76 Items

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Russian businessmen in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.


Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

A Blueprint for Donald Trump to Fix Relations with Russia

| December 18, 2016

In a "policy memo" to President-elect Donald Trump, Graham Allison and Dimitri K. Simes write: "The two Chinese characters that make up the word “crisis” can be interpreted as meaning both “danger” and “opportunity.” Russia today offers your administration not only a serious challenge but a significant opportunity.

Russia is no longer the Evil Empire the United States confronted over decades of Cold War. Nonetheless, Russia remains a player whose choices affect vital U.S. interests profoundly across the agenda of global issues. First and foremost, Russia remains the only nation that can erase the United States from the map in thirty minutes.

Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?


Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?

| April 4, 2016

The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security.

The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. A few months ago, during a raid in the apartment of a suspect linked to the November attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official. Belgian police are said to have connected two of the Brussels terrorists to that footage.

Fear Death From Tree Limbs, Not Terrorists

(AP Photo)

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

Fear Death From Tree Limbs, Not Terrorists

| February 22, 2016

Comparing causes of violent deaths in the past decade, a person living in the United States is more than over 100 times more likely to be killed by falling objects than by jihadi terrorists. To repeat: On average, 4 people in the United States have been killed by jihadi terrorist attacks each year over the past decade; 688 by falling objects.

....Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other mutants of Islamist jihadism are real threats that must be addressed and defeated. But terror-mongering that elevates foreign jihadists to levels where a majority of Americans fear for their families’ lives is no more reasonable than fears of witches that led our ancestors in 17th-century Salem to acts we now find insane.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meet in Paris to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal.

United States Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Assessing an Iran Deal: 5 Big Lessons from History

| July 7, 2015

As the policy community prepares to assess an agreement between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker asked me to review the history of analogous agreements for lessons that illuminate the current challenge. In response to his assignment, I reviewed the seven decades of the nuclear era, during which the U.S. negotiated arms-control treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968; strategic arms limitation talks and agreements from SALT to New Start; the North Korean accord of 1994; the agreements that helped eliminate nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the early 1990s; and the pact that eliminated the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Among many lessons and clues from this instructive history, five stand out

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."

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.

Black flags used by the Islamic State group are seen over their combat positions in the Rashad Bridge, which connects the provinces of Salah al-Din and Kirkuk, 290 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Is America on the ISIS Hit List?

| September 29, 2014

"ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his organization are unusual among terrorists in their explicit articulation of their ambitions, their agenda, their priorities, and their strategy," writes Graham Allison. "Analyzing their actions, one finds a high level of alignment between what they say and what they do."

To whom, Allison asks, does ISIS pose the most imminent and even existential threat?

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

From the Director

| Summer 2013

"The Boston Marathon is at the heart of a day rich in meaning for the Boston community...The marathon terror attack of April 15 cut into our community at its most vulnerable. That made the suffering of the victims even more intolerable for all Americans...As the dramatic events unfolded in Boston, I was proud not only of the resilient response of our city, but also of the support the Belfer Center community was able to offer."

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."

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

From the Director

| Winter 2012-2013

As in October 1962, this fall’s 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolded against the backdrop of a national election. The electoral stakes were even higher this year with the presidency in play, not just midterm Congressional races. So it seemed appropriate for the Belfer Center to take the anniversary as a learning moment for politicians and policy-makers, not just for students and scholars.