Too often, “diplomatic concerns” are used as an excuse by presidents who either are afraid to stand up for Americans’ rights or are simply so gullible they allow foreign leaders to dupe them. We don’t know which is the case involving President Barack Obama’s timidity over Chinese hacking of U.S. computer networks.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited California for a meeting with Obama recently, one of the topics of discussion was cybersecurity.
According to the Associated Press report on the summit meeting, Obama used it to present Xi with “detailed evidence of intellectual property theft emanating from his country.”
Apparently, Obama believes that if Chinese leaders are just made aware of the damage being done by Internet hackers, they will do something to stop it.
But in addition to the business and industrial information being stolen by the Chinese, U.S. defense secrets are being accessed. And American technicians have traced some of the hacking back to government-sponsored entities in China.
Obama told Xi that unless such theft is addressed, it will “be a very difficult problem…” For his part, the Chinese leader had an adviser agree that “cybersecurity should not become the root cause of mutual suspicion and friction between our two countries.”
No, it shouldn’t.
But it is clear both private and government Internet hackers in China have no intention of backing off. Until and unless Obama makes the real problem clear, that situation is highly unlikely to be abated.