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Several commentaries and an article in the People’s Daily all suggest that Beijing is not reacting to the public announcements with anything approaching shame. In fact, they all portray the claims as part of an effort to discredit China and distract from the offensive actions the United States is taking in cyberspace. The People’s Daily notes that while the United States is portraying itself as the “patron saint of the free Internet” it has plans to expand U.S. Cyber Command fivefold. He Hui, deputy director at the Communication University of China, argues that the claims about Chinese hacking are getting tiresome and in fact serve three alternate purposes: they raise suspicion about China’s rise in the United States and the rest of the world; help raise defense budgets, especially for cyber weapons; and justify protectionist trade measures against Chinese firms that are beginning to challenge the big American companies.In analyzing international relations, it is often fruitful to see problems from the adversary’s perspective. As Segal’s post suggests, and as China’s reaction this week confirms, from China’s perspective, the USG – with its redoubtable National Security Agency, its newly established Cyber Command, its documented successes in true cyberattacks, its publicly announced plans to enhance significantly its cyber capabilities (including offensive capabilities), its commitment to preemptive offensive measures to check serious cyber threats, and its aggressive policy of promoting online censorship-defeating tools (which the Chinese government sees as a core attack on Chinese sovereignty) – is at least as big a bully on the block. The United States and China have for a while been engaged in a cyber arms race of sorts (though the “weapons” are various). It is an especially dangerous arms race because of its vast potential scope and because it is taking place almost entirely in the shadows. I don’t have any great solutions to the problem (compare this novel proposal by Stewart Baker, which is interesting but does not consider how China might retaliate), and my criticisms of the administration should definitely be seen in that light. But I feel pretty confident that unless and until we seek to better understand and (to some degree) to accommodate cybersecurity problems as the Chinese see them – a step that would be contrary to many American values, and thus something I do not expect to happen anytime soon – the arms race will continue, unabated, and not obviously to our net benefit.