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.”
Why do some interstate rivalries end while others persist? Why do some states decide to pursue peaceful relations while others remain stuck in militarized competition? Using evidence from five nuclear rivalries along with quantitative evidence from the universe of interstate rivalries since World War II, Christopher Clary, MTA/ISP Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow, will demonstrate that domestic economic conditions motivate leaders to pursue conciliatory policies toward historic rivals when those leaders have firm control over their state's foreign policy institutions.