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.”
Safa Al-Saeedi is a pre-doctoral research fellow with the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is a PhD candidate in political science and a graduate fellow at the Middle East and North Africa program at Northwestern University.
Her research interests include political communication, research methods, and Middle East politics. In her doctoral dissertation, she focuses on media changes and elites’ conflict in non-democratic contexts with an emphasis on the case of Saudi Arabia. She draws primarily on original large-scale data from traditional and digital media, using a range of methods including text-as-data and machine learning. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Political Science Association, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, and the Northwestern Graduate School, among others. Al-Saeedi received her BA from Duke University and MA from Northwestern University’s Political Science Department.Last Updated: Jan 20, 2022, 3:42pm