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Rise of the Great Powers Cyber War

Never in the history of mankind has there been so much lethal technology in the hands of authoritarian leaders, that allows state players such as Russia, China and the United States to attack their enemies` national energy, transportation, telecommunications and commerce grids with such force as to, not only prevent the opponent from carrying out daily life, but to prevent it from conducting war or allowing a response to a kinetic war.

Wars are won by preventing your opponent from making war, and in the modern world that means  by knocking out their communications, transportation lines and food sources.

So it makes sense, that Russia and China clearly understand that working together against US technological supremacy,  by sharing surveillance information, big data and the rolling out of 5G technology. These two powers work together from a tactical standpoint but are less cooperative from a long-term strategic position.

Recently in Congress, US Director of National Intelligence David Coates, stated that China has the ability to launch cyber attacks that cause localized, temporary, disrupted effects on critical infrastructure, on US natural gas lines that stop the flow of gas from days to weeks.

At the end of the Obama Administration 3 years ago, China hacked into the US Office of Personal Management, taking the “Crown Jewels” of millions of national security clearance files – these are the most private files on US diplomats, Ambassadors and others who are now open for blackmail.

These files, SF 86 forms, hold the most personal information including what questionable actions people have taken, and who they know, even who they dated in high school. So US national security has been degraded as these diplomats information is out in the open.

US Intelligence has said that the US has a fantastic set of offensive weapons but is admittedly weak on defensive options. There are many examples of US government agencies being hacked by a wide range of state actors and clever hackers.

According to Ian Bremmer, the geopolitical scientist, the National Security Agency developed an lethal malware, a virus that was effective for years until it was stolen by Russia and used against the Ukraine.

This virus destroyed 10 percent of Ukrainian computers, a country of 50 million people, it took 1 percent off GDP and caused billions of dollars of damage. US and European companies were damaged because they had offices in Kiev. FedEx, Mersk and other logistics and shipping companies lost track of weeks worth of packages.

And before leaving office, President Obama announced that the US spy network was compromised in Beijing and that “all 20 spies disappeared” which is odd according to one geopolitical scientist because, “the president would not normally announce such a setback and, why would he say 20 people?” .

Again, according to Mr Bremmer. “We thought that China becoming an economic super power would mean that it becomes an open democracy like many western countries. However, Xi Jinping has cancelled terms for presidents, making him ruler for life, so can we let the west [now] become like China?”

The world is evolving. A multi-poplar order is emerging.

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