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.”
Under what conditions do states seriously consider and use preventive military force as a counter proliferation strategy against adversarial nuclear weapons programs? In this seminar, Ms. Whitlark will utilize the comparative case study method and conducts archival research and process tracing into six cases of American and Israeli counter-proliferation decision-making. She will argue that it is the pre-presidential or pre-prime ministerial beliefs of executives, specifically their beliefs about the general consequences of nuclear proliferation and the ability to deter the particular proliferator in question, that determine a leader’s likely counter-proliferation behavior once in office.
To illustrate this argument, Ms. Whitlark will explore the case of U.S. decision-making vis-à-vis the Chinese nuclear program between 1961 and 1964 and will demonstrate that it is the divergent prior beliefs of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson on nuclear issues that explain why Kennedy seriously considered and planned for preventive military action prior to his untimely death, but Johnson gave no such consideration of military force in the immediate aftermath of the assassination and up through the Chinese nuclear test in October 1964.
Coffee and tea provided. Please join us - Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.