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.”
In his 2009 Prague speech President Obama referred to the need for a new international framework for nuclear energy. Unfortunately he has not elaborated on what this might be. Clearly a major factor behind the idea was the Iranian nuclear program. Now political agreement has been reached on confidence-building steps for the Iranian program, but the underlying issue remains – can confidence-building measures provide sufficient assurance if Iran proceeds with a massive expansion of its enrichment program in 15 years time? This highlights the urgency of developing international consensus on the control of proliferation-sensitive parts of the fuel cycle, addressing the Iranian case and avoiding future cases. This MTA Seminar will be led by John Carlson, MTA Associate and former Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office.