The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Nazli Choucri is a Professor of Political Science at MIT, Senior Faculty at the Center of International Studies (CIS), and Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for Data, Science, and Society (IDSS). Working in computational social sciences, she focuses on international relations and cyberpolitics—with attention to security threats as well as strategies for global accord. She is architect and Director of the Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD), an evolving knowledge system on sustainability problems and solution strategies. Member of the European Academy of Science and Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Dr. Choucri is author and/or editor of twelve books, including International Relations in the Cyber Age: The Co-Evolution Dilemma, with David D. Clark.