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.”
Speaker: Rebecca Davis Gibbons, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program
The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is widely credited with contributing to international security through its promotion of nuclear restraint. Whereas almost all states in the international system are members of the NPT, many of these states have not signed on to additional treaties and agreements designed to strengthen the regime. Having already committed to foreswear the possession of nuclear weapons, why would some NPT members avoid taking steps to further the treaty's proclaimed goals? States' affinity to U.S. global leadership explains such variation.
Employing quantitative analysis drawn from an original dataset of nuclear nonproliferation commitment indicators, this project finds a significant relationship between affiliation with the U.S. global order and nuclear nonproliferation regime commitment. The findings suggest that the nuclear nonproliferation regime should be considered part of the U.S.-led order. Ultimately, the regime may falter without superpower backing.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.