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Regarding Bio Attack Risks, Are Internal and External Politics Placed Above National Security and National Defense Worldwide?

Updated: Jul 1

Are Internal and External Politics Placed Above National Security and National Defense Worldwide? Are There Insights Worth Sharing?

By Dr. John Norris


Dr. John Norris is a former FDA COO and Harvard faculty member. He is a highly successful entrepreneur and expert in risk management for the "spread" of bio attacks. He has written over 120 articles and posts on this topic's different aspects and perspectives.

He is especially concerned about our poorly thought out politics at two levels, US and international, that are creating weak preparation of the US and its allies for a near-term minor bio attack--by a terrorist group, such as Hamas, or a hostile nation, such as Iran, or an almost as destructive viable threat thereof because of the enormous anxiety and significant loss of morale that such a threat imparts on workers, families, and investors.


Dr. Norris sees Value in the relevant insights from both the Republican and Democrat Parties. The problem is that he says that both parties are far behind in their knowledge and thinking in this category of national security and defense. And this weakness is extremely dangerous for America and the world. Many, if not most, politicians still believe that large or small nuclear attacks or even chemical attacks (such as by using mustard gas), both of which are highly traceable as to source, are the two most dangerous weapons of mass destruction affecting the national security and national defense risks we face. These politicians are wrong—flat wrong. Some would say "dead" wrong!


We estimate there is at least a vast number of times more risk that a small bio weapon, delivered by stealth or suicide, will be used to attack the US than a small nuclear weapon, and a slight chemical weapon is not even in the picture. For many reasons, which we will briefly get into below, in terms of "actual use," both small atomic weapons and small chemical weapons are all but obsolete. No serious person continues to believe in chemical weapons. And money is the key driver of our obsession with nuclear weapons. Because they are highly traceable as to source, they are both significant "deterrents." But in reality, they will never be used offensively or defensively. So we have to keep them around. Post the COVID-19 Pandemic, which caught almost every leader worldwide "with their pants down," the third rail of "weapons of mass destruction," bio attack weapons, are, with a high degree of certainty, the "weapons of choice" going forward.


Introduction


Why politics? Aren't all politicians corrupt and stupid? No. Far from it. Dr. Norris, a former FDA COO who taught at Harvard, has worked on projects with or for many extremely bright, honest, and caring politicians. (If you want him to "name names" from both parties, text him at 617-680-3127.) The problem is they can only do good work if they are appropriately informed and motivated to create adaptive change, which is their primary function, but to which there are many practical and political obstacles.


Quick questions: So, "in a nutshell," what do they need to know about (1) the nature of bio weapons, (2) estimates of the likelihood of their use or viable threat of their use (which is almost as bad), and (3) the likely impact of such use?


Quick answers: (a) dangerous pathogens (disease "bugs") that are deadly, very contagious, and, depending on the strategic method of distribution, are highly concentrated within a small geographic area, such as a small neighborhood or, more likely, a closed-in facility, large or small, such as a manufacturing plant, school, or hospital, which will likely be the initial targets of an aggressor, (b) with the ever-increasing hostility in the Middle East, which we consider to be creating the most dangerous time in our nation's history and the world's. Remember the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages killed half the world's population--and they used three mph camels (limited to eight hours a day) and six mph ships (limited by the favorability of the winds) to travel vs. 500 mph 747 jets that can travel 8,000 miles on one tank of gas. Accordingly, we "estimate" (not project; there is not sufficient historical data to "project") the annual probability of their uses to be over 3x the yearly probability of another pandemic (possibly 33% vs. 10%), and (c) the likely impact of an attack will be devastating even if a small weapon is used (because, unlike nuclear and chemical weapons that dissipate post-attack, the number of pathogens grows arithmetically on its own) and even if only a "viable treat" is used. The latter is true because people are "frightened to death" of being exposed to weapons they cannot see and quietly grow and grow around them and their families and neighbors.


As most politicians and other leaders know, but most lay people don't, in a rapidly changing world filled with geopolitical tensions and security threats, prioritizing national security and defense is of the utmost importance worldwide. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether internal and external politics do and should precede these vital aspects. This article aims to explore this topic and uncover insights worth sharing. By delving into the complexities of this issue, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges we face in safeguarding our businesses (including not-for-profit companies such as foundations, hospitals, universities, and public and private school systems), government agencies (including the FDA, CDC, and NIH), and nations--and the potential negative implications of prioritizing politics over security, primarily if the policy decisions we make are based on misinformation or with no valid information at all, using political "gut instinct."


Why Nuclear Weapons Are All But Obsolete Except for Use as Deterrents


A grim reality is often overlooked and underestimated—the risk of a biological attack. While it may seem like the stuff of Hollywood movies, the threat of a devastating biological attack lurks in the shadows, ready to strike at any moment. As said earlier, this article delves deeper into this ominous threat, shedding light on the potential consequences and urging business executives, government agency heads, and nation leaders to take proactive measures to protect their workforce, families, and investors/taxpayers--and mitigate the impact of infectious diseases on their operations, revenue, and profits.


The risks associated with a bio attack cannot be brushed aside as mere pessimism or fear-mongering. History has shown us instances of deliberate biological weapon development and the devastating aftermath that follows. The anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001 serve as a chilling reminder of the real-world consequences of such acts. With advancements in biotechnology, the capabilities of potential bio attackers using advanced stealth or delayed spread, visibility, detectability, and or testability means have only grown more formidable, making it imperative for us to prepare for the worst.


Our view: “It is not if, but when, a targeted bio attack, by a hostile nation, such as Iran, by a terrorist group such as Hamas, or viable significant threat of an attack of one scale or another, is coming against the US, Israel, or one of our allies.” Why?


The reasons:


  1. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of significant Hamas and Iranian agents now in the US. We only know where some of them are. The rest have vanished into the dense fabric of our society.

  2. There are many reasons why a bio attack is now the best (from many perspectives) means for a terrorist group or hostile nation-state to conduct mass warfare. Why?

  3. For example, bio attacks (1) are less detectable as to their source, (2) can be triggered to “explode” months after deposit, (3) can be distributed in hyper-small quantities to vast numbers of locations by stealth human “safe depositors” or “kamikaze carriers,” including long-imbedded employees, repair persons, or delivery persons, and (4) can, once they “explode,” grow enormously (arithmetically, not exponentially, but very quickly and broadly in our society where everyone travels somewhere, near or far, almost every day). Most important is that pathogenic attacks grow entirely independently without further interventions. On the other hand, additional nuclear or chemical attacks used to expand the breadth of the attack make their initial attack more detectable. Accordingly, a possible immediate and massive response by the US or our allies to the bio attack is far less of a “deterrent” than it is for other weapons of mass destruction: nuclear (uncontrollable and immensely traceable) and chemical (such as very local wind-blown mustard gas, uncontrollable and tiny per attack).


The Interplay Between Politics and National Security and Defense, Especially Regarding Bio Attack Preparedness


Politics, both "internal" (enterprise-level and nation-level) and "external" (international-level), play a significant role in shaping a country's security agenda. Internal politics refers to the dynamics and decision-making processes within a business, government agency, or single nation-state, while external politics focuses on international relations and diplomacy. Both forms of politics can influence national security and defense prioritization and the resulting shapes of values and policies deployed, good or bad. Regrettably, decisions often depend not just on knowledge but more so on, due to skillful lobbying, who gets the money, how large the budget allocated to national security and defense becomes, and what percentage of the overall budget they get. Both directly and indirectly, politics, both large (formal) and small (interpersonal}, plays a considerable role here. In this critical area, this reckless political conduct can not stand. Corrective change must be created, deployed, and employed.


The Influence of Internal Politics


Internal politics, driven by domestic interests, power struggles, and short-term public opinion, can considerably influence national security and defense priorities. Elected officials, policymakers (decision-makers who, in truth, hold the vast majority of decision-making power), policy influencers (such as Dr. Norris and his former regulatory and academic colleagues), and leaders of government agencies are often under pressure to address their constituents' valid local concerns and demands over their country's much more significant national or international needs and concerns. This can sometimes, but only sometimes, result in decisions prioritizing political expediency over long-term security considerations. Top people holding most of the decision-making power often create poor or too constituent-focused choices in the next round of decision-making.


According to one of America's most outstanding and most heroic leaders, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, all politics is local except when it absolutely needs to be otherwise. It is up to those who share most of the power to interpret the meaning and application of "absolutely" in every instance. However, viable national security and defense risks must be included in that category.


For example, in a democratic system, politicians might properly prioritize issues that resonate with their voter base to stay in office if they do not directly relate to national security and defense matters. But if they do, this may lead to a diversion of resources and attention away from critical security concerns in the minds and eyes of everyone else holding most of the power or, most considerably, those who otherwise influence the power holders. In the long term, creating a proper balance is what counts. There is much catching up to do in the bio-attack area because we are now miles behind where we need to be. Influential organizations making extraordinary amounts of money on nuclear warfare preparation will not readily give up even 1% of the national security and defense budget they now and for decades have created and dominated. So, mounting heroism and heavy lifting politically need to be leveraged by thoughtful politicians for the good of the nation.


The only way to accomplish this is for groups of leaders at all levels of society to educate themselves and jointly "gather the guts" to push things forward in the suitable direction inch by inch, then foot by foot, then yard by yard, and mile by mile. Interestingly, the most potent tool these reformers will have beyond strong knowledge is the insight imparted to nuclear warfare proponents, including politicians, company leaders, government agency heads, and lobbyists, to recognize that their lives and the lives of their spouses, children, and parents are now at more significant risk--as well as their reputations, jobs, and satisfaction that they have filled their moral, ethical, and legal duties--from small bio weapons and therefore their need to prepare at every level to protect their "people" from the devastating effects of an even minor bio attack or viable threat thereof.


No. They did not learn this from the COVID-19 Pandemic. It was in most people's minds that only the "Disposable" elderly people who died. But they must understand and apply this insight now.


The Impact of External Politics


External politics, on the other hand, involves navigating complex international relationships, alliances, and conflicts. In an increasingly interconnected world, where we can fly from the farthest reaches in the northern hemisphere to the farthest reaches in the southern hemisphere in less than 24 hours versus the years it would have taken (if we could have done it at all), in the Middle Ages, countries must balance their national security and defense interests with the need to maintain diplomatic relations and peace.


This entails making certain more beneficial compromises and engaging in strategic decision-making. Only fully informed, innovative, and highly knowledgeable leaders, including the most powerful politicians and their most potent agency leaders and ambassadors, can create and maintain such a balance. For example, a little-known fact is that the FDA, of which Dr. Norris was once COO before he joined the faculty at Harvard, had decision-making power that affected over half the world's economies directly or indirectly. Other US government agencies, such as the CDC and the NIH, have similar global reach, prestige, and influence.

Geopolitical factors, such as regional power struggles, many of which are caused by what Dr. Norris refers to as "generic tribalism," necessitated by the survival or satisfaction of (1) small nations and or groups of their people, (2) economic interests, such as needed for fulfillment of growth goals, and (3) ideological differences, such as religions, can shape a nation's approach to national security and defense. Political leaders and their influencers often prioritize stability in international relations over direct military engagement or allocating additional resources to security and defense that would put other nations on guard or scare them into significant preemptive actions, such as Japan's attack on the US Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor during WWII.


These political needs frequently result in a substantial disparity in budget allocations toward preparedness for the next "real" threat, such as the biowarfare threat. It has been politically ok nationally and internationally for "nuclear-endowed countries" to warehouse thousands of nuclear weapons, both large and small, for decades, hundreds of times beyond any plausible need, because that is the norm, even though they will never be used. Just a few such weapons are sufficient to provide the "deterrence" of an offensive attack by a hostile nation or terrorist group or the viable threat thereof. On the other hand, it is just recently that countries like China have proceeded through the norms regarding bio weapons and have increased and modified their stock of bio weapons. Whether or not bio weapons will become the new norm politically and internationally is yet to be seen. It is happening nonetheless. So, we and our allies must be prepared at every level of society. Preparation is critical.


The Risks of Prioritizing Local or Even National Politics over National Security and Defense


While politics undeniably play a crucial role in governance and decision-making, regrettably, significantly, and recklessly, prioritizing political considerations above national security and defense can create enormous potential risks and consequences.


Some of the most significant of these significant risks include:


  1. Vulnerability to Security Threats: Neglecting or downplaying national security and defense concerns for political gain can leave a country vulnerable to security threats. This includes traditional military threats and emerging threats such as cyberattacks, biological warfare, or a combination of the three. What if the initial targets were hospitals and their electronic medical record systems or primary and secondary power systems? So, to be unprepared here is a "fool's" errand. However, ignoring this more important risk has been going on for years. As said earlier, leaders, such as powerful politicians, agency heads, business leaders, and influencers, have allowed this bio attack risk to grow arithmetically or, in some cases, depending on employment methods used, even geometrically, over decades. It's a long-neglected area. These leaders learned nothing from the COVID-19. Pandemic. Whether the COPVID-19 bio attack was nature-made or human-manufactured, a fact which we might never know, it makes no difference. It is still a dangerous bio attack that must never be forgotten, and we must learn lessons from it now.

  2. Erosion of Defense Preparedness and Response Capabilities: When domestic or international politics takes precedence over security and defense capabilities, there is a risk of insufficient investment in defense capabilities. This has happened in the bio-warfare area. This can hinder a nation's ability to respond effectively (both quickly and thoughtfully) to security challenges or adapt to evolving threats. Both are huge and growing national security and defense risks. This is reckless conduct by our most powerful politicians in both parties and all the other leaders who significantly influence them directly or indirectly.

  3. Undermining International Relationships: Prioritizing political interests over national security and defense can vastly strain relationships with allies and partners, especially those counting on you to represent more than half of their defense capabilities. The erosion of trust and alignment in international relations can compromise collective security efforts and weaken defense coalitions. To a significant degree, this is already beginning concerning the threat of biowarfare. Allied countries are starting to wake up to the scale of the biowarfare risk.

  4. Significant Negative Impact on Public Confidence: If the public perceives that political considerations continue to be prioritized over substantial national security and defense interests, it can erode public confidence in the government's ability to protect its citizens and the citizens of its allies. This skepticism can have wide-ranging implications for social cohesion and stability and can erode public support for their government. If the confidence gap becomes large enough, thoughtful, skilled, and caring leaders can be voted out of or removed from power—or worse, the government can be overturned.


Insights Worth Sharing


  1. Balancing Political with National Security and Defense Considerations: While political dynamics cannot be ignored entirely, political considerations and national security and defense imperatives must be balanced. Policymakers at all levels, especially among our most powerful politicians at the national level, should engage in evidence-based decision-making and prioritize long-term security interests while considering their constituents' concerns. The only way to do this is for these leaders to open their minds to understanding the blunders of the past and the opportunities to more than correct those errors now and in the future. The bio attack threat must be immediately explored and understood. Time is very much of the essence. Every day that passes puts us further at risk. Given the possible presence of hundreds to thousands of embedded Hamas and Iranian agents in our country, immediate preparation for a minor stealth bio attack (or even a tiny stealth or suicide attack) or viable threat thereof is vital currently.

  2. Building Strong Institutions: Investing in robust institutional frameworks prioritizing national security and defense at all levels of our society, from local to state to region and to nation, and from business to government agency to nation leaders, can help mitigate the risks of political interference. Independent bodies and expert advisory councils can provide guidance and impartial assessment of significant security threats (the so-called "clear and present dangers" or, as emphasized earlier, combinations thereof), as well as essential defense preparedness for and responses to those threats--thereby reducing the likelihood of "excessive politicization." Sometimes, bottom-up analyses are better than top-down analyses, especially for "forgotten" national security and defense areas that were only--out of unintentional or intentional reckless behavior--have been overlooked for decades. In either event, the recklessness must stop now. Unconflicted additional advisors who can push back on the advice of conflicted lobbyists can help.

  3. Enforcing Public Awareness and Engagement: Enhancing public awareness and understanding of national security and defense issues without divulging top-secret information can foster a more informed, engaged, and encouraging citizenry. This can strengthen public support for immediate and long-term bio-security and defense initiatives and minimize the influence of short-term political considerations and interferences. Plus, support in one industry or one area of the country can readily spread to others, thus making the job of making the "right" decisions more straightforward.

  4. Stressing International Cooperation: Addressing global security and defense challenges requires collaboration and cooperation among nations. Prioritizing national security and defense over political interests requires countries to cooperate, share intelligence, and coordinate efforts to prevent, mitigate, and control shared bio threats. In the case of bio attacks, it is the "spread" of the pathogen that kills thousands or millions instead of just a few. So, preparing for and performing risk management of the spread of pathogens (germs) are the most critical elements of protecting employees, families, investors/taxpayers, economies, nations, allies, and others from small (most likely) or large bio attacks.


Conclusion


In an ideal world, prioritizing national security and defense would be free from the influence of internal and external politics. However, the reality is now more complex, with political considerations often heavily shaping the security and defense agenda and overall national budget and how security and defense funds are shared. While politics play a crucial role in governance, balancing and ensuring that long-term bio-security and defense interests are not compromised for short-term political gains is essential. We can and must work towards a safer and more secure world by embracing insights from the delicate interplay between politics and bio-security. In the case of bio attack considerations, enhanced preparedness at all levels of society within the US and our allies is imperative. Let's do it now. If you want help getting the ball rolling, Dr. Norris and his team are prepared to educate leaders and share the best strategy, programs, systems, tools, and other risk management mechanisms in the world at a moment's notice. Small bio attacks are the most likely kind. But we must also prepare ourselves to manage more significant attacks. So, doing both simultaneously will require professional leadership, skilled management, and considerable coordination. The Safely2Prosperity team is endowed with all three--as are the teams of three of our competitors.


A Public Service Announcement by Safely2Prosperity and Its Executive Chairman, Dr. John Norris


We are pleased to cover this well-hidden story as a public service for the sake of our readers and all the people of the US and the world. We aim to have informed, educated, and committed leaders in the US and worldwide at all levels of society. We hope they buy our solution because it is the best. But if not, they must purchase "a" solution. Three alternative solutions are almost as good as S2P's VirusVigilant.


Safely2Prosperity (S2P) provides a "comprehensive infectious-disease spread risk-management solution," VirusVigilant, for business executives, government-agency heads, and nation leaders to protect their employees, families, investors, and others. S2P's VirusVigilant "Infectious Disease Safety Program" (like a Fire Safety Program but much more sophisticated and complex) combines a SaaS platform with customized risk management tools for overseeing add-on packages of vaccinations, testing, therapeutics, isolation (if infected), quarantining (if exposed), and tracking technologies, among many others. These tools help these leaders meet their moral, ethical, and legal responsibilities while protecting and enhancing workforce, family, and investor/taxpayer safety and productivity.


Thereby, VirusVigilant helps assure (it's not "insurance," but "assurance," for leaders, so "they can sleep at night," at 1,000 times less the cost than health insurance) (1) business continuity, (2) revenue, (3) profits, (4) investor and insurer financial protection, and (5) the overall effectiveness and survival of the enterprise. With a focus on proactive measures, S2P offers a cost-effective, low-cost (as low as pennies per employee per month), intuitive solution for risk-managing infectious disease spread. "It's the spread that kills millions."


Dr. John Norris is a former FDA COO and Harvard faculty member. He is also a highly successful entrepreneur recognized as an expert in preventing, mitigating, controlling, and otherwise risk-managing the "spread" of infectious diseases. He has often published on this or related topics, including as editor-in-chief of two academic publications, one at Harvard (which he founded some 50 years ago) and the other at Cornell. And gave many presentations on the need for change in health and healthcare systems, including 300 presentations worldwide. Also, he helped reform the "regulatory procedures" used by the Joint Commission (which "regulates" hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes) and the US FDA (which regulates drug and medical device developers). Finally, he is a highly successful businessperson and entrepreneur. He and his former teammates sold one of their last start-ups for almost $2B in today's dollars.


As the historically world-renowned diplomat Benjamin Franklin said as he signed the US Declaration of Independence from England (the first, most costly, and most dangerous step in forming the United States as a country, but a critical step): "Gentlemen [and Ladies], we must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."


Thoughtful and aggressive "preparedness" is the first and most essential step in protecting our people and those of our allies from the devastation of a bio attack by a terrorist group, such as Hamas, or a hostile nation, such as Iran. It costs as little as 50 cents per employee per month (1,000th the cost of health insurance) to be prepared.


If you want to learn more about VirusVigilant, please get in touch with Dr. John Norris by text at 617-680-3127 or by email at John.Norris@Safely2Prosperity.com (mailto: John.Norris@Safely2Prosperity.com). S2P's website is safely2prosperity.com (http://safely2prosperity.com/).



© 2024 Safely2Prosperity LLC and Dr. John Norris, Executive Chairman. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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