Thursday, January 8, 2015

NATO Article 2 - Protecting the Birth of Capital Globalization

NATO - Article 2

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.

Article two represents the private sector and was implemented after World War II to protect the borders of a half-globalized capitalist globe that would eventually expand four decades later after the end of the Cold War.  This article in the Washington Treaty (NATO) clearly shows a strong correlation between establishing a multi-national military security coalition and the protection of an international capitalist market, now known as globalization, and the western implemented international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.  At the time of NATO initiation, international capitalism was still checked by the Soviet Union and threatened by a vulnerable war-ravished Europe that was socially and economically susceptible to anti-capitalist sentiments and communism.  It was obvious that the creation of NATO military contributions would be necessary if all of the U.S. capital that was poured into post-war Europe through the Marshall Plan was to be protected and an international market promoted [1].  At the same time the “Bretton Woods agreements of July 1944, establishing the International Monetary Fund to supervise and maintain global financial relations and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, popularly called the World Bank, to offer large-scale capital loans” [2] would begin to regulate international capitalism, and since stability is the key to capital generation and so-called free trade, it was essential for states invested in capitalism to establish a multi-national military coalition to promote and protect the market regions against communism or socialism, after all….the wretched economic conditions left on the European continent after World War I gave birth to socialism and leaders such as Stalin and Hitler.

While the IMF and World Bank were bypassed by the U.S. for implementing the Marshall Plan after World War II, an international security force such as NATO was necessary in the early stages of international capitalism to further link western member states with common capital interests through the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization in the spirit of Article two by “strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability” [3].  It should be noted here that representation within the Bretton Woods institutions is weighted by financial contributions and not democratic vote, and therefore while the government states, comprised of tax payers, shoulder the military expenses of regional and multinational military protection for capital interests through organizations such as NATO, it is the private sector that continuously regenerates capital based on those requirements and then utilize the regenerated capital to lobby and influence representative democracies to further their interests for further regenerating capital accumulation.

International structure evolutions do not occur overnight though, and this is why Article two of the North Atlantic Treaty was so important.  This can be clearly seen after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which left the overall mission of NATO in question until the appearance of the phantom menace of borderless terrorism, as many of the post-soviet states were usurped into globalization and brought under the Bretton Woods organizations.  The first phase was directly after the collapse of the Soviet Union through IMF loans to former soviet-satellite states as “in May 1992, all 12 of the former Soviet Socialist Republics that had constituted the core of the Soviet Union, and the three Baltic states that had been forcibly annexed in 1940, joined the IMF” [4].  Looking at the World Trade Organization and the expansion of international capitalism after soviet disintegration, “Nine of the 30 countries that acceded through the end of 2012 were formerly part of the Soviet Union, and another ten either had been or remained non-market economies; seven of the 25 countries that were then in the process of accession were similarly former Soviet or Yugoslav republics” [5].  Last but not least, referring back to article two of the treaty, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the early expansion of international capitalism, many of the same post-Soviet states demonstrated their willing-ness to become full members of NATO while others “such as Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uz-bekistan (before 2005) declared themselves NATO’s allies – while some (Georgia, Ukraine) set their medium or long term goals to joining the Alliance in the future”[6]

While the main emphasis when studying NATO has always been on Article five of the treaty, NATO was a system originally implemented to protect capitalist expansion and was pivotal in establishing the transition from a bi-polar international stage to an international free market stage of trade blocs, labor exploitation and natural resource extraction established through Structural Adjustment Policies attached to IMF and World Bank loans under globalization.

[1] Aybet, Gnlnur, and Moore, Rebecca R.  2010.  NATO in Search of a Vision. (Washington, DC, USA: Georgetown University Press, 2010): p. 12

[2] Kunz, Diane.  1997.  “Marshall Plan Commemorative Section: The Marshall Plan Reconsidered: A Complex of Motives,”  Foreign Affairs (June 1997).  Accessed on January 8, 2015.

[3] North Atlantic Treaty.  1949.  Transcript of the North Atlantic Treaty.  North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  Accessed January 7, 2015.

[4] International Monetary Fund.  “After the Fall: Building Nations out of the Soviet Union”  Regional Issues, International Monetary Fund: p. 350..  Accessed on January 8, 2015.

[5] World Trade Orgnaization.  “Assessions,”  The History and Future of the World Trade Organization (world Trade Organization): P. 121.  Accessed on January 8, 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Israeli Intelligence Gathering against the United States: The Impunity of Immunity

In response to Israeli intelligence gathering against the United States, the United States has no choice in accepting these bold actions with a red facial hand print and a straight face because of the amount of political influence that the Israeli lobby holds, whether accumulated from the networking of Jewish capital or the voting power of gentile Christian Zionism, over both political parties of the American representative democratic system.  The leading pro-Israel political influence on American government is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which is viewed as the strongest influence on “Congress, where support for pro-Israeli policies is indeed bipartisan and passionately held”[1] by major political party leaders and private sector giants with capital resources to manipulate American foreign policy toward Israel through lobbying contributions, each melting into the American melting pot of the desire for political longevity, corporate capital accumulation, and the ethnic-religious ideology of Zionism.

Pollard and Israeli HUMINT

Allegedly since the Cold War era, Israel has conducted intelligence gathering against the United States in the political, industrial and technological fields, especially in the area of nuclear weapons, and the most frequent method of this intelligence gathering has been in the form of human intelligence (HUMINT), recruiting American citizens or dual Israeli-American citizens to serve as agents for Israel.  One of the most famous cases of Israeli intelligence gathering against the United States is the Jonathan Pollard case.  Pollard, an American born Jew who served as a civilian terrorism analyst for the United States Navy, was arrested on November 21, 1985 and “arraigned in federal district court on several counts of espionage against the United States as a paid agent for the government of Israel.”[2]  Prior to his arrest, Pollard was found seeking political asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.  The state of Israel vigorously denied that Pollard was a paid agent for decades, but eventually acknowledged state sponsorship and publicly apologized to the United States for the infraction, although since this Israeli admission “more Israeli spies have been arrested and convicted by U.S. courts.”[3]  Even though Pollard has yet to be released from prison for “stealing tens of thousands of secrets for Israel”[4], the state of Israel has already issued him Israeli citizenship and has, with strong support from AIPAC pressure on Capitol Hill, continuously attempted to bargain with various U.S. administrations for Pollard’s release, especially during U.S. brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  In exchange for campaign funding from AIPAC contributors, both private and corporate, many congressional members have come forward to publicly support Pollard’s release as “Israel and pro-Israel groups in America have long lobbied U.S. administrations to free Pollard”[5].  How absurd it must sound in a state without representative democracy and lobbyist organizations to hear a state representative, sworn to serve the people under them, publicly support the release of an state-born citizen who has committed espionage against his own country on behalf of a foreign government, although it is not a secret that the human element can be easily bought and the ethnic ideology of Zionism has no state borders except expanding Israeli borders.

Another example of Israeli HUMINT recruitment of Americans for intelligence gathering is the case of Richard Kelly Smyth, an American “NATO consultant with a high-level security clearance, indicted for illegally shipping krytrons to Israel -- devices which can, among other uses, trigger nuclear weapons”[6].  While governments are often at play when concerning intelligence gathering against the United States and other states, the private sector motive for capital accumulation is also ever present in international intelligence gathering, as was the case in the Smyth case involving technological devices to trigger nuclear weapons.  In the Smyth case, “Smyth’s company, Milco Incorporated of Huntington Beach, California, acted as the American agent for the deal on behalf of Heli Corporation, an Israeli trading company”[7].

Despite only listing two examples, the list of cases involving Israeli human intelligence gathering against the United States stretches from the Cold War era to the Obama Administration and shares the common characteristics of being publicly downplayed by U.S. administrations and Congressional members of both parties, and left unreported, usually through diversion tactics of excessively reporting on other domestically inflammatory issues, by the media in the United States which is predominantly owned by supporters of Zionism.  Not only is the United States politically paralyzed to take diplomatic actions to protect itself and its private sector corporations against aggressive Israeli intelligence gathering through diplomatic actions aimed to reduce Israeli human intelligence recruiting, heavy pro-Israel lobbying on bipartisan American representative democracy has recently engaged in a long-term campaign aimed to eventually grant Israel acceptance into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israeli citizens to enter the United States for ninety days or less without a visa.

U.S. Visa Waiver Program and the Agent of a Foreign Power

The United States Visa Waiver Program is a program under the Department of Homeland Security that allows foreign nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for ninety days or less without first obtaining a visa, which could open a flood gate for human intelligence gathering for a state with such an intelligence gathering history as Israel against the United States[8].  Despite decades of Israeli intelligence gathering against the United States, dual AIPAC sponsored versions of the 2014 “US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which includes a clause that would trigger Israel’s entry into the waiver program”[9] easily passed through the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in 2013 and now only awaits reconciliation and presidential signature to become law.  Again the political clout of AIPAC can be easily observed as “in the House, the most partisan branch of U.S. government, less than 10 percent of the representatives regularly vote against AIPAC-backed bills”[10] and the same successful results can be found within the U.S. Senate.  It is impossible for U.S. counter intelligence to compete with foreign lobbying machines when the organization of AIPAC “as a whole has given almost $96 million in congressional campaign contributions”[11] since 1996.  It doesn’t take a signals intelligence (SIGINT) officer to decipher and read this intelligence. 

            The AIPAC organization itself has faced public accusations of being an agent of a foreign government power for decades and has even been investigated for espionage as “the federal government has at times looked into AIPAC”[12].  Steven J. Rosen, “then-director of foreign-policy issues for AIPAC, was investigated in 2007 for collecting classified U.S. information from government officials and passing it on to American reporters and Israeli officials” [13], only to have the U.S. Attorney drop the charges in 2009 under political pressure from civil liberty groups, congressional sub-committee hearings starring bought-and-paid-for Congressional representatives, and current U.S. administration.


            The United States has no options when it comes to possibly taking diplomatic actions to reprimand the state of Israel on a major scale in response to Israeli intelligence gathering against the United States, because any negative actions towards Israel or terminology reprimanding Israel would never make it through the chambers of the U.S. Congress.  The United States must simply silently acknowledge that American representative democracy has been compromised and major reforms are required within Congress and U.S. lobbying laws to protect the United States from intelligence vulnerabilities, although it is highly unlikely those reforms would ever make it out of the House or Senate. 


[1] Fisher, Max.  2013.  “Who’s Afraid of AIPAC: Is Everything We Think About Lobbying and Foreign Policy Wrong?”  Washington Post, October 30, 2013.

[2] McConnell, Jeff.  1986.  “Israeli Spies in the US,” Middle East Report 138, No. 16  (January 1986): 35-45.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[3] Stein, Jeff.  2014.  “Israel Won’t Stop Spying on the U.S.”  Newsweek.  May 6, 2014.

[4] Stein, Jeff.  2014.  “Israel Won’t Stop Spying on the U.S.”  Newsweek.  May 6, 2014.

[5] Stein, Jeff.  2014.  “Israel Won’t Stop Spying on the U.S.”  Newsweek.  May 6, 2014.

[6] McConnell, Jeff.  1986.  “Israeli Spies in the US,” Middle East Report 138, No. 16  (January 1986): 35-45.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[7] McConnell, Jeff.  1986.  “Israeli Spies in the US,” Middle East Report 138, No. 16  (January 1986): 35-45.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[8] Department of Homeland Security.  2014.  “U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Visa Waiver Program”  Accessed December 28, 2014.

[9] Jerusalem Post Staff.  2014.  “Report: US lawmakers wary of Israeli spying hesitate on visa waiver” Jerusalem Post, April 19, 2014.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[10] University of Southern California Annenberg Digital Library.  “AIPAC: America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”  University of Southern California, News 21 Archive.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[11] University of Southern California Annenberg Digital Library.  “AIPAC: America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”  University of Southern California, News 21 Archive.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[12] Lake, Eli.  2011.  “FBI took long look at AIPAC activities”  Washington Times, January 18, 2011.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.

[13] Lake, Eli.  2011.  “FBI took long look at AIPAC activities”  Washington Times, January 18, 2011.  Accessed on December 28, 2014.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Role of Cuban Intelligence Gathering in Regime Sustainment

Due to the long stemming political and economic ramifications of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior continues to collect information on U.S. interests through a variety of methods for economic and regime sustainment reasons.  Paranoia and fear of U.S. regime removal may be involved in the overall cause and effect driving Cuba’s intelligence gathering against the U.S., but the main emphasis is economical regime sustainment as it generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually and is viewed as one of the primary revenue streams for sustaining the state (House of Representatives, p. 16).

U.S. sanctions against Cuba “issued by the U.S. Government on July 8, 1963, under the Trading With the Enemy Act” (U.S. Department of Treasury, p. 4) has left Cuba almost isolated under modern capitalist globalization, and as a result Cuba has learned the value of “providing America’s adversaries with an endless stream of U.S. secrets collected by its Signals Intelligence sites, complemented with reporting from traditional human spies” (House of Representatives, p. 16).  When the term ‘U.S. interests’ is mentioned in transcripts by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government, it is not exclusive to political and military interests.  Quite frequently it means heavy private sector interests, and that elevates Cuba to more of an economic hindrance to U.S. private sector interests rather than an actual military or political intelligence threat.

Much of the success that Cuba’s Directorate of Military Intelligence has achieved in intelligence gathering on the U.S. has rippled down through the decades from the Cuban state’s Cold War experience with the Soviet Union in the form of KGB training and the “use of former Russian signals intelligence-gathering equipment” (Lefebvre , p. 460) that can be utilized due to Cuba’s close proximity of the United States.  Cuba’s Directorate of Military Intelligence is reported to have one of the most successful SIGINT programs on the international stage, most likely due to its success in targeting “White House communications, key military communications nodes, NASA and U.S. Air Force communications associated with rocket telemetry and commercial services dealing with financial and commodity communications” (House of Representatives, p. 16).  The private sector is mentioned in the citation as commercial services, financial communications and commodity communications, and to understand the scope of private sector espionage a reference can be made to the state of Pennsylvania affidavit concerning the Chinese intelligence gathering, or espionage, against Westinghouse concerning nuclear reactor contract bidding with the state of China (therefore private sector negotiating with state entities).  With this in mind, it is easy to see how Cuba can help sustain itself through an international “market place of U.S. secrets” (House of Representatives, p. 9) led by foreign and international private sector buyers.

In addition to Cuban SIGINT efforts against the United States, HUMINT and OSINT intelligence gathering methods are also successfully employed by Cuba due to large Cuban exile and immigration populations within the United States, especially in the state of Florida.  Not only can Cuban intelligence infiltrators gather political, military, and economic information which “can find its way to other major U.S. opponents and be used by them against U.S. interests” (Lefebvre, p. 453), but can also be used for or against competing private sector entities under international globalization.

Cuba takes advantage of its proximity to the United States through intelligence gathering and intelligence marketing in order to somewhat counter U.S. economic sanctions, and while it may not be able to avoid U.S. influenced regime change for the long term future, it has succeeded in regime sustainment since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Department of the Treasury.  2012.  Cuba: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions.  Office of Foreign Assets Control, January 24, 2012.  Accessed December 4, 2014.

Hearing Before the Subcommitte on the Western Hemisphere of the Committee on Foreign Affairs House of Representatives.  2012.  “Cuba’s Global Network of Terrorism, Intelligence, and Warfare” House of Representatives, May 17, 2012.  Accessed on December 4, 2014.

Lefebvre, St├ęphane.  2009.  “Cuban Intelligence Activities Directed at the United States, 1959–2007”.  International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 22, no. 3 (June 2009): 452-469.  Accessed on December 4, 2014.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Threatening U.S. Interests Through Intelligence Requires Capital: China, Russia and Iran

            When Americans consider foreign states with intelligence capabilities that could possibly pose a long term threat to the United States, American interests and American children, the states of China, Russia and Iran frequently emerge for consideration although the threesome are not equal in capabilities.  The intelligence capabilities of China clearly present the greatest threat to United States interests, both internationally and domestically, and this is largely due to the global economic superiority that China possesses over Russia and Iran.  All faucets of intelligence capabilities, especially those that can challenge U.S. counter intelligence and overall U.S. interests, would require large-scale commitments of state resources and evolving technologies which can only be obtained, especially on a large scale, by accumulated capital equal to, or more dominant, than that of the United States.  In order to support the economic argument of Chinese intelligence dominance over Russia and Iran, each of the intelligence disciplines will be gaged to illustrate how economic conditions of the state either accelerate or debilitate intelligence capabilities.

            In the area of open source intelligence (OSINT), China, Russia and Iran each utilize disinformation dissemination and each state is “devoting increased resources, and particular attention, to improving the denial and deception tactics, techniques, and procedures” [1].  When it comes to dedicating resources in the area of open source intelligence, China possesses a strong economy that can dedicate the required resources, whether human or technological, to challenge U.S. counter-efforts.  Corruption and organized crime continue to weaken Russia as “state officials, the intelligence services, and business blurs the distinction between state policy and private gain” [2] and “Iran’s financial outlook has worsened since the 2012 implementation of sanctions on its oil exports and Central Bank” [3].  One prime example of the China’s economic dominance over Russia and Iran is the fact that China holds a monopoly over 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which are extremely valuable and essential to technologies and the global economy. [4]

              In the field of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), China is even more dominant than Russia or Iran as “Chinese satellite-reconnaissance and cyber espionage capabilities are expanding at an unprecedented speed” [5] and the military side of the Chinese intelligence machine operates “satellites for communications, navigation, earth resources, weather, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance purposes, in addition to manned space and space exploration missions” [6].  Russia and Iran are incapable of matching China in geospatial intelligence capabilities and this is greatly due to China’s healthy economic condition.  Russia possesses a space surveillance program and maintains satellite scrambling capabilities, but has endured recent failures in the space sector. [7]  Iran continues to attempt to “to modernize its air and air defense forces under the weight of international sanctions” [8], but under globalization will only fall further behind due to an inability to compete on a capitalist level.

            Even in the area of human intelligence (HUMINT) it is rational to consider China a greater threat to U.S. interests than Russia or Iran.  Not only should capital and available resources be considered in this area of intelligence gathering, but the current overall goals of the state being analyzed should also be considered.  While “according to analysts and officials, the communist-controlled People’s Republic of China operates the single largest intelligence-gathering apparatus in the world” [9], Russia and Iran has shown trends of focusing on regional human intelligence.  Russia clearly has a focus on Eastern Europe and neighboring post-Soviet satellite states such as Georgia and the Crimea while Iran “is active throughout the region and has increased its influence during the past twelve months in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain”. [10]

            The areas of signal intelligence (SIGINT) and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) are heavily reliant on technological advancements, which would again greatly favor China over Russia and Iran.  Russia has continued to struggle with “reinvigorating a military industrial base that deteriorated for more than a decade after the Soviet collapse” [11] while downgraded oil and gas revenues, budget inefficiencies, an aging industrial foundation, and rampant corruption has only slowed the process. [12]  Iran, under international sanctions, is constrained by worse economic conditions than Russia and does not possess the required technology to even come close to matching the technologies of the United States.  China, on the other hand, possesses the strongest signal intelligence program in the Pacific with more than a dozen ground stations monitoring signals from Russia to Southeast Asia which includes the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea and throughout Asia [13].

            China also leads the pack in Cyber intelligence due to holding a stronger economic base than Russia or Iran as “the reported scale of China’s hacking activities suggests terabytes of data may be finding their way to Chinese intelligence organizations” [14].  Russia has been previously accused of cyber warfare during the Russian invasion of Georgia and after a United States Department of Defense network infiltration, both occurring during 2008, but there is no official evidence to support these accusations or to provide evidence that Russian capabilities could match Chinese capabilities.  Iran certainly does not possess the organized capabilities, or the capital resources, of either China or Russia, which can be seen by the paltry one billion dollars Iran has invested in their cyber program since 2011 in order to close the “capabilities ‘gap’ that currently exists in Iran’s ability to carry out sustained and significant cyber-attacks against U.S. infrastructure.” [15]

            In conclusion, a state’s intelligence capabilities are no different than a state’s ability to dominate a region as a military hegemon or to compete internationally as a top military power.  In the world of capitalist globalization, capital is essential to developing the required technologies and devoting the required resources to operate and successfully maintain a top intelligence program capable of threatening the United States.  There is little doubt in the name of ugly international politics that China, Russia and Iran would each equally desire to damage American interests because international politics is a mere power struggle, but only China possesses the capital resources and is in an economic position under the current caste of capitalist globalization to engage the United States equally in the area of intelligence.

1. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 15.

2. James Clapper. 2013. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2013), p. 6.

3. James Clapper. 2013. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2013), p. 6.  

4. James Clapper. 2013. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2013), p. 11.

5. Alex Newman. 2011. “China's Growing Spy Threat,” The Diplomat, September 19, 2011, accessed on November 22, 2014 from

6. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 14.

7. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 15.

8. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 20.

9. Alex Newman. 2011. “China's Growing Spy Threat,” The Diplomat, September 19, 2011, accessed on November 22, 2014 from

10. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 19.

11. James Clapper. 2013. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2013), p. 24.

12. Michael Flynn. 2014. “Annual Threat Assessment Statement Before the Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate on 11 February 2014” (U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, 2014), p. 31.

13. John Pike. “Adversary Foreign Intelligence Operations,” Intelligence Threat Handbook, accessed November 22, 2014,

14. Peter Mattis, “The Analytic Challenge of Understanding Chinese Intelligence Services”, Studies in Intelligence 56, No. 3 (September 2012), 53, accessed on November 22, 2014 from

15. Llan Berman. 2013. “The Iranian Cyber Threat, Revisited Statement before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on March 20, 2013” (U.S. House, District of Columbia, 2013), p. 3-4. Accessed on November 23, 2014 from


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Democratic Peace Theory: Palestinian-State of Israel Problem.....and the United States as the Enabler

Democratic Peace Theory

The Democratic Peace Theory is an international relations theory based on pro-democratic ideological pillars arguing that democratic states are less likely to engage in war due to the fact that executive leaders of democratic states are held accountable for declarations of, and failed involvement in, war by public state elections polls, and that the representative or parliamentary democracies, which are built on democratic bicameral chambers, are filled with similar elected legislative representatives that face the same scrutiny and public accountability at regional public election polls.  The theory is greatly weighted on the assumption that enough democratically elected leaders within a representative or parliamentary democracy will attempt to avoid war for domestic political reasons, most importantly public reelection, and that the democratic state will seldom engage into conflict with other democratic states.  The theory goes even further by stating that democratic states generally do not view foreign states with similar democratic political infrastructures as hostile entities as they would view a state with a different economic and political structure, such as communism or authoritarian leadership, and that democratic states usually possess greater wealth than non-democratic states, which in reality is a recent phenomenon created by the post-World War II Bretton Woods system, and are more conservative in policymaking with concern to large scale conflicts due to a fear of infrastructure destruction and massive accumulating state debt, which again will place the political leader at risk either at the national or regional election polls.

Representative Democracy

                The Democratic Peace Theory has some legitimate points, which have more than likely been true on multiple occasions throughout the history of post-Bretton Woods democracy, but the theory itself remains another vague international relations theory which attempts to highlight trends favorable to the theory by picking and choosing historical compilations of numerical statistics, and does not take into consideration the predictable motives of the most economically powerful entities influencing domestic representative democracies, nor does it take into consideration that the statistical trends that support the Democratic Peace Theory may only be temporary characteristics actually associated with the modern capitalistic globalization era, which in no fashion should be considered a permanent international relations maxim.  

The post-World War II Democratic Peace Theory is not only questionable on an international level, but completely invalid when applied to the Palestinian and state of Israel problem, along with the Democracy Deficit in the modern Middle East as it attributes to that highly propagated political land conflict.  The theory itself is invalid for application to the Palestinian-Israel problem because, first and foremost, the United States of America, which is self-reputed as being one of the largest international proponents of democracy, is the largest exterior factor impacting the Palestinian-Israel problem and often engages American foreign polices based on their often-manipulated form of representative democracy under capital bipartisan lobbying influences. The United States has maintained a continuous political and economic bias towards the state of Israel since the Cold War, which Democratic Peace theorists would credit to the purported democratic similarities, but the United States has also continuously contributed to the democracy deficit in the Middle East by enabling authoritarian leaders to exist as political carrot-eaters and puppets-for-a-price.  On the one hand, the United States claims to be the global leader of freedom and democracy while at the same time enabling authoritarian leaders in the Middle East to resist the spread of democracy.

    In addition, the democratic process in the United States possesses hypocritically undemocratic characteristics as the United States  has continuously circumvented the domestic democratic process by taking “military action abroad more than 200 times during its history, but only five of these actions were wars declared by Congress, and most were authorized unilaterally by the president” (Rosato, 2003, p. 597).


                The plight of the Palestinian people, especially in the occupied territories, is greatly ignored by the international community based on several democratically-based institutionalized structures.  The Palestinian political infrastructure, Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people are not recognized as a state by the United Nations and therefore do not receive the same international protections that recognized states on the international stage receive.  In 2009, the Palestinian National Authority made a declaration stating that it accepted “the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in the territory of Palestine” (Quigley, 2009, p.1) after accusations of Israeli atrocities during the 2008-2009 military aggression into the Palestinian territory of Gaza.   The Palestine people were afforded no inquiry or protection against Israeli state military aggressions due to the legal loophole in the Rome Statute that “only states can give consent to ICC jurisdiction over acts committed in their territory” (Quigley, 2009, p. 10).  Despite vast international support from a majority of recognized states within the United Nations General Assembly, which illustrates that Palestinian statehood is democratically favored in the international community, Palestinian statehood has been consistently blocked in the United Nations Security Council, specifically by United States veto.  A prime example isolating the Palestinians from statehood, and the explicit failure of international democracy, can be seen in 1998 when the Palestine National Council declared statehood for Palestine and “one hundred and four states voted for this resolution, forty-four abstained; only the United States and Israel voted against” (Quigley, 2009, p.4).  In utilizing its permanent member of the United Nations Security Council veto against a majority United Nations vote on the international stage, the United States was able to block Palestinian statehood on behalf of Israel and leave the occupied territories as a non-state entity without international recognition or international protection against Israeli aggression and occupation.  At the same time, the United States clearly illustrated the hypocrisy and failures of domestic representative democracy and displayed how those hypocrisies, created through political and capital influences on publically elected leaders desirous of reelection and career longevity can taint the international democratic process.

Domestic Representative Democracy

                To truly understand the reality of the Palestinian-Israel situation, it is important to look at the biased enabler role that the United States plays on behalf of Israel and why, through domestic representative democracy, that these actions are even possible within a so-called democratic superpower state holding so much economic weight within the Bretton Woods international economic organizations, the World Trade Organization, and the United Nations.

In the United Nations Security Council, the United States has utilized its veto power against UN resolutions condemning Israeli aggressions and human rights violations, to include illegal Israeli settlement building and territorial acquisitioning, over 42 times between the years of 1972 and 2011 (Jewish Virtual Library, 2014).  Illustrating the broken international democratic process, these United States vetoes were issued to protect Israel regardless of the overwhelming international support for the resolutions condemning the alleged Israeli aggressions.  In addition, the United States has provided Israeli with over 3 billion dollars in annual economic and military aid since the Cold War era despite the Arms Export Control Act that states that the “United States may stop aid to countries which use U.S. military assistance for purposes other than legitimate self-defense” (Sharp, 2014, p. 13).  The trend of U.S. monetary and military support for the state of Israel does not seem to be declining as is evident by the year 2007 when “the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package for the 10-year period from FY2009 to FY2018.” (Sharp, 2014, p. 4), and more recently “during his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Obama pledged that the United States would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress” (Sharp, 2014, p. 5).

                While the pro-Democratic Peace theorist will quickly point out the co-relation between the alleged democracy of the United States and the alleged democracy of the state of Israel, the issue of undemocratic practices to support a fellow so-called democratic state can be questioned along with the ethnic exclusivity and human rights record of Israel.    

Representative Democracy Controlled by Capital

                In support of pro-Democratic Peace theorists, representative democracies are easily manipulated by capital and political influence, regardless of human morality.  It is quite easy to avoid war, finance a foreign state coup and state build, engage a rentier state, or provide qualitative military power to a foreign ally if a majority of elected government representatives can be persuaded, or purchased, to vote a certain way on specific bills or resolutions.  This is the main reason that the U.S. government, despite the incredible growth of the current U.S. national debt and Department of Defense budget cuts, continue to financially and politically support an Israeli state that consistently violates international law and human rights on several levels.  Zionist lobbyist organizations such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee consistently utilize collective capital to sponsor and donate to congressional members, both democrat and republican alike, who can be relied upon to vote favorably on proposed bills that are beneficial to Israel, such as the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 which successfully secured heavy levels of U.S. economic assistance to Israel.  Each year, regardless of how dire domestic American issues may be, leading congressional representatives run with ‘hat in hand’ to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference to make future political promises in exchange for economic support and political longevity, and during an executive presidential year those political stakes for any candidate that avoids an annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference are extremely costly on a political level. 

AIPAC itself is a behind-the-Congress political power constantly scouring the major American college campuses for future congressional leaders, and the Zionist organization sponsors full-paid trips to the state of Israel led by senior Democrat and Republican leaders, in recent years led by the recently dethroned Eric Cantor and Steny Hoyer, for all freshman U.S. congressional representatives.  As if U.S. representative democracy was not already vulnerable to manipulation by a powerful foreign lobby taking its instructions from a foreign government, and in all fairness we must also point out private sector influences, the major Jewish lobbyist organizations receive social, political and financial support from Christian Zionist lobbyist organizations, which possess larger numbers of adherents , who base their entire political ideology on the religious belief that God promised a plot of land to a specific ethnic group, and that Jesus will not rapturously return until that promise is fulfilled.

Middle East Democracy Deficit

                In opposition to the democratic peace theory, but still in support of the theory that representative democracy is easily manipulated , the United States has passed resolutions to provide foreign aid funding, or political carrots, to many authoritarian leaders, and even leaders described as dictators, throughout the Middle East.  For decades, stemming from the 1979 Camp David Accords, Egypt was the second highest recipient of annual U.S. military foreign aid at 2 billion dollars a year, and continues to be a recipient of U.S. foreign aid despite the Arab Spring and military coup that ousted Hosni Mubarak.  In reality, just as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee pushed U.S. Congressional members for political and economic sanctions that led to military invasion against Iraq, and are currently pushing the same agenda against Iran, AIPAC lobbied the U.S. Congress heavily for foreign aid to authoritarian Egypt in order to ensure the state on Israel’s southern border, where precious pipelines exist in the Negev, not to mention the Israeli Dimona nuclear reactor, was bought and paid for by American tax dollars.

Sustained economic and political rents from the so-called democratic states of the capitalistic west to authoritarian leaders in the Middle East, such as the U.S. assistance to bolster Egypt’s military during Mubarak’s regime, has been, and continues to be, an enabler for authoritarian leaders in the oil-rich Middle East which basically stonewalls the spread of democracy in the region and restricts the successful advance of democracy.  Therefore, the Democratic Peace Theory will never be tested in the Middle East because natural resource-hungry capitalist Democracies in the west promote authoritarian leaders that cooperate in the Middle East and secretly fund coups to overthrow those that do not cooperate.

                Another way that the democratic-capitalist west enables authoritarian leaders, and therefore promotes the democracy deficit in the Middle East, is through the rentier state process.  Rentier states “derive most or a substantial part of their revenues from the outside world and the functioning of their political system depend to a large degree on accruing external revenues that can be classified as rents” (Swarz, 2008, p. 604), and therefore are states that are not economically at the mercy of western democratic-capitalist exploitation and natural resource extraction.  Economically troubled states without abundant natural resources, such as are found in parts of South America, are often forced to accept IMF loans containing SAP conditions that require the infiltration of foreign investment, better known as natural resource extraction and capital flight, and lured into exploitative regional trade blocs such as Mexico’s involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement.  This economic assimilation and exploitation is not always the case for rentier states because most rentier states, especially in the Middle East, enjoy vast natural resources and are not completely dependent on international capital from foreign sources.  The process of rentierism comes in multiple forms such as “bilateral or multilateral foreign-aid payments, such as foreign development assistance or military assistance, which are termed ‘strategic rents’” (Swarz, p. 14) and are not strictly limited to states that are heavily laden with oil.

Conclusion Summary

                The Democratic Peace Theory is a faulty theory at best because “the democratic peace is essentially a post-World War I phenomenon restricted to the Americas and Western Europe. Second, the United States has been the dominant power in both these regions since World War I” (Rosato, 2003, p. 599).  As we have illustrated in this paper, the United States, as well as any representative democracy under a capitalist system, is extremely vulnerable to domestic political manipulation through capital lobbying which often creates state foreign policy that is quite undemocratic on the international stage.  At the same time, the United State boasts democratic principles throughout the halls of globalization while openly supporting authoritarian regimes abroad, and utilizing presidential executive orders to circumvent domestic democratic procedures.  In closing, the Democratic Peace Theory is invalid for application to the Middle East, especially between Palestinians and the state of Israel, simply because of the undemocratic involvement of the United States.



Jewish Virtual Library.  2014.  U.N. Security Council: U.S. Vetoes of Resolutions Critical to Israeli.  Accessed June 14, 2014.

Quigley, John.  2009. “The Palestinian Declaration to the International Criminal Court: The Statehood Issue.”  The Internet Journal of Rutgers School of Law 25, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 1-10.  Accessed June 14, 2014.

Rosato, Sebastian.  2003. The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory.  The American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 4. (Nov., 2003), pp. 585-602.  Accessed on June 14, 2014.

Sharp, Jeremy M.  2014.  U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel.  Congressional Research Center, April 11, 2014.  Accessed June 14, 2014.

Swarz, Rolf.  2008.  The Political Economy of State-Formation in the Arab Middle East: Rentier States, Economic Reform, and Democratization.  Review of International Political Economy 15:4 October 2008: 599–621.  Accessed June 15, 2014.

Schwarz, Rolf.  2004. "State Formation Processes in Rentier States: The Middle Eastern Case." Pan-European Conference on International Relations, ECPR Standing Group on International Relations, 2004.  Accessed June 15, 2014.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Russia: Wild Privatization vs. Centralized State

Post-Soviet Russia has had tumultuous economic path since the final decade of the 20th century. It has dealt with financial crisis, private sector scandal and corruption, and political struggle. As we discussed during the opening week of the course, during the years leading into the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a mass transition of state capital transitioned into private sector pockets, which has created over time became an oligarchy that “pushed out communist-era bureaucrats and managers” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 161). During the early Yeltin privatization years, crime and corruption increased dramatically in the name of capital accumulation and competition as “businesses started using criminal groups and not the courts to enforce contracts and secure their property rights” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 162). As is a general rule in privatization and capitalism and which also proved to be true in Russia, “more powerful competitors pushed out their weaker rivals, and economic power was concentrated in the hands of a small number of individuals” (Herspring & Wegren,p. 164). This first phase that created the oligarchy in Russia, basically the early years of Yeltin reforms, has been referenced as the ‘wild privatization’ phase (Herspring & Wegren, p. 163).

Following the historical trends of capital privatization, “the oligarchs were parasitic on the Russian state”(Herspring & Wegren p. 164) to a point of destabilization. The capitalist oligarchs managed to produce soaring budget deficits and draining the state of assets and revenues which contributed to the economic crash of 1998 after Yeltsin’s 1996 election. Upon the emergence of Putin and United Russia, the Russian state has somewhat regulated ‘wild privatization’ and balanced it with a renewed state control of key natural resources. The energy sector, which remains under price control by the state, is one of the most important of sectors and has seen an increase of “new private regional energy companies” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 168). Despite trends indicating a soft authoritarian state, Russia has managed to integrate into the international market. Russia has been a member of the European Union since 2002 and a majority of Russian economic activity “now takes place in legally independent private corporations, and price controls on most goods have been abolished” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 160). It must be noted that price control is still implemented on “natural gas, electricity, and housing utilities” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 160).

The energy and oil sectors of the Russian state are blended between state and private ownership, and both sectors show signs of growth and problems. While the potential for solid economic growth for Russia exists, it is interesting that the Russian state has utilized the same measures that are typically used by private sector entities, such as “using shell companies, offshore banking, and other nefarious maneuverings to conceal its economic activity from outside observers” (Herspring & Wegren, p. 175). I am not completely sure that having the state as a competing entity with the domestic, and even international, free market is a bad thing. History and current events clearly show how damaging private sector ownership, especially foreign investment (capital exploitation), can be on a state. At the end of the day, Russians must ask themselves what would be better for the future: 7 individual billionaires who can move to another state and leave behind a ruined state that is depleted of natural resources or a strong centralized state capable providing a long term societal infrastructure and of developing new technologies for future economic development within the state?

Herspring, D, & Wegren, S. 2010. After Putin's Russia : Past Imperfect, Future Uncertain. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: p. 160-177.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Israeli-Palestinian Not a Conflict, Nor is it Based on Religion

Question:  "Has the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians become a purely religious one? Does the rise of Hamas mean that a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become impossible?"

It is difficult for me to consider the Israeli-Palestinian issue as one based on Religion for several reasons.  The first reason is that the issue is based on land, and has been emblazoned by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people, the brutal Israeli oppression of the Palestinian civilian sectors, and the ethnic cleansing and illegal settlement building (considered illegal by a majority of states on the international stage) on confiscated Palestinian lands (over demolished Palestinian homes).  What started as a land conflict between the newly established (after WWII) state of Israel and the displaced Palestinian population (and refugees) has, with the assistance of decades of western and U.S. monetary, political and military support to Israel (secured by Zionist and Christian Zionist lobbyist organizations on Congressional decision making), has transformed the situation into one of a brutal aggressor/oppressor state (internationally recognized) and an oppressed population (internationally ignored and media vilified as sponsors of terror).  The Israeli-Palestinian issue is not a conflict; it is the longest military occupation in the modern era. 

The second reason that the issue is not a religious conflict is that Judaism is a religion based on ethnicity, meaning one needs to be ethnically Jewish or a fool to claim Judaism because the entire concept of the so-called religion is based on an exclusive ethnic bloodline.  In addition to this socio-religious phenomenon of ethnicity guised in religion, it must be noted that there are both Christian and Muslim Palestinians.  A Palestinian is a Palestinian, not an automatic member of an ethnic religious group.

If the problem between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people has become impossible to repair peacefully, I do not view the rise of Hamas as the reason that a peaceful resolution is unachievable.  Hamas is a “political and social organization” (Klein, 2007, p. 444) that views the “voice of the masses, in its view, is the expression of God’s will (Klein, 2007, p. 444).  Sounds like Islamic democracy, does it not?  Klein spends quite a bit of time comparing the Islamic Charter of 1988 and the 2006 Hamas-sponsored political platform of Change and Reform, but in my opinion this is a reflection of change over nearly two decades.  Keep in mind that in the United States during the year 1855, slavery was still an economic system of exploitation.  In 1872, it was not.  In the United States in 1860, racial segregation was law.  In 1978, society had changed (somewhat). 

If a peaceful solution to the problem is no longer possible, the main reason is due to the fact that the U.S. (along with western allies and private sector organizations) has provided Israel with over 3 billion dollars a year in foreign aid for over five decades now, and Israel has utilized this monetary and military aid in their military occupation and oppression, ethnic cleansing and brutalization (and humiliation) of the Palestinian people.  Each time the Palestinian leadership attempts to utilize the proper international channels, the world turns a deaf ear to their request for justice or recognized statehood.  The U.S. vetoes every UN resolution condemning Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people (while continuing to criticize Iran for human rights violations while funding the human-rights violating Israel).    

Again, I do not view the Israeli-Palestinian issue as a conflict, no more than I ever viewed the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan as “wars” after the existing regimes were overthrown during the initial invasions.  The Issue is an injustice to humanity and quite frankly displays the hypocrisy of civilized states in the west. 

Klein, Menachem.  2007.  Hamas in Power.  The Middle East Journal 61 no.3 (Summer 2007): 442-459