ZenPundit
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
 
HOMELAND SECURITY-ING OUR WAY TO TECHNOLOGICAL BACKWARDNESS

Post 9/11 VISA restrictions, in order to avoid accusations of political incorrectness, are doing a bang-up job of encouraging people in the top tenth of 1 % of the Bell Curve with hard science PhDs to immigrate elsewhere or bypass positions at American universities. This is moronically self-defeating, given the importance of a continual inflow of said applicants to America's R&D edge and adds next to nothing to American security. Unless of course, you believe that A.Q. Khan is flying in next week.

CSIS has a White Paper

Blanket VISA procedures are no substitute for a functioning counterintelligence system.
 
Comments:
I believe I agree, although look what the mere fact some poor Paki bastard roomed with a suicidal twit has done to the finfoil hat foaming islamophobic crowd.

Risk aversion.
 
Risk aversion can be rational.

Both here and my last grad school, the Chinese and Indian students had a lot of serious hassles because of immigration and security issues. Why?

There is no right to enter America. We would have been suspicious of Eastern Europeans during the height of the Cold War -- why not similarly target our "hoops" to those countries that export the most problems?

Dan tdaxp
 
First, let us put away the issue of "rights" and other such irrelevancies.

Mark did not raise the issue, rather he raised the issue of economic efficiency.

Rights is legal twaddle.

In the context of immigration and student visas, there are rather clear gains to the host country in terms of skimming off cream in terms of skilled workers and the like - anglo saxon economies dynamism in the past decade rather clearly has connection to much more liberal visa regimes and ability to tap global talent.

The Cold War analogy to Eastern Europeans strikes me as grossly misplaced (if typical), although I would equally argue that much suspicion directed at Eastern Europeans was misdirected and inefficient.
 
Blanket VISA procedures are no substitute for a functioning counterintelligence system.

Mark,

Let's broaden the term "counterintelligence system." I still have lurking somewhere in the back of my brain thoughts of our theoretical 5GW strategies. The most effective strategy for defending against 5GW would be to improve the minds we have at home: the formation of talent able to function quite well independently. [Suddenly I'm reminded of your entry on the gifted students of America...]

I wonder why we should turn to other nations for improving our economy via the importati0n of top-notch talent rather than focus on developing our own talent. It seems defeatist. On the other hand, if improving the economic and societal conditions of other nations is the goal (exporting the talent we have trained, who also happen to have received an education on American capitalism and democracy etc. etc. etc. while in the U.S.), perhaps importing future exports actually does help our economy in the long run.
 
Col,

I agree.

The issue (of who should be allowed to enter America and who not) isn't an issue of rights, it's one of efficiency -- both security and economic. Likewise it helps the United States to skim off the best from other countries -- whether to herself (moreso) or to other economically connected states (lessso).

So given that a large number of al Qaeda warriors came from Muslim countries or were descendents of Muslim immigrants, it is efficient to prevent these people from coming to the United States It would do little good to only allow "good" Muslims into the West, because many al Qaeda operatives turned after immigration.

Likewise, there is little point for the strict immigration controls against workers from China and India -- except to protect certain classes of American workers.

Certainly the Soviet bloc relied less on superempowered-warriors than al Qaeda.

Curtis,

The most effective strategy for defending against 5GW would be to improve the minds we have at home: the formation of talent able to function quite well independently

Would this help with 5GW? Improving the minds would focus on Orientation, but 5GW is closer to Observation. A skilled 5GWarrior will operate around the enemy's thinking ability.

Dan tdaxp
 
Twaddle follows twaddle

By the numbers then:
So given that a large number of al Qaeda warriors came from Muslim countries or were descendents of Muslim immigrants, it is efficient to prevent these people from coming to the United States It would do little good to only allow "good" Muslims into the West, because many al Qaeda operatives turned after immigration.

This is mere fabulation and Muslim-phobia, making no more sense than say a British policy against Catholics or Irish Catholics because of the IRA.

First, of course, in regards to 11 September, those who came were all turned before they came. An intel issue.

Second, of course, in country one has converts - Mr Padilla being the most prominent presuming the US case is not exageratted. Aiming at some poor bastard because of his national origin is pure idiocy (what to do with Roger Reids, for example, or French converts, or even French Muslims with non-recognisably Muslim names? [Berber names can be quite untypical]).

Never mind of course Muslims coming from countries where they are a native minority.

Blocking Muslim immigration is mere shallow and ill-informed prejudice.

The real solution is counter-intelligence.

Likewise, there is little point for the strict immigration controls against workers from China and India -- except to protect certain classes of American workers.

That is, distort the market to protect those who squeel most loudly.
 
Ah, Dan, I almost included "partial isolationism" in my first comment! The brilliant foreign minds would be the best SecretWarriors, if they came from friendly nations the friendship would act as a screen, and teaching them how to think (by example, by lessons, by the usual educational propaganda and by letting them see exactly how we live) would give them a good idea of how to operate around our thinking ability.

But I didn't mention isolationism.

I do wonder how we would be able to devise methods for working around their thinking ability if they are thinking like we are -- and if we are therefore thinking like them. I suppose it goes both ways.

I think that having brilliant but idiosyncratic thinkers of our own would be very, very good, for defense as well as offense in 5GW.
 
I find myself amused in a vague way by the 4 5 xyz G prattle. Almost as bad as the neo Marxist Lit Crit mumbo jumbo self deluding meaningless jargon.
 
Col

This is mere fabulation and Muslim-phobia, making no more sense than say a British policy against Catholics or Irish Catholics because of the IRA.

...

Second, of course, in country one has converts - Mr Padilla being the most prominent presuming the US case is not exageratted. Aiming at some poor bastard because of his national origin is pure idiocy (what to do with Roger Reids, for example, or French converts, or even French Muslims with non-recognisably Muslim names? [Berber names can be quite untypical]).

Never mind of course Muslims coming from countries where they are a native minority.

Blocking Muslim immigration is mere shallow and ill-informed prejudice.


True, perhaps "Muslim" is too vague or misleading a country description. Turks and Iranian would seem to pose little problem, while states with Muslim minorities which are stridently anti-Muslmi domestically (say, France) may be causes of concern. Definitely an intel issue.

The real solution is counter-intelligence.

Certainly part of the solution, but rather simple-minded to say one thing is the real solution. Other tools are what -- fake solutions?

That is, distort the market to protect those who squeel most loudly.

Of course.

I find myself amused in a vague way by the 4 5 xyz G prattle. Almost as bad as the neo Marxist Lit Crit mumbo jumbo self deluding meaningless jargon.

Any specific criticism? Or just grossly misplaced (if typical) analogies?

Curtis,

A problem with "brilliance" (at least as Mark would use the term) is that the heavy horizontal thinking would lead to a lot of false positives. I'm thinking specifically of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Seeing false 5GWs can be much more harmful than being attacked by a real 5GW.

-Dan tdaxp
 
Dan,

Another problem with brilliance, particularly if it is idiosyncratic, is that it is often enamored by its own light. A little too hard to see the enemy, that way, especially an enemy that is already playing in another field by other rules.

But back to the topic at hand: I am still unaware -- perhaps entirely ignorant -- of the exact justification or necessity of importing brilliant minds. It is true that "the top tenth of 1 % of the Bell Curve with hard science PhDs" (as Mark put it) represent a small number in the total global population, and some are likely to be born elsewhere. (An Einstein or, well, pick a name.) For all we know, some child starving to death right now in Darfur would put all of those geniuses to shame; or, some child in America. Why not focus on our own assets? Pragmatically, and in the short term, the path of least resistance would be to solicit foreign talent that is already proven or showing great potential. That talent is primed and ready to produce. But that seems to be a short-term vision.

I wonder how much of our desire for foreign intelligence is a desire for benefit to the U.S. or a desire to limit the benefit other nations would receive. I also wonder why America, presumably, could not produce enough talent to compete with other nations, on its own.

Which professions are we talking about, though...?

And, to round up this latest bit of musing: Are we also worried about American talent leaving America for other nations?
 
Curtis,

Very good point at the problem of brilliance. It is a rare man who is both brilliant and humble. Paul was one of these, I think there's lessons here -- innate intelligence, a physically healthy home, and education consisting of both academics and free-play:

America is capital-rich and labor-poor. Recall that capital and labor are the two factors of production. Therefore it makes sense for us to convert some of our "excess" capital into labor. We do this by spending on education (such as our terrific colleges) and assimilating immigrants. So we should increase immigration from Mexico to increase our pool of manual labor, from China and India for the same as well as the engineering trades, from throughout the Gap for nursing staff, etc. It's not an either/or choice. We are like some farmer with a militia, who can grow his own crops and also steal from others...

But in this case, world production can help everyone -- so if a Chinese is employed for more money in America than in China, then he is also producing more gross world product in America than China.

The only sector where we export persons is security -- both Leviathan and SysAdmin stuff. If we do things right, we can offload even most of this work. We need those men at work here.

Dan tdaxp
 
Dunno if the top 0.1% of the bell curve (if you're talking about an IQ bell curve as measured by standard IQ testing instruments, as I'm assuming) would be that much help. The most useful people have been shown to have IQs between 125 and 160. Over that, and those people are a little bit too weird to fit into whatever system they might want to contribute to. Systems may be flexible enough to accommodate them, but my own experience with bureaucracy has shown me that this is rare.
 
Hi Jo.

Well, setting aside the limitations of measuring stratospheric I.Q.'s accurately, let's say the very top tier intellects - Heisenerg, Bohr, Feynmann, Hawking etc. as a discrete demographic group rather than my figure

You are right though about weird to clinically disturbed behavior being a serious counterproductive aspect. I wonder how much of that derives from social isolation and how much from heritable traits?
 
RE my Obs: Blocking Muslim immigration is mere shallow and ill-informed prejudice.

True, perhaps "Muslim" is too vague or misleading a country description. Turks and Iranian would seem to pose little problem, while states with Muslim minorities which are stridently anti-Muslmi domestically (say, France) may be causes of concern. Definitely an intel issue.

And there you highlight the problem of simple minded thinking on this.

Turks might well cause a problem, on an individual level. As might Iranians. Substituting national level stereotypes for intel is poor policy and gets the problem wrong.

Re My Obs: The real solution is counter-intelligence.

Certainly part of the solution, but rather simple-minded to say one thing is the real solution. Other tools are what -- fake solutions?

Yes, fake solutions.

RE My Obs: I find myself amused in a vague way by the 4 5 xyz G prattle. Almost as bad as the neo Marxist Lit Crit mumbo jumbo self deluding meaningless jargon.

Any specific criticism? Or just grossly misplaced (if typical) analogies?

Amusingly the Lit Crit witch docters respond in exactely the same manner.

I am not particularly moved to spend any time refuting mumbo jumbo jargon prattle dressing up ordinary thought in special jargon (e.g. "around an enemy's thinking ability").

Don't like looking in the mirror, well, not my fucking problem.
 
Col,

Turks might well cause a problem, on an individual level. As might Iranians.

So what? Are you advocating some sort Zero-Defect Policy? Perfectionisn gets you no place, as you normally understand.

Almost as bad as the neo Marxist Lit Crit mumbo jumbo self deluding meaningless jargon.

Well, general aesthetics does have a not lot horizontal applicability to human conflict generally...

Dan tdaxp
 
My dear Dan:

I should think that those with a normal level of reading comprehension in the English langauge should be able to divine that my comment was to the idiocy of national level filters, and their profound inefficiencies. Nothing to do with perfection. Cost Benefit.

As to you aesthetics, amusing, a dodge, but amusing.

I remain unimpressed by and contemptous of the jargon in this case, obscurantist cant.
 
You're right collounsbury, we shouldn't discriminate at all between students from Latin America and the Middle East.

There's no connection between terrorism and either origin to develop policy.
 
After all, it is all about the individuals.
 
Cutler,

You should look at Col's blog. Along with his colorful expressive style that Dan knows all too well, he has some Arabist and international business insights you don't catch in the MSM or much of the blogosphere.
 
Good content on spiritual self improvement. One can never hear enough opinions on this. If you have time please visit mine about spiritual self improvement
 
I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
I also have a web site & blog about home internet work
so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work!
 
Hi! Thanks for the great advice.

I am just getting into this blogging stuff and have started my own motivation blog if you're interested.

Plus I have heaps motivation tips, articles and resources on one of my websites too. Drop by if you have time!

Cheers!
 
Post a Comment

<< Home
Zenpundit - a NEWSMAGAZINE and JOURNAL of scholarly opinion.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Chicago, United States

" The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities" -- Machiavelli

Determined Designs Web Solutions Lijit Search
ARCHIVES
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 /



follow zenpundit at http://twitter.com
This plugin requires Adobe Flash 9.
Get this widget!
Sphere Featured Blogs Powered by Blogger StatisfyZenpundit

Site Feed Who Links Here
Buzztracker daily image Blogroll Me!