You know the drill. I find the smartest, edgiest, and hopefully sexiest people I know who have the characteristics of entrepreneurship to contribute advice to The Chancebending Network. Today we’re talking Intelligence Strategy with Kevin Le from Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Kevin give us incredible insight about Intelligence Strategy
“Background info: The intelligence community is tasked with protecting against all adversaries foreign and domestic. They consist of 17 agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is in charge of integrating information from these agencies and presenting the important parts to the president.
All writings below are my opinions and do not represent any stances of the IC. It has been a personal interest of mine for many years to study international events and affairs. I find this topic fascinating.
I believe strategic power plays will be increasingly be made against U.S. interests in the near future. Our traditional adversaries are looking to weaken the post-WWII international order by dividing and conquering. Every statement and action by the U.S. has to be strategic and comes at an important opportunity cost.
There are many interesting challenges that our country faces in maintaining our relationships with other countries. Remember the Rohingya persecution in Myanmar? A few months ago during a press conference, Vice President Pence criticized Myanmar for their government’s inaction. This scrutiny alienated the U.S. from Myanmar. China now grows closer to them through trade deals and diplomatic exchanges. However, not enough scrutiny from the U.S. may hurt its ties with members of the EU who stand for progressive responses towards international crises like this.
Remember the murder of journalist Khashoggi? This event was an important test to see how we would react, and I believe we didn’t do so effectively. President Trump supports Saudi Arabia as an important partner (notably in terms of military trade deals) but still, many American senators and congressmen criticize Saudi leadership for their accused involved in the murder. Trump rebuked his intelligence sources which caused a bi-partisan stance against Trump. Through all this division, China was able to come in and secure a working relationship with Saudi Arabia with a $10 billion dollar trade deal. This further alienated the U.S. from their traditional ally. If the U.S. lost Saudi Arabia as an ally, they would lose an effective foothold in the middle east to combat against terrorism. This is another example of balancing ethics with goals.
This is my question: how should we position ourselves on being ethical AND strategic in the face of our adversaries? Each international incident is like a playoff game between powerhouse teams. I feel like our main adversaries are waiting for the right moment to come to pick up the pieces left behind. Pieces representing allies with relationships we have strained greatly. As we have seen in the past, we’ve symbolically lost the Philippines as an important ally to counter China. As a result, we see more Xi visits to Duterte in efforts to boost more Chinese involvement in Philippine infrastructure projects.
One example of balancing ethics with goals can be seen from China’s Uyghur crisis. The US, Turkey, and the UN freely criticize CCP on this basis. However, others refrain from criticism, especially those who have reason to fear retaliation – political and economical. This includes Muslim majority nations that are trading partners. Many are members of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China holds a dominant economic position as the top importer of Middle East oil. These nations are economically dependent on China and prefer positive relations rather than taking opposing stances on human rights issues that don’t affect their bottom lines.
More recently these past two weeks, we are seeing potential conflicts of interest as Italy is potentially planning to sign onto China’s belt and road initiative. Too much economic and infrastructure dependence on a specific country (particularly one that is a traditional adversary to many of one’s allies) could prove to be detrimental down the line.
We can’t forget about Turkey growing closer to Russia. Supporting the Kurdish military in our fight against ISIS was strategically important for us however Turkey views this group as terrorists. Now Turkey might purchase military equipment from Russia. We’ve suspending F-35 deliveries as a result – which further strains the relationship. It’s all a balancing act.
Regardless of these events, I’m sure my generation and future ones will rise to support democratic processes around the world. There is nothing like American freedom and liberty you will find anywhere else. It is unfortunate how our country was recently becoming more divided on issues. I am confident our ideas and values will help us protect our way of life and accomplish our interests.”
A little about Kevin
I am a Silicon Valley techie whose experience contains 25+ past roles working with 500+ colleagues from all 50 states and 10 countries.
Within tech, I’ve been a part of startups, large enterprise environments, several government agencies, UC research labs, non-profits, and famous crowdsourced organizations.
In my free time, I enjoy learning more about:
• Emerging trends and industries of tomorrow.
• Business models, VC’s, startups, case studies, historic failures, and recent funding rounds.
• Being an effective product manager.
• International affairs + sensational events and how it affects the U.S. bottom line.
• How everyday things work.
• Lifestyle practices of important leaders.
• Different cultures + the human condition.
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
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