And to no one’s surprise …

… President Obama’s ambition to use his two day summit with China’s president Xi Jinping to get them to express contrition about their cyberhacking turned out to be pretty much a bust.

The common ground they found, however, was not quite what the White House expected as talks on cyber-espionage were overshadowed by revelations of Washington’s own cyberwarfare strategy.

Both leaders discussed the issue for several hours, according to aides, but the best that the US was able to boast afterwards was that Beijing was no longer unaware of the depth of feeling on the subject.

“It’s quite obvious now that the Chinese senior leadership understand clearly the importance of this issue to the United States,” said Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon.

Washington stressed that it wished only to discuss “cyber-enabled economic theft” – the theft of intellectual by entities based in China of property and other kinds of property in the public and private realm – rather than broader espionage and surveillance activity, but the nuance may have been lost. Xi chastised US media for failing to report equally on attacks made against China. [My italics-MS]

Ah yes, the ‘nuance’. By that is meant getting the Chinese to understand that anything that the US does to other countries is perfectly acceptable while what other countries do to the US constitute a major offense against the norms of the civilized world.

As an example of this nuanced thinking, on the radio program The World today, former official in the Clinton administration and currently Harvard professor Joseph Nye carefully explains how what the US government does is different from what the Chinese government does. Those obtuse Chinese don’t seem to understand nuance.

There is no mentionin the news reports on whether Xi managed to keep a straight face when Obama started to lecture him about the evil of cyberattacks or whether he laughed uproariously, slapped him on the back, and said, “Oh, Barack, you’re such a kidder! Tell me another one!”


  1. says

    All of the US’ actions in cyberspace make sense if you see the US as a colonial power and cyberspace as “it’s” property.

    Washington appears to think that, but they are wrong.

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