Monday, January 16, 2017

As the Obama Administration prepares to leave the Whitehouse, a major contradiction in his policy approach when comparing Russia with China exist. From hacking to perceived military threats it appears that there are two standards involved in President Barack Obama’s decision making.

Although with respect to China and the sparing pertaining to who will control the waterways of the South China Sea (a waterway through which trillions of dollars in oil, gas and other trade go through annually) or the massive Office of Personnel Management (OBM) hack, we as a nation have taken no actions similar in magnitude as we have with Russia based on opinions and beliefs regarding alleged hacking of private individuals and corporations when compared to China. Why?

Unlike with Russia and their moves around the Balkans and with the Ukraine, in which the U.S. has engaged in war games and recently amassed hundreds of military vehicles and thousands of troops, the Obama administration has softened the drama of the Navy missions through the South China Sea by insisting that the U.S. is just traveling through international waters.

Like China, Russia actively seeks to avoid a direct conflict with the United States.  However unlike Russia, China’s saber rattling is loud, very loud and Beijing is sending its messages, brash messages for the Obama administration in many forms, rather it be building up military installations in the Spratly Islands or the Scarborough Shoal in the South China sea, expanding their strategic footprint in the Asia-Pacific region, or their growing investment in expanding and modernizing their military. But what did the Obama Administration do? Nothing. At least when compared to the ephemeral threat that Russia fosters, they required war game maneuvers on the edge of its borders.

The U.S. sees the South China Sea as international waters. However from President Obama to National Security Advisor Susan Rice, given the importance the administration states, it merits no response at all. But it can only be expected for their response to the massive hacking into the OBM by China engendered a similar lack of response. When the Obama administration openly acknowledged that the Chinese frequently attempts to steal American trade secrets and considers such actions as acts “of aggression” no diplomats were expelled. This although we know that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior have evidence that indicates several networks were compromised by hackers in the OPM's and Interior's networks by state sponsored Chinese actors. More than 20 million federal employees were exposed including military and intelligence personnel by simple "doxing” by allegedly a cyber-espionage group including but not limited to data on retirement plans, work schedule, finger prints and personal identifying data.  Sadly from networks with problems in security and weaknesses that were known of and had existed for the tenure of the Obama Administration. Especially given that these older systems (that are written in COBOL) couldn't be updated to support encryption. Even more comical is that the Chinese use simple Windows Power Shell attacks to insert remote access tools (RATs) on Windows desktops and servers .

But even with evidence, the current Administration did not expel Chinese diplomates nor retaliate on the record openly as was the case with Russia. It seems (as illogical as it is) that the administration of President Barack Obama is both hesitant and wary to do anything that might instigate an armed conflict with China. Although we know that  doxing (sending out private or identifiable information about an individual or organization via malware) is more severe than spear-phishing ( trying to get dumb fcks to volunteer by clicking on an unknowing malicious link to extract sensitive info like usernames, passwords, and/or credit card  particulars), the Obama Administration did zilch.

All we do with respect to Beijing is to allow them to operate in the South China Sea while we just talk shit. When the Navy or the Pacific Command say check them Chinese tricks Obama be like naw, don’t be tripping. Even when China scrambled fighter jets to track U.S. ships in the South China Sea Obama say it ain’t no biggie - and don’t mention or add them Chinese ICBM test.

Honestly, I feel a war with Beijing is more a likely outcome than one with Russia. But instead of making preemptive military moves against China, we send tanks and other equipment to Germany to move them deeper into Eastern Europe, including more than 3,000 US soldiers in Poland and additional troops in Norway. Obama states that his actions are in response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine and to comfort NATO allies. This is questionable given President Obama's decision to waive legal restrictions on US provision ofdefense articles to allies in Syria by sending MANPADS to Syrian opposition forces.  

Obama’s deployment of troops in Europe is the largest US military fortification we have seen likely since the Reagan Administration.  His position is that he needs to show a position of strength against Putin, as well as respond to unproved tampering in US elections.  The problem is that there was no hacking in U.S. elections, rather hacking if it happened at all, into the email account of a private citizen whom emailed his password which was “password” and a private corporation – the Democratic National Committee. More importantly, the argument seems to be giving the American people more information about Hilary Clinton, her campaign and the DNC, is a threat to our democracy when I would assert otherwise.  Is the administration suggesting that the American people didn’t need to know as much as possible about the Clinton machine and that we would be better served know less? I hope not, for that, in addition to Obama’s foreign policy inconsistency is a much greater threat, especially seeing that he is doing such on his way out of office.

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