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.”
Jonathan Guyer is a journalist focused on the politics of art and literature in the Middle East. He is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a contributing editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. He has written for the Atlantic, Guernica, Harper’s, Los Angeles Review of Books, Le Monde diplomatique, New Yorker, New York Review Daily, New York Times, Paris Review, and Rolling Stone, among others. His research has been supported by fellowships from Fulbright (2012–2013) and the Institute of Current World Affairs (2015–2017). He blogs at Oum Cartoon (http://oumcartoon.tumblr.com) and tweets: @mideastXmidwest.