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.”
Terrorists, rebels, and insurgents commonly break down and split apart, with new groups emerging from the ranks of existing organizations. Militants from Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan have splintered and proliferated in this way, producing fragmented oppositions that significantly complicate the conflict landscape. However, these new groups often exhibit very different trajectories, with some lasting for decades and becoming highly radicalized while others quickly fall apart.
This seminar examines variation among militant splinter groups, and the speaker argues that how and why they break away is key to explaining their ultimate behavior. This research not only demonstrates that how militants form strongly shapes their long-term trajectory, but it also calls into question key assumptions that are central to U.S. counterinsurgency policy.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.