In case you hadn't noticed, the news coming out of Russia in the past two weeks has been rather strange, strange, because it indicates that there's something in the water over there producing rational thought, normalcy, concerns for the protection of the national security and culture, including hosting a global home schooling conference. Now, for those who might say that this is just all for show and that Mr. Putin is a Soviet-era throwback, I for one have a little difficulty comparing him or his policies to Stalin, Khrushchev, or that denizen of Soviet nomenklatura mediocrity, Brezhnev, and the mediocrities that followed him.
But I digress. This article was shared by Ms. K.F., and it seems Vlad the Mad has struck again, this time banning not only Microsoft, but Bill Gates himself, from the Russian Federation:
Well, we all know about Mr. Gates and his various vaccine programs in Africa and India, and his billionaire busybody advocacy of Common Core and its "assessment" process, and, as the article makes clear, Russia is concerned about Microsoft's ability to conduct surveillance of Russians. Thanks, Vlad, we couldn't have put it any better ourselves, though my co-author and I did put it that way in our book Rotten to the (Common)Core, namely, that the whole scam is about a dramatic expansion of the USSA's surveillance state, via "education improvement" and its individually adaptive standardized tests.
But there's an implication in this article that intrigues me, and that is that Russia would hardly have done this without having the means and development of a replacement for Microcrud's NSA-infected products. In short, it means that they've developed an operating system that might, in fact, be somewhat more secure than those products. That in turn might indicate that Russia's hardware and chip industry, while still behind that of the West according to most analysts, might be further along than is suspected. And other possibilities present themselves here as well: what would have been the source for such a development.
Here all sorts of high octave speculative possibilities present themselves: Germany, France, China, Japan, or even India might have been a covert partner in such developments. After all, each of those countries, and particularly Germany, have expressed concern (or in Germany's case, outrage) at NSA spying. (Recall the little episode with Frau Merkel's cell phone from a couple of years ago.)
What I'm suggesting is that this little story, might in fact be a huge story, one implying a covert international effort to develop chip industry and software not infested with American products. And that drives home an important lesson if it is, in fact, true, namely, that the surveillance state is not cost effective and, in fact, ultimately deleterious to productivity and trade, for the chip industry has been one of the American economy's few strong areas. But if other powers and trading partners are now alert to the dangers of dealing with America even in this area, then another blow is being struck at the empire. If such a scenario is indeed in play, my bet is on a Russo-German, Russo-Japanese, or Russo-Indian exchange. And what would those countries participating in it gain from Russia? One possibility is that Russia, well-known for hacking and cyber-warfare capabilities, might be sharing some of that expertise in return.
Of course, all of this is the highest of high octane speculation, but I cannot help the intuition that lurking behind this story is something much, much larger.
See you on the flip side...