US, Apparently With No Sense Of Irony, Preaching 'Openness' And 'Transparency' To Chinese

from the can't-make-this-stuff-up dept

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is heading to Beijing to talk with the Chinese government, and the message he’s bringing to the Chinese is that (a) Americans don’t do irony and (b) we’re a bunch of lying hypocrites. I’m sure that will go over well. You may recall the recent revelations that the NSA (which is a part of the defense department) had hacked into Huawei — a company that the US keeps insisting is likely used by the Chinese government to spy on people… even though it has no evidence at all to support that.

In what may be the most unintentionally hilarious article in the NY Times you’ll read in a while, it discusses how Hagel and the US government are preaching openness, transparency and candor when it comes to state-level cyberattacks, sharing information on what the US is doing, and hoping that the Chinese will reciprocate. In fact, the Obama administration recently held a briefing for the Chinese government in which they discussed the US’s “doctrine” for defending against cyberattacks:

The idea was to allay Chinese concerns about plans to more than triple the number of American cyberwarriors to 6,000 by the end of 2016, a force that will include new teams the Pentagon plans to deploy to each military combatant command around the world. But the hope was to prompt the Chinese to give Washington a similar briefing about the many People’s Liberation Army units that are believed to be behind the escalating attacks on American corporations and government networks.

So far, the Chinese have not reciprocated — a point Mr. Hagel plans to make in a speech at the P.L.A.’s National Defense University on Tuesday.

Note, of course, that they only discussed how the US defends against attacks, not their offensive capabilities, such as hacking into Huawei or introducing destructive malware like Stuxnet. Even so, Hagel’s mantra seems to be that “transparency” is suddenly a good thing.

In Beijing, the defense secretary “is going to stress to the Chinese that we in the military are going to be as transparent as possible,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, “and we want the same openness and transparency and restraint from them.”

Of course, that’s quite a different message from a year ago. As you may recall, just as the first Snowden documents were being released to the public, President Obama was scolding China for its cyberattacks. But, as the NY Times article notes:

“We clearly don’t occupy the moral high ground that we once thought we did,” said one senior administration official.

You think?

And, yet, it seems that making these hilarious claims of “openness” and “transparency” from an administration famous for its unprecedented secrecy has been drilled into Hagel’s head for this trip to Beijing. Discussing a different issue — an escalating dispute between China and Japan over some uninhabited islands — Hagel again made a statement that reads like pure hypocrisy:

“The more transparent and open governments can be with each other, the better for everyone. That avoids miscalculation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and hopefully that lowers the risks of conflict.”

While that statement is likely true, it seems fairly rich for the US to be out there preaching that message, while being one of the least transparent, least open US administrations ever. Last year, we wrote about how the Snowden and Manning stories basically stripped the US of its ability to hypocritically browbeat other countries, because those other countries had little to pushback on. As we noted, the way out of that was to stop being hypocritical and to actually practice openness and transparency. While, perhaps, you could argue that sharing a few details of our “cyberdefense” capabilities qualifies, that’s a pretty hard sell. The US government still seems to hope that its own hypocrisies will be ignored while it preaches principles it comes nowhere close to living up to.

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Comments on “US, Apparently With No Sense Of Irony, Preaching 'Openness' And 'Transparency' To Chinese”

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ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

HOW about the ones THEY hired that have jobs for the past 10-20 years?

HOW about we do it this way..
I HIRE you to do a job, after someone ELSE was running it, and expect the SAME or BETTER then the first,second,third person that had the job, before you..
LETS pile more BS on top, why dont we..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think the voters deserve a lot of blame. If I worked in human resources and my job was to hire people for an important position, I wouldn’t keep my job very long if I kept hiring incompetents to this position. This is what voters are doing, hiring the wrong people over and over and over again. If voting was a job, voters would have been fired long ago.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

a few numbers for you..
REGISTERED democrats and 100,000,000
1/3 of the USA.
Count on the number of voters..?
just over 100,000,000

And if you split it between the 2 groups..
50 million voted a president into office.about 16% of the people created a president.

Also if you look at STATE elections, for state offices, the numbers arnt much different..

Anonymous Coward says:

this is nothing short of taking the piss! to even think about something like this is giving the impression of ‘dont do what we do, do what we tell you’! i wonder if the Chinese will give a reply and if it will be the sort of reply that the USA deserves?
i also read the condemnation of Erdogan and what he has been doing. don’t any of the so-called ‘pillars of democracy’ realise that by acting as they are, the likes of USA and UK, are giving more clout to the sort of action carried out by Turkey? he doesn’t need to justify what he’s doing, because he’s following the examples given to him. you dont need an IQ above ‘idiot’ to be able to work that out!!

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s become painfully obvious that the US government isn’t even transparent within itself. The portions of the government responsible for the cyberattacks are systematically and deliberately lying to the portions of the government responsible for oversight and authorization.

Unless the administration somehow manages to get total and honest oversight back in place, there’s no way that any promises of transparency can be meaningful. Even if Chuck Hagel defected to the Chinese and told them everything he knew, odds are good that he still wouldn’t be able to tell them everything that was going on.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Weapon's-grade humor

I think I get what they’re really after here, this is not mere diplomatic visit, they’re attempting to overthrow the Chinese government!

Think about it, at least one person has to know how insane their preaching over ‘openness and transparency’ is, coming as it is from the most secretive US presidency in history, so obviously they’re hoping that every Chinese official who they talk to is going to be laughing so hard that they pass out, and potentially die, from laughing so hard.

Incapacitate and/or eliminate the right officials, and the country will be vulnerable to the second wave of attacks, that of exporting the US’s healthcare system over there, to pick off any survivors. Follow that up by exporting over the US’s IP laws, to destroy any innovation and/or creativity, and in just a few years the once mighty country will be brought to it’s knees, ripe for the picking.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Weapon's-grade humor

It’s already doing that to itself. It seems they forgot, during all that furor about living within your means (you peasants!), that businesses need customers. Now that people are tightening their belts, demand is going down and factories are closing. However, the insanity of “Spend, baby, spend!” continues.

They are creating worthless building projects just to get money moving around.

Shouldn’t they be investing in self-sustaining projects? The bubble will burst in 3…2…1…


Anonymous Coward says:

Openness and Transparency amongst whom

Mike is conflating several issues.

While the US government preaches O&T towards their citizens and openly urge the Chinese leaders to do the same towards theirs, it’s all about O&T among the military: We help you oppress your people, we would like that same Openness and Transparency in return.

Smell the coffee: It’s a DEFENSE-secretary who’s going!

Anonymous Coward says:

so the US expects the Chinese to be ‘as open and transparent’ as, say, the US is when trying to rip everyone else, including the public, but excluding certain, specific industries, when there are ‘Trade Negotiations’ going on, like TPP and TTIP? like with so many other things, the USA is not giving the best examples and no one else has asked it to be, let alone let it think that it’s ‘the World Police’! that seems to be a title it has self-generated, under the same misguided expectation that everyone has to do what it says, but not do what it actually does!

Anonymous Coward says:

No proof that Huawei is used by the Chinese government...

Maybe that’s why the NSA hacked into Huawei in the first place. Either they wanted to see if the claims were true, or they wanted to plant evidence that would eventually make the claims seem to be true. That would be right up there with their “economic espionage in the name of national security” theme.

Ole Juul (profile) says:

Re: no creditability nor bargaining position.

The U.S. may have no credibility nor bargaining position with the people of the western world, but it still manages to call the shots politically. Even Canada has turned into a puppet government. People know it here, but can’t seem to get a grip on how to change that. I think this is a problem the whole world over. The U.S. government may be among the worst for being out of control and literally against its own citizens, but I believe that is a problem many other countries are also facing at this time.

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