West faces a different security dilemma due to the shoddy cyberspace substrate it built and spread globally. Cyberspace created a new form of ‘cybered conflict’ with five advantages for offense previously – scale of organization, proximity, precision, deception and tools, and opaqueness in origins. It also accelerated massive wealth transfers to rising near peer and now peer adversaries, who were expected to simply fold into the western-built international system. In the process, the basic well-being of the economies of the consolidated civil society democracies have become non-kinetic fields of conflict among state and nonstate actors. The past twenty-five years of evolution of cyberspace have changes the currently likely futures of the democratic state and a rising post-western, authoritarian world.

Today in the emerging cybered conflict world, there are three plausible and distinctive futures for the international system, as well as for the relative influence and well-being of the minority of states that today are civil society democracies. Two of the three offer relatively grim prospects over time, leading to a creeping enfeeblement as individually weak cyber powers in a state of modern digital subordination to a much larger, globally omnipresent, authoritarian cyber and economic hegemon. There is a possible third option: an operationalized structure for sharing cyber security and defense. This third future needs to be actively built as was the shoddy internet that has made it necessary. And it needs to be built now before the full consolidated development of the global Cyber Westphalian system.