. Military Space News .

Outside View: America's most testing epoch
by Harlan Ullman
Washington (UPI) Sep 28, 2011

US man charged over bid to give China defense info
Washington (AFP) Sept 28, 2011 - A US man once employed as a guard at a US consulate in China has been charged with attempting to pass defense information to the government in Beijing, the US Justice Department said Wednesday.

The new charge came in a superseding indictment for Bryan Underwood, 31, atop previous charges of making false statements to US officials.

According to the Justice Department statement, from about March to August, Underwood "knowingly and unlawfully attempted to communicate photographs and other information relating to the national defense to representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC)."

The statement did not specify the city in which Underwood had worked.

Underwood made the attempts "with the intent and reason to believe that these materials would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation," US officials said.

The superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Washington on Wednesday comes after initial charges were made against him on August 31.

Underwood had been scheduled to appear at a status hearing earlier this month, and when he failed to present himself in court, FBI agents located him in Los Angeles and arrested him on September 24.

He now also faces charges of failing to appear in court in accordance with the terms of his release.

If convicted, Underwood faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison.

"Our national security depends upon our ability to keep our most sensitive information confidential," US attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement, adding his lying to US officials to allegedly cover up his actions was a "betrayal" of US interests.

In life, people inexorably move from infancy to adulthood and on to old age in a series of significant chronological milestones. Countries are obviously not people but states also pass through stages that mark fundamental transition points and new epochs in their histories, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not. And sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.

The United States is arguably at one such transformative period in its history. Few recognize the presence of this decisive and transformative stage. Fewer have speculated on what this could mean for the United States and Americans.

The signs are unmistakable if one looks carefully enough: a profound and unprecedented decline in American influence and relative power; a political process currently incapable of governing exacerbated by critical absence of effective leadership at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue; and a dearth of good ideas for rectifying the nation's ills.

Given this diminishment in power and influence, paralyzed government and paucity of leadership and ideas, America seems in suspended animation, unable or unwilling to comprehend and hesitant to respond. That it remains the world's strongest economic and military power hasn't been put to any real positive effect.

Chronologically, America's first epoch dates from 1776 and lasted until civil war erupted in 1861; the second from 1865 and the end of the Civil War to American entry into World War II in late 1941; and the third from 1945 persisting until Sept. 11, 2001, and the attacks that obliterated New York's Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon.

The American Revolution created the United States and subsequently a Constitution establishing its political foundation. That Constitution wasn't without flaws. Ultimately, those flaws metastasized into civil war that ripped the country asunder.

After that war ended in 1865, the United States extended its reach from ocean to ocean. From the Spanish American War of 1898, America acquired colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific making it a global power. World War I strengthened American influence, at the same time sowing the seeds for a second world war. Following the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression guaranteed America's isolation, turning the country inward. The subsequent Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor shattered that isolation and in that process would make America the world's first nuclear superpower.

The Soviet Union emerged from that war as a budding second superpower due to geography and a huge Red Army occupying a large part of Eastern Europe. But the larger, hidden reality was that not all of the Kremlin's vital organs were fully developed. When Mikhail Gorbachev imposed glasnost (openness) and perestroika (reform), the intent was to correct the systemic ills and irrationalities. Instead, the self-correction proved self-destructive and the U.S.S.R. disintegrated.

In 1990, the United States had an unprecedented opportunity to define what President George H.W. Bush termed a "new world order." Because no one could specify what the new world order actually meant, that opportunity passed. Instead, September 11th would become the signature event marking this new transformative epoch.

That attack would manifest American vulnerability beyond terrorist acts however heinous. More dangerous were the consequences of September 11th for American ideals, values and global reputation. Ironically, September 11th and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and against global terror, however tactically successful, redounded against American interests and standing and in the process helped break the bank.

Further, the Patriot Act and other reactive measures grossly infringed on basic American civil liberties. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and enhanced interrogation techniques deemed vital to the war on terror irrevocably stained American values and its reputation. Drone and Special Forces attacks in targeted assassinations against suspected terrorists, however effective, have inadvertently created so-called "accidental" terrorists and exacerbated anti-American attitudes in many parts of the globe.

America has also become victim to the vast diffusion of economic power. "Globalization," a product of this diffusion, contains economic disadvantages as well as benefits. The former have eroded American expectations about future prosperity and standards of living as jobs and markets emigrated overseas. Battered globalized economies, reeling from the financial subprime crisis of 2008 haven't recovered. America still suffers from a stalled economic recovery that could be imploded into recession by the euro crisis.

So far, American government has proven incapable of confronting these perplexing issues and then making tough choices. And, because of more diffused power, whatever advantages may have accrued to being the world's "indispensable superpower," most have dissipated or become meaningless.

If "leading from behind" isn't to be the default position, then Americans must understand the United States has reached a crucial milestone that demands effective action and leadership, not partisan recriminations and sound-bite solutions. Without that understanding, America won't control its destiny. Without effective leadership, the nation will remain rudderless. And without better ideas, the ship of state will founder or go aground.

(Harlan Ullman is chairman of the Killowen Group, which advises leaders of government and business, and is senior adviser at Washington's Atlantic Council.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

China 'shadow-boxing' US at sea: Philippines' Ramos
Washington (AFP) Sept 28, 2011 - Philippine ex-president Fidel Ramos said Wednesday that China's recent assertiveness over sea disputes was motivated by a desire to challenge US power, as he predicted more tensions to come.

On a visit to Washington, Ramos described China and the United States as "shadow-boxing" over the South China Sea and East China Sea where Beijing has growing friction with countries including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

"China's proximate aim, it seems to me, is to limit American freedom of access" and "erode the credibility of Washington's security guarantees to the East Asian states, including and especially the Philippines," Ramos, who was president from 1992 to 1998, said at the Heritage Foundation think-tank.

"We, where we come from, expect South China Sea tensions to continue because the root cause is really China's perceived need to break out from under the strategic dominance of the Western allies," Ramos said.

However, Ramos said he did not expect military confrontation due to the vast US military superiority over China. He called for governments to shift away spending from the military to fighting "real enemies" such as poverty.

Ramos was visiting Washington as part of 60th anniversary commemorations of the Mutual Defense Treaty between Washington and its former colony. Elsewhere in the region, the United States also has security pacts with Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Ramos welcomed the role of the US military in Asia, saying it had provided security to Asia and allowed it to grow economically.

Amid the tension with China, Philippine President Benigno Aquino has allocated 11 billion pesos ($252 million) to upgrade his country's navy, whose flagship vessel dates from World War II.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

China wants to go own way in Pacific: US official
Washington (AFP) Sept 27, 2011
China has told the United States it will go its own way with its growing aid and investment in the South Pacific and does not support combined efforts, a senior US official said Tuesday. At a 16-nation Pacific island summit this month in New Zealand, Chinese officials explained they were "not particularly interested in sharing" fruits of their engagement, said Kurt Campbell, the US assistant ... read more

Russia renews demands for missile shield 'guarantees'

Northrop Grumman Receives Systems Engineering Contract for MDA Precision Tracking Space System

NATO commander visits Turkey for talks on missile defence

Turkey's NATO radar to protect arch-foe: Iran

Iran equips marine forces with 'cruise' missile

Boeing CHAMP Missile Completes First Flight Test

India tests nuclear-capable missile

Lockheed Martin Delivers 400th HIMARS Launcher to US Army

AeroVironment Receives Order from USAF for Raven UAS

Militants flee US drone strike in Pakistan: officials

Block 10 Global Hawks Complete Air Force Service Ahead Of New Mission Deployment

Drone attack kills 10 Qaeda suspects in south Yemen

NRL TacSat-4 Launches to Augment Communications Needs

Northrop Grumman Tech Pivotal in US Marine Corps' MTAOM Command and Control System

Proton-M puts military purpose spacecraft into orbit

Russia launches military satellite after delay

Israeli bunker-busters cause Mideast alarm

Elbit Systems to Supply the Israeli MoD with Cardom Systems

Groundbreaking Radar Pinpoints Impact of Rapid Shell Fire for US Navy and Army

Tactical Air Defense Services' Super Tucano Aircraft Delivered and Flying

Thales solidifies South American footprint

Defense optronics market set for growth

Brazil in 'urgent' need of fighter jets: minister

Brazil arms industry growth draws Boeing

US a 'committed partner and friend' of China: Clinton

Outside View: America's most testing epoch

China unlikely to break US military dialogue: admiral

China wants to go own way in Pacific: US official

Boeing and BAE Systems to Develop Integrated Directed Energy Weapon for US Navy

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement