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.”
Following a provocative 2010, the year 2011 was one of diplomatic rapprochement by North Korea. Yet, Pyongyang continued to increase its nuclear capabilities to make its nuclear weapons program more threatening. Then, surprisingly Pyongyang nearly concluded a deal with the U.S. to halt its nuclear program the week before Kim Jong-il died in December. Under the leadership of Kim Jong-un Pyongyang agreed to the deal on Feb. 29, only to announce a week later, to the disbelief of Washington, that it would launch a space probe. Professor Hecker will discuss what to expect next in nuclear developments in North Korea.