Is there a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that Russian hackers interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election? We hope not, because the U.S. intelligence communities are making it abundantly clear they did.
Skeptics might ask what motive could Russia possibly have? There are logical reasons why, but to understand the nuance you have to go back in history, to the Cold War, and then-Soviet Union’s inability to cope with being second-best at anything.
Once you understand the basic Russian inferiority complex and the need to lead, you can better understand the reasoning behind such a massive effort to disrupt U.S elections.
Such intrusions erode Americans’ faith in our elections and political system, and ultimately in ourselves. This may not seem like Nikita Khrushchev figuratively brandishing his shoe and promising the former Soviet Union would bury western democracy, but it is certainly an extension of that overall mission and mindset, using the most modern of warfare techniques.
These foreign intrusions on our electoral process are a strong indicator of the potential for other forms of cyber warfare threats. For example, while President Trump is busy with his grade-school insult-fest involving North Korea’s leader, that country’s cyber experts could be preparing to drop something far more devastating than a relatively limited-radius nuclear hit.
We are referring to cyber attacks on America’s basic infrastructure such as electric-power grids, dams, water systems, air-traffic control, banking — any part of our core infrastructure that relies on computers, which means pretty much all of the infrastructure.
It’s not just Russia. These kinds of attacks could come from anywhere, a spy compound or a capricious teen’s garage. It’s not inconceivable that hackers could initiate a nuclear attack by taking control of a member of the global nuclear club’s mission-controls systems. Think about it. Like something as silly as the film “War Games,” come to life — and not entertaining.
The federal budget deal reached by Congress a few days ago includes a hefty increase in defense spending, most of which will be go for war hardware. The Pentagon has already made public its to-do list, which includes, but is not limited to: More than $10.5 billion for 77 F-35 joint-strike fighter jets. Another $2 billion for an additional 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for the Navy. The Pentagon intends to buy 10 new warships, at a total cost of more than $16.5 billion.
Pentagon officials insist such hardware is needed to fight more or less conventional wars, with the primary opponents being Russia and China. The Trump administration has created a lot of noise about North Korea, but that nation would be a fly on the wall in a global conflict. The same is true with regard to international terrorism, which the U.S. has spent hundreds of billions to fight in recent years.
Given the realities of foreign cyber intervention in America’s political process, perhaps more thought should be devoted to spending that could make America safe again, by protecting this nation from computer attacks that could be launched from any Third World country whose citizens don’t like America or Americans.
You can’t tell us there aren’t enough computer geniuses in America to thwart such attacks through planning and pushing the right buttons.
Cyber attacks on U.S. institutions are a conspiracy that’s far beyond the theory stage. They are happening as you read this. The Trump administration and Congress have been warned by their own intelligence experts, and a defense strategy must be devised.