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By Fareed Zakaria
Last week, we saw a new world of great power intrigue. The U.S. Justice Department filed formal charges against five officials in the Chinese military and detailed the economic espionage that they allegedly have conducted against American companies over the last eight years.
The action is unprecedented, especially since these officials are never going to be arrested – and will probably never leave China. And no one believes it will make any difference because the Chinese officials are unlikely to face any kind of sanction at home. In fact, if anything, they might regard being on this list as a badge of honor…
…Cyber attacks are part of a new, messy, chaotic world, fueled by globalization and the information revolution. In a wired, networked world, it is much harder to shut down this kind of activity. And it certainly will not be possible to do it using traditional mechanisms of national security.
Notice that Washington is using a legal mechanism (which will be ineffective and largely symbolic) for what is really a national security issue. The Sino-Russian gas deal reminds us that traditional geopolitics is alive and well.
And Washington knows how to work its way in that world. But cyber espionage represents a new frontier and no one really has ideas, tools or strategies to properly address this challenge.
Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column