Virtual Theory

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Existing theories of international relations (IR) have so far been unable to deal with the challenges presented by emerging forms of cyberattack. This article presents a way to integrate the kinds of cyberattack that were seen in the 2016 American presidential election into existing IR theories. Additionally, within the framework of structural realism, it introduces the concept of cyber soft balancing, including but not limited to information warfare, and argues that this will become a permanent feature of great power competition and conflict.