For today’s installment at MakingCrimes, we’ve got friend-of-the-blog Dr. Jake Diliberto back for some bullshitting intelligent discourse about modern security issues. We’re calling this the International Security Fantasy League, and we daresay it beats most of the punditry on CNN these days.
Cage Match: ISIS vs. Mexican Cartels
MC: Ok, so assuming equal resources and a neutral battlefield, who would win: ISIS, or a coalition of Zetas and the Gulf Cartel?
JD: Oh good one! I’m going with the Zetas here, 100%. Here’s why: the Zetas are badasses, and the cartels have managed to commandeer the entire country’s police and military. They have government people securing their drug running. The cartels are worth billions of dollars and they collect revenue every day! ISIS is lucky to get their machine guns working properly! They’re not even in the same league of badassery!
MC: Plus, like half of ISIS are complete nutjobs and probably unreliable, and the Gulf Cartel and Zetas were in the beheading game years before ISIS learned how to post on YouTube. Hell, drug cartels have been doing beheadings and car bombings and snuff videos way before they were the hot new shit for up-and-coming Islamist extremists.
JD: Haha right! They were doing wild shit back in the 60s! ISIS is the JV squad! And by the way, when Obama said ISIS was the JV squad, I think what he meant was they’re JV in terms of the serious international criminal and terrorist world. Like, they can put out some cool propaganda videos and cut peoples’ heads off, but Daesh is actually hot garbage compared to the money making professionals. Some of these cartel guys are on a different level.
MC: And it’s like, ISIS is lucky to keep their oil wells running, and the cartels are getting billions of dollars of our money.
JD: Yeah! Yeah, these ISIS guys are muppets compared to real criminals.
Which Technology Shall Smuggle Supreme?
MC: What’s gonna be a bigger deal in the future: smuggling with aerial drones, or smuggling with improved narco-submarines?
JD: Whoa! This is a key question about illicit activity in the future! I think though, that in 20 years we’re not gonna be talking about submarines, we’re gonna be talking about aerial drones that can go cross-continental. The down side is that the drones won’t be able to carry as much, but if you’ve got forty drones going over, some are getting through!
MC: I suspect eventually we’ll see more civilian ability to build drone submersibles too. DOD and DHS already have them, and they’re working on some interesting stuff! Isn’t it just a matter of years or decades till some clever makers down South figure out how to use available technology to build autonomous submersibles for themselves?
JD: Or, until some defense contractor sells this stuff to a foreign military, and the cartels buy the tech off some corrupt dickhead and reverse engineer it!
Which Technology Will Cause Greater Hysterics?
MC: What’s gonna make people more hysterical, digitally fabricated weapons or 3D printable narcotics?
JD: [Laughs] Well, I’ll go with 3D printed weapons just because I’m not sure when 3D printed cocaine is going to happen. Plus, people are already used to drugs being impossible to control. Ha, these are good questions.
What Would Suck More: Another Foreign Counterinsurgency, or a Massive Car Hack?
MC: It’s the near future. As an American, which do you think would be worse, or which would you rather deal with: a massive cyber attack that disables most of the self-driving vehicles in a major US city, OR we get involved in another counter insurgency in the Middle East?
JD: Give me the insurgency, hands down. The other scenario just sounds like too big of a catastrophe. [Laughs] Here’s why! We’ve got 330 million people in the United States. How many people are in Syria, like 20 million? The quantitative side of a problem is way smaller, plus it’s over there. So, normal life isn’t disrupted here.
Can you imagine a major disruption here? People would panic! Shit, I mean in America if a passerby farts in the wind people get upset! “Oh my gawd, you almost stepped on my dog!” Can you imagine what would happen if suddenly nobody could use their cars?
MC: Yeah, especially if it was caused by some shadowy enemy nobody understands…
JD: Exactly! That’s just bad. Give me the COIN.
Cage Match: Provisional IRA vs. Hezbollah
MC: Ok, who wins, Provisional IRA versus Hezbollah? Assuming neutral battlespace.
JD: That’s a tough one man. They’re actually both very similar! Shockingly similar, actually. I’m taking Hezbollah.
MC: I think I agree. It would be a cool match though.
JD: I’m thinking Hezbollah because there’s a more nefarious and pernicious component to how they fight.
MC: Seems like Hezbollah is more willing to take the gloves off. The Provos were very good at what they did, very capable, but they’d restrict themselves.
JD: Oh yeah, I think maybe that’s part of a sort of Western “dignity of fighting” or something.
MC: Plus, they were fighting within in a culture where it doesn’t get you a lot of bonus points for being extra brutal. Brutality actually worked against them sometimes.
JD: Yeah, you named it.
Cage Match: Kim Jong Un vs. Bashar al-Assad
MC: Who wins, Kim Jong-Un versus Bashar Assad? The dueling weapon is Sarin-soaked handkerchiefs.
JD: Ha, sarin handkerchiefs! How about they both die because they both don’t know how to use it?
MC: I’m envisioning a Shakespearean die-off. Like, the happiest kind of Hamlet ending.
Which Technology Could Disrupt the Most?
MC: What technology do you think could potentially pose the biggest security problem in the future?
JD: Cyber terrorism and EMP.
MC: EMP, huh? Really?
JD: Yeah, and I know an EMP attack is a very low probability, but the reality is anything that seriously screws with the internet or knocks out power would be a nearly existential problem in developed countries at this point, especially if it’s low risk for the attacker.
MC: Yeah, and it doesn’t just mess with the software or networking, it physically damages components, so recovery is insane. You’ve got to re-establish supply and manufacturing chains at the most basic levels while in the middle of a domestic humanitarian crisis and possibly physical attack at the same time. I suppose that’s a pretty wild scenario, even for war gaming.
Cage Match: Rodrigo Duterte vs. Evo Morales
MC: Alright, who wins in a machete duel, Rodrigo Duterte or Evo Morales?
JD: [Laughs] Oh my god, Evo Morales!
MC: Yeah, as a farmer maybe Evo has more machete experience. I was gonna say it might actually turn into a truce when they realize they’re both carrying excellent blow.
JD: Hahaha, ok so make this my statement. Each realizes the other is worth more alive than dead, and they make a truce and do business together.