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.”
Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO became British Ambassador to the United States in January 2012.
This is his second posting in Washington, having previously served as the British Embassy’s Counselor for Political and Public Affairs in the mid-1990s.
Prior to his service as Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Westmacott served as the British Ambassador to France—from 2007 to 2011—and as Ambassador to Turkey starting in 2002.
Ambassador Westmacott’s forty-year career in the British Diplomatic Service has included postings in Tehran and Brussels, time as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Director for the Americas, and a seat on the board of the Foreign Office as Deputy Under Secretary. In addition, Ambassador Westmacott served as Deputy Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales from 1990 to 1993.
Ambassador Westmacott’s personal connection to the United States extends back even further than his diplomatic posting. In 1942, his father was a sailor on the HMS Illustrious as it underwent repairs in Norfolk, Virginia to recover from damage inflicted during fighting at Malta.