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.”
A discussion with Dr. Graham T. Allison on his new book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
"Thucydides’s Trap" is a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. Allison argues that unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.
Are China and the United States on a path to conflict? What steps must both powers take to avoid disaster?
Dr. Graham T. Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Graham Allison has served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan and as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans under President Clinton. His first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, ranks among the all-time bestsellers with more than 450,000 copies in print.
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