At a glance.
- Update on the Huawei CFO extradition case.
- Classical deterrence and cyber conflict.
Meng Wanzhou extradition update.
While Washington works to exclude Huawei from domestic infrastructure, rally allies to do the same, and bar the sale of US semiconductor chips to the company, Asia Times reports, the legal struggle over Huawei CFO and “corporate royalty” Meng Wanzhou’s extradition from Canada to the US endures. Arrested in Vancouver two years ago on a US warrant and charged with wire and bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and violating sanctions against Tehran, Meng is currently pursuing a due process legal strategy, according to BBC News. It has emerged that she was questioned for almost three hours before being informed that she was under arrest and permitted a lawyer. Her device passwords were also handed over to the police in another apparent violation of her rights.
At issue is whether these steps were mistakenly taken or part of an arranged plan. Canadian officials insist the delay was a lawful attempt to follow protocol, preserve public safety, and establish the legitimacy of her detention, CTV News says. If Meng’s lawyers can reveal coordination with US authorities, however, it would bolster their case that the arrest was political. The suit could drag on for years and impact Beijing-Ottawa relations for decades. China has already retaliated by arresting two Canadians days after Meng’s apprehension.
Deterrence in cyberspace.
Small Wars Journal argues that classical deterrence theory, which centers on the threat of punishment, has limited applicability to cyberspace, though the US continues to apply it there. A strategy designed with conventional and nuclear warfare in mind meets four unique obstacles in cyberspace: the difficulty of identifying attackers, calculating damages to determine proportionality, navigating lopsided vulnerabilities, and devising expensive single-use cyberweapons (that could, as may have happened in some cases, be turned against their makers). Since more developed countries are more vulnerable to attacks, “cyber has become a weapon of choice for the outgunned,” which implies that cyberattacks represent a form of asymmetric warfare, like the jeune école in naval thought at the end of the 19th Century, or guerrilla warfare in the mid-to-late 20th Century. There is, of course conflict in cyberspace between peer and near-peer powers, and it's unclear why the prospect of retaliation wouldn't deter an attack against, say financial systems, or an electrical power grid.
Or cyber conflict might also be thought of as more closely resembling intelligence competition than kinetic combat—excepting of course cyberattacks with kinetic consequences—and US policy should be updated to reflect this reality.