversation. A shibboleth or two might fall in the process.
Speaking of falling shibboleths, some readers have already received a cross-post of an analysis of the center and range of the NPR guest list, How Public is Public Radio?, which caught my eye as NPR is often our choice of 'office music' as we work. FAIR carried out two surveys, in 1993 and 2003, and found, I think with some indignation, that "NPR’s guestlist shows the radio service relies on the same elite and influential sources that dominate mainstream commercial news, and falls short of reflecting the diversity of the American public." Nor does NPR harbor "a liberal bias [that] is an article of faith among many conservatives."
I thought that squared nicely with Brooks' comment that "party affiliation even shapes people's perceptions of reality" and that a "partisan filters out facts that are inconsistent with the party's approved worldview and exaggerates facts that confirm it."
No one can do good analysis for any purpose in such an environment.
Circling the Wagons
By DAVID BROOKS
New York Times
June 5, 2004
Psychology of Intelligence Analysis
Richards J. Heuer, Jr.
Center for the Study of Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency
How Public is Public Radio?
A study of NPR’s guest list
By Steve Rendall & Daniel Butterworth
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Extra!, June 2004
InfoT Public Infrastructure Defense Public Strategic Risk Public
The curve of human expectations is no match for a Hubbert curve
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/6/2004 - 15:38 ] #
If human expectations have a mathematical curve, I often think that it is forever rising against an asymptote of reality which, as it approaches that reality, comes down very sharply, and not at all gradually as the bell-shaped Hubbert curve created by geophysicist Marion King Hubbert, a fitting analogy to his comment that, "Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know."
While my focus had been on the water wars that I predict will make recent petroleum contests seem tame by comparison, After the Oil Runs Out reminded me that the Hubbert curve and its peak followed by gradual decline is returning to world oil production at a time when there are no more worlds to conquer in terms of easily exploitable reserves and that there are vastly more consumers and their governments contesting that declining energy stock.
Hubbert was a remarkable man. Think how startling was his 1949 prediction that the fossil fuel era would be of very short duration, perhaps as short as fifty years. The US was recently triumphant in WW II and the world appeared to be our oyster. Oil production and exploration in Texas and Louisiana seemed a life force in and of itself and then bounded offshore and overseas. Hubbert next predicted in 1956 that US oil production would peak around 1970 and gradually decline thereafter -- which it has done. Go here for a succinct description of the Hubbert peak of the curve.
"After the Oil" notes that:
"It now appears that world oil production, about 80 million barrels a day, will soon peak. In fact, conventional oil production has already peaked and is declining. For every 10 barrels of conventional oil consumed, only four new barrels are discovered. Without the unconventional oil from tar sands, liquefied natural gas and other deposits, world production would have peaked several years ago."
The article goes on to discuss various means of conservation and efficiency gains (such as electrifying mass transit routes), but it only offers a glace at what happens when other nations do not conserve and instead continue to expand their consumption without improving their efficiencies.
The US now has significant geopolitical competitors for energy stocks as their components (oil, natural gas, and coal) are both the feedstock and engine of the modern world. Without them the industrial world as we know it halts. Hydrogen is not an answer as the electricity demands would treble in order to produce the hydrogen. The US is not slaking its vehicular demand for petroleum and when the cost becomes prohibitive I suspect that Japanese badges will harvest buyers as they did in the oil shocks of the 1970s.
Countries such as China will not reduce their energy intake even if their economy falls off. The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) can only maintain its "mandate from heaven" to govern by providing rising economic growth, nor can it maintain the PLA (People's Liberation Army) solely on the "imperial wheat" of government subsidy. Expectations are rising and the changes that I have seen since 1980 are enormous yet the Chinese are only at the bloom of a vast consumer boom that will draw in more energy.
No wonder that there has been a recent request for a feasibility study for a new nuclear power reactor in the US. Unless new, massive reserves are discovered soon, the current world Hubbert peak is believed to be in the 2015-2025 period, but as short as 2010 and as "distant" and 2040. Demand will not be dropping in that period short of a Malthusian intervention.
We now have fundamentalist terrorists in the mix that will use every opportunity to increase the cost of oil and so further damage our economies. And if the fates collude, we can have simultaneous energy and water wars. After all, the next major conflict in the Middle East is said to be a water war and this time it will not be an exclusive Arab-Israeli event. (I am already musing over which Arab states will ally themselves with Israel.)
After the Oil Runs Out
By James Jordan and James R. Powell
Sunday, June 6, 2004; Page B07
Energy from Fossil Fuels
February 4, 1949
The Energy Resources of the Earth
Energy and Power, A Scientific American Book, 1971, pg 31-39
Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit
By Vandana Shiva
South End Press, 2002
Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly and the Politics of Thirst
by Diane Raines Ward
Riverhead Books, 2002
InfoT Public Strategic Risk Public
Spiderman's inanimate wall and ceiling crawler
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/5/2004 - 20:31 ] #
While a bit dear at $14K USD, the radio-controlled (R/C) robot, SpyBot Climber, is no doubt the first of a series of wall and ceiling crawlers that can deliver a nominal one pound payload over "many smooth and uneven vertical surfaces – wall board, plaster, brick, cinder block, and siding." It is said to be able to transit unaided an interior right angle (horizontal to vertical to horizontal), and can traverse a ceiling if first placed there. It does have limitations, e.g.., it can not traverse an external corner unaided nor can it transit from vertical to inverted.
Still, if it works as stated, it's advertised purpose of delivering a security cam to a point on a building can be turned into a delivery platform for a half-kilo of C-4 or Semtex. It is said to employ a six-wheel drive train that prevents wheel spin and uses a "patented technology to pull itself to surfaces" instead of the suction cups of earlier devices. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery pack provides some 45 to 60 minutes of combined travel and station-keeping time with a video cam and transmitter. (No mention is made as to its audio level as it traverses any specific surface, so much is still to be known.)
While it may be too clever by half in this incarnation, I can see a growing family of scaling climbers that incorporate the COTS (commercial off the shelf) capacity of the MegaScout and Scout teams of sensing devices for collaborative sensing under joint instruction from the MegaScout and a human operator. As noted in 3rdGen COTS robot teams for collaborative sensing, exploration, mapping, and independent team coordination, the lesser Scouts include a video camera, infrared range finders, light sensors and a pyroelectric sensor for sensing body heat.
I can see the same teamwork capacity among inanimate objects move into an urban environment, carrying sensors, cameras, comm links, and explosives. Security could get a bit harder still.
SpyBot Wall Climbing Camera Bot
3rdGen COTS robot teams for collaborative sensing, exploration, mapping, and independent team coordination
InfoT Public Infrastructure Defense Public
Similar mitigation trajectories: Intellectual property theft and quality
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/4/2004 - 22:55 ] #
I had the opportunity to share some opinions on the impact of intellectual property (IP) theft, some already posted to this list, with a large, global supplier of parts and subsystems that was known for its production and quality focus but it had not been clear to me that the supplier was also ahead of many of its peers in its understanding of the diversion risk that it and its subsuppliers faced in certain regions.
I mentioned certain points from Hemorrhaging intellectual property to Asia, notably that on the established industrial side:
[The] OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers at the top of their respective supply chains) have been virtually ordering their suppliers explicitly or implicitly to China (a) to produce lower cost products for resale back to the OEM or one of the subsuppliers in the chain, or (b) support OEM plants in-country. The demand for cost reduction is the pole star. Our prediction is that the OEMs, whose hubris leads them to mistakenly feel themselves above the risk horizon, will not protect their suppliers as new Chinese or other low-cost country providers come on line and will shift purchases to those new firms, hollowing out their own industrial infrastructure, even as OEMs press those same suppliers for cost reductions on a year-to-year basis.
To this, I added that since the OEMs had financial pressures of their own and would not relent in their demands for immediate direct cost reduction such that the supplier had no opportunity to not go to the desired low cost area, that it was up to the supplier to address the incursions against the intellectual property of their firm and the subsuppliers in any critical path of their supply chain. Returning to "Hemorrhaging," I noted that:
"All technology leaks over time. The trick is to degrade and delay that leak. A major component of that [effort] is to put in place a process that, in simple terms, drives the bad guys down the street to a less well protected firm."
This commenced a discussion in which the supplier noted that it had never demanded such proof of ability from its subsuppliers that they could protect their intellectual property or any shared by this top tier supplier. I noted that was likely so as none of the open source descriptions of their strategic supplier selection process had any mention of IP theft mitigation. I then noted that their supplier selection process did have a vast amount of selection criteria pertaining to quality and that the supplier regularly made detailed examinations of a potential subsupplier's ability to produce quality parts prior to awarding a contract and that it made periodic evaluations of that supplier's ability to sustain its quality.
I offered the prediction that just as quality has become a mandatory requirement in order to bid, i.e., that it had become part of the baseline needs, that successful, surviving firms will make IP theft a part of that same baseline. Furthermore, IP theft mitigation will follow a similar adoption trajectory to that of quality -- and it can be presented to management on that basis in order to ease implementation. Some suppliers will see the need clearly -- or will be selected by their ability to see the need -- and become early adopters that maintain the first mover advantage provided by their R&D while others will fall behind, will be picked off in terms of differentiating technology, and will exit the market.
Suppliers must absorb yet another criteria in order to remain globally competitive. As Dr. Edwards Deming would say at the beginning of every quality seminar, as Clare Crawford-Mason and Linda Doherty recall, "It is not necessary to change. Survival is optional."
Once intellectual property theft mitigation enters the supply chain critical path, it will have an effect equal to quality or better yet, commonality of parts, in restructuring that top tier supplier's supply chain design. (The effect can take time however. We frequently see suppliers attempt to rationalize their supply chains without first performing a parts commonality review.)
Not covered in the discussion was the supplier's construction of advanced R&D facilities in IP risk areas such as China. I maintain that such R&D facilities are no different from Venture Capitalists moving their assets to low (direct) cost but high (total) risk areas. Returning again to "Hemorrhaging":
"Venture Capital (VC) investors are driving their stable of firms to create product and produce revenue. Risk assessment is very low on their horizon. Private conversations reveal that VCs preach the mantra "to their portfolio companies to outsource hardware development and manufacturing to China or become uncompetitive." Some VCs have already made the next step of forming development groups in the PRC precisely to serve their entire stable of firms. Now the VCs have put a superb target-rich environment under one roof. Unlike established industrial firms that already have revenue streams, VCs have little of value in their stable of firms save their intellectual capital."
That must wait for another day. Just remember: Change is not necessary. Survival is not mandatory.
InfoT Public Intellectual Property Theft Public Strategic Risk Public
Attacks on US soil, real and virtual: the Summer Olympics as target
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/3/2004 - 12:33 ] #
It has been said that an attack on the Summer Olympics is as good as an attack on US soil due to the American public's attachment to, and interest in, the games. If that is the case, it will be a miracle that an Olympics incident can be prevented. Consider the following:
- Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups are much more of an operational force in Europe than in the US
- Information sharing among nations still has holes (and the sharing within Germany between police and intelligence as strictures dating back to the early postwar period)
- Greece and Italy are the traditional European "underbellies" when it comes to illegal entry into the EU from outside the region
- Lax immigration and unchecked access from neighboring Albania and Macedonia
- Greece has just had a change of party leadership (the New Democracy Party ousting the Socialists) further creating communications and organizational gaps.
- Large IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and chemical weapons, or their principal components, have been interdicted in the UK and continental Europe
- Major IEDs have already been detonated to devastating effect in immediately adjacent Turkey
- A radiological "dirty bomb" is merely an IED with an isotopic piggyback and those are being stolen nearly at will in Eastern Europe
- One or more bombs, of any kind, do not have to be detonated within the Olympic grounds per se
- European Muslim populations (notably France) have large numbers of sympathizers
- Advanced cellphone detonated devices have already been used in the Madrid Atocha train bombing
- All prepositioned sleeper support and surveillance cells must be on alert or already in motion
- There must be prepositioned weapons and explosives caches for a "mission of need"
- Prepaid, untraceable cellphones are the norm rather than the exception as in the US
- A massive, distributed repair and construction program has been underway in Greece to prepare the Olympic facilities, which in itself is a superb means to preposition weapons and equipment within one or more Olympic facilities.
- The supply chain of contractors, sub-contractors, and employees make a daunting security issue, not to mention the extra on-demand contract and substitute workers
- Construction is now being rushed on innumerable fronts thereby creating untold avenues for one or more undetected ingress-egress preparations, surveillance, and prepositioning
- Things rarely work correctly the first time so there will be ample calls for repairmen and technicians, all in a hurry, of course
- Having a security system is quite different from having skilled, seasoned security staff able to operate that system "under load" and respond to its errors and outages in real-time
- If al Qaeda has an interest in the Olympics, they are already inside Greece
A massive security exercise named Hercules Shield involving US and Greek troops is underway to simulate scenarios as wide as a radiological device and a ship hijacking (but if a ship is taken I think that it will be a sinking not a hijacking).
Both the US and France are contributing funds to ready security measures in time for the 13 August opening ceremony. In order not to scare away US and other visitors as well as to not draw the attention of Congress, US funds for these efforts are not being debated as they do not require Congressional approval.
Athens 2004 - the race to be ready
Story from BBC SPORT
Published: 2004/05/05 07:37:12 GMT
Greek and US forces in Olympics drill
Story from BBC NEWS
Published: 2004/03/10 17:00:46 GMT
Work delays fuel worries on security at Olympics
Charles M. Sennott The Boston Globe
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
The race to secure Athens
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
Posted 2/23/2004 5:29 PM Updated 2/25/2004 11:00 AM
InfoT Public Strategic Risk Public Terrorism Public
Failing to strengthen and rebuild functionally viable interstate relations and prevent erosion of access to resources
- Gordon Housworth [ 6/2/2004 - 21:35 ] #
While it is a necessary requirement for the US to focus on al Qaeda and international terrorism, as opposed to Iraq per se, we must simultaneously look to the longer term of preventing erosion of access to resources, and the continuity and strengthening of functionally viable interstate relations. While we have treated a number of states in an offhand manner, notably those in the third world, those offended states had no counterbalance in terms of a market to which they could sell their goods and services and a sympathetic partner with whom to form beneficial alliance for economic and political gain.
The economic resurgence of China has changed that balance in any essential fuel and raw materials region. China's demand for raw materials, food stocks, semi-finished goods, and fuel in combination with a human-intensive form of diplomacy at all levels, levels that would fall beneath the attention and reach of US diplomacy, are changing the landscape in Saudi Arabia, the Stans and Southwest Asia, Australia, and Brazil to name but a few.
In the case of Brazil, a nation that has long sought to counter US power diplomacy in South America, established Mercosur (Southern Common Market), led the Group of 20 (or G-20) developing nations to force the collapse of the WTO's Cancun round of world trade talks, and has sought to form a South-South Axis with India and South Africa, a relatively benign economic entrée from the PRC was welcome. The era of competition in the 1990s in which Brazil vied with China for foreign direct investment has now given way to a fourfold increase in trade and welcomed Chinese investment in Brazilian manufacturing and infrastructure, notably in ports, roads, and rail lines connecting agricultural and industrial hubs to tideside facilities.
Such investments are key to China's securing supply lines for commodities needed to fuel economic growth. Brazil and China stand to gain diplomatically as both are members of the G-20 countries (which has floated up to G-22). (Other nations include Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.)
Brazil and China will likely continue to find common cause as they increase bilateral trade while seeking concessions in US and EU trade negotiating positions and the reduction of a variety of trade sanctions. (China is lobbying the EU to drop strictures passed in the wake of Tiananmen to sell weapons systems to Beijing.) China has shown itself to be flexible in exercising diplomacy and has presented itself as a much less intrusive and demanding partner than the US, is building personal relationships that the US will have difficulty in unwinding, and has differentiated its "multipolar" diplomacy from what it calls the US' "unipolar" approach of achieving "hegemony" via economic and military power.
Yoichi Funabashi, foreign-affairs columnist for the Asahi Shimbun, reported that a researcher from a Chinese government-affiliated think-tank explained China's "Peaceful Rise" (heping jueqi) by noting, "China aims to grow and advance without upsetting existing orders. We are trying to rise in a way that benefits our neighbors [and] never act haughtily." Many in Europe and the Third World will welcome such a seemingly refreshing posture and be sympathetic to its aims.
I would expect common interest to grow between Brazil and China, just as it will in other areas of mercantile interest to the PRC. The continued US focus on al Qaeda will most likely deprive the US of the attention span and resources to repair and maintain its links with nations that it has taken for granted and that it will need in the future. That may be al Qaeda's ultimate victory.
Cancun: Can the G22 Survive Success?
By Diego Cevallos
Inter Press Service
September 24, 2003
Why the Group of 20 was "Suddenly" Formed
Amb. Rubens Antonio Barbosa
Remarks made at the Cordell Hull Institute, Trade Policy Roundtable
"Getting the WTO Negotiations Back on Track"
Washington D.C., November 25, 2003
Alert - China connection raises new vulnerabilities
FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT
20 May 2004
China's Strategy: Peaceful Ascendancy
By Yoichi Funabashi
Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 3, 2003
InfoT Public Strategic Risk Public
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