Thursday, April 03, 2008

THE SLEEPER GIANT

It's time to buy stock in chicken wire because it's going to take a lot of it if we are to start rounding up Chinese-American engineers in the aerospace and tech industries.
Prosecutors called Chi Mak the "perfect sleeper agent," though he hardly looked the part. For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor, which rewarded him with promotions and a security clearance. Colleagues remembered him as a hard worker who often took paperwork home at night.
I was always amazed at the amount of paperwork he would take home every night. I also wondered why he had a camera in his cigarette case and an ethernet port in the heel of his shoe.
The Chinese government, in an enterprise that one senior official likened to an "intellectual vacuum cleaner," has deployed a diverse network of professional spies, students, scientists and others to systematically collect U.S. know-how, the officials said. Some are trained in modern electronic techniques for snooping on wireless computer transactions. Others, such as Mak, are technical experts who have been in place for years and have blended into their communities.

Does anybody doubt that our grandchildren will be learning Mandarin in school and calling their principal "Chairman"? We teach our children Kwanzaa and Earth Day while the Chinese learn English and calculus then come take all the good jobs. Our cultures are polar opposites - ours is obsessed with the next quarter while theirs is equally concerned with the effect of every decision on their grandchildren's grandchildren. It takes us only a few months of crazy profiteering in the lending markets to nearly collapse our economy while the Chinese have the patience to seed our tech industries with loyalist moles who will not pay off for decades. It's just a matter of time before they rule the world.

"Chi Mak acknowledged that he had been placed in the United States more than 20 years earlier, in order to burrow into the defense-industrial establishment to steal secrets," Joel Brenner, the head of counterintelligence for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in an interview. "It speaks of deep patience," he said, and is part of a pattern."

The Mongols took it to you on horseback and it was hard not to notice you were being invaded but this is an example of a modern invasion. It will not make the headlines and we will barely see it coming but some day we will suddenly realize that we are no longer the sole superpower.
At least the Bush administration has had the foresight to buck public opinion (and international treaties) to weaponize space. It was the great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu in The Art of War who taught us to always keep the high ground.

3 comments:

Sir Saunders said...

Remember the movie "Gung-ho" which was written smack dab in the middle of the 80's when it looked like the Japanese were going to take over? Well what happened? I even went to the great length to learn some conversational Japanese. Well there stock and real estate bubble burst and they were plunged into a horrific financial crisis...hmmmm...what a minute...maybe you have a point. Perhaps I will brush up on the Mandarin after all.

E said...

Fine application of Sun Tzu.

Tom said...

I think the planning is their weakness not their strength. The world changes too much to really plan ahead for generations. You’d have to say that their bureaucrats are somehow able to overcome careerism, petty rivalries, power struggles, and all of the other things that render our government agencies incompetent and then they have to predict the best course for 50 years hence. Their kind of planning like all central planning lags behind a laboratory of free people that can react to the current situation. Can you imagine what our country would be like if we were working from the plans set down by Eisenhower in 1958?

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