Friday, December 16, 2011

A couple days ago, Pakistan floated the idea of charging millions of dollars in taxes to allow NATO supply trucks to cross Pakistan in order to resupply troops in Afghanistan. This is in relation to the NATO bombing of a Pakistani post that resulted in the deaths of Pakistani soldiers.

This move is in some ways understandable from the Pakistani point of view. The US is unpopular among the population, and the NATO bombing makes it hard for the government of Pakistan to be seen to support the US. Asking the US to pay high taxes for shipping supplies through Pakistan is a move which will gain favor with the Pakistani population. However, this also just a move to try to get more money out of the US, money used by the Pakistani security services.

Since 2002 the US has given Pakistan over 20 billion US dollars in aid, much of this going to the security services. While this is supposed to be used by Pakistan to aid in the War on Terror, it is thought that much of it goes to groups in Kashmir or to support the army guarding against India. The payment of this has been brought into question since the discovery of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan knows how important the supply routes through its territory are to the US. They feel they can either get more money, or get the security money that the US might withhold.

Currently, the US is stuck in a security trap with Pakistan. Pakistan needs the US money, and the US is worried that if Pakistan can’t afford to secure itself, it might be taken over by extremists or that Pakistan will not be able to protect its nuclear weapons. Pakistan knows this. Should the new taxes be demanded, they could be accepted but deducted from what the US gives in aid to Pakistan. Pakistan should also be reminded that the US is due to pull out of Pakistan in a few years. While Pakistani security will remain a concern to the US, the supply routes will no longer be needed. The supply routes will cease to be a bargaining chip.

The US should continue its drone actions and anti-terror actions in Pakistan. Pakistan should be notified that if it cannot control its territory, the US will. The US should let Pakistan know that it cannot continue to pick the good and bad terrorists. More money should be offered if they can capture and provide intelligence on more terrorists.

In the long run, it looks like the US will have to remain in this relationship with Pakistan. The US needs Pakistan to not give in to its radicals, and Pakistan wants the money. The challenge will be how to incentivize Pakistan to see its radicals as its threat rather than India.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can we have our drone back, please?

Earlier, Iran declared that it had brought down an American spy drone. The US first acknowledged that a drone sent over western Afghanistan was missing. Iranian television showed that the drone, confirmed by the US as a RQ-170 drone, a secret stealth drone. The drone shown on Iranian television appears to be intact. What’s more, China, among others have asked to examine the drone. While this situation is not good, what does it really mean?

First, it confirms that the US is spying on Iran. This will come as no shock to anyone, least of all the Iranians (though it might shock some of the Republican Presidential Candidates, who have called for covert action against Iran and seem to believe that there has been none). So it will show to the US public that the Obama administration has been engaging in at least some action against Iran. However, physical evidence of US espionage on Iran will serve as a uniting factor in Iran to bring citizens together against the US.

It also means, obviously that Iran holds highly classified US technology. The Iranians will now take apart and analyze the drone in order to attempt to build one of their own. However, assuming that they can build a copy, this will take time. It also means that what they can build is a copy or near copy of the US drone, the vulnerabilities of which the US presumably already knows. The problem with a system built on copying is that you are almost always behind and at most just caught up, never ahead.

The drone is also valuable to the Iranians as an asset in itself. It will probably make deals with China and maybe others to examine the drone in exchange for something else. However, one must question how likely it is that Iran, after achieving this major coup, will be to show highly classified US technology with others. Will they share everything, or will the only share part of the technology? It is not certain that the Iranians would share everything with the Chinese or others. Even if they do, the same applies. It will take a while for them to fully analyze and replicate it.

The US should focus on finding out how the Iranians brought down the drone, and how to improve the drones so that they do not happen again. If possible, covert action should be taken to destroy the drone. The US should be careful however to not take too drastic action. We should not give the Iranians reason to escalate actions.

Marine Medal of Honor Shrouded in Controversy

News is coming to light that the Medal of Honor awarded to Marine Dakota Meyer might not be as much of an open and shut case as was thought. As many news agencies are reporting, it seems as though the account of Meyer's actions as given by the Marine Corps are, at the very least, exaggerated. Why would this be the case?

There are two main reasons. The first reason is that Congress has tried to award more medals, and particularly higher profile medals, in the waning days of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been only ten Medals of Honor awarded during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and only three of those have gone to living soldiers. The rush to award Medals of Honor was therefore present on the civilian side, and the second reason is that the rush was also on the military side. The Marine Corps also wanted to have one of their own awarded the Medal of Honor, feeling that they deserved more recognition due to their role in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Of the nine previous Medals of Honor awarded since 2001, 1 went to a Marine, 2 went to members of the Navy, and the remaining six all went to members of the Army. For a proud organization that has, in many ways, stepped outside its intention in the last decade, some more recognition would obviously be expected.

Meyer's fellow Marines that were with him during the battle for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor say that he did indeed deserve it. While the official count given by the Marine Corps may prove to be inaccurate, the Washington Post reports that at least seven others present at the battle backed the decision to nominate Meyer for the Medal of Honor. This would seem to indicate that even if the story on the Marine Corps website is somewhat embellished, it doesn't mean that this Medal of Honor is tainted.

Another, and perhaps the most interesting aspect of this story is the timing. As I believe has been mentioned on this blog, Meyer has filed suit against BAE Systems, a contracting company and his former employer. According to Meyer, he was shown the door after protesting an arms deal BAE was in the process of making. Not only was he shown the door at BAE, but he claims he was also blacklisted from other potential employers. At the time of the suit in late November, BAE made statements suggesting that, although they would be fighting the lawsuit, they wouldn't go into personal attacks against Meyer. These two facts-the controversy over Meyer's Medal of Honor and his lawsuit against BAE Systems-raise some questions. Is this simply bad timing for Meyer, or could BAE Systems have leaked the news regarding the possible misrepresentation of Meyer's actions in an attempt to discredit him? While that could be too big of a conspiracy theory stretch, it will be interesting to see how Meyer's legal actions play out with BAE Systems.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Narco-Persians Strike Again

The US accusations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US were met with a certain degree of skepticism from the International community when they were made several months ago. Now another link between these two seemingly disparate groups is being suggested by Propublica's Sebastian Rotella who reports that US Federal prosecutors are accusing Hezbollah financier Ayman Joumaa of laundering cocaine money for Mexico's infamous Zetas.

For those not up on their 21st century drug lords, Joumaa's was named a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker this January. After receiving his new appellation, Joumaa also received what has become the de facto treatment of anything the Iranian that the US government dislikes: his US assets were frozen and all American entities were forbade from conducting business with him. In this case however, these acts were all in accordance with the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Aside from money laundering, Hezbollah is also known to raise funds through drug-dealing and arms smuggling. Since money laundering and arms smuggling are easier to document and leave a clearer paper trail that seen in the assassination accusations, it is likely that this narco-Persian connection will become the next round of actions taken against Iran by the US.

Israeli settlers attack Israeli military base

On Tuesday, a group of Jewish settlers launched an attack on an Army base. The attack was spurred by a rumor that a few Israeli military outposts would be closed in the West Bank. The assault included damage to vehicles, setting fires, and throwing rocks. This type of attack is not new; over the last few years, groups of Israeli settlers have preformed similar acts. The movement has been labeled “price tag”. The attacks are reactions to policies from the government that they do not agree with. They have channeled their anger against both Palestinian citizens and Israeli army forces. The movement has led to personal injury to citizens and troops as well as extensive property damage.

Resent attacks have also included an increase of violence against Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and destruction of their homes. Additionally, only hours before the attack on the Israeli security force base, there was a violent protest on the border with Jordan. The protesters opposed the Jordanian government’s attempt to work with Israel to stop the closure of a certain bridge which allowed non-Muslims on pilgrimage to reach the holy sites of Jerusalem. The protesters went through an area which had been closed by the military, occupied a structure close to a sacred Christian holy site, and had to be forcibly removed by Israeli troops.

Leaders in the West Bank have stressed their extreme disapproval of these groups. They worry that these attacks are threatening the future of Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The situation has caused a rift between the Israeli military forces and Israeli settlers. This rift is increasing with each attack. Support of the military is crucial, particularly because they are there to protect the Israeli settlers. The fact that announcements of dismantling some military outposts has caused for attacks on Israeli military bases only further incentivizes the removal of Israeli security forces.

Meanwhile, these instances are even more important because talks began in Israel on Tuesday with the “quartet” representatives (the United Nations, the United States, Russia, and the European Union). The meetings are about reinvigorating negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The attacks by Israeli settlers not only alienate them from the government, but also increase focus on the plight of Palestinians living in the West Bank. Israeli officials referred to these groups as extremist criminals who were engaging in “homegrown terror”. Government officials stressed that they would be dealt with severely. Furthermore, the international media has been showing more attention to reports by aid workers in the West Bank. Historically, Palestinians have been portrayed by many as the perpetrators of violence in Israel and the occupied territories. The attacks by settlers have caused for intensifying reports of Palestinian citizens as victims of violence. If this trend continues it could lead to added support for the Palestinian cause and increased pressure on Israel to move forward on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

India Currys Favor with the US

Over the past ten year, the United States has crafted a closer diplomatic and military relationship with India. As part of the new US “pivot” of strategic focus to the Pacific region, India is an excellent choice for several reasons. There are many benefits for both parties in this relationship, but also some areas of concern.

For the US, India is a great choice for a partner for geographic, demographic, and financial reasons. It is estimated that by the year 2020, India will become the most populous nation on Earth, overtaking China. Friendly relations with the most populous nation, especially one that is in the process of building up a substantial middle class, puts dollar signs in the eyes of US businessmen. Gaining access to markets full of newly elevated middle-class Indians is good for the US economy trade deficits.

In addition to new markets, India’s population unwittingly plays another role in for the US. It stands as a symbol to China, which shares a border with India, that the massive Chinese population isn’t as significant a factor as they would like it to be. Chairman Mao used to speak of the power of his massive population being more powerful than nuclear bombs. To Mao, having the largest population was a source of security and pride for China. As the relationship between the US and India grows, the relative strength of China’s population will diminish.

The strategic picture for the US in the Pacific looks a bit like a cordon around China. The US is forging deep economic and military ties with India, will be stationing Marines in Australia, already has navy bases in Japan, and maintains a sizeable force in South Korea. As China’s navy continues to modernize and China continues to assert itself as “protector” of the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, the US and India will see a rise in requests for assistance in countering the Chinese presence.

Countering Chinese ambitions in the region is only one strategic benefit to the US. The US also stands to gain from having a large ally in South Asia as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. India may stand to gain more from a Afghanistan than the US due to their geographic proximity. Continued mil-to-mil cooperation between the US and India will allow for the US to have a presence in the region and a capable partner in the region in the battle against Islamic extremists. Soon the US will leave Afghanistan and deteriorating relations with Pakistan may render much of the US effort there moot. Indian cooperation with counter terrorism operations will become increasingly important as the US presence in the region transforms.

The US isn’t the only one to gain from this relationship. Due to its proven record of nuclear responsibility, the US has concluded a civil-nuclear deal with India and secured approval for the deal through the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even though it possesses nuclear weapons and a civilian nuclear program. Having the approval of the NSG allows India to engage in nuclear commerce, which can be highly lucrative. This perk was part of a deal concluded between the US and India in which India promised to separate all of its civilian nuclear facilities from its nuclear weapons facilities and to bring all of its civilian nuclear facilities under full IAEA safeguards. This is a win for everyone, but India gets the privilege of being the only nation possessing nuclear weapons that is not a signatory to the NPT to be able to conduct nuclear commerce.

As with any strategic relationship, there are areas of concern. First and foremost is the possibility of being dragged into a conflict with Pakistan. India and Pakistan are both nuclear weapon states that share a contested border and have opposing ideologies. Mumbai has been the sight of many terrorist attacks thought to be perpetrated by members of Pakistani state-sponsored terrorist organizations. Should the terrorists get it right one day and deal a devastating blow, India may be forced to retaliate and the US’s strength as a strategic partner will be tested.

Second, increasing military relations with India, while attempting to balance the rise of China, may ultimately lead to destabilizing the region by forcing China to escalate its posture in response. Diplomatic and economic relations with China will be strained punishing the civilian populations of all countries involved with rising prices of goods and higher costs for doing business.

Finally, India may prove not to be the partner the US anticipates it to be. India may gain its nuclear concessions, half-heartedly assist the US in counter-terrorism efforts, and seek to gain stronger relations with China in an attempt to ease security concerns through economic interconnectedness of the two most populous nations in the world. India is in a position to benefit greatly with a close relationship with the US, but it historically prefers to be a non-aligned nation, acting in its best interest and not being committed to another nation’s agenda.

I believe that India wants to proceed with working with the US. The strategic partnership will be beneficial to both parties, but expect India to push back on many US requests as the Indian leadership attempts to maintain the veneer of non-alignment for its domestic population and the other members of the non-aligned movement. With it’s strategic location, dense population, and high technology sector, India will be a coveted ally for the US to maintain for quite a long time.

Final Exam

National Security Policy
Fall 2011
Final Exam

Answer one of the following three questions. Your exam is due at 12:15pm today.

1. Over the past ten years, the United States has substantially expanded and improved upon its diplomatic and military relationship with India. What are the American goals for this relationship? What do the Indians get out of it? Is the expanded commitment to India a good idea, or are there unforeseen pitfalls?

2. International relations theorist Kenneth Waltz wrote “To say that militarily strong states are feeble because they cannot easily bring order to minor states is like saying that a pneumatic hammer is weak because it is not suitable for drilling decayed teeth.” Discuss.

3. Since 2001, the United States has taken several steps to reorganize and modernize its national security apparatus. Has this effort gone far enough, or too far? What additional steps would you recommend in order to reform the US national security establishment to face the threats of the post-Cold War world?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Obama and the Generals: It's Complicated

The national jobs crisis and Republican primary circus have dominated the news cycle for the past couple of weeks, but with American troops poised to return from Iraq by Christmas President Obama's security policy is also receiving some important scrutiny.

It's no secret that the President's overall approval ratings are bleak, with his foreign policy performance and certain personality characteristics providing bright spots. But anyway, the people they poll for those numbers base their opinions on gut feelings and 24-hour cable news blather. What are experts saying about Obama and his management of Big Issues like Iraq and Afghanistan?

They're saying that it's awkward. In a strange turn of events, Obama has been heeding his military commanders' advice about diplomatic relations with Pakistan in the wake of the recent Pakistan-Afghanistan border strike, while choosing to disregard many of their recommendations about the upcoming withdrawal from Iraq. As commander-in-chief the President clearly has a fine line to walk in terms of balancing expert advice on strategy with domestic political considerations. Few people believe that accepting generals' input at face value is itself a helpful strategy, as Jon Huntsman pointed out in a recent debate using Vietnam as a (less-than-perfect) comparison.

The problem isn't that Obama selectively declines to follow recommendations put forth by his generals, as he has on the issues of when and how many troops to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, the worry is over how frequently Obama has ignored the input from those he selected to lead, or continue leading, the country's military in these two major engagements. By repeatedly overruling the generals' decisions, President Obama not only undermines their authority but also his own. Whether or not this is the case, it suggests that either his judgment of character failed to place the correct people in charge, or the people he chose in good faith fail repeatedly to convince him of their authority. Both options present a bleak insight into how top-level security decisions might be made. It's disconcerting to think that David Petraeus, Lloyd Austin, and Stanley McChrystal could be incompetent enough to repeatedly misunderstand the President's objectives or fail to develop adequate courses of action in this, their area of expertise.

Between Obama's complicated relationship with his military leaders, deteriorating relations with Pakistan and Iran, uncertainty in Russia, drug violence on the Mexican border, and a supposed new focus on East Asia (among a host of other security issues), the President's fourth year in office looks to have a major focus security policy. While this means that the President is likely to be 100% grey-haired by 2013, at least it will provide ample fodder for presidential debates.

Iraq Civil War?

After eight years and over a trillion dollars later, President Obama has announced that US all US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by mid- December. While Obama had promised in his campaign to bring the troops home, it is still being seen by some (Senator John McCain and others) as partly a failure on the part of the Obama administration. It was seen as the intention of the US to leave some troops in Iraq to continue with training of Iraqi security forces and to help keep the country secure instead of a full withdrawal. This is not happening according to them because of the Obama’s administrations failure to negotiate immunity from Iraqi law for US troops.
While the US public is weary of the Iraq War and the US is no longer in a position to afford to continue its involvement at its current level, one must wonder how ready Iraq is to go it alone. With anti-American cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr waiting in the wings, how long after the US pullout will he wait to attempt to overthrow the government of Iraq? Will we see a civil war in Iraq in the new year?
Al-Sadr, an extremely popular figure in Iraq, has close ties with Iran. It is not certain whether the present government of Iraq could withstand a Sunni/Shia civil war. But it is almost a sure thing that if a Sunni/Shia civil war should breakout, that Iran would be involved, either in instigating or in supporting it. It would definitely not be in the US interest to have an Iran friendly regime in the region, but it is not certain whether the US government is willing or able to send troops back into Iraq, let alone gaining public support.
However, the US could support Iraq by sending a small number of Special Forces troops, as well as extending the use of drones in the area to support Iraqi government troops. While an Iranian supported civil war in Iraq could possibly distract Iran from its nuclear program, if this scenario were to play out, with Iran supporting a fighters in Iraq and the US supplying Iraq with enough military aid to not lose, it would bring us close to the days of the Iran/Iraq war, with shades of the Cold War, by having the US fighting a proxy war with Iran in Iraq. As bad as this sounds, would it be worse than having an Iran friendly government in the Middle East, or in the end as bad as keeping a few troops in Iraq without immunity?

The Pakistani Rumor Mill

So Pakistan is in the news…again. Really, no one’s surprised anymore. They always have something going on that inevitably winds up on the news. Today we have the headline that the CIA has vacated the Shamsi airbase where drone attack where launched. The agency was asked to leave after an air strike killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers. Fair enough Pakistan. We acknowledged our mistake and got out. So what else is going on?

There is a rumor that the Pakistani government is talking to the Pakistani group Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP). The government says that they aren’t talking, but the Taliban says they are. Don’t you just love “he said, she said” fights? Some days it feels like no one ever grows up past the age of 13. If the groups are talking, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The U.S. has tossed around the idea of negotiating with the Taliban. It’s not like the groups are going away any time soon so they will have to be dealt with. According to one of the leaders of the TTP a peace deal has nearly been reached and 145 members of the group being held in Pakistani prisons have been released. We’ll see if this is true or complete fabrication. Likely it’s somewhere in the murky middle.

Another rumor is that President Asif Ali Zardari will be returning to Pakistan from Dubai within two weeks. As per my last post, I highly doubt this will happen. There is also the report that former Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani is challenging the Pakistani Supreme Court on investigating ‘Memogate’ as it’s being called and on a potential ban on leaving Pakistan. If the ban is implemented, Haqqani is going to wind up dead on the side of the road. He was exiled under Musharaff’s rule, but came back in a position of power which is the story of civilian politics in Pakistan. I don’t expect the military will take that chance again.

And so with everything going on inside of Pakistan, 2014 really can’t get here soon enough.

Thoughts on the future of Egypt

After the results were revealed of this first round of elections in Egypt's new political system, we begin to envision what to government may eventually look like in the future. The fact that Islamists and conservative factions rose to power in the wake of the overthrow of Mubarak is no surprise considering the reaction of the Egyptian people to the Mubarak regime. After the government under Mubarak fell, the Egyptian public and domestic politicians reacted by a huge show of support to any party or candidate that displayed anti-Mubarak views. The Muslim Brotherhood remained an adamant opponent during the Mubarak regime (and were banned by Mubarak to exist as a political party), but still maintained a strong cohesive group despite their expulsion from the Egyptian government. The Brotherhood positioned themselves during the Tahrir protests to sweep in after the fall of Mubarak with a message of strong Egyptian nationalism backed by rule of law dictated through Shariah. They formed the Freedom and Justice party which as we all know now, has won a plurality in the initial parliamentary elections and are expected to maintain that plurality in future parliamentary elections. The Brotherhood have realized their potential influence on the new government of Egypt and have pushed a more moderate Islamist view since the inception of the Freedom and Justice Party. The party has pushed a message of heavy reliance on tourism to boost the struggling economy. In order to regain (or even surpass) levels of tourism to that of the Mubarak era, the Brotherhood must take moderate stances on laws which may be prohibited by Shariah (ex. alcohol use, western dress, male and female public space, music, media, etc.). More moderate stances in these areas will attract western tourists who made up a large proportion of tourists to Egypt in the past. The party has also made a push for inclusion of the Coptic population in parliamentary politics and increasing the roles for women in the party. Not all Islamist movements rising from the recent elections are softening their stance as the Brotherhood has done.
The more radical and ultraconservative parties are winning large proportions of the seats in parliament as well. Some of these groups like the Al-Nour party (pictured left) are pushing for a strict adherence to Shariah dogma and a purge of all western or "modern" influences. Much of the hardcore Islamist support comes from rural voters and so far, the Islamists in general have sealed up 2/3 of the seats up for grabs in the primary elections. The question remains, how will the rise of Islamism affect the future of Egypt?
One main way that the Islamism will affect Egypt's economy will be through tourism. The extent of the implementation of Shariah and the amount of money gained from tourism will be negatively correlated in the coming years. In other words, the more extreme the Islamic rule, the less inclined westerners will be to travel to Egypt. Limitations on western dress and alcohol will be hard to swallow for many travelers and may be a deciding factor to prevent them from visiting the country. Under Mubarak, tourism made up 10-15% of the nation's GDP and if these numbers fall drastically, then the Egyptians will feel the further deterioration of the country's economy.
Other factors will also hinder growth in the economy. For all Mubarak's faults, he was pushing initiatives that were making improvement to the damaged Egyptian economy. These include rising tourism rates, tax reform, reviving public enterprise, and legislation that was improving private-sector growth. GDP in Egypt was growing around 5-7% annually for the last 7 years despite the global economic crisis. Sadly, most of the positive economic initiatives with Mubarak's signature will end up being for domestic political reasons. Anything tied to Mubarak in the new government will eventually be met with contention to the ruling Islamist majority.
It will be interesting to see the Egyptian people's reaction to how the Islamist's handle the new government. If the economy suffers then another season of revolts may be in store. Also, restrictions on personal liberties may be a strong point of contention from the youth of Egypt. The young people of Egypt enjoy the movies of America, the clothes of Europe and music of the West. It will be difficult to ask them to give up these luxuries, especially in urban areas like Cairo and Alexandria. It was the youth of Egypt that ignited the revolts that brought down Mubarak. They now understand the power of protest and if pushed, they may occupy Tahrir square once again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adama was Right. Again.

It is by no means a secret that Iran has downed a unmanned US drone. While we first denied it, the US has admitted that it has lost a drone that was last accounted for more than a hundred miles inside the Iranian border. What is up for speculation, however is the manner of the drone's coming to ground.

At the moment, the US is claiming a malfunction while the Iranians are claiming that they forced it to to ground electronically (after claiming to have shot it down, of course). Given that neither side has managed to pick a story and stick with it, I think that it is not unreasonable to just say that they have our aircraft and are not planning on giving it back.

That being said, the American drone program has had a number of security issues in the recent past. Furthermore, electronic attacks of this nature have been discussed for more than a decade, first coming to prominence in 1999's Unrestricted Warfare. Even if Iran did not actually carry out an electronic attack against a US drone, this remains the most practical type of defense for a less-than-super-power. Anyone can buy a device that can block cell phone signals online for less than $30.00 or even make one for cheaper, assuming that you have access to the right soldering equipment (or buy it here). From there, it is just a matter of increasing the range and honing in on the correct frequencies to block.

Though I sincerely hope that we are using technology more sophisticated than cellular signals to control our drones, waves are waves and have weakness as such. As the use of drones becomes more prevalent worldwide, the value of this type of relatively unsophisticated electronic blocking will become more relevant and likely more widespread. While I am sure that there are those with a significantly greater understanding of these matters than I that are working on this issue, this might be the biggest potential chink in the US's technologically superior armor.