In 2015, it was discovered that China had conducted a massive computer hack of a U.S. government database that contained the personal information of more than 4 million federal employees. It was unprecedented in the world of cyber-warfare.
How did President Obama respond to this never-before-seen threat? First he just ignored it. When that didn’t work, he told China’s president to stop it. He also sent a really testy letter—six months later. The Chinese must have been shaking in their shoes.
A year later, we learn there’s a possibility that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computers to gather information that would help them influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. There is evidence to support it, but no conclusion has officially been reached. An intelligence report requested by Obama that will draw more conclusions is supposed to be released this week.
In the meantime, what does our current president do about it? Well, he starts by accusing some 35 Russian diplomats living in the U.S. of being spies and promptly orders them out of the country, closing down their Cold-War-era compounds in New York and Maryland behind them. But Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t get mad. In fact, he said he’s not going to reciprocate.
Putin’s going to play nice. And to prove it, he followed up his response to Obama’s sanctions by inviting the children of U.S. diplomats in Russia to the New Year’s Eve and Christmas parties in the Kremlin. Ouch. Pretty classy strategic move. Not only does it effectively neutralize Obama’s actions against Russia, it’s also going to make it a lot harder for Trump to get tough with Putin about it later on. Putin also took a jab at Obama by stating that he would wait to negotiate with the incoming president.
Trump, who has so far been skeptical about claims that Russia’s hacking won the election for him, is playing his cards close to the vest this week waiting for the intelligence report to be released. It remains to be seen if Trump will have a “mate” for Putin’s “check.” What’s your take on things? Do think Putin is just putting on a good show, or is that just a coverup to dupe Americans into being more trusting of Russia?