National Security

Cold War 2.0 Is On

This time, we're double-teamed.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Both Russia and China pose threats to US national security both alone and as an alliance. Robert Spalding, a retired USAF general and China expert, gives us details.

Spalding: As COVID-inspired supply chain interruptions have shown, the world’s economy is conspicuously more vulnerable than many would have imagined just two years ago. But if we strip away pandemic-related disruptions to labor, logistics and transportation, it’s evident that there are even more insidious, intentional forces aimed at scuttling our access to global goods and services. The Cold War 2.0 reboot is far more perilous than the first Cold War’s fight against Soviet-era dogma and military expansion.

Russia’s Ukraine gambit, for example, betrays a willingness to savage its neighbor, bomb civilians and destroy a nation’s critical infrastructure while holding the rest of Europe at bay by threatening a pipeline that carries 40 percent of the region’s natural gas supply.

Likewise, Russia’s rampant, globalized cyber-attacks on electric grids, water treatment plants, municipalities and private corporations is evidence that the Iron Curtain has been replaced by a Digital Curtain that threatens the economic independence and political cohesion of democracies everywhere.

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Equally worrying is what lies behind China’s strict zero-COVID policies, which ostensibly were implemented in the name of public safety but have triggered manufacturing stoppages and shipping delays on an unprecedented global scale.

Pandemic aside, Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party could easily pinch off supply as a form of economic leverage to force the U.S. and other Western countries to soften their positions on China’s human rights abuses – including the genocide of its largely Muslim Uyghur population. Even a modest manufacturing pullback would threaten global economies by driving up the price of raw materials and throwing shipping schedules and delivery infrastructure into disarray.

The Cold War 2.0 isn’t just targeting nation-states. Corporations that once criticized China’s civil atrocities are now targets of retaliation as the government has the power to deny them access to the country’s 1.4 billion consumers. Even Hollywood finds itself coerced into self-censorship when its content is deemed offensive to the CCP’s political ideology.

Private citizens are similarly defenseless as China and Russia exploit the deepening political rift in the U.S. to coopt traditional and social media. These authoritarian regimes are experts at manipulating information to attack our country’s fractured social and political systems and undermine the principles upon which the U.S. was founded.

For their part, democratic nations, including the U.S. and U.K., have fought back by rejecting Chinese-made 5G communications technology out of concern it could compromise data supply chains and the digital privacy rights of their citizens.

This is because the open 5G cellular standard, which was designed with heavy input from state-owned Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE, suffers from a lack of security. 5G is riddled with vulnerabilities, nearly a thousand of which have yet to be resolved by the industry body that governs cellular standards.

This raises concerns relative to China’s ability to embed spyware into global 5G wireless networks through which private, unsecured data can be siphoned off and used to weaken data privacy, global commerce and geopolitical stability.

We’ve arrived at the day when we must mobilize to protect our commercial, political and digital sovereignty from Russia, China and other bad actors. Without action, these new Cold War 2.0 dangers will threaten the global supply chain and access to energy resources, curtail access to critical technology and poison the content data streams that we rely on for everything from finance and education to e-commerce and entertainment.

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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2 months ago

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