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.”
The United States has been remarkably successful at using the security guarantee as a non-proliferation tool, but during the Cold War, three countries — Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan — were in danger of slipping out from under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Why did these states feel the need to start down the nuclear path, despite being under the protective wing of its nuclear-armed superpower ally? Relying on declassified national security archival documents, this seminar sheds light on the interplay between alliance dynamics and nuclear weapons decision making.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.