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With lack of significant new sanctions and ‘kindergarten’ capabilities, the US is losing the cyberwar to China

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

With a global cyber war raging on, it seems that the US has largely been in a defensive posture as of late, as attacks from countries including China have largely gone unpunished. The Chinese cyber threat has been particularly devastating, as we have known since at least 2015 that the NSA had already documented more than 600 instances of “corporate, private or government ‘Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage’ that were attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America’s industrial centers,” according to reports.

Despite the Biden administration’s attempts to try to mitigate these threats with a slew of new defensive initiatives, the scores of attacks persist, with the most recent notable attack grabbing headlines being last week’s attack against Amazon’s live streaming platform, Twitch.

Compounding the cyber-related gloom this week was news that a top Pentagon official in charge of procuring the most secure and advanced software possible for the United States Department of Defense resigned from his post as a result of his belief that American “AI capabilities and cyber defenses of some government departments were at kindergarten level.” 

Nicolas Chaillan, who was working for the US Air Force, told the Financial Times that “We have no competing fighting chance against China in fifteen to twenty years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion.” 

Chaillan also wrote in a LinkedIn post that he was “tired of continuously chasing support and money to do my job. My office still has no billet and no funding, this year and the next.”

The latter statement should truly concern Americans, as it illustrates the incompetence and failure of the Biden Administration to prioritize perhaps the biggest threat to America’s national security. It also continues in the tradition of futility that has extended to issues including the southern border, the energy sector, the economy, and of course what is perhaps the administration’s worst failure, Afghanistan. All these monumental shortcomings have worked in concert to sink America’s reputation as the world’s top superpower. 

In addition, they have invited disrespect from China, especially in the wake of the Afghanistan disaster, as the Chinese have terrorized Taiwan’s airspace over the past several weeks on numerous occasions. 

This disrespect is at least partially attributable to the empty threats of economic sanctions against China from the United States and Europe in the aftermath of the Microsoft Exchange hack earlier this year. The attack, which affected at least 60,000 public and private organizations in the United States, was carried out by Chinese Advanced Persistent Threat group Hafnium. Hafnium is known to obfuscate its location and identity by employing the use of virtual private servers (VPS) located in the US and targeting political organizations including think tanks, defense contractors, and others.

So, while the US under Biden continues to fail at virtually everything, the Chinese are effectively operating with impunity. In the past two years, China has also threatened American safety by denying the US vital personal protective equipment in addition to failing to abide by the terms of the Phase One trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration.

At the very least, the US, along with the international community should be making a much stronger effort to dissuade Chinese cyber activities by finally levying the significant sanctions that they promised back in July, because if China continues to go unpunished, America may eventually find itself in the position where it will have little choice than to escalate matters into some semblance of a conflict. If we do get to that point, the question then becomes whether America can trust the Biden administration to lead us through these times?

Unfortunately for America, radical changes to the global order over the rest of the Biden administration may be waiting on deck. The thought of that alone should provide an incentive to the GOP to put their best foot forward in next year’s midterms, as the election represents America’s last attempt to prevent incalculable damage to not only America but the world.

Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by websites including Newsmax, Townhall, American Thinker and BizPacReview.

Julio Rivera

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