HOMELAND INSECURITY

Nine Million Potential Trojan Horses and
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 hopeless.

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 people.

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 nations.

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 world."

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, lives, and 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 national folly.

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 borders.

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 economic empire. 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


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