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.”
Speaker: Zachary Burdette, Research Fellow, International Security Program
Growing tensions with China have raised concerns about how the United States should manage the security implications of the U.S.-China trade relationship. The Trump administration repeatedly floated the idea of "decoupling" the two economies, and the Biden administration has instead called for "de-risking" the relationship. But what exactly decoupling and de-risking mean — and what constitutes the broader range of strategic options available — remains unclear.
This seminar draws on a dissertation project that develops a typology of strategies for how states manage their trade relationships with their security competitors, offers a theory to explain how decisionmakers choose from the menu of strategic options, and uses archival evidence to test this theory and competing explanations against the historical record. In particular, the seminar will focus on how different threat perceptions and economic incentives contributed to variation in U.S. and British strategies toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It will also highlight the implications for contemporary U.S.-China competition.
Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.