A worrying pattern is emerging in President Biden’s foreign policy: officials talk harshly, followed by diplomacy that means little. Two examples this week – on Chinese hacking and Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline – underscore this.
Barack Obama and
against the $ 11 billion Nord Stream pipeline, which could double the amount of natural gas exported directly from Russia to Germany. But the Biden administration has now blessed and handed over the completion of the project
an important strategic victory at the expense of Ukraine and Europe’s energy independence.
The White House says the pipeline is inevitable and improving US relations with the Germans should come first. But the deal with Germany is embarrassing in its weakness. In a joint American-German declaration on Wednesday, Berlin promised to impose sanctions in the future “should Russia try to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine”. You can hear them laughing in the Kremlin.
The deal won’t go down well in Kiev, which is fighting Russian attacks on its territory. The country is expected to lose billions in transit fees as Russian natural gas is diverted from routes through Ukraine. But at least “Germany undertakes to set up and manage a Green Fund for Ukraine in order to support the energy transition, energy efficiency and energy security in Ukraine,” said the Joint announcement. The US and Germany say they will ask Russia to keep paying Ukraine. Are you kidding?
Giving a revisionist power more leverage over the European economy does not help US interests. The big win for Russian gas also comes as an administration Steps to limit fossil fuel production in the US, Angela Merkel, who negotiated the deal with President Biden, will soon not even become chancellor.
Meanwhile, the government on Monday called on China to cyberattack, joining the European Union, NATO, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. State Secretary Antony Blinken
said “The United States and countries around the world blame the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for its irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which is a major threat to our economic and national security.”
Accountable How? The Allied powers announced no sanctions or other effects. A coalition against Chinese cyberattacks is nice, but not if the result is a response to the lowest common denominator – that is, nothing. Beijing may conclude that the US can only unite its allies with harsh words.
Mr. Blinken also confirmed this week that “cyber actors affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security carried out a“ massive cyber espionage operation ”that“ indiscriminately compromised thousands of computers and networks ”earlier this year.
It refers to an attack on entities that operated their on-site email server through Microsoft Exchange. The Chinese hackers gained access to users’ email correspondence, attachments and contacts and then launched attacks that could compromise the company’s networks and computer systems, says Steven Adair, president of cybersecurity firm Volexity, who was one of the first to break the security breach discovered.
The hackers focused on traditional espionage targets and then expanded their efforts to include others in the private and public sectors, nonprofits, and universities. The State Department confirms that the operation “gave Chinese intelligence services the ability to access and spy on or potentially disrupt tens of thousands of computer systems around the world.”
The US response over the past week was unsealing and accusation against four Chinese citizens who were involved in another hacking campaign. Federal authorities say that from 2011 to “at least” 2018, a provincial arm of the State Security Department established a front company that stole intellectual property, trade secrets and other confidential information “from companies and universities involved in virus and vaccine research.” of the Ebola virus ”among others.
Unfortunately, all four are “nationals and residents” of China and are unlikely to be extradited, so the use of the indictment as a deterrent is symbolic. Oh, and State has a. announced Up to $ 10 million reward for cybercriminal identification information targeting the US for a foreign government. This will no doubt impress the tough men of Zhongnanhai.
Biden officials, including the president, believe in the power of diplomacy almost for their own sake. But diplomacy that only leads to speech does nothing against determined opponents with malicious intent.
Weeks after telling Vladimir Putin that if the Russians don’t stop cyberattacks on American assets, he will have to take revenge, media reports say that Russia’s foreign intelligence service has struck again. Images: AFP via Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly
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