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.”
While many scholars and practitioners believe that stability is good for cooperation, in this MTA seminar Jane Vayman of the George Washington University Institute for Security and Conflict Studies will argue that international agreements to limit military capabilities are actually more likely to occur during times of new uncertainty about the adversary. The case of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty between the US and USSR demonstrates the effect of domestic political shifts on beliefs and the resultant opportunities for cooperation with high level monitoring and intrusiveness. To extend the arguement, Vaynman will explore how domestic volatility created uncertainty between Egypt and Israel in the lead-up to the 1979 Peace Treaty, India and Pakistan in negotiations on the 1999 Lahore Declaration, and the U.S. and Iran in the recent deal on Iran's nuclear program.