The Bigger Picture

 

The Russians had nothing to do with Hillary’s loss to Trump.  Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump because her campaign made some mistakes in terms of election strategy.  Her staff failed to adapt to the political terrain of 2016.  They assumed that they would get a turnout to near Obama’s level in 2008 and 2012. It did not happened. The election was a hard fight and a close race.  In the end, her staff and Democrats need to look themselves in the mirror and admit that they were responsible for the loss, no one else-not the alt right, not the Russians. Unless the CIA has actual proof that the Russians hacked into voting machines to change votes, then everyone needs to move on.

However, that does not mean that we should ignore the CIA’s report. By all means let’s address this issue at a public Congressional hearing.  It is the Congress’ constitutional right to investigate.  Given the seriousness of the allegations, the report should be made public and those who made the assessment should testify at the public hearing. If the Democrats continue with their assertion that the Russians assisted Trump, then let’s address the content of those “leaked” documents.

My personal belief is that the Russians did play some mischief in this election cycle. However, this mischief did not go all the way to hacking into voting machines to change votes. This mischief by the Russians is nothing new.  The bigger picture that the CIA report signify and what all sides are failing to focus is our failure to adapt to asymmetrical warfare, as it relates to cybersecurity.  The term asymmetrical warfare is another way of saying unconventional warfare.  Instead of fighting the enemy military strength versus military strength, you fight the enemy using unconventional means to create chaos.  Among the weapons of unconventional means, includes hacking into computer network systems. An example of how asymmetrical warfare is played out in the cybersphere, read this post.

In assessing Russia’s possible involvement, let’s review the last eight years of US-Russia relations. When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Russian foreign policy was focused on geopolitics.  To learn more about geopolitics see here and here.   As Russia was making their moves, we did nothing. Our isolationist’s approach in the Middle East created a vacuum that Russia has filled. Let’s also not forget Mr. Putin’s editorial on American exceptionalism during the early stages of the Syrian crisis.  Yes, Mr. President, the Eighties called and the Cold War rivalry was resumed with a vengeance. Your administration has been sleep walking for the past eight years. And now, you and your fellow Democrats, which held the White House for the past eight years, who received intelligence briefings regarding this matter are upset about this now?  You should have been upset much earlier.

The CIA’s allegations reflect the serious need to address cybersecurity as an important element of our foreign policy and our defense policy, including our intelligence work. This past year we have seen more espionage at the National Security Agency on top of the Snowden scandal and last year’s breach at the Office of Professional Management. To have a cybersecurity command is a good start, but we need to develop a comprehensive policy to address cyber attacks.  Congress and the Administration need to focus on repairing the damage that was done to the United States during these past four years.  Learning from this will be a great way to start.

 

  • jpalli13

    Nice piece, Jason, specially the first and the last paragraph, both of which I could not agree more with.

    We do need to move on, all of us. A win is a win, and the president-elect clearly showed us he knew how to win. Chapeau!

    But it is not wise to think winning and ruling are the same thing.

    And it is wisdom, not an ability to win, that makes great rulers: wisdom like in understanding what he knows and what he does not know, which is why your last sentence is so relevant to these days and times.

    • Credit belongs to Arthur Freyre, it is his byline! But we agree that is bottom-up review of cyber regulations must be done before the incoming teams engage in any changes. I’d extend this thinking to just about every agency and issue, including matters of the Western Hemisphere that we discuss in other forums. The cyber regs, I think, need a great deal more strategic assessment as well. Uncle Sam has implemented many rules without a strategic focus, some of it has a brick-and-mortar grounding that is simply not going to work in this new realm. This is especially true for export controls and economic sanctions, tools of state that have yet to find the proper approach for cyber realm.

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