Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous effort to reinvent herself as a champion of cybersecurity led her to accuse China of trying to hack “everything that doesn’t move in America” at a New Hampshire campaign event.
She talked about the Chinese stealing information from private-sector enterprises, as well as taking “huge amounts of government information.”
As Reuters observes, Beijing is often very sensitive about accusations of government-sponsored data theft, typically responding with the non sequitur argument that they cannot be hackers because they have been attacked by hackers themselves, and making claims of investment in cybersecurity roughly as believable as Hillary Clinton’s.
In this case, however, the Chinese just yawned and ignored Clinton. “China and the U.S. have taken a constructive spirit and approach to strengthening dialogue and cooperation to jointly face various challenges in line with the interests of both sides in a way that is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region and the world,” chirped a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.
Time notes that Hillary’s remarks were seasoned with praise for China’s ascent to global superpower status, which she called “the story of the 21st century.” Two days after Clinton’s remarks, the Chinese stock market was in free-fall, prompting a quarter of their stocks to suspend trading.
“Make no mistake – they know they’re in a competition, and they’re going to do everything they can to win it,” Clinton said of China. Hopefully the Republicans run someone against Clinton who has the same enthusiasm for American victory.
Time hypothesizes Clinton wants to take a tougher stance against China because foreign policy analysts think her previous schmoozing with Beijing was interpreted as a sign of weakness. There is always the chance one of her Democrat primary rivals might try outflanking her by talking tough about China, so she has to put some chips down, and of course China’s execution of the biggest cyberwar attack in history against the hapless Obama administration is a big news story at the moment, so she had to say something.
Still, it does not look like China takes Clinton’s grumbles about hacking seriously, so there’s no reason anyone else should.