Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More News: Part Two

Chinese spy ring:
China on Tuesday denied a research report's contention that a China-based computer spy ring stole sensitive information from thousands of hard drives worldwide, calling the accusation a lie meant to feed anxiety over Beijing's growing influence.
Need a weak defense? Follow China's lead. Unleash teams of hackers to steal sensitive information from governments around the world, and when called out on it, protest that they are just trying to spread "anxiety" over your "growing influence." Well yea, that is what we're doing.
Officials in the U.S., Britain and Germany have accused Chinese hackers backed by China's military of intruding into their government and defense computer networks.
How is this not a huge story? Oh, that's just China for you. Military hacking programs to steal government and defense information. No big deal, I guess.
Speaking at a media briefing, [Foreign Ministry spokesman] Qin [Jang] did not directly respond to questions about whether the network exists and if its actions are supported by the government. Instead, he said Beijing opposes criminal activities that compromise computer networks and criticized the report for claiming otherwise.
How do they get away with this? Because we tell ourselves that we are their friends, and they, ours.

The article goes on to demonstrate that these hackers are not typical Chinese nationalist hackers, or cyberpunks, or what-have-you, but a sophisticated and organized network that bares the marks and tactics of espionage. China's defense? "Their attempt to tarnish China with such lies is doomed to failure." Well, I agree. It is doomed to failure.

In a further report, Qin Jang elaborated:
"Nowadays the problem is that there are some people abroad avidly concocting rumors about China's so-called Internet espionage," spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news briefing.

"There's a ghost abroad called the Cold War and a virus called the China threat," Qin continued, breaking into English-language phrases to make his meaning clear.

"People possessed by the ghost of the Cold War constantly issue this China threat virus."
Oh, that's really clever. Ha-ha! I forgot all about your military hackers already! You brought up the Cold War, and that is so over! God forbid you should accuse us of having a Cold War mentality. Let me guess, President Obama is the right man to forge a new path and a new way of thinking, past the kind of paranoid, Cold War thinking that makes us see your theft of sensitive defense information as a threat?
"The attempts of these people to use rumors to vilify China will never succeed," said the Chinese spokesman Qin.
Again, he's probably right.

Now, we turn to a world currency. Once the domain of conspiracy theorists, it's now becoming a reality. China is on board! So is Russia! And our own Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, is open to the idea! Well, what are we waiting for?
Ahead of the Group of 20 summit in London later this week, the Kremlin has published a raft of proposals to overhaul the global economic order, including plans for a supra-national currency that could replace the US dollar.
Make no mistake, there will be some sort of decision about this at the G20 summit. Soon we will be embarking on a path toward an international currency system that is anchored not by the U.S. dollar, but by European interests ultimately controlled by Shanghai and Moscow. Of course:
US President Barack Obama has said he does not see why the dollar should be replaced and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the summit would have more immediate issues to discuss.
He says this now. But he will be singing a different tune come next month. How can our naive and simple President fail to turn down something that sounds transnational and progressive? As for China:
“This is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money,” said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC.
Perhaps now we see the folly in allowing the Communist Chinese ("as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets") to have a say about our economy and our dollar?

What will happen is that our administration will agree in principle that U.S. regulatory agencies should be supervised by the International Monetary Fund, an organization (unlike the World Bank) in which the U.S. has little say. This is likely to happen, and there is very little we can do about it.

Russia and their gold:
Chinese and Russian leaders both plan to open debate on an SDR-based reserve currency as an alternative to the US dollar at the G20 summit in London this week, although the world may not yet be ready for such a radical proposal.

[Arkady Dvorkevich, the Kremlin's chief economic adviser,] said it was "logical" that the new currency should include the rouble and the yuan, adding that "we could also think about more effective use of gold in this system".
Why gold? First, Russia has massive untapped gold resources. Second, Russia has been furiously buying gold assets. And lastly, the U.S. and the West have been ignoring gold for a couple decades now.

A couple new stories from today: First, apparently the Chinese have developed a special "kill weapon" to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. The significance of this is unclear. But this much is obvious:
In recent years, China has been expanding its navy to presumably better exert itself in disputed maritime regions. A recent show of strength in early March led to a confrontation with an unarmed U.S. ship in international waters.
China and Russia both have been spending huge percentages of their budget on military research, development, and armament projects. This is important to keep in mind along with their current economic coup. Meanwhile, in the United States:
A Senate defense committee chairman says Pentagon budget will include large, painful cuts. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said Tuesday that major program cuts will not be pushed off until the 2011 budget, but will be included when Defense Secretary Robert Gates sends his spending plan to the president later this month.
Different directions.