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.”
Isobel Coleman is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where she focuses on the Middle East and South Asia. She is the director of CFR’s Civil Society, Markets and Democracy Initiative. She is also the director of the Council’s Women and Foreign Policy Program. Her areas of expertise include democratization, civil society and economic development, regional gender issues, educational reform, and microfinance. She is the author and co-author of numerous publications, including Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010), Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) and Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security (Hoover Press, 2006). Her writings have also appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and online venues such as the Huffington Post. She is a frequent speaker at academic, business, and policy conferences. In 2010, she served as a track leader for the Clinton Global Initiative.
Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Coleman was CEO of a healthcare services company and a partner with McKinsey & Co. in New York. A Marshall Scholar, she holds a DPhil and MPhil in international relations from Oxford University and a BA in public policy and East Asian studies from Princeton University. She serves on several non-profit boards, including Plan USA and Student Sponsor Partners.