The Western corporate community is undermining US and Western National Security
Okay, okay… today’s piece will be shorter, I promise ;)
Today I want to cover the basics of a very dangerous trend in global commerce that imperils our national security, global security and stability. The issue is corporate interests making their bottom-line, far more of a priority than the very national security, that enables them to operate and profit. “Penny-wise and dollar-short” is a timeless expression and precisely where US and Western corporate board rooms are failing themselves, their stockholders and the people of the free world.
One of the reasons for today’s piece is that I’ve long had a respectable presence on LinkedIn, where many of my followers are business risk analysts for business/ corporate interests. They need informed intelligence and opinions in order to better advise their clients and/ or bosses. I also follow what major corporate interests are doing because they impact relationships key to my profession, national security. It’s a shame that more time isn’t spent educating citizens as to the roles, that their favorite products are playing in national and global security.
Enough for the intro and now, let’s get the basics down so that we can all better understand how, that excessive profiteering is quite literally, killing people and endangering democracy. In the next few months, I will return to different parts of today’s foundation to expand on these frightening facts.
The premise is that corporate interests have accepted somewhat of a subservient role with our most dangerous adversaries and their enablers. They do this to have market access, have more leverage over prices and yes, more political clout. To say that each one of these topics is complicated, is an understatement. For this reason, we’ll keep this as simple as possible today.
This is not an assault on successful businesses but a reminder to them that the very entities that protect them are also the ones that they are selling out. The US and entities like NATO, ASEAN, the OAS, the AU, the WTO, the EU etc. are part of what is called the RBIO/ Rules Based International Order, which has kept relative stability around the world, since the end of WW II. The RBIO is under assault from the least moral nations and powers around the world, outside of the West. No secure RBIO and only the biggest, strongest and least moral survive. This not only applies to business but to global stability as well.
I will use China as an example as to what I mean by that last sentence. Xi’s strategy of global domination is called the China Dream and accomplished by his BRI/ Belt and Road Initiative. Until COVID, he was achieving respectable success enroute to his goals of regional hegemony by 2035 and global domination of a tributary system of global governance under Chinese rule by 2049.
"The world, All-Under-Heaven, is one, with China / the “Middle Kingdom” at the center and at the pinnacle, is an Emperor or “Son of Heaven”, the sole interface with heaven with no peer. The Han are the “enlightened” while everyone outside is “barbarian” and seeking a tributary relationship with enlightened China for commerce and protection. Those who do not voluntarily seek tributary status must be persuaded or conquered militarily. This will unify All-Under-Heaven under the Chinese paradigm of world order." - China's ascension, through a narrative lens - Cobaugh - Asia Power Watch - Oct. 2020
China, like India is a low-cost manufacturer and an enormous market by themselves. These are obvious targets for any successful and profitable business interest, corporate or otherwise. But at what cost?
Here are some figures from last year that shows the top major corporations doing business with and in China. There are thousands more.
China is notoriously risky for doing business as an outsider. As always, the cost of risk ends up being born by the consumers of these products. China’s domination of rare earth metals for technology is another example of how risky for national security that their domination of this market can be. When profitability or solvency is at stake for corporations, their allegiance often wavers. Hollywood is an example where Chinese investors insist on portraying China as they wish, not as they are. The debacle over a flag of Taiwan on Tom Cruise’s flight jacket set off an uproar with China.
Russia is another deep concern. So many US and Western corporations set up shop in Russia and many, despite Putin’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine and threats to the West, still operate there. This helps to fund Putin’s aggression against the West.
Yale University has an ongoing project that tracks foreign investment and presence still in Russia. It is searchable and can be found at the embedded link. Many of your favorite products are still operating in Russia. This project is updated regularly and was last updated… today.
Even India, another prime and rapidly advancing manufacturing sector has strong business ties with China and Russia. Of note, India is still assisting Russia in evading sanctions on her oil and has a very large trade deficit with China. These issues alone offer significant leverage to both Putin and Xi, who these days are closely and aggressively aligned. Scariest of all, India is supposed to be on the side of the RBIO, not aligned against it. What Modi says and does, are quite often, very different things.
As with China, Russia and India, the now expanding BRICS bloc, increasingly plays by different rules than the RBIO. BRICS seeks to reshuffle the global economy to a different more authoritarian system, that benefits the most powerful, not global citizens. Remember, nations like people, are what they do, not say.
Okay everyone, I promised you a short piece today so here is the summary… I know you are all shocked ;)
"China’s efforts target businesses, academic institutions, researchers, lawmakers, and the general public and will require a whole-of-society response. The government and the private sector must commit to working together to better understand and counter the threat." - FBI
The background above simply scratches the surface but still gives you an idea, just how symbiotic the relationship is between business and national security. The profit line for business is often a more powerful pull than national security allegiance. It is not too much of a stretch to call this, “a hog ring” through the nose of CEOs.” Considering that fact that it is greed that is the threat regarding today’s topic, I thought the use of the term, “hog ring” was appropriate as a manner of foreign adversaries controlling their Western Corporate partners.
“A split metal ring usually with beveled points that can be pushed through the median cartilage of the nose of a pig and there locked to prevent rooting or to serve as a means of leading the animal.”
The US and NATO have done a good job sanctioning Russia, China and others over supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This is one important step to hold businesses accountable, but it is not enough. The Western World simply opens itself up to more threats, the longer that we do not hold companies accountable for working too closely with adversaries. It is the Western world that protects these Corporations legally and assists them in a wide variety of ways, with host nations. The least they can do, is to look out for their own nation.
Business ethics just may be the worst adhered to, concept in business today. I add to this comment, the marketing community who often market unethically, for higher profits. There is nothing wrong with business, profits and advertising… so long as it is ethical. Don’t hold your breath on this, at least not at the corporate level. Just look at the nonsense cigarette manufacturers were selling for decades and now, big oil does regarding climate denial. History shows profits are quite literally the hog rings of most Board Rooms.
If we are to balance out the current avalanche of global crises, it is a collective effort, not just government. The corporate world has long been part of the problem and the solutions. If we are to have a more stable, affordable and secure future, we must put the word “ethics” back into business.
All best for the rest of your week,