5 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.

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

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

From the Director

| Spring 2012

As time passes since Paul Doty’s death, we begin to move beyond our grief to a deeper appreciation of all the ways Paul’s work lives on. Nowhere is this legacy more vividly alive than at Harvard in the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, of which he was the founding member.

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Press Release

Are We Prepared for the Unthinkable? Graham Allison on Smallpox

| March 24, 2003

Imagine you work in the governor’s office and are awakened with the news that three people in Washington, DC have just been diagnosed with smallpox. No one yet knows how they contracted the disease; but one of the afflicted had, on his way home from a business trip, stopped for the night in your state, where he visited clients, rode on public transportation, ate in a restaurant, and had a drink at a popular night spot. You learn that only 250 health workers in your state have been vaccinated against smallpox and are trained to inoculate others, while another 5,000 medical workers need to be vaccinated in order to implement your state’s response plan. The federal government can deliver the additional vaccine you need to get the job done, along with enough doses to vaccinate every resident in your state, but it will take a few days.

Meanwhile, news of the smallpox infections is expected to leak to the press within hours. Decisions need to be made—now. What would you advise the governor to do? And, what would you advise your family to do?