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.”
Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo. She has previously been a Junior Faculty Fellow at CISAC, Stanford University, and a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard University. She received her doctoral degree from London School of Economics in 2009, which received the Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize from BISA in 2010. She recently published Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons (Cornell University Press, 2016), which was reviewed in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Affairs, HDiplo, Babylon, and Internasjonal Politikk. Her work has been published in International Security, The Middle East Journal, the New York Times (online), International Herald Tribune, Monkey Cage and War on the Rocks.