Here’s a thing I never thought I’d be interested in: “Cyber” warfare and what the policy wonks call “security.”
You know: Using digital to blow up the world. Or prevent the world from blowing up. Or spy on someone. Or prevent someone from spying on you. Etc.
Turns out, in 2017, cyber had changed the rules. It’s nothing like it was 1917, or 1947, or, I’m guessing, even 1997. Every warmaker, diplomat, politician, president, and dictator has been forced to learn a new language, a new logic, in order to continue business as usual. Or not, as the case may be.
And they've gotta get up to speed fast. Because in 2017, it’s unnervingly possible for an “event” to spiral out of control. Fast.
What’s scary is that, as near as I can tell, Trump has zero interest in learning anything about the role of cyber in warfare and diplomacy.
More frightening, however, at least from my historian's perspective, is that this particular moment, the shift from one logic of war to another, plays right into the hands of someone like Trump.
Allow me to explain:
In the age of cyber security and cyber warfare, the dangers are so infinite, so hard to track and destroy, so multiple and complicated, that dictatorship makes a weird kind of sense.
"Only I can keep you safe. We no longer know where, precisely, the enemy is, because it’s everywhere. And democracy is too slow, too clumsy, to protect us for those dangers."
In my opinion, there's a real and present danger, as the military types say, of Trump's ignorance (willful) colliding head on with, well, something wholly, utterly unexpected. Which then gives him all the reason he needs to dispense with the Constitution. (Really, people. We need to grasp that this is, for perhaps the first time in our nation's history, both possible and plausible.)
This is geeky stuff, but if you’re interested:
I absolutely recommend this podcast segment from The Daily about cyber warfare. Or what goes up, will come down. But maybe not. It's a good introduction.
If you’re still interested, listen to this fascinating discussion from War On the Rocks about how the old logic of warfare may no longer apply. Indeed, often doesn’t. Here's a shortish article by the guy being interviewed in that podcast (in case you're still not convinced about podcasts).
Obviously, the whole cyber war/security thing is gonzo complex. I don't pretend to understand. But at least now I understand why I should be aware.