Risk of West Nile is real

I was in the front yard on Sept 9, 2018 and I had severe bites from mosquitoes. I mustn’t be the lone person. After talking with several folks within the community, I realized, it is an area wide problem. After reviewing the mosquito control measures from the City of Irving, I realized, our area was treated on August 15, 2018. However, after talking with City official, on spraying again and having an integrated management plan (a dual plan where city and homeowners concurrently treat on multiple occasion), I was told by the City officer that the CDC has set limitations, unless West Nile or Zika is detected, they cannot treat again. My question was simple – Do you want to wait for a family member to fall sick and than start treating the area or do we want a prevention before it happens? I talked with Leroy MacFarland. Talks with Mr. Dickens, Ms. Adrian are in progress. I will keep you posted. 

 

Zika

Risk of West Nile is real

How can I say so confidently? The Mosquito menace is huge; Dallas County Health and Human Services detected a positive West Nile Virus sample on Rochelle Street (See picture and link from City below).

West Nile in Irving

What is West Nile?

Obviously, we heard a lot and many amongst you know it. However, to recap, here is an excerpt from Center for Disease Control (CDC) “There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness”.

You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites. Please visit CDC on https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html to know more about West Nile and its health impact.

Fortunately, in most people, it is not dangerous, excerpts from CDC…”Most people  (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)”. https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html.

What do we do?

Of course, if you have suspicion for West Nile symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.

How do we ‘Prevent’?

That’s the reason for taking this initiative. Mosquito control is dual responsibility –

  • Local Government and the
  • Home Owners.

An integrated Mosquito prevention program is required for controlling mosquito menace. While City is doing its own rounds of fogging and environmental control, we as Homeowners have singular responsibility. We need interventions inside our home where City has no jurisdiction.

Both these activities have to be coordinated. We need the fogging program to happen in tandem. That means, while the city is treating your area, we need to simultaneously treat our yards. City alone cannot, individual home owners cannot do anything. It will recur.

How do we identify the problem?

In my view, generally, apartment complexes can be ruled out as a source since there are strict compliances. So I will focus on individual home owners and any property which falls within the purview of City.

Is your area covered?

The City has posted a schedule for the area. Zip code 75063 has been sprayed on August 15, 2018. Picture below.

75063 Spray on August 15

Has the city done enough?

Please check the map for the zip code affected the intervention from the city. Zip code 75063 was treated on August 15, 2018. Please see map here.

Can we call it enough?

Obviously NO.

Why?

  1. Please ask yourself if you can play or be outside at dusk time for 10-15 minutes without a mosquito bit.
  2. It takes several rounds to kill the live mosquitoes and their larvae are in different stages of breeding. If the intervention targets all the stages, it still needs multiple rounds of sprays.
  3. Even if your area is cleared, mosquitoes from distant areas may migrate into your areas. So you have to treat multiple times.

Can we blame City?

Yes and No

Why No?

Because if we haven’t done our part, we will see a persistence of the mosquito problem.

What action is required from me as a Home Owner?

We want ALL of us to treat the problem simultaneously with same intensity. That means, even if you have no problem in your yard, we want you to treat your yard.

When?

Along with other Homeowners and the while the city is doing mosquito intervention.

What do we need from you?

This is not a mandate, a voluntary initiative. We need few folks from each lane to identify the risk for individual homes. Once identified, those homeowners should aggressively treat their yards. One treatment is not enough, multiple rounds are required.

What are the other Mosquito borne illnesses?

West Nile is not alone. The list is long –

  • Zika
  • Malaria
  • Chikunguniya
  • Equine Encephalitis (Eastern and Western)
  • Dengue
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
  • La Crosse Encephalitis (LACV)

Do we have Zika, Malaria or Chikungunya identified in our area?

Please call City of Irving or Dallas County.

Remember, the risk is real. We all have to act now.

Read the links below for additional information.

Irving Mosquito Control Program – https://www.cityofirving.org/816/Mosquito-Control-Program)

Irving area with proven positive West Nile Virus sample – https://www.cityofirving.org/DocumentCenter/View/25998/S13—RutgersLasalle-PDF
CDC Prevent Mosquito Bites https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html

CDC Mosquito control – https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/vectorcontrol/index.html

West Nile Prevention from CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html

Integrated Mosquito Management –  https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/vectorcontrol/integrated_mosquito_management.html

Zika Virus Infographics https://www.cdc.gov/zika/comm-resources/infographics.html

TOP 5 THINGS EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT – ZIKA https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/Top5.pdf

 

A route to sell (debt)?

While the world is busy with Islamic terrorism, rising pockets of right wing political confluence, reactions to lopsided economic policies (Trumpism), rising carbon dioxide, green house gases, population pressure on nature and infrastructure, we are hardly realizing the emerging imperialism that will drive the next few decades and the struggle of mankind understanding and dismantling the effect of these economic aggression. This should not be considered as a plunder by any outsider, a third country. These are our own dilemmas that are subjugating us to emerging exploitation. Hambanbtota, CPEC, Africa are all examples of such crisis in making.

Hambantota – A White Elephant on Sri Lanka’s Backyards

NYT Ship Cargo

Sometimes in childhood, our parents always insisted to remain contained within our means. I never realized the importance of this in the context of nation and its economies, until I analyzed the huge infrastructure investments and its negative impact on the economies of Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan and many African nations. The build huge airports, docks, railways etc. that were costlier beyond the business value they provided. Let me take two examples – Sri Lank built their Hambantota ports despite the feasibility studies indicating to the contrary. Only 32 ships docked in an entire year. Such hugely expensive infrastructure became a classic example of a white elephant for not Sri Lanka and all economically poor countries. Sri Lanka was unable to service the debt for this project and the terms of the lease also meant, Sri Lanka to lose the lease to this 15, 000 acre of land for 99 years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/world/asia/china-sri-lanka-port.html

Nairobi Mombasa Railway – Can Kenya service the loans for a lavish railroad?

Obviously a cash strapped economy such as Kenya has to rely on outside assistance for financing and technology to build this 300 mile long rail line. Does this mean this infrastructure was not required? Time and again, countries have been taking recluse to Keynesian philosophy and fiscal policies. Over the last more than 9 decades, it has provided a solid foundation for decision making in infrastructure investment. However, that does not mean a cash deprived country like Kenya should built one of the most sophisticated railway to breed communication and economy. It simply cannot sustain the financing. A simpler economic model would have been feasible.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/01/kenyan-conservationists-protest-as-chinese-company-starts-work-on-railway

China Pakistan Economic Corridor – A classic case of Conflict of Interest

At least, China should utilize this route through Pakistan built with Chinese financial assistance and with the aid of Chinese companies and man power. It deprived $62 Billion dollars of Pakistan’s precious foreign currency in building this economic passage that passes through complex land and even more complex political corridors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Pakistan_Economic_Corridor

From Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda Mauritian, Morocco, Zimbabwe – No shortage of underperforming deals

Consulting firm, McKinsey computed that, Chinese loans accounted for about a third of new debt by African governments. These are not lone countries, the list runs long. Gullible minds were only aware of China as a power house of cheap obsolescent products. However, these infrastructure projects turn out to be not just imperialism but ravaging the countries and its people. In Sierra Leone, the presidential elections are heavily influenced by China. Djibouti has an official military Chinese base. Scores of examples are coming out into the open from such investment decisions that will influence the fate of nations and its people. It isn’t economic imperialism, it is neocolonialism

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/31/chinese-aid-and-investment-are-good-for-africa/

https://thediplomat.com/tag/chinese-investment-in-africa/

https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/china-officially-sets-up-its-first-overseas-base-in-djibouti/

While we resent the devaluation of currency, these are currency raiders. While the West plundered the East, these are times of economic poaching and Neo Colonialism of the poor nations.

Johns Hopkins School of International Studies

Rail roads, ports or expresses way all infrastructure to support China to expand it’s market and sell its products? Or else, China should help build these African nations with factories and manufacturing units that will financially enable these countries to be on their own.

Should the World be worried about China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

Policy makers and politician across the World are stunned and watching with consternation, the massive ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ undertaken by China. Is this infrastructure investment project centered on China? Is this similar to nation building foundational utilities for a nation similar to building freeways, electricity and other amenities? Keynesian theory has been underpinning the development of several countries across the world. It has consistently shown results and it is this formulation that scares the policy makers across the world. Should the world not be worried?  https://wp.me/p7XEWW-14k

BRI China

Fundamentally this infrastructure investment cannot be based on flawed interpretation of the vision for the future. However, it assumes a unipolar work wherein, they are extrapolating the analysis of the last 25 – 40 years of fulfilling the global demand for products, especially in Europe and North America. This intelligence is based on few fundamental assumptions that the world will forever be a unipolar manufacturing house, wherein the customers are perpetually based in Europe and North America. As long as the status quo remains, i.e., China is the manufacturing hub and the consumers are the developed world, this assumption provides a competitive advantage by investing in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Somewhere, this model emulates how the US-UK controls the Suez or Panama Canal and its impact of the global economic flow. Let us understand the situation other than the happy path.

Increasing competition:

First, in the last few decades, the world has grown more multipolar. There is significant competition amongst the nations for capturing the marketplace. Especially those nations, which were at the precipice, are gradually bouncing back to garner their share in global economy. After their chaotic transition, these nations are gradually stabilizing and as the maturity proceeds, they will enter the fray and be competitive.

Dwindling Customer Base in First World:

Last decade has been a testimony to how several Western European countries are gradually receding economic footprint or into recession. This will eventually erode the customer base from Europe. Overall, the population growth is stabilizing and the median age is rising. That does not mean, the customer base will vanish altogether. However, even a modest erosion of customer base from Europe would wipe the profits to make it uncompetitive.

Does that mean the global demand for consumption will decrease? The answer is obviously no. Where is the consumer base moving? First, the consumption will not decrease; instead, it will increase, as is indicated by several policy planners. This will follow phasic manner – the initial burst and the sustained period. The immediate burst will be centered on China, India and South East Asia and the sustained phase will be around the growing economies from African Nations and Latin America along with the traditional customer base in North America and Europe. South East Asia, China and the Indian peninsula will has a potential future growth due to dual factors – rising income levels and incremental recruitment of the expanding population base to propel the consumer market. The sustainment phase will be due to two major pockets – the traditional consumer base in Europe and North America and the expanding base in rising economies. Irrespective, the consumer base will move and be multipolar.

Transition of Blue Collar to White Collar Workforce in China:

As the population is China evolves makes a transition from blue collar to white collar, it will also see an increase in consumption. This can be very well corroborated with the Maslow’s phases of self-actualization. This transition will not support the earlier model of cheap low cost labor required to support a manufacturing economy. In fact, the white collar will propel consumption and China will move towards a net consumer economy.

Collaborative rather than pugilistic policies:

In the last decade, China has been increasingly assertive, lean heavily towards currency manipulation, disrespect world order and hegemonist in its approach. All these would deter the business environment and move the fulcrum towards unfriendly business environment, not realizing the impact of its short sighted policies at the detriment of its national cause.

Simply following Keynesian theory and investing in infrastructure in unlikely to propel the country in eschewing the benefits of it investment policy. China knows that and it will not be a surprise to see either the partner nations pulling out of such collaborations or China itself pulling out of such investment execution with the resultant fall in those ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ bridges.

The Economist | Planet China

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21746901-project-century-may-help-some-economies-political-cost-chinas-belt-and-road?frsc=dg%7Ce

https://www.rand.org/blog/2018/03/one-belt-one-road-one-ruler-china-term-limits-ban-imperils.html

 

Do we need stickers, always?

I don’t want to sound bombastic. However, when it comes to driving and being on the road, I am generally a whole lot patient simply because I don’t carry the responsibility of their risks on my shoulder. Who knows there is a baby on board, an elderly (with generally impaired reflexes) driving the car, a lady not as adroit and smart as a general driver or just the clumsiness of technology that you cannot brake adequately in time?

I have also noted that, zooming on road helps you save only 2-4 minutes of your time. If you plan and start early, you never have to vroom on the road and increase the risk (for yourself and others). Another titbit I share with my son, that if you are driving by the rule, you reduce the incidence of accident by half. The other half are still caused by others. That is the reason we should all be driving safe and not one person alone.

However, let us own up our part of responsible driving – 

  1. Driving fast only saves 2-3 minutes on a 30-40 minutes commute
  2. Starting 4 minutes ahead is truly not difficult
  3. Despite, if you are late, you won’t miss much
  4. Don’t install (police) detecting radars, getting a ticket (citation) changes our behavior. It is not a criminal offense
  5. Of course, no drinking and driving
  6. No texting while driving

We all need to practice ‘No Texting While Driving’. That isn’t’ a tall order? Sometimes, it feels as though we are asking youngsters to follow abstinence or a businessmen (and few doctors), to be puerile in their ethical practices.

Not sure if my behavior has changed anything but I have noted one thing, it made a difference to me. Being late just matters as much as being on time. I haven’t seen missing much other than being anal to be on time. It does provide me a sense of satisfaction that I am living in a macrocosm where others deserve equal respect.

I received an interesting note on What’s Up. Below is the verbatim.

A car ahead was moving like a turtle and not giving me way in spite of my continuous honking! I was on brink of losing my cool when I noticed the small sticker on the car’s rear!

“Physically challenged; please be patient.”

And that changed everything!! I immediately went calm & slowed down!! In fact I got a little protective of the car & the driver!!! I reached work a few minutes late, but it was ok! And then it struck me. Would I have been patient if there was no sticker? Why do we need stickers to be patient with people!? Will we be more patient & kind with others if people had labels pasted on their foreheads?

Labels like —

“Lost my job”
“Fighting cancer”
“Going through a bad divorce”
“Suffering Emotional abuse”
“Lost a loved one”
“Feeling worthless”
“Financially broken”….. And more like these…

Do we need sticker for the invisible ones?

Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. The least we can do is be patient & kind! Let us respect the invisible labels!

Please share, it’s a matter of awareness. Somewhere, someone may find this game changer and it may change his/her driving and impact an unknown precious life, may be prevent a family from losing their beloved one.

Also visit, Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushions on https://wp.me/p7XEWW-13T

Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushions

For long time now, we have been witnessing speeding vehicles within our community. As we all know, this may one day have a calamitous outcome. We had a very healthy discussion on why speed needs to be regulated as well as the pros and cons for different options. Obviously, the city does an initial study on the speeding on these streets but we should all be prepared to exercise our options.

I have discussed the compeling reason behind why speed needs to be reduced, how we are closer to having an accident than before, what are the options and also cited a statistically significant study that shows that installing speed bumps does not affect property prices. It is not a matter of personal choice. It is owning community responsibility preemptively, and not waiting for an incidence to happen.

In conclusion, Radar and Speed Bumps are the best options for controling speed. However, given the non invasive nature of Radar, they seems to be the best way to proceed, however, I would like to hear from you all. Please vote for the different speed calming options after reading this blog.

https://wp.me/p7XEWW-13T

 

Getting it right –

Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushion –

Speed Bumps: are narrow 6-8” wide long made either of durable plastic or concrete.

Speed Humps: Are wider than speed humps, you can imagine two bumps placed at 1’ – 2’ apart to make a hump. Speed humps are parabolic vertical traffic calming devices intended to slow traffic speeds on low volume, low speed roads. Speed humps are 3–4 inches high and 12–14 feet wide, with a ramp length of 3–6 feet.

Speed Cushions: A flat table that rises few inches and runs across for few feet, more than a hump.

Compelling reason:

 

EV Incidence

In the United States, 32,719 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 (U.S. DOT, 2013). Young people have a higher risk for pedestrian fatalities (Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009), but older adults are at most risk of dying if they are hit (U.S. DOT, 2012). This is mainly because older adults are more susceptibility to injury and medical complications and not an increased tendency to get into roadway crashes (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2013). (US Department of Transportation –https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/road-traffic-fatalities-mode)

Statistics speaks a lot, hit and run are directly related to three factors – the longer you stay on the road, the volume of vehicular traffic and the threshold the vehicles cross beyond stipulated speed limit. All these factors will affect incidence of traffic.

Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are increasing nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Los Angeles and New York City have the highest rates of those deaths.

Hit-and-run crashes are increasing in many major cities, and hit-and-run fatalities are rising nationally as legislators in several states look to toughen laws to address this troubling “plague.” (Fatal Hit and Run crashes rise in US USA Today)

In a study conducted to understand the epidemic of Hit and Run, three factors were mainly identified. Number of pedestrians on the road, The amount of unauthorized speed above stipulated speed limit and the frequency of both these factors confluencing together. (Los Angeles faces Hit and Run Epidemic).

However, Life is more important than property prices, anytime. No one will disagree on this. If someone differ, they should voice it.

Psychology behind reduced speed

Typically, we are supposed to drive at 20 miles per hour in school zones, and there are many other locations—residential areas, for example—where kids are also vulnerable. Evidence suggests that kids are three times as likely to get hit by a car when traffic speed exceeds 25 miles an hour, since speedy drivers need more reaction time. (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/full-frontal-psychology/why-kids-get-hit-by-cars.html); Hit-And-Run Deaths Increase (NPR)

No, Property value does not go down with Speed Humps:

Statistical research conducted by City of Pleasanton reveals exactly that. This study is especially relevant as it removes all inherent and implicit biases that confound our thinking that ‘speed bumps decrease property value’, (see attached link). This City of Pleasanton study revealed below observations –

1) When selecting speed humps, it cannot be demonstrated that installing speed humps will affect property values in any predictable way.

2) No trends are apparent. It is not evident that installing speed humps in a neighborhood will affect property values in any predictable way.

What should we believe?

Unbiased research are always insightful as they remove our preponderance to trust our personal preferences. City of Pleasanton provides that objective study removing that bias and establishes the fact that speed bumps don’t decrease property prices.

Google search will reveal data for and against speed bumps (and its association with property prices). It is normal for us to choose data that supports our observation. This is called inherent bias or selection bias. Let us not fall pray to our own biases.

While news links were shared on the Whatsup group showing an association between property prices and speed humps, veteran realtors strongly advocate that installing speed bumps increase the value of neighborhood as it decreases the chance of speeding and any eventual accident. Well, it is common sense to know these are selection biases. Either side uses data that supports their argument. The only way to resolve this is rely on a study that is based on statistical procedures that rule out any inherent bias. City of Pleasanton has that reliable data.

What are the different options for traffic calming?

Various speed calming methods are in use. Vertical deflections (speed humps, speed tables, and raised intersections), horizontal shifts, and roadway narrowing

  1. Stop Signs (not effectiveness)
  2. Radar Monitored (effective)
  3. Speed Bumps/Humps/Cushions (most effective)
  4. Road Diets (very effective)

Effectiveness of options –

Posting Speed Limit signs are ineffective

“Studies have shown that there are no significant changes in average vehicle speed following the posting of revised speed limits,” the city report says. “By and large, drivers choose their speed independent of the posted speed limit.” http://trafficalm.com/stop-signs-ineffective-traffic-calming/

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/mckinney/2010/04/17/McKinney-neighborhood-petitions-for-lower-speed-8467

Radar Speed Calming devices

Radar Speed Signs are considered Effective, Reliable and Affordable. Radar speed signs, also known as driver feedback signs, are traffic calming devices designed to slow speeders down by alerting them of their speed. They are being used across the country, and around the world, because they are effective at slowing speeding drivers down. Tests repeatedly show that:

  1. Speeders will slow down up to 80% of the time when alerted by a radar sign
  2. Typical speed reductions are 10-20%.
  3. Overall compliance with the posted speed limit will go up by 30-60%.
  4. Radar speed signs are particularly effective at getting “super speeders”—speeders driving 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit—to slow down
  5. Radar sign offers driver feedback signs that are attractive, easy to operate, and affordable. Our signs are constructed with a rugged design for durability, are weather and vandal resistant, and are 100% MUTCD compliant (https://www.radarsign.com/)

Radar Speed Display 1

Another web site has more options – http://trafficalm.com/

Radar Speed Display 2

Speed Bumps/Humps/Cushions – These are the most effective as they deter speeding vehicles. A slow vehicle has no impact.

“Road diets” are one approach to traffic calming. Road diets involve a reduction in the width or number of vehicular travel lanes and reallocate that space for other uses such as bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossing islands, left turn lanes, or parking.

US Department of Transportation has a web site with information on all different TRAFFIC CALMING OPTIONS –

https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/Traffic-Calming-to-Slow-Vehicle-Speeds

City of Pleasanton Research on Speed Humps and Property Prices – (see below)

EconImpactSpeedHumps[1]

 

The Kill Chain That Underpins The Future War

You might have thought Russia won’t react to the latest coordinated attack over the Syrian chemical weapons unit. Wrong, that is already underway. In my blog on April 13, 2018, I predicted this exactly that Russia will launch a covert attack, not an overt physical.

Future wars will most likely be played to destroy the Information Technology (Digital) backbone that underpins National Defense, Industry, Financial Systems and Essential utilities. We cannot count this as an overstated assumption.

Knowing the Kill Chain can stop Cyber Attacks.

Illustration of CyberKill Chain from BITRATE

I saw this news flash a few minutes ago. In my earlier blog on April 13, 2018, (Closer than Cuban Missile Crisis https://wp.me/p7XEWW-13s), I mentioned that Russia will attack, covertly though and here we are. Russia accused of global net hack attacks.

Russia attempting to hack internet hardware and bring the e-transactions to a standstill. 

This is not a bluster, nor is it a war mongering. It is actually happening and will continue to be seen sporadically with increasing frequency. IT security pretty much mimics physical espionage and spying. In olden days (and even now) they have moles that infiltrated the enemy. The model remains same, except that a malware is installed in place of a mole. That malware observes and reports all the activities on the enterprise or in the case of a state, the critical ecosystem.

A single malware is not enough. Often, multiple agents are installed, constantly listening, watching and gathering the flow of information within the ecosystem wherein, those are installed. They communicate with each other rather notoriously and covertly, unbeckoned by the system monitoring. These are well known tactics in cybersecurity, called as Reconnaissance. In fact, Lockheed Martin has seven step frameworks, called ‘Kill Chain’ to identify and mitigate those attacks (also called as Advanced Persistent Threat or APT in short. After Target and Sony hack, industry is fast moving towards mitigating those attacks.

What started as an individual prank is not outgrown to become state army. Often, certain countries are considered to have state sponsored hacking. Most cited examples are China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. However, others such as UK, who recently attacked ISIS, are not lagging behind.

It is interesting to understand and unravel how the future wars are likely to play out. However, suffice it to say, use your electronic gadgets or anything connected wirelessly or wired, with all industry supported best standards. Maybe, you may fall victim and serve as an entry point to those intruders. Avoid being a victim. Protect your nation.

UK And US Accuse Russia Of Hacking Home Routers In Global Cyberattacks

U.S., U.K.: Russia launching global cyberattacks aimed at internet traffic controls

Lockheed Martin Kill Chain Demo

My Illustration on Kill Chain

 

Closer than Cuban Missile Crisis?

Will this attack trigger a war, possibly a catastrophic one that may draw in multiple countries from various continents? Will these countries risk such participation for the sake of Syria? Russia definitely has increased the decibel on rhetoric. It has already mentioned that this will trigger a wider conflict. Barring Cuban Missile Crisis, never were we so close to confrontation even during the cold war. How would the dynamics between different countries play out? What is at Stake and what are their arsenals?

It is Friday evening, movie time and I see this news flash that US, UK and France had attacked Syrian targets purportedly harboring chemical weapons recently used on its own people in Ghouta. Will this attack trigger a war, possibly a catastrophic one that may draw in multiple countries from various continents? Will these countries risk such participation for the sake of Syria? Russia definitely has increased the decibel on rhetoric. It has already mentioned that this will trigger a wider conflict. Barring Cuban Missile Crisis, never were we so close to confrontation even during the cold war.

Often times, when authoritarian and despots rule, when reasons are relegated through backdoor, when hegemony dominates ego, we enter an era of incessant and cascading conflagrations. Current times are clearly moments of confluence of complex undercurrents with potential for eruption and disruption of current order. It is only rare to see someone not react to provocation.

Is it so close as Cuban crisis?

Never know… it may go in any direction. However, Russia has no supporters and has no financial buffers. It will only lend itself into deep destruction and disintegration. A smarter Putin will launch covert attacks, not direct physical but cyberattacks, targeting all essential utilities – from finance, electricity, gas, water and anything considered core utilities. That sounds near possibility.

China and Iran will support

China will never be part of such initial conflicts; it’s a institution of smart businessmen. While it wants to enjoy the fruits from such fight, it will always resist being part of such escalations in the beginning. Second, their major customers are US, EU and other developed economy, which are most aligned on one side. Third, it has amassed significant infra debt since 2008, to avoid economic crisis. It is managing the fulcrum but any war will disturb that balance and tilt the economy towards recession, which may trigger other downstream consequences foremost being resistance to the regime.

Iran has no might as of now. At least Pakistan is comparatively powerful than Iran. Despite being proven pariah state at the epicenter of international terrorism, it has more negotiating muscle than Iran.

Russian Capabilities

Russia is a dilapidated economy, no might except rhetoric from strongman Putin. Putin is in wrong place, a shrewd calculative and thorough at the chess of politics, he knows how best to maneuver countries but his own country is economically in shambles and you need money to wage a war. He does not have the sustained fuel for not alone any prolonged war but war that matter, with any western nations together.

That does not mean it will seat silently. Putin will never let his strongman credibility be destroyed. In fact, that hand wringing behavior has provided Russia with billions of dollars from countries like Syria, Iran to sustain its economy. So it has to continue leveraging that nuisance potential to get that foreign currency. Letting the nuisance value die amounts to letting the source of currency to dry. It is equally true that it cannot wage a direct war. The only option left is playing covertly and creating disruptions. All these developed economies are built on digital (computer/IT) technology. That technology has gaping security holes. Russia, China and N Korea have displayed the might of their state to bring this down with cyberattacks.

My earlier blog on coalescence of chaos has few interesting observations  https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12x

US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43762251