The Department of Justice has filed charges against 5 Chinese military officers for “economic espionage” against American companies. Shocking isn’t it!? With all that has gone on over the years that we “suspected” and then over the last year since Edward Snowden’s revelations, does this shock anyone? Is this some sort of schoolyard prank?
With all joking aside, I can see and do agree that international copyrights, patents etc. should be respected and yes the Chinese do seem to have been abusive of some of these laws but this story says that “military officers” were the culprit. Since they are Chinese military, isn’t it their job to gather information that might protect or advance their nation? I’m not really sure what exactly the U.S. expects to gain by filing these charges? Will we go to Beijing to arrest these guys? Will we wait until they pass through the U.S. on a commercial flight to nab them? Do we expect them to be turned over based on a warrant issued by a U.S. judge? I would think that a ticker tape parade for these 5 is more likely in China but what do I know?
One must wonder whether we are the pot or the kettle here. Is it OK to monitor e-mail and phone communications of the heads of state of other sovereigns but would we draw the line at “corporate espionage?” Do we draw the line on corporate espionage because we are the global beacon of free, fair and open markets where everyone is on the same footing and the government assures that there is no manipulation? Would we be filing charges if these were German officers or would that be too embarrassing after getting caught spying on Mrs. Merkel and apparently “misplacing” their gold?
Or maybe it was decided that since the sanction game hasn’t gone so well with Russia in the crosshairs, maybe we would have better luck with China? Is this merely some misdirection so that you forget that the NSA is watching you read this and everything else that you read? Seriously is the public being primed to have a target to be angry with should some sort of computer virus wipe out a whole bunch of 1’s and 0’s in the banking system? You can look at this and just laugh, or you can shake your head and wonder who is driving this bus and where is it headed?
Poking the Chinese military in the eye is not such a good idea considering that they are now on the verge of invading Vietnam and pushing our “treatied” ally Japan as hard as they are. Of course this doesn’t even take into account that China is our largest banker. They have already shut the credit spigot to our Treasury off, are we now asking them to dump their Treasury holdings too? There can be no upside to this action as far as I can see.
Of course as with everything else, you must question the “timing” of these charges also. Why would these charges be brought up only days before China announces their holy grail energy deal with Russia? Is this supposed to be some sort of wet spaghetti jab just prior to receiving an overhead knockout blow? I believe that the coming announcement could have huge ramifications for the dollar, isn’t anyone in Washington paying attention to this or am I just either wrong or over thinking it.
Since our announcement, China has responded in a stern if not angry manner as one might expect. We are apparently playing a pot and kettle game while China is sitting at (the head of) the table playing poker and they have all the cards. To me, this is really scary because Washington “doesn’t get it.” The world is changing and has changed dramatically to where it is no longer “U.S. centric.” We have sent them our gold, what will we pay them with next? We are like the once rich and beautiful woman who has aged and run out of money…what good are we to them? Especially since we are nagging at them for actions that we have already been caught doing?
Please do not misunderstand me, I love my country, what it was and what it is supposed to stand for but we are doing some very very dumb things. Poking China and Russia in the eye at the same time is just plain ignorant. This can only make them more angry towards us…at a time that they are “courting” each other which will only make them more “united” …against us! Do not for a moment think that the Chinese and Russians believe that the U.S. dollar has any value other than for the fact that they and the rest of the world accept them. They can in an overnight action cancel 30% or more of the demand for dollars in a uni (co)lateral decision.
There are of course two other sides to all of this and John Chambers of Cisco Systems has already described one of them. Cisco says that they have just recently hit an “order vacuum” coming out of China (and China has also dropped using windows 8 on all govt. computers). Gee, who would have thought this far in advance to see this one coming? The other side of course is what if China decides not to sell goods to the U.S. Have you ever wondered what Walmart stores would look like if they had no Chinese products on their shelves? We would just get the products from elsewhere you say? Really? Could you afford them? Would Walmart even be open? Please don’t tell me that this cannot happen because during a time of war …ANYTHING can happen and we are entering an economic war no matter what you’d like to term it.
Folks, think this scenario through in your own head. What would be the results of an economic and financial war with China? The answer is “bad” no matter how much of a disillusioned optimist you are. There is no upside to this. There is no way to win or gain anything from these actions. As with anything, this is being done either purposely or by mistaken strategy. Normally I would say that it doesn’t matter but in this case I truly hope that it can be blamed on ignorance because if not, then the word “intent” is injected into the mix. If, “intent” is part of the equation then I would call it intentional financial and economic suicide.