American Consequences - September 2021


legacy of strong science-focused higher education, an entrepreneurial mindset (Russians are good at doing what has to be done), and a lack of legal constraints (in other words... flexible morality). (Interestingly enough, vodka and infinitely long, cold winters didn’t make his list.) CYBERWAR ENEMY NO. 2: CHINA “We assess that China presents a prolific and effective cyber-espionage threat, possesses substantial cyberattack capabilities, and presents a growing influence threat,” the ODNI wrote. All that data adds up. According to one estimate, China has much of the personal data on four of every five Americans... and it’s working on the last guy. China has ambitions that are markedly more ambitious than those of Russia. As China expert Rush Doshi explains in the recently released The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order , “the [Chinese Communist] Party now seeks to restore China to its rightful place in the global hierarchy.” China spent centuries at the top of the heap, and believes (knows) that it will eventually return... And it’s playing the long game to get back to the pinnacle of global power. While American politicians think in terms of electoral cycles, China plots in calendar blocks of centuries. Over the past few decades, China has been playing catch-up after a few

centuries of having fallen behind. And China is doing it in part through data – as much of it as it can get. As think-tank Rand Corporation explained last year... China is aggressively working toward becoming a global leader in big data analytics as part of its plan to achieve great power status... Beijing’s efforts are guided by a national big data strategy, an effort that encompasses economic, military, police, and intelligence functions. While Russia is content with throwing sand into the gears of the engine of the American – and global – economy, China is making a new engine to altogether overrun the earth... and it isn’t one that runs on oil. Back in 2014 – in what, at the time, was a spectacular data breach but which has since become mundane – China hacked into the U.S. governments’ Office of Personnel Management to collect personal information on more than 22 million federal workers, contractors, friends, and family. The next year, cyberthieves said to be in China – by the U.S. government – took the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of 78 million customers of health care insurer Anthem. When credit reporting agency Equifax was hacked two years later – by China again – credit information of 148 million Americans was the target. In 2018, a Marriott’s Starwood brand said that passport, credit-card, and other information on – wait for it – 500 million customers had been stolen by... yes, you know who. As recently as July, China was accused by


September 2021

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