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.”
How do latent nuclear capabilities in the form of enrichment and reprocessing facilities affect interstate deterrence and coercion? Recent scholarship suggests that latency creates a “virtual” nuclear capability that can be used to deter threats or extract concessions, but these findings run counter to research demonstrating that states cannot deter without at least a deliverable nuclear device. This presentation aims to investigate this puzzling inconsistency by employing statistical analysis on an expanded dataset of latency measures and a variety of both military and bargaining outcomes.