63 Items

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen in Beijing as Chinese battle tanks roll by during a Sept. 3, 2015 parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II.

(AP Photo)

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

| September 24, 2015

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

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.

US and Ukrainian soldiers stand guard during opening ceremony of the 'Fiarles Guardian - 2015', Ukrainian-US Peacekeeping and Security command and staff training, in western Ukraine, in Lviv region, Monday, April 20, 2015.

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Magazine Article - The National Interest

Russia and America: Stumbling to War

| May-June 2015

In the United States and Europe, many believe that the best way to prevent Russia’s resumption of its historic imperial mission is to assure the independence of Ukraine. They insist that the West must do whatever is required to stop the Kremlin from establishing direct or indirect control over that country. Otherwise, they foresee Russia reassembling the former Soviet empire and threatening all of Europe. Conversely, in Russia, many claim that while Russia is willing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (with the exception of Crimea), Moscow will demand no less than any other great power would on its border. Security on its western frontier requires a special relationship with Ukraine and a degree of deference expected in major powers’ spheres of influence. More specifically, Russia’s establishment sentiment holds that the country can never be secure if Ukraine joins NATO or becomes a part of a hostile Euro-Atlantic community. From their perspective, this makes Ukraine’s nonadversarial status a nonnegotiable demand for any Russia powerful enough to defend its national-security interests.

Members of the public wait in line with cards and flowers to pay their respects to the late Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House where he will lie in state for four days, March 26, 2015, in Singapore.

(AP Photo)

Analysis & Opinions - Los Angeles Times

The Sayings of Lee Kuan Yew, the Sage of Singapore

| March 25, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore who died Monday, was more than his country's founding father. Not only did he raise a poor, notoriously corrupt port from the bottom rungs of the Third World to a modern First World nation in a single generation, but he was also one of two certifiable grand masters of international strategy in the last half century (Henry Kissinger being the other).

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.

Analysis & Opinions - WBUR

Advice To The Next President: National And Homeland Security

| October 17, 2012

"Having a professional military means that the United States can go to war while the vast majority of citizens are not directly affected. Therefore it falls upon the president, more than any other individual, to make sure the nation goes to war only if and when absolutely necessary."

Magazine Article - Time

How It Went Down

| May 7, 2012

"While journalists have provided a number of histories of the events that led to bin Laden's death, the purpose of this analysis is to examine White House decisionmaking for lessons that can be applied to future foreign policy challenges."

In a TIME magazine cover story, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison writes about decisions behind the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. Allison, whose analysis is the result of more than 100 hours of interviews, is author of the prize-winning analysis of the 1971 Cuban Missile Crisis, Essence of Decision.

An armed Libyan rebel joins others on March 13, 2011, demanding the international community impose a no fly zone.

(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

U.S. Should Support British and French-led No Fly Zone in Libya

| March 17, 2011

"President Obama should announce immediately full U.S. support for a British-French led No Fly Zone over Libya," writes Graham Allison. "He should express confidence in the British and French to organize and conduct this military operation with the backing of their colleagues in the 27-nation European Union and NATO. The US should stand ready to respond to requests for help if we have unique capabilities, including intelligence assets, essential for this mission." The U.S. should not take the lead, Allison argues.

President-elect Barack Obama, with Vice President-elect Joe Biden (right), speaks at a news conference on Nov. 24, 2008.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Chicago Tribune

When will Osama test Obama?

| December 1, 2008

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, vice presidential candidate Joe Biden predicted "an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of [Barack Obama]." Belfer Center Director Graham Allison argues that history is on Biden's side. "In the first year of each of the last two presidents' terms," Allison says, "Osama bin Laden has claimed the mantle of 'tester in chief'" Allison suggests three steps President-elect Obama should take to meet this threat.