A Taiwan-born Navy officer who became a naturalized U.S. citizen faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage and prostitution in a highly secretive case in which he is accused of providing classified information to China, U.S. officials said.
The Navy examined the charges against Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin in a preliminary military justice hearing on Friday. The service did not release his identity, but a U.S. official disclosed it Sunday under the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the case. Lin’s connection to the case was first reported by USNI News.
Ash Carter has cancelled his visit to China, apparently in connection with this case. The maritime recon mission is some pretty serious stuff; I’ve been digging through some old wargaming material from the Naval War College, and the P-3s were expected to bear a heavy load in case of conflict. P-8s also do fun stuff like this. In any case, spying of this nature is probably more important in the big picture than all the cyber-espionage stuff that we’ve heard so much about recently; Chinese intel has been very serious about making inroads into the various Chinese language communities in the United States, although it hasn’t historically had a lot of success with the Taiwanese-American community. Down the road, we may see the US intelligence community and the Pentagon start to get sketchy about security clearances for Chinese-Americans, especially those with fairly recent family connections to the mainland. That would be a shame.
During the Cold War, the United States supported selective nuclear proliferation as a means of deterring a Soviet invasion of Europe. The Russians might not believe that the United States would trade Berlin for New York, but they might find a British or French threat more credible.
Washington did not pursue the same strategy in Asia. Although Japan could easily match Britain or France in economic power and technological sophistication, the United States didn’t see fit to support Japanese nuclearization. Instead, the United States quashed Japanese nuclear ambitions whenever they appeared.
Cuba provided an ideal arena for sparring between Moscow and Beijing. In a developing country long under the thumb of the United States, the Castro brothers’ revolution accorded perfectly with Mao’s vision of conflict between the capitalist and socialist blocs. But China lacked the military and economic power to support the Cuban Revolution; only the Soviets had the means to protect the Castro regime.
The end of the Cold War led to the largest military demobilization since the final days of World War II. Between 1988 and 1999, the Soviet Union alone reduced its military personnel by about three million men (although some of these found employment in the armed forces of successor states). The rest of the Eastern bloc went through a similar experience, followed by the NATO alliance.
This demobilization left a massive, floating population of trained soldiers, often without any good economic prospects. This pool of military labor helped feed the growth of private military firms, operating in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. In some cases, Russian and Eastern European soldiers served on different sides of the same conflicts, often bringing equipment along with them.
Given the changing nature of military technology, it is unlikely that we’ll ever see a global military demobilization of similar magnitude. Mass armies have gone out of style, except for in one place: the Korean Peninsula.
Since the early 1970s, Israel has informally maintained a nuclear deterrent. In order to prevent the activation of a variety of legal instruments that would disrupt Israeli relations with the United States and Europe, Israel has not acknowledged the program. It remains, however, the worst-kept secret in international politics.
But a country always has options. What if Israel had never developed these nukes? What impact would a different decision have had on Israel’s security, and on regional politics more broadly?
Some thoughts at the Diplomat on how different perspectives on IP protection are proving to be an obstacle in the budding US-India alliance:
Intellectual property (IP) protection remains a sticking point in the budding bromance between Washington and Delhi. Reports have emerged over the last month that the Indian government has given informal assurances on IP protection to a U.S. business lobbying organization. Such assurances would violate at least the spirit of Delhi’s commitment to viewing IP regulation within the framework of broader humanitarian goals, and as such have generated considerable controversy.
It’s not surprising that India and the United States feel differently about IP protection. Vast social and economic differences often lead to different regulatory approaches; the U.S. favors strong protection for its corporate interests, while especially in pharmaceuticals, India reserves the right to compel firms to license their IP in service of broader health care goals. In the past, these practices have made Western firms reluctant to invest in Indian industry and infrastructure (see the Novartis case from 2013).
I’m curious how seriously the Stasi agents took Philby. A legend, to be sure (although I wonder how widely his story spread within Eastern Bloc intel services), but also an old guy who had probably told the same story a hundred times.