Cyber war is real war – let’s not blunder into it

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President Obama seems hell-bent on spending his 20 remaining days in office in pushing the United States into a cyber-war with Russia.

In terms of domestic partisan politics, this may be smart.  Foreign policy toward Russia is a wedge issue between Republican war hawks in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump.

In terms of the national interest, this is irresponsible as well as improper.

Much of the U.S. press it takes for granted that Russian intelligence services obtained confidential DNC e-mails and transferred the information to Wikileaks.  This may or may not be true.

The determination as to what happened and what to do about it should be made by the incoming administration, which will have the responsibility for dealing with the consequences.

I do not have confidence in President-elect Trump’s judgment, but he does have sense enough to see that there is no fundamental conflict of interest between Russia and the USA (except maybe over access to the oil and gas resources of the Arctic, which is not currently an issue).

There is a lot of loose talk about “cyber-war,” but real cyber-war would be something far worse than the alleged Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee e-mails.

The Stuxnet virus, which inflected Iranian nuclear centrifuges, is an example of true cyber-war.   The explosion of a Siberian natural gas pipeline in 1982 is believed to be another example.

A cyber attack could cripple the U.S. electrical and gas distribution systems, the U.S. air traffic control system or the U.S. banking system and financial markets.   A real cyber war, unlike the hacking or leaking of political campaign e-mails, could be as destructive as a shooting war.

We should not risk stumbling into it through a process of tit-for-tat escalation.

LINKS

Something About This Russia Story Stinks by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

Top Five Ways Obama Sanctions Work for Democrats by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.

On Trump’s Reaction to Putin Not Expelling American Diplomats by Ian Welsh.

The Coup Against Trump and His Military-Wall Street Defense by James Petras.

GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity by the Department of Homeland Security.

What the Russian Hacking Report DOESN”T say by Washington’s Blog.

The Russian Bear Uses a Keyboard by Craig Murray.

Beware the Rapid Proliferation of Cyber-warfare Capabilities by Matthew Rosenquist for Linked-In.

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One Response to “Cyber war is real war – let’s not blunder into it”

  1. Craig Says:

    I don’t understand why the U.S. seems intent on making Russia an enemy. Is it just a Cold War hangover? Seems the greater benefit would come from working with them where we can, and to mitigate confrontation.

    Like

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