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.”
The Iranian nuclear program and the challenge posed to nuclear security by non-state terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda, acquiring such weapons have generated substantial debate. While these two issues are poles apart, they have a common denominator: the use of the Islamic legal discourse to justify their respective leaderships’ positions on the matter. Indeed, while the former presents Sharia law as a limiting factor, prohibiting nuclear weapons, the second has long justified its pursuit of a nuclear capability through the Islamic faith. A third actor, Pakistan, has not taken a stance on the legal debate, yet it became the first Muslim state to develop a nuclear arsenal, securing funding for its program by depicting it as the ‘Islamic bomb.’
Does Islam in fact govern the production, possession, and use of nuclear weapons, by prohibiting, tolerating, or rather encouraging the acquisition of such weapons? This seminar will identify and assess the potential strategic implications of this legal outcome, including the impact of the religious discourse on regional stability and national and international security.
Coffee and tea provided. Please join us - Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.