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 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan appears to have revitalized militant Islamist groups at a time when the jihadi movement was on the decline and the United States hoped to close the 9/11 era. As such, it is the latest in a decades long series of rebounds and unexpected turns in the evolution of militant Islamism. Why is jihadism so difficult to predict, and what, if anything, can social scientists hold on to as reliable indicators and frameworks for estimating its future? In this talk, Dr. Thomas Hegghammer, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Oslo, will review the forty-year history of scholarly prediction attempts, reflect on his own misjudgments, and draw up tentative - and likely wrong - scenarios for the coming years.
This event will be moderated by MEI Faculty Director Tarek Masoud.