By Wes Pedersen
Have you noticed? The world is coming apart at the seams.
No, seriously, this time it really is.
Consider these facts, and ponder them with care. They are facets of our future we tend to think of as separate, isolated problems when in reality they are all linked together.
Washington hasn’t a clue in the Middle East. The region is aflame with rebellion now, but the administration did not recognize that the tinderbox had caught fire until well into the insurrection in Libya.
We think of ours as a sovereign nation, and proclaim the sanctity of our borders and those of countries around the world. Yet under the new doctrine announced by the president, we have the right to intercede militarily on behalf of rioting demonstrators overseas. The heads of foreign governments we do not like are endangered.
The brutality of this approach is highlighted by Senator John McCain. Visiting Libyan rebels, he said Col. Gadaffi “should be taken out.” That’s a statement about a national leader courted by White Houses for years.
I am convinced that Obama did not expect the full impact of his promise of U.S. help for activists protesting tyranny would have throughout the region. He made the pledge, I believe, as a PR ploy that neither he nor anyone else in his administration expected to be taken up by so many new-born revolutionaries.
We now have demands for help coming in from activist groupings in country after country in the Middle East and we do not have the resources of any sort to meet them.
We are ignoring the fourth war.
We are involved in four wars now—in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and, potentially the most vital to us as a nation, Cyberspace. Near Washington, a battalion or more of specially
trained cy- ops is working to detect and, where possible, repulse an increasing number of cyber attacks on our fighting forces, our corporations, our educational institutions, and our liberties.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Bill Mullen, says this new war may ultimately be more important to our survival than the other three. He says the threat from China, in particular, is “scary.” China pros have intruded into U.S. government and military institutions, corporations and institutions and experts here have acknowledged that we have yet to develop an effective response.
There is hardly a country that has not been hacked by Chinese experts. In France, for example, hacking by the Chinese recently forced the finance ministry to shut down 10,000 computers.
All this while China builds a military force of huge dimensions to equal that of the U.S. and, as a first goal then, challenge our fleet for control of the Pacific.
The media are largely ignoring the story, as so many did with the developing crises in the Middle East.
Worse, we have a presidential election coming up, and the list of potential candidates is drearier, sadder, and more pathetic than ever before.
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Wes Pedersen is a retired Foreign Service Officer and principal at Wes Pedersen Communications and Public Relations Washington, D.C.