Roughly a year ago, Obama in a public address, detailed the now famous “Red Line” on chemical warfare.
Now the world and specifically Obama is faced with having to back-up his threats with actual armed combat. In my laymen’s understanding of the complexities of US and International Politics, It seems that Obama has painted that red line, and recent events have that line in fact having painted the President into a corner.
I don’t feel the US citizens have much of a taste for yet another armed conflict.. historically, the US populous is patriotic and supportive of protecting their oil resources in the middle east, however in the poor economic position the United States are in, and the huge expenditure of recent conflicts. I think the citizens (therefore the president) are not too excited in entering into yet another costly conflict. I hate to point out the elephant in the room, but as much as we like to think that our global superpowers are protectors of the human condition – we must face the reality of protection of supply chain and global finance are the drivers of Middle East conflict. Ugly, but true.
So, how does President Obama manage his red line? This may be the opportunity to enter into the inevitable modern warfare. With the European, Russian resistance to start firing rockets, but clearly supportive of the US desire to put an immediate stop to chemical warfare – they in this case, have their cake and eat it too.
With such well financed and technically advanced countries all in agreement that Syria needs to be brought into check, a combined, focused, co-operatively architected digital attack would serve all of the purposes to cease the murderous activities of the Syrian Government.
As one can barely turn a light switch on in your home without it being (in some part of the electrical grid) controlled my computer networks. Cell phone, land line, email, digital communication, at its root is built of computer technology. Electricity, water – the most basics of civilization is now all controlled by computer networks. The complete Military Machine rely on the ole 1’s and 0’s of network traffic.
So rather than lighting the fuse on missiles, and landing boots on the streets of Syria.. a combined full on digital attack co-ordinated by all of the major powers would return Syria to the stone age. A complete attack on communications, finance, utilities, private networks, military networks.. Everything. I do not think we or our digital allies have any issue with the technical know-how to virtually shut down this country.
Would civilians suffer – yes, that is inevitable, but I expect a civilian would prefer to have to exists for a time having to be reverted back to the 1800’s. But I would bet money that they would chose this over the option of them being killed as collateral damage in a traditional war.
Obama could come out with his credibility intact, as he answered to his threat of the red line, the allies, who clearly object to Syrian behaviour, need not take the step of firing rockets. And with no resources other than the flickering light of a candle to read by, Syria would be forced to shut down their military activities.
Oversimplified, of course it is.. But the superpowers have the people with the smarts to manage all of the complexities of this strategy, and besides it is a hell of a lot less expensive than a traditional war, and nobody dies. I would see this as motivation to figure out the methods.
The Government of any country would find the thought of thousands of Computer Hackers working 7 days a week 24 hours a day working exclusively to attack your infrastructure much more intimidating than being watched through the cross-hairs of a rifle.