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.”
Dr. A. Wess Mitchell is a non-resident Fellow with the Applied History Project.
Dr. A. Wess Mitchell served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2017 to 2019. In this role, he was responsible for diplomatic relations with the 50 countries of Europe and Eurasia, as well as the institutions of NATO, the EU and OSCE. At State Department, Mitchell played a principal role in formulating Europe strategy in support of the 2017 National Security Strategy, led the Interagency in building instruments to counter Russian and Chinese influence in Europe, and spearheaded new diplomatic initiatives for Central Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans.
Prior to joining the State Department, Mitchell cofounded and served as President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). He is the author of three books, including most recently Unquiet Frontier: Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies and the Crisis of American Power (with Jakub J. Grygiel) and The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire (Princeton University Press, 2018). Mitchell’s numerous articles and reports have been translated into a dozen languages and appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, American Interest, National Interest, Orbis and Internationale Politik.
Mitchell holds a doctorate in political science from the Otto Suhr Institut für Politikwissenschaft at Freie Universität in Berlin, a master’s degree from the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he was awarded the 2004 Hopper Award, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Tech University. During the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitchell served on the national security team of Gov. Mitt Romney. From 2013 to 2016, he chaired the Europe Working Group of the John Hay Initiative. He formerly served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of State and currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of directors at CEPA, as a senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and as a Non-Resident Fellow in the Applied History Project Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center. A sixth generation Texan, he lives with his family in Virginia.Last Updated: Dec 13, 2019, 3:45pm