Nine Million Potential Trojan
National Security in an Insane World
by William R. Carr
There was a time when common sense told almost everybody with
more than a third grade education that, first and foremost, national security
requires national independence itself. Without political and economic
independence, the idea of anything approaching effective national security is
You simply cannot have effective national security if the nation has
been rendered totally vulnerable by policy that has rendered the nation
dependent on foreign imports to satisfy the basic needs of consumers.
I'm not speaking strictly of military security, of course. And
I'm not speaking of security against terrorism. I'm
speaking of overall security of the nation and its ability to survive future
threats, whether from natural phenomena, financial collapse, or
actual foreign invasion.
Dependence on trade (i.e., others elsewhere), to provide for
our consumer needs; depending on foreign ships to deliver the goods; and
depending on credit (especially foreign credit), to facilitate the whole, is the
very antithesis of security.
A secure nation must not only be able to feed itself and
provide its citizens with consumer necessities, it must also be "doing this
itself" (from within its own borders), as part and parcel of the national purpose and national business.
This is the foundation, and fundamental requisite, of viable nationhood
status. Economic independence is the only thing upon which national security can
be built and permanently maintained during both peace and war. Facilitating this would be the goal of any sensible
government which purported to represent and serve the people, and actually doing this should be the occupation of the overwhelming
majority of the population.
In fact, "independence" was the very purpose of the
Revolutionary War in the first place. And becoming more and more economically independent after
that contest was, in large part, what made the United States a great,
prosperous, and powerful, nation. And economic independence insured our national
security – the ability to feed ourselves and provide all the necessities even
if trade should be totally cut off.
Any government that fails to see and do this, and fails to plan and
promote national security through internal economic independence, is failing in its most
important purpose and is betraying its most fundamental responsibility to its
Naturally, we unavoidably live in an interdependent world. No
nation is likely to attain totally self-sufficiency in everything required for
the good life, but any
degree of independence is better than dependence. And simple common sense once
told us that Independence was the greatest goal of all for both individuals and
Just as in the case of individuals, every nation should be as
independent as nature permits. For a nation like the United States to actively
seek a position of dependency (in what is obviously still a dangerous and
hostile world), is not only self-destructive to the point of being absurd, but
it is suicidal! It's like an individual going out of his way to break
all his limbs so he can be administered to in a hospital bed, trusting people
with problems of their own to sustain and nourish him.
Of course, I'm not talking about nations such as Singapore,
which is little more than a city state, though a very successful one that at
least supports itself industrially and financially in spite of a total lack of
food and raw material resources. I'm
talking about the United States of America – a continental sized nation with
vast productive farm lands, which is rich in almost every other natural resource that
economic independence requires. If we don't have enough oil, we have plenty
of other energy resources to take its place. Thanks to a total lack of serious national
security planning at the very top, over a number of decades, we're really in a
national security fix now. (And, by the way, maybe we shouldn't
have allowed ourselves to become a nation of such conspicuous and super-wasteful
consumers in the first place.)
Today, the sad truth is that the United States (the world's
largest economy, consumer market, and superpower), is about as economically
independent as Singapore. In fact we are even less economically independent than
Singapore in terms of the overall
financial balance sheet and dependence on foreign labor and creditors required
to drive our economy.
Foreign trade has become our most important national economic
lifeline. That lifeline (and thus the "American
way of life" and national security itself), depends on about $1 trillion
dollars' worth of foreign trade that transits our 361 seaports annually, not to
mention that crossing our northern and southern borders. By far, the vast
bulk of that trade is in the form of imports of food, consumer goods, and oil.
Government policy has allowed this largely unnecessary volume of trade to become the very backbone of the American economy.
And our foreign trade
is increasing at a steady rate, the goal being to increase it even faster –
and our increasing trade deficit is so far in the red and out of balance that it is staggering.
We're so dependent on foreign trade that to cut it off
completely, cold turkey, would be so catastrophic that it is unimaginable. But
something very close to that could happen in the event of a major war in the
Pacific Rim, especially if it involved China.
It could correctly be stated that a nation that depends on
trade (i.e., others elsewhere), to satisfy it's national needs to any
significant degree actually has no backbone of it's own. And national security
requires backbone – and not only of the military variety. A military
superpower whose only backbone is vested in its military power is in reality
likely to be merely a pitiful Goliath. Such a giant may be vulnerable to a
determined David with a sling to knock him for a loop.
About 95% of our nation's trade is conducted by sea, with
"more than 8,500 foreign vessels, which make more than 55,000 calls per
year... These ships carry the bulk of the approximately 800 million tons of good(s)
that came into our country, including more than nine million containers and 175
billion gallons of oil and other fuels." This according to Senator Susan
Collins, as stated by Nick Blenkey in the July 2006 issue of, Marine Log.
In spite of all the present efforts and expense of
maritime security, Nick
Blenkey, points out in a sidebar entitled "Nine million potential Trojan
Horses?" (in the same issue of Marine Log), "On paper, the Department
of Homeland Security has comprehensive maritime security programs in place.
Critics are not convinced that they are entirely effective in the real
Of course, I'm one of those critics. Our maritime security
efforts are not effective,
and, in my opinion, never will be. Effective or not security-wise, as far as being
"cost effective," our attempts at maritime security are likely to
eventually totally negate all the presumed advantages of "cheap
imports." Those cheap imports are becoming more and more expensive as our
security concerns and their costs increase. But the price of maritime security (which is one of the costs of
doing business in a globalized economy), isn't showing up at the Wal-Mart
checkout counter as it should. It shows up on red ink side of the national
financial balance sheets, as obligations of American taxpayers.
Maritime, ship, and port security now provide the Department
of Homeland Security with one of its most troubling arrays of security concerns.
But this monumental problem isn't the fault of the DHS people. The Department of
Homeland Security came into being as the result of 9/11, and it has been handed
an impossible task.
The maritime security problem is the result of a long chain of serious policy errors
born of the idea that international interdependence is better (read, more
profitable for global capital), than national
economic independence. This dangerous notion was in turn born of the seldom articulated
belief on the part of our rulers that world government and a New World Order are better than a well ordered,
independent, and free United States of America.
The very fact that a minuscule rag-tag band of Islamic
extremists were capable of putting this great superpower into immediate paranoiac
emergency defense and security mode (at mind-boggling cost in both treasure,
civil liberties), ought to be ample evidence that our self-imposed national
dependence policy has been bad policy. In effect, the DHS, and the problems it
was created to address, is the result of decades of willful national
anti-security policy. Government created a monster which now requires another
monster to ride herd over it.
The first monster was the monster of insecurity, intentionally
conjured up by instituting national dependence on others elsewhere to
manufacture and deliver the goods we need for national survival. The first
monster created the problem, and terrorists prompted action because of another
problem. The second
monster is the machinery presumed necessary to solve the resultant security
problem and protect our nation from from past
and on-going national economic policy.
It's the old story told by conspiracy
theorists, "Create a problem, devise the necessary solutions, then solve
the problem" (The Hegelian dialectic of "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.")
– all, in terms of political maneuvering, to arrive at a pre-determined goal.
The whole exercise could easily have been avoided, of course,
by the simple application of common sense. For example, if we were not embroiled
in the Middle East, due to our growing dependence on foreign oil supplies –
and we were able to deal fairly and squarely with the Arab-Israeli problem (from
a truly neutral position) – there would never have been a serious terrorist
threat directed at the United States.
As for maritime security, if we built and manufactured almost all of the things that we
need as consumers, as we once did, our foreign trade would be cut to perhaps a
quarter of what it is today. This would alleviate about 75% of our present
maritime related security concerns and expenses. If half of the remaining
"necessary" or "desirable" foreign trade was carried in
"American ships," owned and manned by loyal American companies and
American Seamen, the remaining security concern would be halved. This (if we
only had sane national economic and trade policies), would cut, say, a $1
billion dollar port and security cost down to a much more manageable $12.5
million. And maybe we wouldn't need it at all. And that would be the least of the benefits. The real benefit would be
a safer and and more secure, largely economically independent, nation.
At first glance it may seem strange for a seaman to be
squarely against globalism and free trade. But it is globalism and free trade
that has killed the American merchant marine, along with a lot of other American
industries. Or national merchant marine was one of the first lambs on the
sacrificial altar and chopping block. The fact is, if our trade was cut to
pre-globalization levels, and American ships carried an appropriate share of it,
our merchant marine would be much larger and healthier than it is today. But,
though I am a seaman, it is not my intent here to seem self-serving. In any
case, I'm retired and out of the game. The point is that a robust, productive,
internal economy would be good for all Americans and provide for a degree of
national security that is literally impossible today.
To willfully become a dependent and vulnerable nation, as we
have done, and then send our armies out into the world (projecting ourselves
abroad like Boss Hogg in a Lone Ranger's uniform), as we are doing, would seem the ultimate
To be "nation building" on the other side of the
world, while literally abandoning proper management of our own nation –
indeed, making gross mismanagement of our home turf national policy – would be
laughable if it were not so tragic.
Demonstrably, our good intensions, to build a New World Order,
have led to much more war rather than more peace in the world. Obviously there
is something wrong with our formula. Free traders have long been fond of saying,
"If trade doesn't cross borders, armies will." But trade isn't the
panacea for war. And "free trade" is not "free." It is
usually "forced" by belligerent imperial powers. Covetousness of the
resources and products of others is the cause of wars prompted trade disputes.
The need or desire to get what others have prompt armies to cross oceans and
An economically independent United States would have no need
to force trade on any other nation, nor send armies to whip "rogue
states" into any sort of submission to a globalist model under the false
colors and name of "democratization."
In my humble opinion, the best thing the United States of
America could do for the world (and its own national security), would be to cure itself of both its crippling
dependence on foreign imports and its totally inconsistent visions of global
And, having taken the cure, perhaps it could once again become a well ordered
and independent nation with the goal of providing freedom, liberty, justice, and
security, for all in the Homeland (along with plenty productive employment). If America worked well (as it once
did, though never perfectly), it would again serve the high purpose of being a
beacon of enlightened government to the world.
Oh yes, New World Order building, is supposed to be the very
epitome of "high purpose." Trouble is, we were not only building on
the sand-founded dreams of visionaries with flawed analytical thinking capabilities, but at the
very core of the structural engineering department has been the profit-minded corporate boards
of international capital interests. And their only real purpose was (and continues to be), perpetual
assured profits – while hiding behind the mask of
"high and worthy global purpose."
William R. Carr
August 7, 2006