Something big is happening under the surface, but we have no idea what is going on. Basically, security-intelligence.org’s article “DEBKAfile Exclusive Report: A Chinese aircraft carrier docks at Tartus to support Russian-Iranian military buildup” suggests that China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning has docked at Syrian port Tartus to back the Russians up on building up forces in Syria for fighting against ISIS. I’m not very well informed with the Middle East and Syria situations at all, but this news tells me that united force building of Russia, China, and Iran in this region prepares for something big. Perhaps, fighting ISIS is only a piece of the puzzle, because ISIS isn’t strong enough to encourage China, Russia and Iran to combine forces and take actions in this region. Without China in the picture, I think the overall picture of the Syrian conflict was murky but somewhat clearer than how it’s now. Meanwhile, China is cooperating with the United States in boosting trades and agreeing on cyber security. Nonetheless, geopolitically, China is helping out Russia and Iran in securing Bashar Assad’s power in Syria.
After I had done finished the reading of Chapter 2 for “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System” By James Rickards, I’m convinced that financial war could precede the physical war. In fact, I think financial war might be one of the early telltale signs that may point out that the physical war is near. After all, financial war is designed to be first strike of first strike, because it helps the attackers to damage the enemy’s economy, consequently weakening the enemy’s ability to conduct physical war in the long term basis. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that a physical war is definitely going to happen when a financial war has happened. It’s just that I think financial war is definitely preceding a physical war, because financial war can be used to weaken an enemy’s economy.
In the digital age we’re living in, financial war can cause havoc beyond imagination, because trillions of dollar could be vanishing in digital wipe. Perhaps, the digital wipes could come in waves such as stock market collapse, bank runs, bond market collapse, and so forth. Systemic collapse such as the financial crisis in 2007 was experienced waves of paper wealth loss, and the same thing can be happening again either by targeted attack by designed or by another unseen consequential event which happens naturally by the design of nature (such as systemic risk).
By digital wipe I meant that our money (more like the world money) can vanish in the digital world even though paper wealth loss might be the eventual explanation. After all, money nowadays can be zeros and ones in the digital world. Stock market is trading in the digital age with digital technology. The book suggested that successful cyber-attacks could amplify the financial war in general. In fact, cyber-attack method is one of the methods a state can employ to launch a financial war. Nonetheless, cyber-attack method isn’t the only mean for financial war, because financial war in general is a lot more complex. Such as sanction and other means can be employed too!
Anyhow, once the financial war attack begins, I bet the chain of big events will eventually follow. Until the point of an enemy’s economy can no longer be weakened by the means of financial war, then the physical war might follow unless one of the war participants decides to make peace and prevent the physical war. Of course, physical war between major powers such as China, Russia and United States cannot be breaking out easily, because these are nuclear power states. Besides financial mutual destruction capability, these states can probably annihilate each other with radioactive capability such as nuclear bombs/missiles and so forth. They might deliver these nuclear weapons at hypersonic speed which is up to 10 times the speed of sound, consequently making it very hard for a defense apparatus to shoot down such nuclear weapons before these devastated radioactive weapons reach the intended targets.
As the book suggested, perhaps physical war might not happen as one side might back down from further conflict as the financial war might be devastating enough to dictate the winner in the conflict. The book suggested further that major forces such as China and Russia are preparing for such possibilities by accruing gold. The book detailed that at the height of financial war between United States and Iran, Iran was partly successfully circumvented the United States dollar sanction by accepting gold as payment for the oil export. Until when the United States told its allies to stop trading goods with Iran using gold, it was then that Iran had to import and export goods using its allies local currencies such as Yuan, Ruble, and Rupee.
In these two early chapters, the book already suggested that United States unintentionally pushed Iran to stop using the dollar as the reserve currency. This might suggest that other countries are looking at Iran and fearing that one day they maybe in the Iran situation, thus they might have to face U.S. dollar sanction, consequently putting their economy at risks of collapsing. These other states may already have been diverting and diversifying their dollars into something more tangible such as gold and so forth. In China and Russia case, these two countries are now ramping up their natural gas deals and whatever else to partly diversifying their dollar reserve holding. So too hoarding gold is among the plans of their diversifying activity in case the dollar is in trouble. The United States government was shutdown not too long ago, because of the debt limit ceiling bickering between the political parties — this had further added the anxiety for the states that are currently holding dollar as their reserve currency for oil trading and so forth.
Even if a physical war breaks out, the book suggested that the winner of the physical war in the end might still regain the financial war lost. After all, the winner can dictate the terms in the end right? Nonetheless, in my opinion nobody knows how the next great war will turn out to be since we’re living in the nuclear age. The nuclear fallout is beyond my imagination. Sure, I have seen movies’ depictions of the nuclear fallout, but how close to the reality the movies’ nuclear fallout depiction is remaining to be seen. Nobody knows the future I would say! If God forbid that the nuclear fallout might occur and be so devastated, the victor of a physical war might not be able to regain the financial war lost, because the situation got so bad that dictating terms at such time might not be even feasible or sensible for all involved parties/states.
Perhaps, the nuclear age is so scary that major powers such as United States, China, and Russia, if sensible enough, may dare only to engage in financial war — leaving physical war to be carried out by the Hollywood movies. If this is a possible scenario, I must say that financial war is even more important than otherwise. After all, the victor in financial war will be able to dictate terms that are favorable for a victor’s state in today globalized world in the aftermath. Perhaps, financial war will be able to be used as a targeted weapon which isn’t involving too many states at the same time, because it’s not as destructive as a physical great war such as World War II. Because World War III may go nuclear!
As the case of United States sanctioned Iran from the dollar payment system, it was clear that United States could orchestrate a targeted financial war against a single state. Sure, the United States did involve its allies to stop trading dollar for Iran goods; these so called allies had their own interests to be contented with, consequently forcing them to not carry out their financial war against Iran at 100% effort. Moreover, Iran got the oil that could be bought at cheaper price during the height of the United States’ Iran sanctions, and the so called allies had allowed Iran to export oil for gold and so forth. With accruing gold, Iran could then trade the gold with its allies such as China, Russia, and India for other goods and services. Even when the United States had involved allies such as Germany and so forth to stop Iran from exporting oil for dollar and gold eventually, Iran survived the sanction and the allies were humming fine. This demonstrated that the financial war could destroy the targeted enemy’s economy without ending humanity.
Knowing financial war can destroy an enemy’s economy without ending humanity, nuclear war might only be the last desperate attempt for a state to defend itself. This might encourage states to use financial war more frequently to push the boundary of bargaining at world stage. Nonetheless, since we are living in the digital age and globalized world, financial war can be very consequential. In the United States case, if an enemy is successfully bringing down the economy of the United States through financial war, it may not destroy the United States in short term. In the longer term though, a successful financial war against the United States can be devastated for the overall health of the United States economy. Furthermore, if the United States gets weaker financially, United States won’t be able to maintain her military might and so forth.
Certainly, it’s in the United States’ best interests to not let a financial war attack to bring down the United States economy, because in the longer term the United States may not be able to grow normally again. Certainly, it’s the case for other countries besides United States to make sure their economy won’t be disturbed by financial war. After all, I think a financial war can be devastated enough to disrupt even the everyday peoples’ lives. I think financial war should not be taken lightly and be waged so carefree. Countries of the world should care more for the health of global finance, because we’re living in a globalized world. A break in the chain might do more harm in the long run, because things are moving faster in a much more complex globalized and closely finance linked world.
If it’s true that Iran is separating its Internet from the rest of the world, then it also might be true that we might see something like this to be a common thing in various parts of the world in the near future. According to the Guardian “The internet in pieces” piece, Iran is creating a giant Intranet. Nonetheless, I prefer to call Iran’s giant Intranet as Iran Internet since the whole Iran country would be able to use this particular Intranet for everything. They would use it for banking, e-commerce, news, entertainment, streaming, and you name it. The list goes on. Nonetheless, none of the activities that can be done within Iran Internet will be able to share communication with the world Internet (i.e., the Internet which everyone across the globe is using).
The whole idea for Iran to have its very own Internet is to have better control of the flow of the information. Furthermore, it’s much harder for hackers outside Iran to deploy payloads (i.e., hack exploits/attacks) against Iran’s electronic infrastructure, because I surmise Iran Internet would not have any real physical connection between itself and the world Internet (i.e., the Internet in which everyone across the globe is using). I also surmise that to retain some communication between Iran Internet and the world Internet, Iran might deploy not one Iran Internet but two or more. How come? I surmise Iran might deploy a second Iran Internet which isn’t so isolated from the world Internet to allow Iran’s authorized entities perform electronic transactions with the world. Then there is a question, how would Iran retain and transfer the information from the exposed Iran Internet to the isolated Iran Internet? I guess, Iran must have a way to copy information from one network to another without having two networks connect to each other physically.
Why did I say that Iran Internet might become a common thing in the future? It’s obvious that various parts of the world are totally aware of the dangers of being hacked. Unlike a regular citizen of a country, a country itself has lot of state secrets to protect, therefore it’s unacceptable for state secrets to be leaked through electronic hacks. If Iran Internet is a success in term of protecting Iran from state hacks, we might see various countries create state Intranet which separates from citizen Internet. Nonetheless, some countries might go just as far as how Iran is doing with its own Internet by creating state Internet which encompasses citizen Internet, to isolate many citizens from the world Internet.
The only thing I can think of for any country to build citizen Internet is to control the inflow and outflow of the information that get in and out of a country. This way, a country can monitor, censor, and regulate the flow of information between a country and the world. In a way, some countries might have been doing this, already! Nonetheless, these countries’ approaches to the Internet aren’t extreme as Iran Internet. These countries employ sophisticated firewall to filter out things that need to be censored, effectively preventing regular citizens to have access to the world and domestic information alike. Nonetheless, any avid computer user in these countries can totally use a technology known as proxy to bypass any computer network censorship. When a country adopts Iran Internet strategy, proxy technology might become useless in regarding to allowing computer users to bypass network censorship. How come? Isolated Internet (or Iran Internet kind of network) is physically disconnected from the world Internet (i.e., the Internet which everyone is using across the globe).
I think it’s a shame that in our near future, the information age might see the Internet breaks into pieces that segregate from each other. It’s a possibility since many countries want to protect state secrets and have better control of the information flow that gets in and out of a country. A polarized Internet of tomorrow will not be the Internet of today, and I fear we might not be able to call such polarized Internet as the Internet. What’s the point of naming a polarized Internet as the Internet when the main function of the Internet, which is allowing the free flow of information, isn’t possible? Perhaps, the real Internet of tomorrow only occurs on intermittent basis and under heavy monitoring!
The citizens who live in the countries that employ isolated Internet will not be so informed about the world as much as the people who live in the countries that impose no Internet censorship of whatsoever. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to be more informed about the world, but I think it’s definitely more exciting for someone like me to know more about the world through the lens of the free Internet (i.e., no censorship). What do you think?
- Iran designing its own version of the Internet (washingtonpost.com)
- Iran Still Preparing Internal Version of Internet (legitreviews.com)
- Iran preparing internal version of Internet (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Iran to shield itself from cyberattack using secure intranet (networkworld.com)
- Iran Prepares Launch Of National Internet (eurasiareview.com)
- Iran preparing internal version of Internet (iranaware.com)
- Iran to Replace “Untrustworthy” Internet with a Domestic Intranet (zen-haven.dk)
- Iran’s ministries to go offline: phase one of move to intranet society (wired.co.uk)