The Obama administration’s decision to bring criminal charges against members of the Chinese military is already showing signs of straining the U.S. relationship with China.
Shortly after the Justice Department accused five Chinese officers of hacking U.S. companies, China announced that it is withdrawing from a joint cybersecurity working group. The U.S. and China launched the working group last year to try to reach agreements over the use of cyber espionage.
Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese government, said China will announce more retaliations “as the situation evolves.”
According to the indictments, the five men were members of a hacking group that stole trade secrets from major U.S. companies including Westinghouse, United States Steel, and Alcoa.
But the Chinese spokesman claimed the charges were “based on deliberately fabricated facts.” He also pointed to the Edward Snowden leaks as evidence that the U.S. is hypocritical when it condemns others for spying.
“China is a victim of severe U.S. cybertheft, wiretapping, and surveillance activities,” he claimed.
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictments Monday, he emphasized that China’s behavior is fundamentally different than spying by the National Security Agency. The U.S. may spy on other countries, but it does not steal secrets to give its own companies an economic edge, he argued.
Adam Segal, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, said it’s not likely that China will try to bring criminal charges against NSA officials or other members of the U.S. government. But he said he expects China to take other steps against the U.S. in the coming days.
Segal explained that China doesn’t see an important distinction between spying to protect national security and spying to help domestic companies.
“There’s not such a clear line between the public and private sector in China,” he said. “Their conception of economic power and national power doesn’t really see this distinction.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."