[Cryptography] Anyone else seen some odd shipping delays?

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Fri Dec 4 16:25:31 EST 2015

On Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 3:32 PM, Jonathan Thornburg <jthorn at astro.indiana.edu
> wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 04, 2015 at 11:10:57AM -0500, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
> > I have attended MIT workshops where we discuss this sort of
> > thing with people who retired from the most senior positions of certain
> > three letter agencies. One of the hypotheses I put forward at that
> meeting
> > is that
> >
> > 1) China has good reason to fear cyber attack from Russia (look at a map,
> > all those countries between them are highly unstable and have large
> Russian
> > and Han minorities)
> [[...]]
> A slightly more accurate statement might be that China has good reason
> to fear cyber attack from the US, Russia, and other countries.  But it
> seems to me that the US is China's #1 attack threat.  (Consider the classic
> trilogy -- Means: Stuxnet et al; Motive: geopolitics; Opportunity: lots
> of IP connectivity, lots of business travelers to provide cover, lots of
> submarine cables to tap, etc.)

Certainly in terms of capabilities. But there aren't very many issues that
are likely to spark a US/China conflict. There is North Korea, Taiwan and
Tibet, all of which are persistent stalemates. China's engagement strategy
with the US is one of entanglement. There are simply too many areas of
mutual interest to make provoking a conflict worthwhile.

If you look at the area round the Caspian sea, there are a half dozen
ex-Soviet states with a large Russian speaking minority that are unstable
as heck. The sort of place where the President has the leader of the
opposition boiled alive. Many of those places have large Han populations as
well. The risk of a conflict that pitches Russian and China on opposite
sides is very high.

China's response to this situation has been to form an alliance with
Russia. But it isn't an alliance of equals. It is an alliance of a rising
power with a much weaker empire that has shrunk by 60% in the past 25
years. And the weaker power is the more aggressive.

The threat to China from the states is not the US administration, it is the
military. Going to these workshops I get the feeling that many of the
retired generals etc. are thinking they can make some good money if 'cyber'
becomes a domain along with air, sea, land and space and with a budget to
match of course. And I suspect there are similar empire builders on the
Chinese side.

If we are not careful, these two gangs of crooks could get us into a very
expensive game of cyber-escalation.
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