Hopefully, you’ve had a better week than SOCOM, which has been getting publicly torched for a series of cover-ups, fuck-ups and character flaws. It’s not just the Marines anymore — all the services need a few good men. Actually, more than a few.
Time Magazine has come out with its “Person of the Year:” murdered journalists. It’s not a terrible selection. But what caught my eye were who the finalists were: President Trump; “Separated Families”; Russian Ruler Vladimir Putin; special counsel Robert Mueller; Black Panther director Ryan Coogler; Christine Blasey Ford; slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi; March for Our Lives Activists; South Korean president Moon Jae-in; and royal-wedding bride Meghan Markle. The list struck me as another example of the Chinese flying under the radar. President Xi’s aggressive push across the globe continues to be the most under-reported aggression. Under-reported does not mean un-reported — there is plenty of quality reporting about China’s efforts. Just this week, you can read about Chinese cell phone espionage as well as China’s espionage and influence campaign in the EU. This week, at separate times, both MI6 and Canadian intelligence have done everything but jump up and down about China. Then there is the Huawei CFO who has been arrested in Vancouver for circumventing the sanctions against Iran, which has led to a back and forth between China and the West. Marco Rubio has been screaming into the wind about Huawei. But none of this seems to generate the focus, outrage or pop culture buzz that it warrants. Is that dangerous? Well, New Zealand and Australia prefer Chinese leadership to that of the US. How does that bode well for our presence in the Pacific Rim? Report on all the espionage, subversion, intrigue, money and human rights abuses you want, but in the end, George Costanza must have been right: any news about China is an instant page-turner.
Germany has cultivated a well-earned reputation for remaining vulnerable to Russian espionage and influence efforts. It appears the Germans are just as lax when it comes to China…