Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Marcy has been doing her usual yeowoman effort on NSA and security issues. Here she steps back to discuss the damage done to US post  Cold War hegemony and to American Hypocrisy Exceptionalism.

US hegemony rests on a lot of things: the dollar exchange, our superlative military, our ideological lip service to democracy and human rights.
But for the moment, it also rests on the globalized communication system in which we have a huge competitive advantage. That is, one reason we are the world’s hegemon is because the rest of the world communicates through us — literally, in terms of telecommunications infrastructure, linguistically, in English, and in terms of telecommunications governance.
Aggressively hacking the rest of the world endangers that, both because of what it does to our ideological claims, but just as importantly, because it provides rivals with the concrete incentive to dismantle that global infrastructure.
The liberal project has always been, for better and worse, about a managed claim to free exchange. In goods (though we wrote the rules to limit the terms of exchange, which until recently guaranteed that the US got the most benefit of it). And in information (again, we wrote the rules and laid the wires, protecting our advantage).
But we won’t have any advantage if the vehicle of exchange, the Internet, gets balkanized in response to our abuse of our own power on it.