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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

28 November 2005

Guarding American secrets

The US Commerce Department is increasingly active in trying to restrict the access that Chinese nationals (even if no longer Chinese citizens) have to advanced research and technology in America. As the Financial Times writes, “Espionage should, of course, be taken with the utmost seriousness … But to besmirch an entire nationality is not only reckless, but counterproductive.”

I find that the arguments here are familiar. My one thought goes back to AQ Khan, the Pakistani scientist who maintained an underground global market for nuclear technology. If anything, Dr. Khan’s story underlines the manner in which technology changes hands—North Korea, Iran, and Libya did not need their own scientists in Pakistan to get access to sensitive technology. This is not to suggest the inevitability of espionage, but rather to reinforce the notion that access should be managed based on the value of the information, not the nationality of the researcher.

References:
“American Paranoia,” Financial Times, 28 Nov 05

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