It’s not always necessary for a nation to wave the white flag for its enemies to know it has surrendered. Sometimes a leak from an administration official will do just fine without requiring all the logistics of a formal surrender ceremony.
The Washington Post lays the latest Obama capitulation out in detail: “Months after the discovery of a massive breach of U.S. government personnel records, the Obama administration has decided against publicly blaming China for the intrusion in part out of reluctance to reveal the evidence that American investigators have assembled...
The administration also appears to have refrained from any direct retaliation against China or attempt to use cyber-measures to corrupt or destroy the stockpile of sensitive data stolen from the Office of Personnel Management.”
Contrast that feeble hand-wringing with the nation’s last reaction to a massive attack on the homeland originating from across the Pacific. Only four months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid returned the favor by bombing Tokyo.
Compare that with an Obama administration that can’t even be bothered to attempt corrupting the vital information stolen during the data breach. Even the French tried to spike the guns before they ran.
The much-touted Pentagon “pivot” to Asia has turned into just another Obama foreign policy plie.
This leak offers remarkable insight into the mindset of the administration and its media enablers. The reluctance to name China because of “concern that making a public case...could require exposing details of the United States’ own espionage and cyberspace capabilities.”
This is what happens when people who have spent decades attempting to destroy the credibility of Republican administrations finally get their hands on the levers of power. Since government no longer enjoys a default assumption of legitimacy - thanks in large part to their efforts - the administration can’t simply state that China was behind the attack and expect to be believed. The naysay chorus and the media will reflexively take the opposite side in the controversy, which happens to be China’s.
Self-induced public paralysis results and government legitimacy degrades even further.
In comparison, an administration that has not lied its way into disrepute doesn’t find it necessary to drop its drawers to prove the veracity of a statement.
Another factor contributing to Obama constipation is his viewpoint regarding the nation: A vigorous response would imply the U.S. is right in this matter and China was the aggressor and in the wrong. Unfortunately we’re vapor-locked by administration moral equivalizers contending, “nations typically do not impose sanctions as penalties for political espionage.”
Since when is a cyber attack that vacuumed up personal records of 22 million current and past federal employees “political espionage?” With this data it’s easier for China to identify potential spying recruits, easier for China to put pressure on critical government employees and easier for Chinese counter-intelligence to identify our spies.
It’s not like Peking downloaded the Democratic National Committee’s donor files or opposition research database. That would be political espionage. This cyber attack was conducted according to von Clausewitz’ maxim: “War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
Obama’s mountain of inertia is a real morale builder for the federal employees he purports to value. During the Bush administration, an over-eager and under-skilled Chinese pilot collided with one of our surveillance planes in international airspace. Our damaged EP-3 had to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island.
The dead pilot was clearly in the wrong, but China accused our crew of ramming his fighter plane. It then seized our crew and held it hostage until China extorted a statement from the U.S. That’s how a nation tells its employees and the rest of the world the government has their back.
Meanwhile the Obama administration is dithering over whether to offer victims of Chinese identity theft six months or a year of free LifeLock monitoring. As the Pentagon orders military recruiters to consider armed citizens who have volunteered to guard recruitment offices a “security threat.”
Yet the administration is strangely solicitous of private sector employees. When Sony Pictures’ computer network was hacked “Obama quickly blamed Pyongyang and stepped up sanctions on the regime.”
The fact is the Chinese regard Obama’s “nuanced” foreign policy as pathetic nancy-boy pleading that can be ignored without cost. That’s why China is seizing isolated coral reefs in disputed Pacific territory and building unsinkable aircraft carriers. And broadcasting a documentary showing a training exercise where the People’s Liberation Army storms a replica of the president of Taiwan’s office.
Our only hope for curbing an aggressive China rests on Princess Cruise Line. If a PLA naval vessel boards a cruise ship or otherwise impedes freedom of navigation, maybe the White House will finally be motivated to defend US interests.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at email@example.com