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.”
Are international norms about the recourse to war changing? Has the world entered a new era in which preventive war—striking at potential threats rather than defending against imminent danger—is not only acceptable but increasingly preferred by policymakers in an environment rife with qualitatively new threats to the state and national security? This presentation will examine the concept of preventive war, its evolution as a tool of statecraft since the end of Cold War, and possible means of averting a coming age of uncontrolled preventive war.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.
This seminar is co-sponsored by the Project on Managing the Atom.