OH!pinion: New World ‘Disorder’

IRSHAD SALIM — The United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved a Russian-sponsored and China-backed resolution that aims to create a new convention on cybercrime — and there’s a huge community throwing its hands up on it — none are throwing in their towel.

The resolution — approved by a vote of 79-60 with 33 abstentions — in plain sight — establishes an expert committee representing all regions of the world “to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes”.

But in between the lines, the “intent” of the RussiaChina Frisbee thrown at the West has been looked at with suspicion — a hot potato served with French Fries reddened with (Heinz) ketchup covered with honey and mustard — and during the holidays.

The United States and its allies in Europe, and rights groups within and outside, fear that the language is code for legitimizing crackdowns on expression, with numerous countries defining criticism of the state, the government or the military as “criminal” or “anti-state” albeit against national security interests.

Modi ought to be happy with the RussiaChina move though, as he turns things upside down — as the world turns — it has been 146 days since Kashmir lockdown and communication blackout — with utmost “silence being the loudest sound”, to quote Arundhati Roy’s piece in August.

On the table for NATO discussion will be the contentious “cyber espionage” between and among countries — in the emerging multipolar world, major players have often blamed one another of crossing blurred lines up in space where “sovereignty and territorial integrity” are chewing gums.

India and Pakistan have, I suspect, a shadow war ongoing — in cyberspace — as Modi bends and turns the Himalayan region in the north to rub nose with the Adam’s Bridge in the south –like a kebab roll of pita bread.

All on world watch.

And Russia, China and the US have had had series of bilateral spats on the use of internet directly or via, overtly or covertly, for snooping — the three global players have been finding ways and means to handle one another’s Harvey the Rabbit.

The US, given its global clout on “expression management” and “perception management”, by the way, leads the use-of-internet race (while the other two may be leading the Rabbit race). And, therefore, the US and other members of Nato met earlier this month in London to front-end space and cyberspace and the rise and rise of China (Russia piggybacks most of the time) as starters on the dinner table discussion.

Meanwhile, Russia, as recently as this week, took practical steps to create an ecosystem to shove its internet community’s bowling activities underneath: it concluded a series of tests during which it successfully disconnected the country from the worldwide web; Internet traffic was re-routed internally, effectively making Russia’s RuNet the world’s largest intranet and thereby achieving “internet sovereignty”.

It was in response to what Russia calls the “aggressive nature” of U.S. national cyber security strategy, according to Reuters.

Called the “internet sovereignty” law, it grants Kremlin (read Putin) the power to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet (read the US) on the grounds of “national security.”

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They can also function (or malfunction), experts say, as an internet surveillance apparatus against cyber war, similar to China’s Great Firewall technology.

These developments come, as I fear, we may be ringing in the New Year just like a deer (holy cow) in front of a car with fully-beamed head lights.

Guess what, Michael Moore predicts President Trump may get another four years to pardon the turkey in the White House on the next four Thanksgiving. Putin has already dissed the impeachment threat looming on Trump.

But Fareed Zakaria has a point. His 360 degree take on new world order disorder — from within, to India, is a head-turner. Across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Zakaria’s articulated giveaways are a 2020 onward special.

Hope Trump doesn’t add salt and pepper to it with a tweet this New Year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed though. JJ (Just Joking)

FAREED ZAKARIA'S 360 DEGREE TAKE: DEC 24, 2019


Irshad Salim is the Editor/Publisher of DesPardes.com and PKonweb.com

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