As the Russian proverb goes, “flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies.” Thirty years after the Cold War ended, the contentious relationship between Russia and the U.S. continues to be a top foreign relations issue.
It is well-documented that the U.S. government intelligence community believes the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. Prior to the election, candidate Trump heaped praises upon Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Russian leader returned the favor. Now, President Trump has stated emphatically that he asked Putin directly whether his country attempted to undermine our election process, to which Putin responded, “No.” And so it goes on.
To provide business leaders with insight into the security issues and business considerations of key geographies, Cylance®, in partnership with CSO Media, is hosting a series of webinars with renowned security experts.
For the second webinar in this three-webinar series, we asked Dr. Robert Gates to speak on the topic of Russia. Dr. Gates served as both a U.S. Secretary of Defense and a CIA Director, influencing U.S. intelligence and defense policies over the past four and a half decades.
During this webinar, Dr. Gates provides us with some very candid insights into the history of U.S. and Russian relations, Putin’s goals and motivations, what our government should be doing now, and considerations for companies seeking to do business in the region.
According to Dr. Gates, problems confronting the world today are more complicated than at any time since World War II. “Putin is seeking to weaken Western institutions, faith in the West, and the honest outcome of our elections,” he asserts.
Instead of working to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, our Congress should be focused on preventing Russia from meddling in future elections, for the sake of the U.S. and our allies.
Russia is reportedly using contract hackers-for-hire, which makes attribution difficult and provides Russian leadership with plausible deniability. Dr. Gates believes that we should follow the example of the Baltic states, which have many more years of experience with Putin-sponsored disinformation campaigns.
He calls for exposing the Russian government’s involvement in hacking and fake news distribution. This will serve to hold Putin and other Russian leaders responsible, embarrass Putin, and provide citizens of Western countries with a clear understanding of what is happening.
Finding a balance between holding Russia accountable for its actions, and maintaining open dialogue with the Kremlin is key, according to Dr. Gates. There have been reported near misses with Russian and U.S. planes and ships. In the event of an incident, we need to have a forum for open communications in place to prevent escalation.
“Very carefully,” Dr. Gates says. While planning to set up offices, hire employees, and get local sales and distribution channels functioning, global companies must also consider how to maneuver in a corrupt environment, be mindful of cybersecurity challenges, and avoid tripping over sanctions. That said, the Russian economy is pulling out of a recession, and the economy is growing. There is definitely an opportunity to be successful.
After 9/11, the relationship between Russia and the U.S. was in far better shape than it is today. Terrorism currently poses a threat to both countries, and Dr. Gates believes this presents a clear opportunity to work together.
To hear more from Dr. Gates, register now to watch the upcoming webinar, “Russia: Cybercrime and Prevention”, where Dr. Gates is joined by Malcolm Harkins, Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cylance, and CSO Media Publisher, Bob Bragdon.