Why I’m not surprised by the espionage Use allies too. General Jean speaks
  • 14 April 2023 07:56

by Marco Orioles

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Why I’m not surprised by the espionage Use allies too. General Jean speaks

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Intelligence spies on both enemy and friendly governments: nothing strange. Here’s why. Start Magazine conversation with General Carlo Jean, expert in military strategy

What are the geopolitical implications of the case of documents stolen from the Pentagon and circulated on social media?

In a Start Magazine conversation, General Carlo Jean, an expert in military and geopolitical strategy, invites caution, also because the Pentagon is still carrying out the appropriate checks. Even now, however, the incredible spy intrigue behind the leaks emerges that, if they embarrass the US, also highlight the relevant intelligence capabilities such as to penetrate deeply into the reality of the Russian enemy as allies.

General, what do you think of the Pentagon leaks?

In my opinion they are half good and half to take with tongs. In any case, I would urge caution at the moment because in America they are carrying out the appropriate checks, which will take a long time, if not granted that we will eventually know something about it.

If they were genuine, who would benefit?

In my opinion, the Russians would have the advantage, because the dissemination of this information has the effect of creating disagreements in the West.

In fact, among other things, documents show that the US is spying on everyone, including its allies. Should we be shocked?

Spying on friends is quite normal; it has always been so. Just think of Merkel’s phone being monitored by the Americans themselves. Or, to take an example a little further back in time, the Russian embassy that spied on the phones of the leaders of the Italian Communist Party.

So nothing new under the sun.

Absolutely. Intelligence, on the horizon, refers to both enemies and friends.

Even if we take these documents for granted, the disastrous state of Russian troops emerges.

Certainly, and also the disastrous state of the Ukrainian troops. On the Russian ones the most sensational case refers to the fact that, when last autumn there was the forceful call of the reservists, several young Russians fled abroad. You usually run abroad when your country is invaded, not when your country invades another.

And on the Ukrainian front what emerges?

It emerges that Ukraine is losing some of the best youth, slain by war. On the contrary, Russia employs prisoners, or soldiers of ethnic minorities; as a result, the losses suffered from a demographic point of view will weigh less on the destiny of Russia than they weigh on the destiny of Ukraine.

However, one thing emerges clearly, and it is the ability of American intelligence apparatuses to infiltrate their targets.

Yes, but the opposite is true. With regard to American capabilities, I would just like to remind you that when the US warned us last year that the Russian attack would take place in those specific days, it was because they had some source inside the Russian General Staff.

Of course we Italians are also exposed to this type of capture.

Yes, just remember the case of that naval officer who sold secret documents for 5 thousand euros each. This proved that the practice was so widespread that the price was very low. That is, supply is very important and therefore demand can be relatively low in terms of prices.

The Russians are spying on us and how much?

The Russians by ancient practice control both the inside and the outside. They have always had very effective security services.

So paradoxically, the Cold War hasn’t changed much?

No, nothing has changed.

Which enemy should we fear most, Russia or China?

Clearly China, as Russia has a GDP lower than that of Italy. In addition, Russia is experiencing significant demographic problems compared to the United States: the Russian population is falling sharply and the percentage of non-Russians is increasing, and this is extremely worrying for the Kremlin but also for the Patriarchate of Moscow, which sees its grip on Russia diminish markedly.

Unlike Russia, do we have a more balanced relationship with China?

Balanced definitely from a commercial point of view. China is for us a good market and then we have Chinese investments. However, from a technological point of view, we are dependent on the United States and are therefore dependent on the technological embargoes which the United States has imposed on China.

The key example is semiconductor.

Of course, but not only that. There is the whole part related to the supply of critical raw materials from rare earths, but also cobalt and lithium. However, I would like to point out that there is a lot of American propaganda here, trying to mobilize public opinion in support of the government against China. Indeed, it must be borne in mind that Chinese development, in particular but not only in the field of advanced semiconductors, depends heavily on lawful or illicit imports. So much so that China’s economic recovery after the pandemic is experiencing several problems. We must bear in mind that the American system is relatively more flexible and therefore able to absorb more easily the effects of a crisis; in China, however, an economic crisis is immediately transformed into a social and political crisis from which it is difficult to escape.

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