Monday, June 4th 2012
There has been a war going on for quite some time, but it's one that has been conducted largely out of sight. This is the war being fought on the digital front: cyber-spying, cyber-theft, and cyber-sabotage.
Up until last week, the U.S. has been engaging in this war fairly discreetly. Most of the news reporting about it has focused on how citizens in our country have been the target of enemy probes, and the government’s public pronouncements have mostly been about the need for all of us to protect our personal information and our national critical infrastructure.
One reason for the official discretion is that we don’t like to let our adversaries know when they’ve found a vulnerable spot. But another reason is that we don’t want to brag when we’ve hit one of theirs, since uncertainty is also a weapon in this war. Yet the fact is, the people who are responsible for protecting our nation would be irresponsible if they weren't also strengthening our offensive capabilities – and you can be sure that, on that front, they haven’t been irresponsible.
Until last week.
Friday, May 18th 2012
There were many different audiences for the spectacle that unfolded in China during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit, but one audience in particular was paying close attention.
Imagine you’re a human rights activist in China, or Iran, or Venezuela, or Russia (the list, unfortunately, could be long). A famous and courageous — the two traits often go together in China — dissident has managed to escape from house arrest and made his way into the safest place in town for people like you: the U.S. embassy. But suddenly the news reports say he's being escorted away by Chinese officials, and now… what’s this? He's frantically appealing for help from the United States, and he and his friends and American officials are all squabbling about whether he left the protection of the U.S. embassy on his own free will or because he was pressured to leave.
Suddenly the country that you could always count on for standing up for freedom and human rights is looking like it has better things to do than deal with this poor guy, who also happens to be blind.
How do you say "thrown under the bus" in Chinese?