Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 2, 2008

Wake-Up Call Seven Years After

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Infrastructure Protection — by Jonah Czerwinski on September 2, 2008

China won the competition to host the recently concluded 2008 Olympics on July 13, 2001 – just two months before 9/11. For those wondering whether or not we are more secure today than we were before 9/11, consider a broader metric offered today by Thomas Friedman.

Friedman reflects on how China and America have spent the last seven years:

China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for al-Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.

The Olympics are over – and were a triumph. Al Qaeda, on the other hand, remains a threat. Fighting terrorism is harder than putting on a $50 billion international competition. (The latter is the Olympics.) But, Friedman points out that the hidden costs are beginning to show:

Compare arriving at La Guardia’s dumpy terminal in New York City and driving through the crumbling infrastructure into Manhattan with arriving at Shanghai’s sleek airport and taking the 220 mph magnetic levitation train, which uses electromagnetic propulsion instead of steel wheels and tracks to get to town in a blink.

At least he notes that China is not equally blessed. Beyond Beijing, that country is still in worse shape than the U.S. Friedman’s point is different: Consider how much modern infrastructure has been built in China since 2001 and how much infrastructure has been postponed in America since 2001. The next president needs a devoted nation-building program in America.

“The next president,” Friedman explains, “can have all the foreign affairs experience in the world, but it will be useless if we, as a country, are weak.” Homeland Security, in other words, is a critical part of keeping America competitive and investments in securing America can also pay dividends in quality of life. A safe and efficient public transportation system is both more secure and more effective.

The next election is not about who is tough enough on terrorists. Both Obama and McCain are equally committed to combating terrorism. The real metric is who is “strong enough, focused enough, creative enough and unifying enough to get Americans to rebuild America.”

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 2, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

The trend lines seem to be the problem. Admittedly China has a long way to go to achieve what seems the goal of the leadership. But at least they have a goal. What is the US leadership’s infrastructure goals? By the way my belief GE and not NBC was the big US corporate winner at these immediately past Olympics.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 3, 2008 @ 6:51 am

From my global perspective and the growing unrest and tensions especially in the Pacific region which we will unfortunately soon see in the Philippines and Indonesia for instance.

While China has been hosting the olympics and most assuredly has been addressing infrastructure bulding and challenges we saw on CNN during the Olympics, lest no one underestimate the amount of fiat – federal reserve notes – which most refer to as US dollars, though not backed by gold or anything else – lest no one underestimate the military and technology advancements of Chinese forces especially in laser weaponry and other very sophisticated technological military-space related initiatives as cyber-security tops my list as well as McCain as an independent voter w/no party affiliation!

As far as my perspectives on the candidates and the majority of Americans which will be telling on election day and crucial to our security, an Obama team which I have seen thus far may be oriented to addressing the issues affecting the world in the 70′s and 80′s, however it will take a strong and assertive President to combat the threats to our great nation from many possibilities hered in the 21st century and I look high in the sky and see the next real threat or at least a powerful card if one chooses to use it…

It will be the Europeans (German EU led fast deployment armed forces) who will undoubetdly deal with Al Qaeda which is extensively training and is a direct threat to the security of European cities shortly.

Unfortunately, we here in the US are a wasteful nation, a nation of special interest groups.

We are not a nation of rainy day savers, yet a nation with those we have entrusted with our vote and their supposed empty slogans of change in their less than genuine commitment to public servive only to see our government workers in the House and Senate openly address their own personal needs as a priority.

Corruption is so rampant everywhere and soon this will lead to a global demise in the future.

You talk of infrastructure and how we must address further and I show you Boston’s – seven mile – in excess of $20Billion – I reiterate – Boston’s US$20 Billion fiat federal reserve notes misspent on the largest (seven (7) mile) public works project in the United States with hardly any accountability – innocent loss of Life – pls see: http://www.bigdiglifevest.com – and i would rather commit our monies on our military infrastructure protecting the skies and address the ongoing focus and sophistication of Russians and Chinese technology which – as we saw in Georgia with Russians emnploying technology to jam communications and other more sophistiated efforts than place our monies in the hands of both sides of the aisle who turn their cheek and allow tax monies to be wasted….

This next election is said to be a generational election – well most do not relect on history and the lessons we learn from knowing history and given today’s educational attainment of a graduating high school or even college student, I do hope the older egneration chooses to vote and shows how history can impress people to look to Washington and send a clear message that the maverick who has shown great strength in personal and professional commitment will be afforded the opportunity to address the real needs of a crumbling infrastructure a sa result of the lack of wasteful and unaccounted monies drawn at rabdom from the tax coffers.

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA USA

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