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Secretary of State Kerry speaking to Harvard students during Belfer Center event hosted by Director Graham Allison (right).

(Belfer Center Photo/Benn Craig)

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

Belfer Center Conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry

| October 14, 2015

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs hosted Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, October 13, for a discussion of diplomacy and challenges in key hotspots around the globe.

In a one-on-one discussion with Secretary Kerry, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison asked Kerry about his concerns and plans related to Iran, Syria, Russia, and the Islamic State, among others. The overflow event in the Charles Hotel ballroom included questions from the audience of more than 500 Harvard students and faculty.

Included here is the complete U.S. Department of State transcript from the event. The video is included with the original transcript.

In this Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 photo, fighters from the Free Syrian Army, left, and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), center, join forces to fight Islamic State group militants in Kobani, Syria.

AP Photo/Jake Simkin

Analysis & Opinions - TIME / time.com

Viral Threats

| Dec. 04, 2014

As images of brutal beheadings and dying plague victims compete for the world’s shrinking attention span, it is instructive to compare the unexpected terrors of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (known as ISIS or ISIL) and Ebola. In October, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that “the twin plagues of Ebola and ISIL both fomented quietly, neglected by a world that knew they existed but misread their terrible potential, before exploding into the global consciousness.” Seeking more direct connections, various press stories have cited “experts” discussing the potential for ISIS to weaponize Ebola for bioterrorist attacks on the West.

Sensationalist claims aside, questions about similarities and differences are worth considering. Both burst onto the scene this year, capturing imaginations as they spread with surprising speed and severity. About Ebola, the world knows a lot and is doing relatively little. About ISIS, we know relatively little but are doing a lot.

Defeating ISIS: With Whose Boots on the Ground?

Photo by Kenny Holston/Getty

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

Defeating ISIS: With Whose Boots on the Ground?

| October 27, 2014

President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS has become the target of heated criticism, not only from partisan opponents but from many of his supporters as well. Categorically ruling out American boots on the ground, while subcontracting the bloody job of house-to-house fighting to the Iraqi military, Free Syrian Army, and Kurdish Peshmerga, can only assure failure, critics argue.

These assessments fall into a familiar trap: assuming that what has been announced is the sum of the matter. Especially for admirers of the diplomatic sleights of hand practiced by Henry Kissinger or Jim Baker, neglecting the obvious when assessing the current strategy is unfair.

Could the Ukraine Crisis Spark a World War?

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Could the Ukraine Crisis Spark a World War?

| May 7, 2014

The thought that what we are now witnessing in Ukraine could trigger a cascade of actions and reactions that end in war will strike most readers as fanciful. Fortunately, it is, writes Graham Allison. But we should not forget that in May 1914, the possibility that the assassination of an Archduke could produce a world war seemed almost inconceivable. History teaches that unlikely, even unimaginable events do happen.

Pro-Russian activists occupy the regional police office in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sat., April 12, 2014. Pro-Moscow protesters have seized a number of government buildings over the past week, undermining authority of the interim Ukraine government.

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Analysis & Opinions - CNN

How Ukraine crisis could pull U.S. to war

| April 18, 2014

Despite the ray of good news in Thursday's Geneva agreement on steps to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, President Obama was right to sound a note of caution, observing that "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point."

The deal, reached by Russia, Ukraine and the West, called for, among other things, disarming illegally armed pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, and the surrender of the government buildings they have seized.

A U.S. soldier of 101st Airborne Division patrol in the outskirts of Bagram in north of Kabul, Afghanistan, March 8, 2009. U.S President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan to bolster the record 38,000 American forces already there.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The Wall Street Journal

The Real Afghan Issue Is Pakistan

| March 30, 2009

Mr. Obama took a giant step beyond the Bush administration's "Afghanistan policy" when he named the issue "AfPak" -- Afghanistan, Pakistan and their shared, Pashtun-populated border. But this is inverted. We suggest renaming the policy "PakAf," to emphasize that, from the perspective of U.S. interests and regional stability, the heart of the problem lies in Pakistan.