One of the world’s most notable economists, Professor Nouriel Roubini, has speculated that 2020 will see its first all-out cyber war.
Roubini, speaking on Yahoo! Finance’s ‘On The Move’ show on 28 February 2020, said that the conflict in cyberspace is likely to be between the United States and one of its four main strategic adversaries, namely China, Russia, North Korea, or Iran.
“We imposed sanctions against Russia, China, Korea, and Iran…and they cannot respond to us with conventional power, because we are stronger from a conventional point of view,” Roubini said.
“So if you are a weaker rival of the U.S., and you want to contain the U.S., what you do is asymmetric warfare. Asymmetric warfare means you try to weaken your enemy from the inside, and how you do it is with cyber warfare. So we’ll have the first global cyber warfare this year,” he added.
“All four of them feel the U.S. either wants regime change, or is undermining them, so they are going to respond. And the only way they can respond is cyber.”
Roubini said that the US presidential election in November this year will likely be the spark for cyber warfare, as all four countries – Russia chief among them – are engaged in various types of cyber-attacks, information operations, and propaganda campaigns against US institutions and citizens via cyber networks and social media.
“Suppose they interfere with the election, they do misinformation, and fake news, and deep fakes, and they try to undermine the primaries and so on,” said Roubini.
US intelligence agencies have already stated that Russia’s cyber and disinformation campaigns against the US political and electoral system continues unabated. Many experts and officials fear that unless countered, these types of attacks could bring into question the validity of the political party primaries and even presidential election results.
Roubini went on to suggest that in such a scenario, President Donald J. Trump or his Democrat rival might use the circumstances to not concede a potential electoral loss by claiming that the election result is rigged.
“Then whoever is going to lose, it could be a Democrat or Republican, is going to scream ‘rigged,’” Roubini said.
Roubini, a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, is often referred to as ‘Dr. Doom’ as he is one of the few economists to have correctly predicted and warned about the 2008 housing and financial crisis.