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Cyberpolitics in International Relations

Cyberpolitics in International Relations

Nazli Choucri
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Cyberpolitics in International Relations
    Book Description:

    Cyberspace is widely acknowledged as a fundamental fact of daily life in today's world. Until recently, its political impact was thought to be a matter of low politics--background conditions and routine processes and decisions. Now, however, experts have begun to recognize its effect on high politics--national security, core institutions, and critical decision processes. In this book, Nazli Choucri investigates the implications of this new cyberpolitical reality for international relations theory, policy, and practice. The ubiquity, fluidity, and anonymity of cyberspace have already challenged such concepts as leverage and influence, national security and diplomacy, and borders and boundaries in the traditionally state-centric arena of international relations. Choucri grapples with fundamental questions of how we can take explicit account of cyberspace in the analysis of world politics and how we can integrate the traditional international system with its cyber venues. After establishing the theoretical and empirical terrain, Choucri examines modes of cyber conflict and cyber cooperation in international relations; the potential for the gradual convergence of cyberspace and sustainability, in both substantive and policy terms; and the emergent synergy of cyberspace and international efforts toward sustainable development. Choucri's discussion is theoretically driven and empirically grounded, drawing on recent data and analyzing the dynamics of cyberpolitics at individual, state, international, and global levels.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30517-4
    Subjects: Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. I New Challenges to International Relations:: Theory and Policy

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-24)

      Cyberspace is a fact of daily life. Because of its ubiquitous nature and vast scale and scope, cyberspace—including the Internet and the hundreds of millions of computers the Internet connects, the institutions that enable it, and the experiences it enables—has become a fundamental feature of the world we live in and has created a new reality for almost everyone in the developed world and for rapidly growing numbers of people in the developing world.¹

      Until recently, cyberspace was considered largely a matter oflow politics—a term used to denote background conditions and routine decisions and processes. By...

    • 2 Theory Matters in International Relations
      (pp. 25-48)

      This chapter presents the theoretical frame used in this book to explore cyberpolitics—the conjunction of human interactions (politics) surrounding the determination of who gets what, when, and how¹ and actions enabled by the uses of virtual spaces (cyber)—in international relations. The purpose is to develop an approach to integrating kinetic and cyber domains by focusing on levels of analysis in international relations—the individual, the state system, the international system, and the global system—and their linkages and interactions. Extending the lateral pressure theory, we examine the dynamics of transformation and change that shape and reflect the complex...

    • 3 Cyberspace: New Domain of International Relations
      (pp. 49-70)

      Cyberspace is such a recent phenomenon that its enabling capabilities are only now becoming apparent. In human history the expansion of frontiers created new spaces for human activity. Earlier initiatives, such as the discovery or exploration of outer space, were impressive in their own right; at the time they were considered near miracles. But the construction of cyberspace as a virtual reality has no precedent, nor does its configuration in terms of global scale and scope. This chapter examines patterns of cyberspace participation and differentials in cyber access and introduces some features of cyberpolitics explored in later chapters.

      Access to...

    • 4 Cyber Content: Leveraging Knowledge and Networking
      (pp. 71-88)

      If there is a phrase that most aptly characterizes world politics today, it is “the global race for knowledge.”¹ Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” To shape or control the content of knowledge is itself an exercise in power. The previous chapter looked at patterns of participation in the new space. But cyber access alone tells us little about the substantive uses of cyber venues or about cyberspace’s enabling functionalities. As a venue for communication and interaction, cyberspace highlights the importance of knowledge in politics. In this context,...

  5. II Cyber Venues and Levels of Analysis

    • 5 The State System: National Profiles and Cyber Propensities
      (pp. 91-124)

      Part II of this book explores in some detail the interactions of the traditional real-kinetic world and the new cyberspace features of structure and process in international relations. It follows closely the levels of analysis logic introduced in chapter 2, in terms of the state system, the international system, and the global system, known also as second, third, and fourth images. Recall that this logic extends the traditional three-level view of international interactions presented by Kenneth Waltz (1959) by defining a fourth image, the global system, and by expanding the scope, taking into account the environmental system and the cyber...

    • 6 The International System: Cyber Conflicts and Threats to Security
      (pp. 125-154)

      Cyberpolitics at the international level is evolving, complex, and dynamic in scale and scope; it is also increasingly diverse in its various modes and manifestations. This chapter explores different types of cyber conflicts and their various manifestations. We recognize that realities on the ground and in cyber venues can change very rapidly, and that both catalogue and the characteristics of conflict may take on new features. We also expect that, over time, the nature of cyberpolitics will be charted more fully and its key elements and parameters will be better understood. Our purpose here is only to map cyber conflicts...

    • 7 The International System: Cyberpolitics of Cooperation and Collaboration
      (pp. 155-174)

      A persistent challenge in international politics is how to navigate the critical disconnects between the “demand” for managing the global agenda and the “supply” of authoritative mechanisms. This chapter on the international system explores alternative ways in which cyberspace is used to pursue collaborative values and practices worldwide and, more important, to articulate the nature and legitimacy surrounding newly developed norms.

      The large literature on coordinated international actions addresses a wide range of collaborative mechanisms and their implementation, but it is disparate and contingent on alternative theoretical precepts.¹ Our purpose here is not to review the literature but to focus...

    • 8 The Global System: Pressures of Growth and Expansion
      (pp. 175-204)

      This chapter focuses on the global system—in conventional kinetic rather than cyber terms—to highlight the expansion of human activities and the resulting threats to the resilience of national and social systems. Our purpose is to provide the rationale for the gradual coevolution of cyberspace (a new arena of communication and interaction) and sustainability (a new policy imperative, on local to global scales). We identify some of the threats to the viability of the global system and the early responses by the international community. In the next chapter we extend the discussion to examine the synergy of cyberspace and...

    • 9 Cyberspace and Sustainability: Convergence on the Global Agenda
      (pp. 205-220)

      Extending the logic of the previous analysis, this chapter explores the emerging synergy between cyberspace (a new arena of interaction) and sustainability (a new initiative for the global system), and their convergence on the global policy agenda. This convergence reflects the conjunction of two processes, the growing pressures for transitions toward sustainability in the real context of human interactions and the expanded, cyber-enabled opportunities for the pursuit of goals and objectives.

      We highlight the processes that are effectively integrating traditional and cyber international relations, and the dynamics that support this integration. The empirical basis of the sustainability dilemma is the...

    • 10 Conclusion: Lateral Realignment and the Future of Cyberpolitics
      (pp. 221-238)

      The properties of cyberspace are difficult to reconcile and address effectively by traditional theory or modes of inquiry in the analysis of world politics. This chapter pulls together the diverse threads of this book to highlight the new imperatives for twenty-first-century international relations theory created by various forms of cyberpolitics. Cyberspace has shaped new, fluid, and ever changing spaces—as well as structures and processes—for the conduct of international relations. Many of the cyber issues addressed in this book have already contributed to political realignments that are affecting international politics today. It is not too soon to consider alternative...

  6. Notes
    (pp. 239-262)
  7. References
    (pp. 263-292)
  8. Index
    (pp. 293-312)