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.”
Brian O’Neill is the Leader of the Population and Climate Change (PCC) Program and a co-Leader of the Greenhouse Gas Initiative at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. He is also an Assistant Professor (Research) at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.
Leiwen Jiang is an assistant professor (research) of Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Before joining Brown University, he was an associate professor of Institute of Population Research at Peking University.