“If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I’m going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground.” – Curtis LeMay in 1957 (pictured below, continues)
This is the kind of rhetoric that made LeMay a destabiliser to the strategic balance of the Cold War. You can’t have this kind of talk that circumvents the norms of behavior between big powers. And yet, according to the unnamed US official in this article, this is the effect the PLA’s sustained $100B worth of economic hacking a year on the US is having.
“The Cold War enforced norms, and the Soviets and the U.S. didn’t go outside a set of boundaries. But China is going outside those boundaries now. Homeostasis is being upset,” the official said.
Here is something else LeMay said in 1965:
“I’d like to see a more aggressive attitude on the part of the United States. That doesn’t mean launching an immediate preventive war…”
What may be occurring is a new American realism, or American identification, forced by a recognition for the scale of the challenges facing the US economically and through technological competition. Civil libertarians will battle the government over privacy protections – as they damn well should – but these same civil liberatarians will recognize that there are real threats out there to the kind of freedom that he or she values. He only has to look at Russia, at China, at Iran. The power of the internet is being used against a nation’s own citizens in a way that is foreign to Americans. Inside the US, the openness of the internet which has spawned much innovation is being used – systematically – to undermine Americans’ economic interests.
Now, the critics and detractors not just of the excesses of American power but of the US itself, are just a click away, for even the civil libertarians to see.
In as much as the internet remains borderless, against the human psychological which needs some borders, Americans are a clump of humanity online, as are the Chinese, the Russian, etc. How this clump of humanity defines itself online is slowly being articulated. The expectation of a culture law is slowly colliding with other forces out there.
And that possibility, in the face of that, Americans are going through a renewed phase of self-indentification in this new world. It’s a place where, when the White House’s interests, match the Academy Award’s interests, which match – for a sec- the US clandestine communities interest, which are also inline with the US public’s interest, it will express itself unabashedly in a Star Spangled Plug by the First Lady.
Already images are being deployed more strategically in this way. The picture of Obama and Romney shaking hands in the White House after the election sends a powerful message to nations where power transfers often involve violence or intrigue.