America has to hack as long as Russia does.
I agree (don't forget China). International politics is often the "best of a bad situation".
I mean, if the USA went all hugbox-mode like the left wants, we'd be okay and have great relations. ... For a decade or so. And then other countries that don't play fair (Russia/China) would start overtaking us and then what? Build a time machine?
However, the way the USA doesn't protect its own citizens from hacking is downright disturbing. It should be throwing CEOs in jail who allow info to leak (a few "examples" of high-level management in jail would push the entire business ecosystem toward spending billions on security). The USA should be running awareness campaigns. "Viruses are the STDs of the computer world. Are you sure you're protected?" with a bigass picture of a condom. It should be taught in schools. The USA should have a department whose sole job is security audits and handing out certifications to businesses so that nobody does business (or buys a product from) someone without a basic level of certification.
And the fact the USA doesn't do that, leans me strongly to believe that the USA treats its citizens as antagonists--not allies. It's not looking out for us. It's looking out for itself and we're just as dangerous ("muh evil whistleblowers exposing THE THINGS WE ACTUALLY DID.") if not more so than foreign nations in their eyes.
Like did you know, under Obama, the amount of classified documents has exploded EXPONENTIALLY?
Note that we didn't BEGIN any new wars that year. We didn't fight any new foes. There aren't any new nation-states with nukes and aircraft carriers. We're still fighting the same people those years. So what changed? The butthole Obama ran on a platform of "transparency" and we gobbled it up like sheep. And then? He exponentially increases the amount of NON-transparent documents.
Why? My contention is pretty simple and harks back to basic human nature. Those classified documents are not to keep nation-states out. The number of foreign threats is the same as it's been for a decade. No, those documents are to keep citizens from filing FOIA requests and finding out what they're doing. They're abusing classified documents to simply protect their own butts--to hide their activities from the voting public... the people who are supposed to hold their government accountable.
Whatever Snowden and Manning exposed, was a tiny tip of a huge iceberg and the government didn't actually give two craps about their releases. It was just beating the drum to take peoples eyes elsewhere and focus on old, outdated, useless data, while the new (and serious) unethical stuff has been completely forgotten about.
All that said, one more minor point. It can be argued that the USA should hack until technology or culture renders that obsolete. However, it's much harder to argue the USA overthrowing other people's elections. Even if it's "in the best interest" of the USA, as we've seen with Saddam Hussein: One generation's savior, is the next generation's Hitler.
Humanity's vision is imperfect, and international politics is significantly less clear, so the idea of overthrowing entire countries to help us "today" is a seriously dangerous venue. If you could argue for it, you'd be on the edge of a very short ethical cliff. There's so much that can go wrong, and so many people that are hurt (even ourselves in the future), that only in the most razor-thin of situations should that be allowed.
And further, the fact that we overthrow their elections and then give them aid (as if we actually care about them) once everything blows up? That's so sick. To piss on someone and then hand them tissues while you proudly beat your chest and tell them you're the "good guys".