Journal: USNI/AFCEA Feature Stephen Carmel of Mersck Line Limited on Global Connectivity, Risk, Trade, and Security

02 China, 05 Energy, 10 Security, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence
Stephen M. Carmel
Stephen M. Carmel

Stephen Carmel is a world-class speaker with a truly compelling story to tell, and after learning about him from his appearance at the USNI/AFCEA Joint War Fighting Conference,  we were deeply impressed.

Below we summarize the highlights from his speech, which we have put into a proper document with emphasis added throughout.  This is one of the most useful intelligent commercial presentations to government we have every seen.

Highlights of his “prime” or most recent speech are below–although delivered in May, it did not hit critical mass in our circles until just now.  Whatever “challenging tone” might be detected below is from Phi Beta Ioto–the speaker is a diplomat.

Carmel 14 May 09
Carmel 14 May 09

1)  Complexity is the prime challenge.  US Government is not trained, equipped, or organized to deal with complexity.

2)  Global trade web has zero slack capacity and both the maritime and air webs depend in internal train and truck webs to keep going.  US is $20 billion behind in the latter infrastructure.

3)  Global trade web runs on computers and with the dependence on just in time inventory handling, has zero slack in the event of disruption, and the easiest as well as the most damaging disruptioin lies with computers and data that can be contaminated, manipulated, or simply destroyed.

4)  USG completely missed China's deal with Russia to lock up the Siberian oil supply that is now bonded at the hip with the Chinese refining capacity that was part of the deal–this is a supply not subject to maritime interdiction.

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Journal: USA Has No China Strategy….

02 China
World Tribune
Full Story Online

Tip of the hat to Sol Sanders for a pointed review of the USA's lack of a China Strategy or the details that go with it.  Below are just three short excerpts, followed by a Comment.

. . . . . . .

Given that the history of U.S.-China relations have always been rocky however intimate they have been since the founding of the American republic, it is self evident that in a period when Beijing’s economic and political clout are increasingly important that they require a high priority for attention – to details. Equally obvious is that given their complexity, they will have to be solved on a largely piecemeal basis – as are almost all political and human problems if and when it is accomplished without violence and tragedy.

. . . . . . .

Rather than splashy dinner parties in Washington, the talents of the huge American diplomatic establishment which Clinton often seems to be only marginally out in front of, it is the nitty-gritty of these myriad problems that ought to be addressed.

Sol W. Sanders, (, is an Asian specialist with more than 25 years in the region, and a former correspondent for Business Week, U.S. News & World Report and United Press International. He writes weekly for World and

+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++

There are ten high-level threats to humanity, and China represents most of them on steroids, notably poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation.  There are twelve core policies, among them agriculture, energy, and water, and China is again the world's most important “canary.”

The Obama “theater for the masses” is in no way coherent or responsible when it comes to strategy of any sort, much less strategy for dealing with the eight demographic challengers (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards like the Congo and Turkey.

The “Substance of Governance” is not rocket-science.  It merely requires integrity and attention to detail.