Britain is as vulnerable to a devastating Russian cyber attack as the United States, John Bolton has warned.
Writing in the Telegraph, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser says the massive security breach perpetrated by the Kremlin’s hackers should set alarm bells ringing in Whitehall.
“Obviously, what Russia did to America, it can do to Britain. For those who doubted that cyberspace is a potential war-fighting domain, here’s your wake-up call.
“It dwarfs the flap between Washington and London over excluding Huawei from participating in 5G systems. This is the big one,” he writes.
“The West urgently needs full understanding of the strategic significance of Russia’s attack, and the scope and duration of the necessary response.
“This is a project for presidents and prime ministers, not geeks. We are behind.”
This was one of a number of challenges faced by diplomats in London and Washington, especially with the relationship in flux following the election of Joe Biden.
The immediate challenge, Mr Bolton adds, is negotiating a trade deal. Despite Mr Trump’s rhetoric, little was achieved.
There are fears that a Biden administration will not prioritise a bilateral trade deal.
Britain’s diplomats should stress the importance of close economic ties with the US as well as maintaining a united front towards an increasingly powerful and ruthless regime in Beijing.
“Trade matters rarely receive Washington’s sustained high-level attention, but such focus here is fundamental to keep talks proceeding apace.”
Brexit, Mr Bolton adds, has enabled Britain to act as a fully sovereign nation. But there is still much work to be done.