Cyber Diplomacy: Coincidence or Strategy at the Copenhagen Conference
Danish Prime Minister
Lars Lokke Rasmussen
with his Chinese counterpart
(Photo: China Daily, 12/17/2009)
The Chinese strategy at the Copenhagen conference has been discussed in Hal Malmgren’s article entitled “Copenhagen Dynamics: A Window into 21st Century Geo-Politics“. In effect, the Chinese wanted neither to be blamed for any failure of the conference to take action or any ability of the conference to limit seriously Chinese options in dealing with economic growth. To meet both of these objectives, the Chinese leadership sought to meet with leaders other than the US until China had sorted out its public position. Then from a position of “diplomatic consensus,” they could meet the US on relatively equal grounds.
Coincidently, on the day the conference opened (December 15th), the Google website in China was attacked and gmail accounts accessed. At the same time, our sources tell us, the Indian Prime Minister’s office as well as other senior Indian ministries was hacked. And in Europe, the German chancellery was hacked along with senior ministries. Similar attacks occurred in France as well.
The response of the French and the Germans has been to focus on the Microsoft portal which is used in government offices. Notably, both governments suggested that Internet Explorer not be used in favor of other browsers.
Perhaps this is just another coincidence like when the Russians attacked Georgian sites prior to taking military action. Or perhaps we are seeing cyber attacks as a part of a concerted diplomatic policy.
***Posted January 25th, 2010