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Ronald Deibert
Louis W. Pauly

Maschmeyer, Lennart


Power in Cyberspace


Born in Germany, Lennart left at age 22 for a yearlong working holiday in New Zealand. This experience was to spark his interest in International Relations, realizing how different the world looked from that vantage point compared to his home country – and how different in turn to the diverse worldviews held by other travelers from across the world, each shaped by their own domestic context. It posed the question: what holds this diverse world together? To explore the answers, he stayed in the country that had made him pose this question to pursue a BA in International Relations and Political Science. He returned to Europe to deepen his understanding of this field for an M.Phil at the University of Oxford. After a brief stint in Brazil where he worked as a translator, Lennart moved to Toronto in 2014 to commence his Ph.D.

His dissertation examines the nature of power in cyberspace and the implications for power politics. Contrary to common assumptions, cyberspace has not become subject to increasing destructive and disruptive cyber attacks. Instead, the vast majority of activity lies below the threshold of conflict. Why? Lennart Maschmeyer’s thesis contends that the properties of the cyberspace environment favor covert operations while extending the effectiveness of non-violent means of projecting power. This situation elevates the strategic role of covert operations as instruments of power. To explore this change, Lennart’s thesis compares a Cold War covert operations to cyber operations, tracing in each case why decision-makers chose this type of operation against the alternatives.

Research Interests

Cybersecurity, Internet Governance, Intelligence Studies, International Relations Theory

Previous Degrees

M.Phil in International Relations, University of Oxford
BA in Political Science and International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington