By Thomas P. M. Barnett | June 1, 2012
Check out this New York Times story about President Obama speeding up waves of cyber attacks against Iran. I personally have no problem with this, and prefer it to Israel’s imagined missile strikes.
But just remember this when next you hear about other countries’ “unprecedented offensive cyber attacks against the U.S.”
If anybody else does to America what we’re doing to Iran right now, our national security types would describe it as open warfare.
Heck, we have a recent U.S. government national cyber security strategy document that says what we’re now doing to Iran — if done to us — would constitute an act of war worthy of a commensurate kinetic response on our part (the brilliant quote: “‘If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,’ unnamed official says”).
What always amazes me is how clueless we are about our own hypocrisy. We maintain that we — and we alone — have the right to do certain things, but that, if those things are done to us, they constitute something unbelievably provocative.
According to all our stated descriptions of what we consider offensive cyber warfare to be, we are already at war with Iran — plain and simple. Remember that when Tehran engages in some “unprovoked aggression.”
Again, I don’t have a problem with the approach. I have a problem with the hypocrisy. We are engaging in acts of war and pretending otherwise, saving those accusations for other powers.
But one this is clear with President Obama: between this and his personally-approved targeted-assassination campaigns, his vigorous embrace of pre-emptive wars is complete.