Let's be honest. The Russia mess is embarrassing. Here we are nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War and Russia has got us daily chasing our tails in a way that makes us look like rank amateurs on the world stage. Who's meeting with the Russians? What did they do to our presidential election? How did they do it? Why were we unable to stop it? Why do they seem to be about 10 steps ahead of us? What will they do next? Will we be ready? Do we have any idea how to go on the offensive in this new version of warfare? Are the rapid changes in technology working against us so thoroughly that we'll always be behind this determined and capable adversary?
It's starting to feel, on the technology level at least, like 1957 when the Soviet launch of Sputnik shocked America and its partners in the free world. But here's the thing, it shocked us into action. Sure there was a round of fingerpointing as people tried to find someone to blame for being so clearly behind our feared enemy. But we got to work. We established NASA and charged it with catching up and moving us ahead, we retooled our basic education system, and we generally committed ourselves to the sort of national effort needed to respond to the challenge posed by the Soviet's clear geopolitical advantage.
What do we see happening now? Denials, cover-ups, infighting, wishful thinking, accusations, and that's about it. None of those constitute a strategy for overcoming this newest Russian threat. Where are the bright ideas from our best minds about what we should be doing strategically to successfully fend off future cyber attacks? Where is the national leadership challenging us to work together to meet this obvious national emergency? Why do we not see an American public united in its resolve to defeat the most recent threat to our democracy? While we bitch about each other, while we spout partisan nonsense for God knows whose consumption, while we call each other "the enemy" and worse, you can bet the Russians, when they're done laughing at us, are hard at work on the next generation of cyber attacks. Given the apparent success of their recent efforts, I shudder to think what the next round might bring if we fail to act decisively and collectively in our clear national interest. Maybe our social, political, and economic leaders should take a hard look at our response to the events of 1957, and see what lessons those very dark days of the Cold War hold for us. That's got to be better than what they're doing now.