From the crypts…
Enacting American Security Renewal:
A Blueprint for Change
Kevin J. Kieswetter
August 10, 2002
Thomas Hobbes invokes the idea of a peaceful society where people are guided by laws in their lives by a few people that are elected by the many…whereby the few enact laws that all are expected to adhere to regardless of their place in society:
” But as men, for the attaining of peace and conservation of themselves thereby, have made an artificial man, which we call a commonwealth, so also have they made artificial chains, called civil laws, which they themselves by mutual covenants, have fastened at one end to the lips of that man or assembly to whom they have given the sovereign power, and at the other end to their own ears.”
Must we, despite our station in society, succumb to the many laws that we are required to follow in spite of the fact that the majority had little or no input into the drafting of these said laws? Are our politicians creating a legion of human zombies by proclaiming that it is in the best interest of society that we do just that. Recently, in Canada, the government has been awash in controversies, and yet, despite of the reporting of these situations by the media, the electorate has no mechanism to hold the government accountable. The malfeasance of the governing few may only be made accountable when an election takes place. However, if you and I were to commit the similar offences, we would face the wrath of the law.
It would seem to me that in most democracies, and especially those in North America, an elected official could just about commit an act of murder and walk away with a light punishment or none at all. The few have the support of their political affiliations and corporations to financially support them in case they commit a serious faux pas.
Do we have the freedom that we should? Have the many dollars that we contribute as taxpayers buy us the security and protection we desperately seek for ourselves, and our families and friends?
One would only have to examine The United States over the past forty years to conclude that while the American governments have established their nation as a superpower, the cost in terms of human life and monetary expenditures has been extraordinary. While their allies respect the American position, other nations have felt alienated by the United States “superpower” theme and arrogance as the savior of world peace. .
In spite of heavily investing in The FBI and CIA to ensure public safety, numerous times disasters have struck them, most recently with the bombing of The World Trade Centers in New York. We need to look at our own backyard first, and decide what to do that will improve our security. Who are we giving access to live in our nation? Why are we not scrutinising the process, and turning away even those slightly suspicious or who may have a checkered past? Complacency? Yes. The need to run the nation as a country rather than a business will help ensure the well being of its citizens first and foremost.
Moreover, do we need to invest heavily in an arms race that appears to have run its course with the fall of The Berlin Wall? I realise that The United Stated must maintain the leverage it has attained in developing security systems to guard against threats, and terrorism. Unfortunately, it has made many a nation either look at them with disdain and/or mistrust. Negativity has spawned the world over, as much of the power has to do with economic control. If the United States were better able to develop crude oil, and convince auto-makers to develop fuel efficient automobiles some pressure would be eliminated, and their dependence on Arab states will diminish. A paradigm consisting of peace treaties make more sense than excessive spending on military means. The United States need convince no head of state or world leader of it’s dominance. However, is The United States making more enemies than allies by acting as the world’s top cop? I think the answer is a resounding “yes.” They can improve their global outlook if they just focus more on world peace rather than exposing their military might. The savage attack on The World Trade Center should have instilled in their psyche that given all of the spending on military means, they are infallible to acts of terrorism and war no matter their strength,
As nations and The United States in particular have grown both in terms of population and economy they have not streamlined their departments of security, notably the FBI and CIA. They both act competitively against each other and it would seem they lack direction.
I would like to use The United States as an example of how I feel they might improve the security for their citizens.
The Declaration of Independence states as a right of the people we ought to insure the government is efficient, trustworthy, and benevolent toward the citizens of the nation in all its dealings, especially security:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of
the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on
such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to
effect their Safety and Happiness.
My idea is that both departments: The CIA and The FBI should be dissolved and merged to create a single department responsible for internal security and external affairs. I feel this would compartmentalize these two bureaus making them operate more efficiently as this will eliminate several layers of bureaucracy and improve communication. The new department of security will have one individual responsible with an independent commission that the department head would report to. All or any security breaches would be reported to the commission who in turn will make recommendations to the head of the security department. .
The commission will be an elected board with past or present affiliations with all political parties and individuals in the private sector who specialise in security, both domestic and foreign. The commission will report to The President and or Vice President only and in matters that present potential harm to society.
Now, we as individuals want a certain level of security and expect it to be delivered from local, state, and federal governments. However, the current system is bloated, and extremely expensive. I feel the new security system should be funded by the electorate in a separate tax with a sliding scale. Does the middle class individual require the same level of security that a multinational corporation needs such as Microsoft?
In Canada, people have a payroll tax that helps fund the health care system. Would the American people be willing to have their salaries affected in order to fund the new security department? I believe the experience of September 11, 2001 has given the American people reason to accept extended costs for greater security, and limiting their liberty. We need to empower the electorate in choosing the right people to supply them with technologically advanced security systems as long as they feel confident in the management and people in positions of authority. Yes, I feel now the electorate will accept a cost attached to freedom but with their input through an election of administrative personnel. Laws in both Canada and The United States hamstring all of us people. I feel we should take this pressure off of the federal government and allow the electorate to choose who they want administering safety and security provisions, and allow the electorate to see the cost that is affecting them directly.
Federal funding to the new department can only be utilised in times of terrorism or war. Private security companies can be employed by individuals or corporations in matters of domestic security, as has been the case.
The United States formed the United Nations in 1942. The U.N. consisted of twenty-six
nations in its infancy with the goal of fighting together to eradicate the Axis Powers. Today, one
of the main functions is de-colonisation of nations in order to help them achieve self-determination
and independence. With more than one-hundred and eighty-nine member nations, and a budget of
under three billion dollars for the two year period: 2000-2001 it is not getting the support or
authority required to bring security and stability to the world stage.
United Nations. Basic Facts, 2000. http://www.un.org/aboutun/basicfacts/index.html. August 10, 2002
The world is more populated putting excessive demands on food supplies and medicine. Is security as important as how we are affected individually by these necessities to sustain human life? Given some thought, as a global community everyone can contribute in a positive way to ensure that no person dies of hunger. Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” would indicate a need to satisfy basic human needs first: shelter and hunger with safety co-existing among this group. Money for weapons? Money for profiteering corporations? I think money to enable the less able-bodied nations takes precedence. A happy nation of people is less likely to consider overthrowing an autocratic regime or exhibiting hatred towards any nation, for political or economic gain, or acting in the best interest of a nation such as the American liberation of Kuwait from Iraq. Will the American people sacrifice their thirst for foreign oil to gain a higher level of security? One only has to consider the events of September 11.2001 to support this measure. Independence equals more autonomy and personal liberty.
There is a great need to deliver more autonomy, funding, and authority to The United Nations in order for it to champion the democratic cause to non-member nations, while providing security to the global community.
As a business grows and develops into a multi-tiered corporation it must de-centralise its operations to manage itself effectively. The American government can institute a separate department for security (as I have indicated earlier) while employing the U.N. in the current role of a superpower with wide-ranging responsibilities.
To conclude, the American government must realise the impact on its economy as a result of their involvement in global peace initiatives. Currently, the stock markets are being affected, and some of the airlines are either in bankruptcy or nearing that state. Economic growth has slowed despite attempts by the Federal Reserve in lowering interest rates.
My suggestion is to create a new security department absorbing both the CIA and FBI in order to streamline the operation, and improve communication between the Executive Branch of the government and the new agency.
In addition, the American people would be responsible for electing the members who oversee the operation of this new department. This will come at a cost in the form of a payroll tax while not precluding The Federal Government of supporting it financially in times of war, and terrorist activities. Initially, freedom would be constrained due to security checkpoints when traveling abroad, for businesses that import and export goods, and for individuals who want to migrate to the U.S. to establish new lives, work in the U.S. or study.
Moreover, the most important policy change is for the United States to enable The United Nations to assume an expanded role as the global peacekeeper thereby lessening the tension on the United States. A commitment from all member states both financially, and by military means is essential to give the U.N. the authority necessary to carry out this new role.
Research and development can ease American dependence on crude oil supplied primarily by Arab nations, by the automobile industry and energy providers. As we are weaned off of crude oil our foreign relations will improve as global conflict in this area is minimised, and a healthier environment will establish the U.S. as world leaders in reducing greenhouse emissions, and security.