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 risks posed by the proliferation of cyber weapons are gaining wide recognition among security planners. Yet the general reaction of scholars of international relations has been to neglect the cyber peril owing to its technical novelties and intricacies. This attitude amounts to either one or both of two claims: the problem is not of sufficient scale to warrant close inspection, or it is not comprehensible to a non-technical observer. This seminar will challenge both assertions. It will make a case and present a framework for the study of international relations in the cyber domain as well as assess the transforming effects—or not—of the related technologies on patterns of rivalry and conflict in the international system.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.
Slides from this presentation are available here: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22140/