Doubling Down on America’s Cyber Diplomacy

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The main loss from the departure of Chris Painter, America’s top cyber diplomat, will not be the loss of one of the top U.S. civil servants in the field, with 26 years in government. Nor will the biggest hit be to U.S. airlines, whose business models have increasingly been depending on the hundreds of thousands of miles he flew, pursuing America’s interests. The makers of Diet Coke will certainly feel the pain, now that Ministries of Foreign Affairs around the world no longer have to stock up on cases of the stuff for Painter’s unending thirst for the fizz. But they’ll survive.

No, those that will suffer most are likely to be American citizens, and indeed netizens in whatever country they live, who depend on an open, free, and secure internet. Painter has been a tireless advocate for these goals—American goals—around the world, and the best days of American cyber diplomacy may be behind us.

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