Isn't it about time to admit dependence?

Published May 21, 2020

By Joe Mavretic

On July 4, 1776, we sent England our Declaration of Independence. In 2020, we need to acknowledge our Admission of Dependence. The vulnerable organization of the United States of America has been tragically revealed by a virus. Our enemies have gotten the message. We are easily crippled! Our adversaries have witnessed the exposure of the soft underbelly of our consumptive society.  For decades our social contract has been based upon, "Of the People, By the People, For Profit." Over half of our consumer products are made overseas. America has become the land of bad food, fat people and cheap foreign products. The virus has exposed the potential for biological warfare to cripple our service economy.
Our military has prepared for this kind of battlefield attack for decades. Their term is Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare (NBC). The several services have manuals and protocols for these combat events. Every recruit can recall going through the gas chamber! Sadly, our civilian population is woefully unaware of, and unprepared for, our ongoing grey zone conflicts with China and Russia.
Our geopolitical world is now tri-polar with China and Russia constantly maneuvering to extend their peripheral hegemony. We not only need to recognize the many tactics that are being employed daily by our near-peer competitors but we must choose to combat them and to prevail.
The current viral epidemic, whether accidentally or intentionally initiated, should alarm and alert all Americans. The national lesson is clear: We are not prepared for a biological attack. Pick an area of immediate concern—there are plenty to go around. Biological contamination was forecasted but we were not willing to contract for it. There were no political emergency plans. We believed we could buy our way out of this emergency with Federal revenue we did not have. There were not enough hospital beds because hospitals are profit centers and excess capacity is an unnecessary cost. Foreign-made medical equipment and supplies seemed cheaper until we paid the hidden costs. These are obvious coronavirus examples but the concealed cyber virus threat is more troubling.
In a quote from ZDNet, "Government-backed hacking groups from China, North Korea, and Russia are not letting a global pandemic go to waste and have begun using coronavirus-based phishing lures as part of their efforts to infect victims with malware and gain access to their infrastructure."
Cyber viruses are weapons of mass destruction. We are not prepared for cyber warfare against our vital infrastructure. A cyber attack on the United States' electrical grid is a Top 5 threat. Almost all of North Carolina depends upon Duke Energy for electricity. This monopoly position is guaranteed to undermine resiliency. A cyber attack on our electric energy system would reduce this state to third-world conditions within a week. Most North Carolinians depend upon municipal water systems that cannot operate without electricity. Tailored cyber attacks on our banking system, business operations, or internet would drown concerns about voting irregularities. 
Nations do not have friends-Nations have interests. Vital national interests are those over which we will go to war. What are America’s vital interests in 2020? Some questions quickly emerge.           
Does America have all the raw materials needed to protect itself? Are we prepared to protect our political institutions? How much of our national debt is owned by our competitors? Are we committed to prevail on issues of International Law? How much of American infrastructure is owned by foreign corporations or governments? Are we committed to win against financial aggression by China and Russia whenever they use sovereign investment in their grey war against the United States? Where are our "National Boundaries?" Are we preparing to win Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Electronic, Financial and Cyber warfare with China and Russia and our other adversaries?
As tragic as it is for virus casualties, and their families, the compelling result of this pandemic should be a national discussion about how we are to regain our independence.