The Birth of 'The Cool War'

by Wassim on Février 28, 2013 - 1:18am

With the turn of the centaury, technology has been rapidly growing. It has made life significantly easier and has even cured certain diseases. However, can everyday technology harm us? Is there are greater use for them than we can possibly fathom? According to an article titled “The Cool War” written by David Rothkopf and published by Foreign Policy on February 20, 2013, there is. This is especially shown in the recent news article entitled “Chinese Army Unit is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.” written by David E. Sanger, David Barboza, and Nicole Perlroth and published by The New York Times on February 18, 2013. Ever since the end of “The Cold War”, spies have become unnecessary because technology has replaced them. It is much easier to hack another nation’s intelligence than to send a trained professional that may take years to find important information. According to the academic journal entitled “Secret Sharers: In an Age of Leaks, Forgeries, and Internet Hoaxes, Archivists must Guard Information while keeping Hackers at Bay” written by Elena S. Danielson on September 1, 2011, confidential information can be found just by going on the internet.

The “successor to the Cold War”, know by David Rothkopf as “The Cool War”, has begun. This new type of war contains similar traits to its father. However, there are two major differences.  The Cold War was considered to be “cold” since all confrontations were in the form of proxy wars. Thus, this new war is “cool” because David Rothkopf believes that there will be more offensive confrontations. The second reason concerns the ‘coolness’ of new technology and its multiple uses.

            Hacking, though an unorthodox use, has been performed just last week. According to Sanger, Barboza, and Perlroth, China was able to hack into US intelligence and collect important information. Unfortunately, The New York Times did not enclose exactly what they were able to access, but Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf writes that the Chinese have acquired “insights into how the U.S. economy works, and an increasing ability to interrupt the functions of individual companies, important elements of [US’s] critical infrastructure and significant sources of America's strength and security”. However, shouldn’t this information already be known by the US population?

            Archivists hold the power to release important information to the population. This is the job Elena S. Danielson does on a daily basis. Danielson, as well as other archivists, look over many government files and either release them to the public, or continue to keep them confidential. Danielson writes that the internet has become a central hub of confidential information that has made her job significantly harder, since hackers of any kind can access and release confidential information.  This work is effectively done by Wikileaks. Danielson continues to write that Wikileaks releases illegal information that may or may not be authentic. However, with the case of Chine hacking the US, we can clearly see that the information is quite authentic.

            Though I love to become increasingly knowledgeable in all fields, Danielson raises a good point. Not everyone will receive certain information well, especially if the information refers to a certain group of people. When China gained access to US intelligence, China wasn’t looking to release information to its population. Rather, I believe China plans to use this information as a tactic for war. So, if this information was already released to the population, could it still be used as tactic for war? Should all information be released to the public, or should it be concealed? These are questions archivists, like Danielson, ask themselves everyday. When is it right to release classified information? When is it better to conceal information? Archivists simply do their best to protect the world from its own destruction and I applaud them for their watchful eye. Without them, would we be able to handle all the knowledge in the world?


Rothkopf, David. “The Cool War” Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy, 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Sanger, David E., Barboza, David and Perlroth, Nicole. ““Chinese Army Unit is seen as Tied to

Hacking Against U.S.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2013. 20 Feb. 2013.

Danielson, Elena S. “Elena S. Danielson” Elena S. Danielson. Elena S. Danielson, 2012. 20

Feb. 2013.

Danielson, Elena S. “Secret Sharers: In an Age of Leaks, Forgeries, and Internet Hoaxes,

Archivists must Guard Information while keeping Hackers at Bay” American Scholar

80.4 (2011): 36-46. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.