Wesley Wark writes that Donald Trump should not ignore the reports about Russian cyber activity during the last election:
The epicentre of concern over Russian cyber aggression, for the foreseeable future, is going to be the United States. The reason is that the issue has now become highly politicized, with Mr. Trump denying the validity of any claims about Russian electoral meddling and casting aspersions on the credibility of the Central Intelligence Agency, a throwback to Richard Nixon’s loathing of the CIA as a bunch of “clowns.”
For Mr. Trump, allegations of Russian interference in the election are a deep blow: to his credibility; to his desire for a much friendlier relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a hallmark of a new style of foreign policy; and to his control of the machinery of Washington. He has responded in a manner familiar from the campaign trail – by denying and lashing out. These tactics won’t serve him well once he enters the White House.
Wherever the current investigations into Russian cyber disruption of the U.S. election ultimately lead, President Trump will have to confront two realities. One is that the United States is a major target of cyber attacks from foreign actors, both state and non-state, and as Commander-in-Chief he will have to come up with ways to strengthen cyber defences and make tough decisions on the extent to which the U.S. engages in its own brand of cyber offensive attacks.
Despite his claims about his special relationship with Putin, Trump clearly does not understand Putin's Russia:
Mr. Putin runs a security state of a kind very unfamiliar to Westerners. Part of the makeup of that security state is a profound belief that Russia is the constant target of malicious information warfare and intelligence activities conducted by unfriendly Western states.From a Russian perspective, information warfare and cyber attacks targeting the West are just a form of tit-for-tat, in the Russian lexicon, the “new normal” of international relations. If they can use their power to influence domestic politics in the West, so much the better for them.
Trump's Achilles Heel has always been his ignorance. And you can bet that Vladimir Putin plans to take full advantage of it.