Thomas Rid’s Arguement on the Impossibility of Cyber War Essay

862 Words 4 Pages
In the article, Thomas Rid’s main argument other than the contention that cyber war will not happen is that cyber war is completely misplaced if not entirely misunderstood. He argues that the concept of cyber war is not in tandem with the historical definition and understanding of what constitutes ‘’war’’. Rid’s definition of war, borrowed from Carl von Clausewitz, is that war must constitute three elements: violence, instrumental and political. (Rid, Cyber War Will Not Take Place, 2012) Therefore, his main argument against the possibility for cyber war is premised on the idea that cyber war can never have or express the above three elements. He further argues that at best, cyber war can achieve some of the above criteria such as violence but only through intermediaries; however, he does not see how cyber war can meet all the three criteria.
To provide evidence for his argument, Rid first establishes the meaning of war based on history after which he thoroughly examines contemporary events that have been largely referred to as embodiments of cyber warfare. For example, he cites the cases of Georgia, Estonia and Siberian pipeline explosions as incidences that have been considered cyber war. (Rid, Cyber War Will Not Take Place, 2012) However, he goes on to analyze each case as to whether they embody any of the three elements that define war. For instance, in the case of Georgia he argues that despite the war rhetoric by the international press, there was no actual violence…