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.”
“The skies over the Korean Peninsula on March 21, 2020, were clear and blue.” So begins this sobering report on the findings of the National Commission on the Nuclear Attacks against the United States, established by law by Congress and President Donald J. Trump to investigate the horrific events of the next three days. An independent, bipartisan panel led by nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis, the commission was charged with finding and reporting the relevant facts, investigating how the nuclear war began, and determining whether our government was adequately prepared for combating a nuclear adversary and safeguarding U.S. citizens. Jeffrey Lewis will discuss his new book, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel.
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis is the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com. He is the Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is also a non-resident affiliate at Stanford's Center for Security and International Cooperation and a Contributing Editor to Survival.