China and the U.S. are playing pretend war to vent their mutual frustrations and avoid a real one, according to a report by the Guardian. The State and Defense departments participated in two hypothetical-conflict sessions last year, and another round is planned for May. The war games were designed to prevent a "sudden military escalation" amid burgeoning anger in Washington over cyber attacks that the U.S. says are originating in China.
For its part, China is feeling a bit bellicose, the Guardian reports.
These war games are designed to let officials talk about hypothetical conflicts in a way that indirectly addresses their pent-up frustrations. The Guardian extensively quotes Jim Lewis, a senior fellow and director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who helped organize the war games.
During the first round, officials had to talk about what they would do if they were attacked by a computer virus like the Stuxnet worm that disabled nuclear facilities in Iran. Then they had to discuss how they'd react if they found out the attack was launched by the other side. "Known as "Track 1.5" diplomacy, it is the closest governments can get in conflict management without full-blown talks," the newspaper reports.
This is an interesting way to handle a potentially volatile situation, talking around it as if it's hypothetical and not reality or eventuality. But using pretend situations can be a diplomatic, non-confrontational way for the U.S. to puff its chest. A description of how we'd react if China sanctioned a cyber-attack — we know you won't do it, China, but just in case, here's what we'd do to you — is a tacit deterrent to would-be attackers.
The U.S. has been ramping up its cyber-defense systems and awareness, and even warning would-be hackers that cyber attacks can constitute an act of war. But attackers have also been turning up the heat — recently, Chinese officials had to deny they were involved in a China-based hacking of U.S. space assets. This sort of incident is becoming more common, to the increasing frustration and anger of American officials.
While it sounds like the Stuxnet imaginary situation went well, the second didn't go so smoothly, according to Lewis' account to the Guardian, which you can read here. The Chinese deeply distrust our government and feel like they've been treated unfairly. And Lewis believes the U.S. is bracing for a potential escalating conflict, too.
Maybe role-playing will help both sides understand the potential fallout if cooler heads don't continue to prevail.
I wish mankind would stop being so violent, prejudiced, bigoted, hurtful, mistrusting, war mongering, beastful, etc. It's no wonder ET has never visited planet Earth.
ET visited earth
You missed it. ET visited earth in the 1980's and was forced to phone home.
Those who plan for war ( or in this case play war games ) go to war, eventually!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Open your mind and see!
This strikes me as a really bad idea. There are one of two outcomes here:
One, we win the "virtual" conflict, and China sees where our strengths are. This would enable them to work on their weaknesses and be better prepared to defeat us in a real conflict.
Or two: they win, and they see our weaknesses and know that they could defeat us tomorrow if they want to.
Not sure why we would do this . . . .
China already knows to attack from a country other than their own using a scapegoat. The U.S will retaliate against that country and ignore the real source of the attack.
@ SteelyJoe22 and Contoria,
Chalk it up to our poor education system that the US has no hope of learning anything about China in these games. It really sucks that the ONLY two options are for them to learn stuff about us.
You two really think that this war game should actually be called "the US gives up all our secrets" game?
We have to flex our muscles back at China for one major reason: They are IGNORANT!(but so are we)They think just because we owe them trillions of dollars that they own us. If ww3 is faught through cyber warfare i am ok with that. the second bullets fly though i already know whos side i am on. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!
Q:To be, or not to be? A:Idk? Which one is easier?
It's overconfidence that makes the U.S. think that just because China was playing catchup, they still are. Also, does anyone actually think that all of a sudden, the real world rip and tear at each other is gonna stop? Or just go to another, higher level? Yeah. Another bad trillion dollar idea written on a check we as Americans don't think it's in our best interest to write. National Security in and of our citizenry is SUPPOSED to be our right on this playground we paid to develop and implement as a nation, by Act of Congress.
Serious question, that. If our citizenry is not secure in cyberspace, then is our nation secure?
The seeker of knowledge who seeks to reach beyond the stars to go where no mans gone before to see things no man has seen and bring these experiences back for the whole world to hear and see.
Instead of making china our enemy we should be trying to get kudos. Because if war did pop off i dont 3 billion Asian parading down my street ran sacking my home raping my children and killing millions of innocent people. We must think in terms of technology china is one of the leaders they now have a huge economy that surpasses ares and frankly we don't have enough assets that we can afford to dump into war we should be working to create peace not demolish it and if we did get attacked by china it would prob because we don't respect them enough