James Feldkamp is a seasoned traveler and an expert in international security and foreign policy initiatives. He shares his insight when going abroad to help you protect yourself and your identity. On Being Aware From the currency you use to the people who approach you, […]
“Many groups are concerned about the 2020 Presidential election and potential fraud or interference,” Jim Feldkamp says. “So far, we haven’t uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud. Of course, future investigations may uncover issues. Obviously, in the long run, fair elections are a necessary for […]
“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes”
Now, more than ever, Mark Twain’s observation is becoming prescient.
Strains on the American spirit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer riots, and a contested election in 2020 have spilled over into 2021. The events of January 6th., just one week ago, have sent a chill throughout America.
After President Trump’s rally, during the ratification of the electoral college votes for President-elect Biden, protestors stormed the United States Capitol to ransack and destroy. Let’s be clear, individuals who riot, especially those who attack symbols of our democracy, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In the riot’s wake, and in this hyper-partisan atmosphere, there are now those on the left who are quick to point out historical similarities between the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis), and what individuals on the right-end of the American political spectrum possess. They espouse examples that focuses on the Munich Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, where Adolph Hitler attempted a coup to overthrow the democratic Weimar republic of Germany. Or Kristallnacht in 1938, where SA Brownshirts began the Pogroms of Jews in Germany. They are wrong. These events miss the mark on what we are now witnessing here in America.
The event that best encapsulates what we are experiencing is the Reichstag fire of 1933. This event paved the way for Hitler to become dictator of Germany.
On January 30, 1933, Hitler, having been democratically elected, was sworn in as Chancellor to head a coalition government (but not a majority). With Paul von Hindenburg as President, and the real power in Germany, the belief was that Hitler could be managed. However, the Reichstag fire changed the dynamics of politics in Germany, and the arc of history.
On the night of February 27, 1933, one month after Hitler’s election, a fire broke out and destroyed the Reichstag (German Parliament). The Nazi party used this fire as a pretext to claim the communists were plotting against the new German government. This provided Hitler the excuse to push through parliament the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State (aka Reichstag Fire Decree).
The Reichstag Fire Decree suspended civil liberties in Germany, including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, and the secrecy of the post and telephone, and banned publications not considered “friendly” to the Nazi cause.
These restrictions allowed the Nazis to gain a majority coalition in the following election (March 5th). Parliament then passed the Enabling Act, the partner piece of legislation to the Reichstag Fire Decree. This act assigned all legislative power to Hitler and his ministers. After the death of President Hindenburg in 1934, a new law was passed that combined the offices of president and chancellor, and gave Hitler dictatorial powers. The rest, as they say, “is history.”
Today, after the assault on the US Capitol, we see eerie similarities between the past and the present happening in our own country. Twitter has banned President Trump, and over 70,000 additional accounts – stating that they (Twitter) need to identify “potential harmful tweets.” Google and Apple have suspended the “App” sale for Parler (a conservative internet platform). While Amazon has suspended Parler from its web-server. Destroying the company’s business model by denying access to customers.
Although Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook are private companies, they have taken advantage of 47 U.S. Code § 230, which provides immunity for website publishers. Protection against lawsuits means that these providers shall not edit, or act as publisher, for content crossing their platforms by another information content provider. Yet, these companies are now circumnavigating the law. They are editing, publishing and prohibiting speech they deem “not popular.”
This is a slippery slope, and the wrong tact to take. The first amendment does not identify free speech as popular speech. It protects unpopular speech as well. Yet, these companies are now deciding who is right, and who is wrong, in the cyber-town square.
What’s next? The polarization of the body politic, already white-hot, is gaining momentum. Today, with the riot as pretext, there is a “hue and cry” for retribution. With a second impeachment against President Trump occurring in congress, the demand for senators, and representatives to resign, and the shaming of people on the right to shut up and be silent, the threat to our democracy is real. The acts of Apple, Google, YouTube, and Twitter to edit, or censor content, should give one pause to the direction American politics is heading.
There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
With the current state of affairs that now exist prior to President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration, let us hope our republic, and our citizens, understand that history need not rhyme any more than it already has.
James Feldkamp, Lead consultant for CTP on intelligence and counter-terrorism, is a retired Naval Office, and former FBI special agent focusing on international terrorism. Feldkamp has instructed as an adjunct professor at multiple universities where he teaches courses in domestic and international terrorism. He has authored/edited a university textbook through Cognella Academic Publishing on the “Theory and Politics of Terrorism.”
The Israel–Sudan normalization agreement is only a few months old, with Israel and Sudan having signed the agreement on October 23, 2020. While the agreement is still new, several important developments have already occurred. Now, James Feldkamp, a global security and geopolitical expert, is going […]
Jim Feldkamp Discusses the Recent Congressional Stimulus Bill President Donald Trump signed the most recent stimulus bill and budget into law. While the bill left a lot of people unhappy, it keeps the government open and fully functional for now. Jim Feldkamp, who specializes in […]
January 1st 2021 ushers in a new year and along with it, continued geopolitical threats. With a new President heading to the Oval Office in the United States and a global pandemic likely to still be raging, there will be plenty to contemplate come the new year. James Feldkamp, a terrorism and security expert who teaches at Georgetown University, is going to share his insights regarding the biggest geopolitical threats in 2021.
“Let’s address the elephant in the room,” James Feldkamp says, “COVID-19 is still going to be a major challenge at the start of 2021. With vaccines entering the market, hopefully we can bring the pandemic under control but even after its spread is arrested, the overall impact on geopolitics is going to be immense.”
Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic had cost the global economy roughly $28 trillion in output. Around the world, countries have shut down both international and internal travel, and strict lock downs have become the norm. James Feldkamp believes that given the high costs of the pandemic, COVID-19 tensions could remain high afterward.
“Before the outbreak of COVID-19 tensions between China and the US and other countries were quite high,” James Feldkamp says. “Even after the disease is brought under control, expect trade tensions to remain high. Some companies and governments may question the wisdom of global supply chains given how much shutdowns disrupted global production.”
James Feldkamp Notes that Geopolitical Issues Involving China go far Beyond COVID-19.
“Technology is becoming a huge issue, including 5G and global IP laws. Even before COVID, they were major sticking points between the US/EU and China.”
While COVID-19 dominated geopolitics in 2020 and may do so again in 2021, it’ll be far from the only issue. James Feldkamp believes that Iran’s nuclear program could take center stage once again.
“Iran’s leading nuclear scientist was recently assassinated, the US has pulled out of the nuclear accords, and Iran’s own adherence to said accords is under question,” James Feldkamp says. “Iran’s nuclear program could quickly emerge as a major issue, and that could strain relations across the Middle East and beyond.”
James Feldkamp Discusses Other Geopolitical Threats
James Feldkamp believes that there are plenty of other major geopolitical issues to watch for, including terrorist attacks, upheaval caused by immigration, tensions with Russia, continued challenges with Brexit, strain within NATO, and more. James Feldkamp highlights these all as major concerns to keep an eye on. However, there’s one issue that he thinks could exacerbate many geopolitical challenges.
“Some economists are warning of an economic slowdown,” James Feldkamp says. “From the security point-of-view, one thing that’s important to note about the economy is that internal and external tensions often rise during economic downturns. If, and that’s a big if, the economy does contract, all the issues we talked about could quickly get a lot more tense.”
What You Need To Know About U.S. Cybersecurity, According To James Feldkamp Americans are concerned about their safety online, and rightfully so. James Feldkamp, USN Ret., is here to explain what you need to know about the latest cybersecurity developments to keep you, your information, […]
South America is full of many beautiful natural wonders. Below, experienced traveler James Feldkamp shares his favorite travel destinations in the area. Argentine PatagoniaSome say that Argentine Patagonia is the most gorgeous place on the planet — and for good reason. From sparkling-blue glaciers to […]
James Feldkamp has been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries. Below, he shares some tips for traveling internationally.
If you’re traveling overseas, it’s a whole lot different compared to traveling anywhere around the United States. As James Feldkamp used to be in the Navy, he knows his fair share about traveling internationally. Below, James Feldkamp provides 5 very useful tips for traveling to different countries:
Understand the cash situation
No matter where you are in this world, you’re usually able to walk up to any ATM and deposit cash. While that may be true, for the most part, many banks in the United States charge hefty fees for talking out cash in another country. While you can pull out a lot of cash beforehand and bring it with you, James Feldkamp says it’s never very smart to carry that much cash on you at one time. That being said, try to understand your bank’s fees before you leave on your trip; some banks may even reimburse you for all ATM fees accumulated while traveling internationally!
If you travel to another country, then James Feldkamp explains that you may find yourself receiving multiple fraud alerts from your bank or credit card companies. While you may just get an alert notification asking you if you authorize the transaction, sometimes these companies even shut off your card, making you unable to use it. To save the hassle and confusion, you’ll want to tell your bank and financial institutions where you’re traveling and when you’re traveling. This can save you from any unwanted fraud alert messages and card shutoffs.
Avoid data roaming
If you use your phone in another country, you may potentially experience very high roaming charges. To avoid these fees, that can be very hefty, it’s best to set up your phone ahead of time with your provider. James Feldkamp suggests that you should call your cell phone provider at least a few weeks ahead of your trip to determine the best course of action to avoid those ridiculous charges.
Have a maps/direction plan
Unless you have a tour guide or you travel overseas often, James Feldkamp says that you’ll probably need directions every single place that you go. And unless you set up your phone ahead of time, using Google Maps or another directions app while traveling can really rack up your data charges. To limit these charges, use the hotel Wi-fi before you head out for the day, take screenshots or make printouts, then use those while you’re driving or walking around.
Buy a guidebook
Especially if you’re traveling to a new country for the first time, James Feldkamp suggests that travelers should buy a guidebook beforehand. And while these books have tons of awesome pictures, they’re also packed with maps, info on popular destinations, amazing eating spots, and much more.
Given how James Feldkamp has traveled all over the world, he knows a thing or two about being prepared. By understanding the traveling tips mentioned above, now’s the time to book that flight!
Wine connoisseur James Feldkamp offers a closer look at this year’s top producers courtesy of the 2020 World’s Best Vineyards list. A lifelong lover of wine, James Feldkamp developed a passion for the industry and the fruits of its labor as a naval officer more than 30 […]