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: Stephen Herzog, Senior Researcher in Nuclear Arms Control, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich; Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Why do some treaties face difficult entry-into-force prospects after negotiators agree on their legal provisions? Multilateral nuclear arms control treaties, for example, often face far more contentious journeys to enter into force than their bilateral counterparts. These treaties usually indicate the number of states that must deposit ratification instruments, or may even require participation by specific states. To better understand such delays, Stephen Herzog presents a theory of treaty entry-into-force.
Herzog argues that negotiators may identify key named veto players to ensure successful implementation of multilateral treaties. In both arms control and other areas of international cooperation, the more veto players an agreement mandates, the greater its potential effectiveness. Yet, unintended consequences may emerge as an expanded club of veto players increases entry-into-force challenges. Put differently: There is a trade-off between treaty effectiveness and ease of entry-into-force.
Herzog demonstrates the logic of this argument with a case study of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Language requiring ratification by 44 named "nuclear-capable" states has created significant obstacles to realizing an inspectable global prohibition on nuclear explosive testing.
Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar: