The Great Debate UK

Ten years on – is it the end of the 9/11 moment?

-

-Sir Robert Fry is chairman of McKinney Rogers. His career in the British military includes being director of operations in the Ministry of Defence, advising then prime minister Tony Blair on the military strategic direction of the UK’s response to the September 11 attacks. The opinions expressed are his own.-

In his recent book “On China”, Henry Kissinger rather immodestly, but entirely knowingly, echoes the title of Clausewitz’s seminal work, “On War”. If you’re Henry Kissinger, you can do that. If you’re Henry Kissinger you can also offer a view of unrivalled authority on the politico/strategic landscape of the modern era, which is why his suggestion that China in the 21st Century might reprise the role of Germany in the 20th demands some attention. After the pre-occupation with terrorism of the last 10 years, this sounds rather different. Political ends may be timeless, but the means to prosecute them are rapidly changing, and currency, water, cyber and nuclear instruments may be the weapons of the post 9/11 era.

Chinese maritime capability now includes a missile inventory with the capacity to deny sea control in the Asian littoral to U.S. carrier groups, but why would China pick a conventional fight when its ownership of U.S. foreign debt offers profound strategic leverage without a shot ever being fired?

Timothy Geithner, speaking after the fall of Lehman Brothers, first raised the spectre of currency wars with charges that China was manipulating the yuan in a form of exchange rate mercantilism. But this is a complex and ambiguous area and Sino/American relations are underwritten by what looks like a re-run of the Cold War concept of mutually assured destruction, with the greenback playing the role of nuclear weapons: any large scale dumping of Chinese dollar holdings would not only torpedo its role as a reserve currency, but also devalue remaining Chinese reserves, leaving both nations in a mutually dependent financial embrace.

from The Great Debate:

Rising tide of cyber-crime shows why we need Web regulation

Michael BarrettMichael Barrett is the Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal. He is on the advisory board of StopBadware.org, an anti-malware "neighborhood watch" led by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

In less than five years, Internet crime has changed from an anomaly of teenage vandals into a multi-billion dollar industry. Just one form of cyber crime, "phishing," where criminals masquerade as trustworthy entities in e-mails and instant messages to steal private data, reportedly amassed $3.2 billion last year.  Another form, spyware, where software surreptitiously monitors a victim's online activity, prompted 850,000 U.S. households to replace their computers and inflicted damages totaling $1.7 billion, reported the Consumer Reports National Research Center State of the Net Survey.

  •