Friday, February 1, 2008

Dubai: Playground of the Rich and Home to Blackouts!?

Three undersea power lines to Dubai have been cut since Wednesday. The third ruptured while repair ships were in route to the first two disrupted cables. This has been a great blow to the international traders that base themselves in Dubai and is causing some noticeable tumult in the trading markets. Coupled with China's recent energy dilemma, I believe the defense thinktanks ought put some sincere effort into futurative strategizing.

This CNN report claims that:

"the [first] two cables damaged Wednesday collectively account for as much as three-quarters of the international communications between Europe and the Middle East, so their loss had a much bigger effect"

Ok. Now, I'm interested.

One person interviewed even mentioned that:

"a similar Internet problem could not happen in the United States. We have all the content here, he said. It's not going to be felt other than we won't get the BBC."

Alright, you've got me. I have to say it.

Since, I'm feeling Machiavellian today and my last blog concerned how we might opportunistically wrest economic dominance from China, I was wondering if anyone has every really considered that not only techy hubs like Dubai, but most of Asia relies on telecommunication lines from Europe to support a large part of their involvement and stock control in Western markets. What happens if someone turns off the cable on purpose?

I mention this only because this article says to me that, in spite of the rising dominance of China as an industrialized force, America still holds significant reigns. After all, the Westernization of the globe could really be called the Americanization of the globe. What would happen if China or Russia, or India suddenly had there new American cultural influence taken away from them?

All I know is that if we ever get into trouble with those nations a sure way to get their attention won't be economic sanctions, but our control lies in our ability to now threaten worldwide telecommunication sanctions.


Jason Albert said...

Ryan, two constructive criticism for your posting:

The title and first paragraph seem to imply that power lines (i.e. carrying electricity) were cut, but the severed lines were actually fiber-optic cables used for telecommunication. I don't understand, nor have I read about, how this could lead to blackouts (unless you're talking about Internet "blackouts"?).

You bring up an interesting concept regarding the ability of the U.S. to sever fiber-optic communication with Asia and Middle East. However, I am confident that will never happen because (a) if we stopped exporting our culture and information to certain countries we would lose a great amount of our influence and power with them, and (b) the U.S. people would not allow our government force the closure of a public service infrastructure for political reasons, especially if it is constructed and operated by non-governmental businesses. It's more likely that Russia or China would themselves cut off telecommunications with the U.S., but I can't imagine they are that short-sighted.

S. Ryan Newcomb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S. Ryan Newcomb said...

I didn't realize that the word blackout could only be used to discuss electricity on the aggregate. I certainly think that it is easily understood that the article is intended as a discussion concerning the recent telecom outages, which I referred to as blackouts in the title.

In addition, there have been a number of times that the U.S. has regulated foreign trade, be it through taxes, blockades, or embargo. And whenever the government regulates trade, It is always implied that trade means: private trade. Moreover, the regulation of trade especially during times of war is already an explicitly enumerated power of the government listed in the Constitution.

It is more probable that you have a problem with the tone of my article rather than an actual criticism for it.