Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for March 28th, 2007

Proliferation Press Rewind: Joe McGraw’s Response to “Debunking the Sovereignty Solution”

Posted by K.E. White on March 28, 2007

Below is Joe McGraw’s March 12 response to an earlier Proliferation Press post.

The post reviewed “The Sovereignty Solution,” a new US Strategy written by Anna Simons, Don Redd, Duane Lauchengo, and Joe McGraw presented in The American Interest.

The co-author’s response:

Mr. White is indeed correct in his posted response from 3 March. We do consider our concept quite distant from strategies of Pax-Americana. And this point is paramount: The Sovereignty Solution is fundamentally different from other proposed strategies. It is not isolationism, nor Empire, nor ‘new’ containment (and certainly not multilateralism). The foreign policy that we advocate is predicated on collaborative bilateral relationships, and these relationships we define and describe in the article.

The article in The American Interest provides a glimpse at this foreign policy that we term ‘SSR’, but even the careful reader might miss the other two pillars of our proposed Grand Strategy: ‘Indivisible America’ or IA (a complimentary domestic policy), and the creation of an operational capability that we term ‘Ethnographic Intelligence’ or ‘EI’. Together, SSR, IA, and EI provide a complete and yes, simple framework for national strategy that is both direct and clear. We do strongly reject the ad-hoc strategies of ambiguity that have been the hallmark of American leadership since the end of Cold War Containment.

Good blogging-edicate demands that I not redress all of Mr. White’s points in one sitting, but I do appreciate the opportunity today to take up his bifurcated critique of the Sovereignty Solution. Mr. White, with the powers of Janus, takes issue with “Sovereignty” both through analogies to the past, and predictions of the future.

THE PAST. Historical analogies are always a tad tricky to pull off; aside from casual comparisons between eras and societies, they just aren’t very useful for analysis. The comparison of our concept to the Austrian policies of 1914 is one such stretch. Our concept relies on functioning Constitutional government, liberal democracy, and unchallenged military dominance in air, sea, and space. Things not to be found in Austria at the turn of the 20th Century. One could easily make a more profound historical analogy between our concept and the strategy of the 1979 Pittsburg Steelers (who at least did have dominance in the air, and stout domestic support).

To be fair, the comparison was drawn over the mechanism of ‘demands’. Demands are a critical component of our strategy. They fit into the bilateral relationship framework. If US sovereignty is attacked (if our citizens are slaughtered), we deliver demands to the state which owns the problem. If the owning state refuses, the state is part of the problem, and the SSR response is to destroy the state’s levers of power–the government. But not to occupy, not to re-build, not to recast better governance. Simply to punish and destroy it. And those are things that American power can do rapidly. Had Austria the power of 2 aircraft carrier groups and an airborne division, AND the strategic clarity to punish and destroy, AND the balance of Constitutional power to seek and approve a representative sanction for defensive war, the analogy would fit a degree better.

The comparison to the WWI balance of power is not lost. Surely, the alliance structure of Europe is the quintessential vision of Westphalia philosophy come to terrible fruition. “Sovereignty” does rest heavily on the philosophy of Westphalia; we do believe the state structure is the best way to put the non-state ‘genies’ of disorder back into their respective state-lamps. But we adopt the philosophy of Westphalia to 21st Century realities. The Peace of Augsburg was defined through the line “cuis regio, eius religio” (whose region, his religion). We adapt it to the realities and requirements of today: cuis regio, eius reus (whose region, his responsibility). Because, dear readers, it is all about responsibility. If you want to be treated as sovereign of your state, fine. You got it. But you get it with all the trappings: the respect of your sovereignty from the United States comes with the accountability for it. And the United States will now hold you accountable. Such simplicity does not equate to unrestrained US power, the decision on if and when to use military force depends upon the bilateral relationship following an attack on US sovereignty. So, our citizens have just been attacked and killed. And the perpetrators crawled out from within your borders. What has your relationship been with the US? What do you want it to be now?

THE FUTURE: Mr. White cautions that future US strategy will grow out of the eventual end to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. How terribly sad, and possibly prophetic, that assertion is. To say that it might be so is frightful commentary on American perception of strategy, to say that it will be so is to declare that such decisions are beyond the confines of national debate and reason. We, the light bulb installers, optimistically disagree.

The policy school that declared strategic planning was a thing of the past grew out of the late 1960s and exploded in the 1990s. The reasoning was that international events unfolded too fast to ever make a single, comprehensive strategy feasible. One might say this is simply laziness on the part of policy makers to establish an overarching doctrine of US security interests tied directly to sustainable ends, ways, and means. A cynic might add that this is nothing more than a way in which to conduct policy by the seat of one’s pants without holding firm to a position that political opponents might call to account. Either way, ad-hoc strategy has proven for the past 20 years to be a dangerous and costly proposition. One that the nation could certainly do without.

As we point out in the article, the reason that so many societies around the world can point to the United States and scream “hypocrite” is that, simply, we are. It stems from ad-hoc policy that is wielded largely for the best of intentions. And it doesn’t work. Democracy for Egypt…but not for Pakistan. Autocracy for Saudi Arabia…but not for Syria. Communism for China…but not for Venezuela. Reform for Gaza…no wait. This is realpolitik, global chess one might say, in action. This is what strategic ambiguity provides.

What we propose is containment of threats through cultural relativism and the power of state sovereignty. Furthermore, we underscore the primacy of bilateral relationships, and the rights, responsibilities, and accountability state sovereigns have over their respective populations. Read the article. Even if you disagree with one, some, or all of our concepts, we firmly promise that you will watch the news tonight through a different eyes: our concept has a 72 hour ‘flash to bang’ detonation process that will make you more a believer than you ever thought (or possibly wanted).

These opinions are my own. I, a single component of the ‘et al’, and but one of four light bulb installers. Mr. White, the floor is yours!

Posted in American Interest, Anna Simons, Debunking the Sovereignty Solution, Joe McGraw, Security Studies, United States | Leave a Comment »

ITT Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Weapons Technology to China

Posted by K.E. White on March 28, 2007

Night Vison GogglesYesterday ITT Corp pleaded guilty to violating weapons trade prohibitions when it sold night vision goggles to China, Singapore and Britain. 

The company will pay $100 million fine for two violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR): 1) improper handling of sensitive documents and 2) making misleading statements.

More on the significance of the ruling, responses from ITT Corp. and the US Department of Justice, and more information on the ITAR is provided below.

In short: ITC admited to wrong doing (but contends it wasn’t that bad), the US Department of Justice looks tough, and ITT will now invest money in–and make profit on–night vison googles technology. Why? Because ITT promises that only the United States will be privy to any technological advancements.

Why is this news? From The Register:

“According to the DoJ, ITT will be the first major defense contractor convicted of a criminal violation of the Arms Export Control Act.”

The Register provides these additional details:

ITT illegally exported military night vision goggles to China. For good measure, it supplied some classified technical data about a laser counter measure known as a “light interference filter”. Now it is paying the price for its skulduggery: a whopping $100m fine.

The US defense contractor also sold the goggles to Singapore and the UK, both allies of America the last time we checked. But, here’s the rub: the company didn’t fill in the necessary paperwork and in some cases it omitted material facts from its Arms Exports Required Reports. According to the US Department of Justice, ITT knew that it was violating its export licenses but failed to take action until just before it was found out by the US Department of State.

ITT’s response

“We have been cooperating with the government in this investigation and we have voluntarily disclosed all discrepancies that our internal reviews revealed,” said Steven R. Loranger, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ITT Corporation. “While this settlement relates to the actions of a few individuals in one of our 15 business units, we regret very much that these serious violations occurred. I want to reinforce, however, that the heart of our night vision goggles – the tube – is secure. No technical information regarding the tube was ever compromised.”

Loranger added, “Our renewed commitment to a culture of integrity and compliance applies to the entire company. ITT has a long track record as a trusted employer, supplier and partner, and we are firmly committed to ensuring that this will not happen again. These violations have made it clear that we had gaps in our compliance programs. The steps we are taking now will address these issues in a comprehensive way.”

The company has already begun implementing stricter new measures such as:

  • Insuring that all personnel understand and follow applicable regulations governing the export of critical technology
  • Naming a new compliance officer
  • Instituting a required ethics and compliance training program for all employees worldwide
  • Developing a comprehensive computer tracking program to monitor all packages sent from ITT facilities
  • Working with independent experts to refine and enhance the effectiveness of these measures.

The Department of Justice chimes in:

Assistant Attorney General Wainstein said, “The sensitive night vision systems produced by ITT Corporation are critical to U.S. war-fighting capability and are sought by our enemies and allies alike. ITT’s exportation of this sensitive technology to China and other nations jeopardized our national security and the safety of our military men and women on the battlefield. We commend the prosecution team and ITT Corporation for developing a plea agreement that addresses the violations of the past, ensures compliance in the future, and serves as a strong warning to others who might be tempted by the profits of such illegal exports.”

More on the ITT Corporation: 

ITT Corporation (www.itt.com) supplies advanced technology products and services in several growth markets. ITT is a global leader in the transport, treatment and control of water, wastewater and other fluids. The company plays a vital role in international security through its defense communications and electronics products; space surveillance and intelligence systems; and advanced engineering and related services. It also serves the growing leisure marine and electronic connectors markets with a wide range of products. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company generated $7.8 billion in 2006 sales. In addition to the New York Stock Exchange, ITT Corporation stock is traded on the Paris, London and Frankfurt exchanges.

 

More information on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic_in_Arms_Regulations

http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/reference.htm

http://pmddtc.state.gov/itar_index.htm

Posted in China, illegal weapons trade, ITAR, ITT, night vison goggles | 1 Comment »