Although the conflict for ownership of Ukraine is happening almost a half a world away from the United States of America, most Americans continue to make the incorrect assumption that unless American troops are deployed as part of the forces promised by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, that this particular war will be like many others in the never-ending list of conflicts that mostly prove to have only a nominal effect on America.
That certainly does not mean that there are not economic implications to a war in Europe for America. You can even make the argument that this war may actually benefit US citizens, even as it hurts President Joe Biden’s horrifically misguided energy policies. The reason being, that this Ukraine War may finally wakeup Biden to the fact that by reversing of Trump-era energy policy while enriching Russian President Vladimir Putin by hundreds of millions, only enabled Russia’s costly and destructive new conflict.
It is obvious to anyone that has paid attention, that the Russian military operation happening now is due to the weakness projected by President Biden in having his red line ignored from his “minor incursion” commentary. So, because of this, the new war is certain to usher the arrival of what will most certainly be the most common theater of war for the future – the cybersphere.
In the weeks leading up to Putin’s invasion, there were waves of cyber-attacks targeting Ukraine, and they are continuing. Prior to the invasion, hackers from Russia were also targeting the west, as American intelligence including the DHS, the FBI, and CISA, issued alerts that warned against Russian cyberattacks.
But these attacks are nothing new, as just this past spring, Russian cyberattacks created supply chain issues for the Food and Energy sectors as a result of the JBS Foods and Colonial Pipeline Cyber-attacks. Although those attacks were devastating, they would pale in comparison to what may come during wartime, especially in consideration of the information collected and backdoors obtained during the infamous SolarWinds Attack. That attack targeted both private and public sector organizations, including many that help to support critical American infrastructure.
SolarWinds was really just one of many reconnaissance hacking operations carried out by Russian hackers, many of whom fall into the description of state-sponsored APTs.
But another wildcard that exists currently is the new enhanced partnership between China and Russia and how the weakness projected by the current US President, Joe Biden, has invited new aggressiveness in the territorial ambitions of both countries. Although Russia and the Ukraine situation is front and center, the Chinese have also been threatening Taiwan’s sovereignty in the months following Biden’s embarrassing Afghanistan pullout.
With the expectation that Russia will be met with enhanced force from NATO very soon, the Sino-Russo partnership would certainly be capable of initiating a new cyber offensive in response. China and not Russia, is seen by many cybersecurity experts as the world’s top cyber combatant of the US. Previously, China was able to hack a US Navy contractor employed by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island. And back in 2015, NBC published an NSA document revealing “more than 600 corporate, private or government ‘Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage’ that were attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America’s industrial centers.”
If the new alliance should choose to leverage the voluminous troves of intelligence it has collected over the years, it could immediately have a devastating impact on America. A global cyber initiative against NATO countries would potentially be made far worse, should the allies of this Sino-Russo alliance, cyber combatants North Korea and Iran, decide to get involved.
On Sunday, Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to go on high alert in response to what was called “aggressive statements” made by NATO countries. Now, as a result of this development, the world has more to worry about than just conventional warfare and the large-scale hacking operations that Russia, and potentially China can wage, as this time in history represents the closest the planet has been to nuclear war since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
—Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by numerous websites and he is regularly seen on National and International news programming.Tags: Joe Biden military NATO Russia Ukraine United Nations