Did the Obama-Xi cyber-security agreement work better than is commonly remembered?
Experts generally agree that the Obama administration’s cyber-security policies were a mixed bag. Managing cyber-security was an extraordinarily difficult task, given the novel nature of the technology and the escalating degree of threat. The United States certainly conducted successful offensive operations under Obama, including the Stuxnet attack and possibly certain “left of launch” attacks on North Korean missile programs. The former may have contributed to the willingness of Iran to deal on its nuclear program, while the latter does not appear to have meaningfully slowed or stopped the North Korean program. The Snowden files also revealed a variety of offensive tools and capabilities that could be used against Russia, China, or other potential threats.