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 Future of Diplomacy Project will host Ambassador Kristie Kenney (32nd Counselor of the U.S. State Department and Ambassador to various countries) in a public seminar to discuss the opportunities and challenges in North Korea, China, and democracy in Southeast Asia.
Ambassador Kristie Kenney holds the State Department’s highest rank of Career Ambassador. Over her 30-year career, she has represented the United States abroad as Ambassador three times and served in senior positions at the State Department and the White House.
Ambassador Kenney served as the 32nd Counselor of the State Department, the Department’s fifth ranking official position. In that capacity, she co-headed the State Department transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. On behalf of Secretary Kerry, she led delegations to Latin America and Asia. She is a frequent public speaker on leadership and foreign policy with a special focus on women’s groups. She launched the State Department’s first-ever leadership podcast series.
As Ambassador to Thailand from 2011-2014, Ambassador Kenney led U.S. assistance during Thailand’s devastating 2011 flooding, and managed the response to the 2014 military coup. She was the first female to head U.S. Embassy Bangkok, one of the United States largest diplomatic missions with over 3,000 staff.
She was the U.S Ambassador to the Philippines from 2006-2010, and was also the first woman to hold that post. There, she coordinated U.S. military and development assistance over multiple natural disasters. During this and subsequent assignments, she pioneered use of social media by U.S. Ambassadors to connect with diverse and dynamic foreign audiences. Earlier, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, where she advanced U.S. business and security interests in Latin America.
Ambassador Kenney grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. She holds a Bachelors degree from Clemson University and a Masters degree from Tulane University. She also attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. She speaks Spanish, and French as well as some Thai and Tagalog. She is married to Ambassador William Brownfield. When not rooting for Washington area sports teams, Ambassador Kenney enjoys travel, skiing, and connecting with social media friends around the globe.