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.”
Individuals and entities from the private sector have long contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), acting as middlemen and suppliers. Over the past decades, trade in WMD-related goods has become increasingly regulated, and illicit trade increasingly criminalized. Despite the clear role that these actors have played in recent proliferation cases, supplying North Korea and Iran among others, the conceptual literature on proliferation behavior has largely continued to focus on the state level. This seminar will draw on concepts from criminology, and particularly the study of white collar crime, to provide insights into the behavior of these non-state suppliers and middlemen, and to generate more effective means of countering their activities.