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.”
Dr. Esther Brimmer was nominated by President Obama to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations on March 11, 2009, and was confirmed to that position by the United States Senate on April 2, 2009. In her role as Assistant Secretary, Dr. Brimmer leads the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which strives to advance U.S. interests through international organizations in areas including human rights, peacekeeping, food security, humanitarian relief, and climate change.
Prior to her appointment, Dr. Brimmer was Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. There she specialized in transatlantic political and security affairs.
Dr. Brimmer’s previous government service included two years in the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, where she worked on European Union, Western Europe, UN, and multilateral security issues. Dr. Brimmer was also a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in spring 2000. From 1993-1995 she served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. In that capacity she worked on UN, peacekeeping, human rights and political-military issues.
Dr. Brimmer has previously worked as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, as a Legislative Analyst at the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Dr. Brimmer received her D.Phil. (Ph.D.) and master's degrees in international relations from the University of Oxford and her B.A. in international relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California.