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.”
On 20 September, the treaty banning nuclear weapons opened for signature in New York after a record time of only three weeks of negotiations. The treaty gives rise to high emotions and may call into question the current disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. The Netherlands was the only NATO ally that participated. Marjolijn van Deelen will discuss why and how the Netherlands took its decisions regarding the treaty and comment on the significance of this process.