45 Items

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Graham Allison: U.S., China Must Work to Prevent War

| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

Douglas Dillon Professor of Government Graham Allison took the stage at TED World Theater in New York in September to discuss the question: How will the U.S. respond to the rise of China? Allison's TED Talk was part of TED's "We the Future" event that explored some of the world's most daunting challenges along with possible solutions. 

Photo of troops during World War I.

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - USA Today

The 'Wonder Woman' guide to avoiding war with China: It might take a woman

| July 7, 2017

"Is war the natural condition of mankind? That question drives a deeper story line in the summer blockbuster 'Wonder Woman.' While she is stopping a massive German gas attack, Princess Diana also finds herself grappling with a fundamental question about the relationship between mass violence and human nature.

Wonder Woman's first face-off against a World War I villain, German Gen. Erich Ludendorff, takes a dark philosophical turn. 'Peace,' Gen. Ludendorff sneers, 'is only an armistice in an endless war.' Wonder Woman immediately identifies the author of the quote: the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. But she disagrees, arguing instead that war is a seductive spell on mankind, not a reflection of our inherent corruption."

Graham Allison writes that the dangerous dynamic of a rising power that threatens to displace a ruling power is Thucydides’ Trap. "It is one of history’s deadliest patterns. Over the past 500 years, this has occurred 16 times. In 12 cases, the outcome was war. Today, the contest between an irresistible rising China and an immovable America is the 17th case."

A reflection of the Singapore financial district is cast on the waters of a reservoir in Singapore Thursday, May 28, 2015. Singapore celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence Aug. 9.

(AP Photo)

Analysis & Opinions - The World Post

Singapore Challenges the Idea That Democracy Is the Best Form of Governance

| August 5, 2015

The American Declaration of Independence asserts that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are fundamental, unalienable rights of all human beings -- endowed to us by our Creator. According to the Declaration, the primary purpose of government is to establish conditions in which citizens can realize these goals. In comparing governments, it is appropriate to ask how each is performing by these yardsticks.

As it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding under the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore is a marvel to behold and applaud. But its success also poses uncomfortable questions for those of us who "know" that Western-style democracy is the best form of government.

Genie, the first air-to-air nuclear weapon, pictured at the missile park outside the White Sands Missile Range Museum in Dona Ana County, N.M., on April 25, 2015.

(AP Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

A Nuclear Nightmare Averted

| May 22, 2015

"This week, with little fanfare, one of the world’s key restraints on the spread of nuclear weapons came under scrutiny, as a month-long review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) concluded at the United Nations," writes Graham Allison. "Negotiated over the 1960s, the NPT was signed in 1968 and became international law in 1970. As specified by the treaty, members hold a conference every five years to assess the agreement. The exercise offers insight into our nuclear age, and perspective ahead of the coming debate over a treaty to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions."

Actors dressed as German soldiers take part in the re-enactment of the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg in Szkotowo, Poland, Sunday, July 27, 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.

(AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

Just How Likely Is Another World War?

| July 30, 2014

"A century ago this month, Europeans stood on the brink of a war so devastating that it forced historians to create a new category: 'World War.' None of the leaders at the time could imagine the wasteland they would inhabit four years later. By 1918, each had lost what he cherished most: the kaiser dismissed, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of the flower of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which European leaders had been masters of the globe came to a crashing halt."

With lessons learned from WWI, Graham Allison asks, how likely is another world war?

In this photo taken on Feb. 16, 2013, people watch the film "Zero Dark Thirty" outside a computer shop in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

(AP Photo/Aqeel Ahmed)

Analysis & Opinions - Christian Science Monitor

'Zero Dark Thirty' has the facts wrong – and that's a problem, not just for the Oscars

| February 22, 2013

The movie “Zero Dark Thirty” is unquestionably a gripping drama and credible contender in this year’s Oscar competition (nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay). If director Kathryn Bigelow’s film presented itself principally as fiction, it could be judged exclusively on its technical or dramatic merits, which are considerable. However, writes Graham Allison, "because it advertises itself as a factually grounded 'journalistic filming' of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, it cannot duck a further question about what it owes to truth."

Lee Kuan Yew visits the United States, 2002

Wikimedia Foundation

Analysis & Opinions - Forbes

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew Talks America's Strengths And Weaknesses

| February 13, 2013

Both in the United States and abroad, many influential observers argue that the U.S. is in systemic decline. Not so, says Lee Kuan Yew, the sage of Singapore. Lee is not only a student of the rise and fall of nations.  He is also the founder of modern Singapore. As prime minister from 1959 to 1990, he led its rise from a poor, small, corrupt port to a first-world city-state in just one generation.

Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew attends the Clinton Global Initiative Asia Meeting in Hong Kong Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Newspaper Article - The Times of India

India is a Nation of Unfulfilled Greatness

| February 2, 2013

Read an excerpt in The Times of India from a new book on Lee Kuan Yew by Belfer Center Director Graham Allison and Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, with Belfer Center Associate Ali Wyne. The book is titled: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World.