What we are all witnessing in the unfolding Wikileaks drama is a stunning reprise of the birth of the nuclear-era at the close of World War II — with cyber warfare playing the role of the American attack on Hiroshima.
With the dropping of the world’s first nuclear weapon, followed quickly by a second over Nagasaki, World War II ended — and the world as it was up until that moment changed radically forever. The Cold War was cold in part due to the recognition that nuclear weapons were so terrifyingly effective that there would be no winners in their mass use. Of the Cold War confrontations — notably Korea and Vietnam — nuclear weapons were never used, and could have been. The Cuban missile crisis terrified the world in its day, concentrating global attention on the real possibility of global annihilation.
The Wikileaks attack on the United States government has quickly been followed by attacks or threatened attacks on non-military institutions such as MasterCard, Visa and Amazon.com. If not stopped, chaos will reign. And this will not be easy to stop. Indeed, SarahPAC, the website of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has been targeted. This means little in terms of Palin herself (somebody doesn’t like her…newsflash.) Added to the other civilian attacks, the Palin attack means quite literally that no one with computerized anything is safe.
While Julian Assange and his followers are leftists, as with the technology that built the bomb, the technology to do what Wikileaks is doing will soon spread. A crazy who hates, say, the New York Times or MSNBC or the Catholic Church or the Democrats or Hollywood or Wall Street — or you — can do precisely what is being done to Palin and the rest. No one, whether institution or individual, will be safe.
This is a major development — and inevitable. It can and will change the world.
In some respects it may help some of the world’s flashpoints. Arguably, Iran’s nuclear missile program could be dismantled without firing a shot — its high tech innards ruined at the press of a button in Jerusalem or by some guy sitting around in his underwear in his basement in Seattle or Kuala Lumpur.
It will also have significant political ramifications. To the extent an aggressive Republican House turns its sights on what the Obama Administration knew and did or didn’t do months ago to stop Wikileaks in its tracks, this could prove to be the most explosive political event of 2011 and the 2012 campaign season. As one American institution, candidate, celebrity or private individual after another falls prey to Wikileaks attacks — and this is related to a perceived incompetence by the Obama Administration — there will be a furious political hell to pay that will make the reaction to ObamaCare look like child’s play.
Stay tuned. Something big is happening right in front of ours eyes. And it may well change the world as we know it.