Metz on Unruly Clients

If the United States cannot get effective and reliable security cooperation with various Muslim states like Yemen or Pakistan, a more cost-effective response than turning all of our own domestic procedures into “security theater” is to sharply circumscribe immigration and travel from those states to a level consistent with “best practice” counterintelligence norms until we garner the cooperation we require in clamping down on our enemies. There’s no shortage of applicants for visas from other backgrounds in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe who pose few if any risks to American society. This by no means would solve all our security problems but it will put a dent in the probability of another underpants bomber getting a plane ticket to visit.

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8 comments on this post.
  1. onparkstreet:

    Saw this at SWJ and thought, "um, yeah, what he said. What he said!"
    .
    "Americans ought to stop hoping for miracles and find realistic and affordable methods of protecting their interests." I’d take it further (was this in the article and I missed it?) and consider aid to other governments, even non-authoritarian ones. I’m thinking of Africa, as one example, and the entire Western Aid regime to developing countries, but I’m a broken record on that subject. Intentions are not results and we in the US seem so caught up in the self-reflecting mirror of "good intentions." How beautiful we look to ourselves!
    .
    Eh, blog brain-storming. Take it for what its worth and with a huge grain of salt.
    .
    – Madhu

  2. Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » The Self-Reflecting Mirror of Good Intentions:

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  3. The Self-Reflecting Mirror of Good Intentions « OnParkStreet:

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  4. Chris:

    Well said, Zen.  And I like Madhu’s notion WRT to aid as well.  And it isn’t just that we seem to derive few benefits of that aid ourselves; it is that the recipients may not either (or are actively harmed, see Dambisa Moyo).

    For some reason, this makes me think of the Marshall Plan.  This is a strategic concept that we have really come to like–kill lots of people/blow up stuff + give away lots of money = staunch ally + trading partner.  We seem to forget that the Marshall Plan was a reaction to a particular strategic situation.  The men who created and implemented it were not warm and fuzzy either.  They weren’t the sort of guys who would yuk it up on The Daily Show.  They firebombed cities.  They ended up rebuilding them, but only because it advanced the national interest. 

    Well, I think the principal in "Billy Madison" would call that "rambling and incoherent," but I could stand for some hard eyed, and like Zen said, cost effective advancement of our strategic interests.

  5. zen:

    Hi Chris,
    .
    The generation that made the high level decisions during and after WWII -Truman, Marshall, Ike, Acheson, Kennan etc. – were a cold-eyed, nonideological, and ruthlessly pragmatic lot. They went through two great depressions ( one as children and once as adults) and had parents who had vivid memories of Civil War slaughter. They themselves were tempered by the western Front in WWI. They knew exactly how bad things could be in life and harbored few illusions of any kind.
    .
    The finest statesmen we have seen since the Founding Fathers.

  6. Larry Dunbar:

    "There’s no shortage of applicants for visas from other backgrounds in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe who pose few if any risks to American society."

    *
    Targeting Muslims, eh? Now there is a thought. However, after almost 10 years of war I am just not sure of what stratgic value it has. We need to build nations, not tear them down, and going after one nation, of many countries, seems a little counter-productive at this point in time.

  7. Chris:

    Larry,

    I would say that the strategic value would be the reduction of the threat of terrorism.  That would the "end."  You listed a particular "way," namely, nation-building.  Zen listed another way, limiting personnel movement into the US from particular countries.  That brings us to "means."  I would argue that one of those courses of action is more consonant with the means we actually have available.

  8. zen:

    Hi Larry,
    .
    Not targeting. Ratcheting down the flow to a level consistent with CI security clearance done by our own devices. Most of these countries are police states. They monitor radical mosques. They know who the troublemakers and wannabes are; if they did not, the regimes would be toppled inside of 6 months. Let them be more forthcoming with information when we are considering visa applications in Riyadh or Amman