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America’s new Cyber Strategy and Space Force Whither future of global commons? US Sanctions on China

24 September 2018 12:00 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Trump Administration unveiled its brand new strategy for cyber space on the International day of peace declared by the United Nations in 1982.   

The Strategy provides an important insight into how the United States cyber doctrine will evolve and it has significant distinctions from cyber strategies of the previous administration. It aligns with recent American policies of tougher actions against state rivals and faith in leading the world through enhanced force projection.   

The New US Cyber strategy is relevant even for Sri Lanka as are facing a significant turbulent time in global and domestic politics, American security and trade policies seem to be not just giving direction but simultaneously unleashing a wave of disruptions in security events, financial, trade and fiscal sectors.   

Increasing US Sanctions on China, Russia and Iran and expanding trade war with China is creating a stronger dollar through a dollar scarcity for exporters and thus devaluing currencies globally, Sri Lanka is witnessing a rapid nosedive of the Rupee in comparison to the Dollar.   

Currencies such as the British Pound has consistently depreciated against the dollar, estimates are that over the past decade the dollar has risen 50% over the British pound.   

The US Cyber Strategy unveiled by the Trump administration aligns with the recent National Security Strategy unveiled a few months back. The strategy clearly departed with the Obama administration’s defence Strategy, it claims, Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.   

Recent research points out that terrorist attacks are in decline with a decrease of terror attacks by 27% compared to attacks in 2016. American national security strategy heralds a world of geopolitical contestations and conflicts. Future of US China Relations   

When Harvard Scholar, Graham Allison came up with his recent book, the Thucydides Trap which outlines the possibility of a conflict between the United States and China, many analysts from the United States and China played down the potential of such a conflict.   

Sri Lanka’s national security challenges in the future and articulating our security policies need a clear understanding of the promise and peril of militarizing global commons

They argued that the two countries had much to benefit from a pragmatic relationship than lose from an adversarial one. 

The ongoing trade war that the Trump Administration has unleashed on China and China responding in kind can lead to significant complications shaping the future of China US relations.   

China carried out a concerted campaign to avoid the trade war, by increasing diplomatic efforts, initiatingdialogues with the White House and even pledging that it would increase its purchases of US oil and natural gas products with the hope of offsetting or postponing the trade war.   

What concerns analysts more is the aggressive language that is going into statements emerging from the USA on China and the policy documents. New Trump security strategy clearly identifies China as a major challenger to American National Interests that range from security, governance to trade aspects.   

The US Cyber Strategy of 2018, names China and Russia as perpetrators of cybercrime and espionage.

While the Obama Administration did speak about the Nation States that were involved in cyber offensive postures they did not go to specifically name and link China or Russia as clear adversaries of the United States.   

The 2018 United States national security strategy has fixed China as a perpetual adversary, as it claims that China seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in   
 The New Cyber Strategy of the Trump administration will set a dangerous precedent to actively create more and more cyber offensive programs and encourage most cyber security strategies globally to be militarized and pervasive.  Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd writing to the New York Times last week emphasized the importance of understanding the rise of Authoritarian Capitalism and the undermining of democracy and he outlines the effect cyber technologies have in this process, he points that Revolutions in technology threaten democracies’ ability to cope with the complexity, speed and trajectory of change.   

United States’ national security strategy has fixed China as a perpetual adversary, as it claims that China seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony   

Thus arguing that if we let the market manage the impact of technologies rather than politically manage them we will be in further crises.   

Trump Cyber Strategy 2018, outlines that the US will integrate the use of cyber options across every element of the national power, thus highlighting the intricate link of cyber space with every power property of a nation State.   

 China has integrated cyber and information dominance to its national defence policy and it clearly argues that it is developing and modernizing its forces to achieve information dominance.  China identifies this process as Revolution of Military Affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics. Space Force

Trump administration is not just stopping at militarizing cyberspace and it also is keen on developing a fully-fledged space force, the idea of a space force as the sixth branch of the US military.   

The idea has been met with scepticism from many corners of the US political establishment. Thus a Space force that is independent of the US Airforce or US Navy is what the current administration seeks to establish. 

Despite the opposition, the framework is already being made, with estimated budget cost of US $ 19 Billion cost for the first four years of operation, with an initial unveiling of the force slated for 2020 subject to congressional approval. Future of Global Commons

Contemporary conversations on global commons are dominated by Ocean and Maritime security conversations, Sri Lanka’s security narrative is immensely influenced by the Indo Pacific Ocean concentration where the Sri Lankan government and the defence establishment is focused on creating a coherent maritime strategy. It is imperative that Sri Lanka does create a maritime strategy that is enduring and resilient to the geopolitical challenges, while it is equally important to encompass either space of the global commons when it comes to national security strategy.   

Global commons Oceans, Space and Cyberspace have been subjected to an increasing militarization over the last decade. 

The new American national security strategy and Cyber Strategy provides a glimpse of how far nation-states are willing to go to achieve their political objectives, both these strategies are presented as ways of maintaining American hegemony on global affairs and an existential fear of a counter hegemony in the form of China.   
Sri Lanka’s national security challenges in the future and articulating our security policies need a clear understanding of the promise and peril of militarizing global commons.   

The writer is the Director, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS)

  Comments - 1

  • Anthony Newton Saparamadu Thursday, 27 September 2018 02:56 PM

    The space force is the formidable defence system on earth. Day by day the tools of space force are getting improved. Mankind is about to live another planet soon. Inspire people to turn their imaginations to reality.

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