International Relations

416 Items

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from left, Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jiechi third from right, and Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe, second from right, meet at the State Department in Washington, November 9, 2018.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Next Great War

| Nov. 09, 2018

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of World War I fell silent — and nearly 20 million people lay dead. Could such a conflict happen today? After more than seven decades without a shooting war between great powers, many Americans find the thought of the United States and a major adversary like China killing millions of one another’s citizens virtually inconceivable.

But when we say something is “inconceivable,” we should remember this: the realm of what is possible is not bound by what our limited minds can conceive. Today, the intensifying rivalry between a rising China and a ruling United States could lead to a war that neither side wants and that both know would be even more catastrophic than World War I.

The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, located in the city of Segovia, Spain.  (Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0

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

The Collapse of Civilizations

| September 2018

Five causes of collapse appear paramount: major episodes of climate change, crises-induced mass migrations, pandemics, dramatic advances in methods of warfare and transport, and human failings in crises including societal lack of resilience and the madness, incompetence, cultic focus, or ignorance of rulers.

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

Rahm Emanuael/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

| June 18, 2018

Early in Richard Rhodes’s new book, “Energy: A Human History,” we hear of a prominent citizen using colorful language to lament the state of his polluted city and urge his government to shut down industry or move it elsewhere: “If there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano [on] a foggy day.” Though this could easily apply to modern-day Beijing, the speaker here is John Evelyn, a wealthy horticulturalist and one of the founders of the scientific Royal Society of London — and he’s complaining about London in 1659.

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

Ray Dalio Applies Lessons From the Past to Today’s Financial World

| Summer 2018

The great Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote that “there can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.”

Billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Ray Dalio has taken it upon himself to break that mold by championing the use of history in the financial world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev in Moscow, Russia. April 9, 2018 (Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press). Keywords: Putin, Russia

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The New Republic

The Problem With “Cold War” Comparisons

| Apr. 17, 2018

Disoriented in a historical re-play, as headlines would have it, that seems to have crammed the timeline from the Machtergreifung to the Truman Doctrine into a mere nine months, The New Republic called up prizewinning Cold War historian Arne Westad at Harvard Kennedy School to get his thoughts. Over the course of a short phone call, he offered his take on proxy conflicts, Putin’s motivations, and why Russia is in a weaker position than it may seem.