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Maria Gurova

Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, RIAC Expert

On November 9, 2016, the whole world was stunned in astonishment/delight/disgust/disappointment/excitement—please underline as appropriate. Donald Trump became the 45th President of the USA. And though all americanists, historians, and sociologists sometimes claimed it was impossible, it was some political mess, and Hillary Clinton, a democrat, was to be the new president, on Wednesday we woke up to the world where the USA has got a new, face that raises some doubts. Well, that is not the point, though.


One of the most obvious political priorities of all candidates’ election campaigns was the US cybersecurity advancement issue, given that it is one of the world’s strongest and most often challenged with cyberattacks country. Suffice it to mention Hillary Clinton’s campaign with numerous unpleasant incidents, connected with mail server hacks, e-mail thefts, defamation of not only one of the mainstream parties’ candidate, but also of the political establishment as a whole. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton’s stance and answers to the cybersecurity questions during debates seemed far better thought and balanced than the ones of her opponent.


Starting from January 20, 2017, the new Executive Office will have to get seriously involved in cyberspace and critical infrastructure cybersecurity issues. What will this program be like? Will it make sense? Donald Trump having an odious Twitter account and looking like a populist impersonation doesn’t seem to be a problem. Uncertainty, that is a problem. Donald Trump doesn’t have a structured program on cybersecurity and what you now see on his election campaign website looks like a statement of a novice, who doesn’t understand the details of this complicated mechanism and who claims that his 10-year-old son is clued up about modern technologies better than any hacker. One can assume from all loud speeches of the newly-crowned President that the new U.S. cybersecurity program will be more defensive and that Cyber Review Team will be made of national security, defence and law enforcement agencies senior employees. Moreover, Joint Task Forces will be created under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Justice in order to coordinate actions between local and federal administrations, the federal nature of activity being particularly aggressive. The new President is not suggesting any innovations in his program that looks raw and unfounded. At the same time, the new republican president’s quick-tempered unpredictable nature should be taken into consideration—the probability of an asymmetrical response to any anti-USA cyberattack is growing at an exponential rate.


For now, the U.S. doesn’t bother about or just turns a blind eye on the hostile rhetorics and massive DDoS-attacks against biggest transnational US-located corporations, and only threatens to impose sanctions on those who hacks party officials’ postal accounts. The new president might turn the tide of events to a more intriguing course—what if another Chinese hackers’ economic espionage act or unsanctioned critical infrastructure (e.g. power station control centre) security breach results in the USA no-notice real kinetic military campaign against the attacker without detailed criminal profiling and fact-finding of the attack attribution? Donald Trump disclaims borders. The Senate and the House of Representatives are not likely to impose obstacles for him in the upcoming four years. Trump is cynical about international agreements and international organisations, that is why it is hard to foresee any new initiatives in the area of international cooperation on cybersecurity.


America will definitely become great. What generation will see it and what sacrifices will the world make for it is a question.

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