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.”
This seminar will consider how the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reacted to nuclear crises. Broadly, the IAEA's evolution might be characterized as "punctuated equilibrium," in which a succession of global nuclear crises has disrupted the normal slow pace of the IAEA's development. The IAEA often appears not just to have weathered such crises, but to have successfully leaped through windows of opportunity presented by them. This has resulted in periodic expansions of its mandate, capabilities, and resources. The 2011 Fukushima disaster appears to be a puzzling exception, raising the question of what concatenation of factors needs to be present for the IAEA to take advantage of nuclear crises. The seminar will thus examine the major nuclear crises faced by the IAEA, including Fukushima, in search of preliminary hypotheses. The answers could have important policy implications for the IAEA and its member states.
The slides from this presentation are available here: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22831/
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.