In a conference afterwards, Biden said the following:
“I looked at him and I said, ‘How would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?’ He said it would matter.”
Seriously? This is an argument that Biden chose to make?
Look, let’s suppose for a moment that Russia really was behind the cyberattacks in question. This assumes facts not in evidence, but let’s presume it for sake of argument.
How would Putin feel if this were done to Russia? Would he feel angry? Probably. Frustrated? Probably, especially if there wasn’t anything he could do about it. What about the Russian people affected by such a cyberattack? They’d be hurt in many ways. Might Putin be saddened by the harm done to the Russian people? Perhaps.
Does Biden think Putin doesn’t know this? He set off an attack against the US (remember, we’re presuming that for sake of argument) and didn’t know it would hurt and anger people? They’d be all happy about it?
Or maybe that it would hurt Americans and anger and frustrate American “leadership” (well, it says “leadership” on the label anyway) is exactly why he would do something like that. He has thought about what it would be like to be on the receiving end. That’s why he would do it in the first place (again, presuming for sake of argument).
I see the same thing in certain anti-bullying memes. “The person you called fat is struggling with…” “The person you did this to had that problem.” All this is supposed to make the bullies feel bad and stop bullying. The problem is that bullies. don’t care. Well, they “care” in the sense that such things are exactly why bullies choose their targets in the first place. The person struggling with depression who, therefore, doesn’t engage his or her peers and thus has no circle of friends? Doesn’t matter to the bully. All that matters is that someone is vulnerable and weak and therefore a prime target.
There problems make them hurt more? From the bully’s perspective that’s a plus. They want their target to hurt. Other stuff that increases their pain is just an added bonus. The whole point of an attack is to hurt the other guy. That’s why they call it an “attack” and not a “fluffy bunny.”
Appeal to “feelings” is stupid in schoolyard anti-bullying campaigns. And it’s criminally irresponsible when it comes to international politics.