This is a tale of a country that built an unsustainable empire. The empire was Russia and it was built on the establishment of a modern-day kind of slavery where people were commanded by the state from crib to tomb. Consequently, wealth creation was insufficient, and the system collapsed by the turn of the century.
Pawn states that were part of the empire fought for and attained their independence, reducing its size and might to one third of its past glory. Vladimir Putin seized the helm of Russia wowing to restore its past splendor. And he carefully studied how could he best accomplish this task.
Territorial regain seemed to be a bit out of budget for a country that ranks 6th in economic power with a US $ 3.7 trillion GDP. China ranks first with a $23.6 Trillion GDP followed by the US with $19.8 Trillion.
Putin soon realized that power in the 21st century includes a cyber dimension. He also noted that cyber space is by far an easiest target to conquer than territories on earth. And he decisively wedged his power in favor of the speedy development of cyber capabilities. And after 18 years of hard and unstoppable work, Mr Putin seems to have surpassed the U.S. in cyber capabilities.
To be sure, Russian agencies and their proxies have truffled all power corridors in the world with their espionage capabilities and use the information recorded to neutralize or destroy public policies that negatively impact Russian interests. So today while Russia could not effectively compete in the military and political dimension with either the US or China, it can certainly look them in the eye in cyber space.
Cyber power includes computer network exploitation (CNE) or the ability to use IT ( information technologies) to spy on another nation’s information technologies; computer networks attacks (CNA) and the use of IT to shut down, disrupt or deny other nation’s IT. For a nation to be considered a cyber power is cyber capabilities must have parity with, military land, air and sea power.
Russia however has a disproportionately effective cyber capability in comparison to its military sea, land and air power. It is thus no wonder that is was Russia the most interested nation in providing asylum rights to Edward Snowden. And while the Stuxnet Virus operation allowed the US to delay advancements in nuclear technology by Iran by means of inoculating a cyber virus on Iran’s IT, this operation has not been used against Russia. This successful attack also unleashed cyber war with Russia responding by taking the leadership through successful shut down of IT systems in Estonia; Ukraine and the UK.
In the US, Russian operatives seem to have penetrated social media operators, polling companies, political advisory firms and news agencies thereby creating waves of militancy in favor of individuals or institutions that are favorable to exchanges with Russia. This creates a new and unchartered territory for national defense as it impinges upon the legitimacy of the US political process.
Last summer several U.S. Intelligence assessments indicated that Russian operatives hacked into voting systems in multiple U.S. states. Experts warn that other elements of U.S. electoral infrastructure could be vulnerable, too.
This development seems to reveal that the real strategy of Russia is to destabilize the U.S. through its democratic process. And this aim is to be achieved through cyber means. This modus operandi does not differ from that of Latin American populist regimes that have taken over nations through electoral means.
Should the U.S. continue to deny the inroads made by Russia in cyber space, a serious precedent could be created given that considering the U.S. lack of interest in addressing this challenge, other foreign powers might join Russia’s freight to interfere with our democratic process. This includes the Bolivarian regime and its allies that also are Russia’s chums.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, May 20, 2019
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Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies. For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O’Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador. You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.