National Security

Putin Sees Biden As A Confused Pushover

Our global brand is seen as weak.

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Rebekah Koffler is a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and was raised in the Soviet Union. She’s an excellent analyst of Russian doctrine and strategy. She is not happy with the current state of affairs.

Koffler: Another Russian cyber strike on the homeland has demonstrated the wishful thinking of the Biden Administration policy which aims to “reset” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brain into a “friendly” one.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his coterie of “experts”––who just finished a summit in Geneva where they sought to “stabilize” relations with Russia and asked Putin to limit his cyberattacking habit––are merely projecting weakness to a Russian president who is not seeking stability and views cyberattacks as an invaluable tool.

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Late Friday evening, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency sent out an advisory that it was “taking action to understand and address” another on-going ransomware cyberattack. Cybersecurity experts involved in the investigation characterized the attack as “colossal.”

The hack since has been attributed to the same “Russia-linked” criminals who struck our meat supply a month earlier, extorting 11 million dollars from the supplier. This time the target list is thousands of companies. The Russians achieved a “force multiplier effect” by striking what’s called a supply chain vendor, Kaseya VSA, and multiple managed services that employ VSA software. Thousands of targets were affected, many of which were small and medium-size businesses.

Biden’s silly gesture to hand to Putin a list of 16 “do not attack” critical infrastructure targets during the summit in June failed to discourage Russia from continuing its cyber offensive. What’s more, it validated what the Russian planners knew all along by studying our responses for two decades. Putin is convinced that Russia’s “low-grade” cyber warfare aimed at destabilizing America will not provoke Washington to respond militarily. Russia’s asymmetric doctrine envisions fighting the fight below the threshold of a kinetic confrontation.

By allowing another devastating cyberattack on the U.S., just some weeks after President Biden begged Putin to halt cyber strikes on America, Putin demonstrated his lack of respect for Biden. The Kremlin viewed the summit as theater, a propaganda opportunity for Russia that permitted Putin a chance to humiliate Washington while portraying Russia as a superpower “equal” to America.

Along with sheer disrespect, there’s something even more disturbing that probably drives Putin’s decision calculus to ratchet up his cyber offensive: Moscow views Biden as weak and unlikely to fight back. For months before the summit, the Russian media, most of which is state-controlled, was speculating about the deterioration of Biden’s mental health. They cited the perceived troubles by the U.S. president to “annunciate words,” the “struggles to deliver even short speeches,” once confusing former president Trump with Putin, and mispronouncing the Russian president’s name as “Klutin.” There is nothing on a Russian “news” site that the Kremlin would not want there.” Which speaks to the level of worldwide regard we are held in today. It is not pretty.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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