Sep. 16, 2014 – Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams with Thomas Donilon and Yaakov Amidror before "Iran Policy" Forum. (Martha Stewart)


Former National Security Advisors on Iran Policy and ISIS

September 17, 2014

Thomas Donilon, U.S. national security advisor (2010-2013) and Major General (Ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israeli national security advisor (2011-2013), discussed the latest efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program in a JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School moderated by Belfer Center Director Graham Allison.

See clips and highlights from the lively discussion ›


"Scots Must Vote Nae"

Niall Ferguson writes on the Scottish independence referendum in New York Times

Here ›



Climate Change Diplomacy -The Road to Paris 2015

Sep. 23, 4:30-6pm, Bell Hall, 5th Flr. Belfer Building

More Info ›




September 12, 2014

"A Very Special (Forces) President"

The Huffington Post

By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program

"...[A] lot of Sunnis are going to get killed as the Obama strategy is being carried out, and it remains to be seen how the Sunni Arab powers on the outside — Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf states and Jordan — as well as the Sunni populations on the inside in Syria and Iraq — are going to tolerate it."

September 11, 2014

"America Must Leave the Defeat of ISIS to Local States"

Financial Times

By Emile Simpson, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program

"Can the US 'degrade and ultimately destroy' the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or Isis, as President Barack Obama promised on Wednesday, without being drawn into another open-ended conflict?"



September 11, 2014

"Obama's battle plan"

Boston Globe

By Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School

Nick Burns argues that we may be witnessing a rethink in President Obama’s foreign policy.  On the Middle East, his proposed strategy is forceful and sensible.  But, it will require substantial participation by the Sunni Arab states, the strengthening of both the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces and American air strikes against ISIS inside Syria itself.  On the Russia/Ukraine crisis, Obama led an impressive strengthening of NATO at the NATO Summit in Wales last week.  But, he will now have to convince Europe to undertake stronger sanctions against Russia and to agree on the delivery of defensive weaponry to the Ukrainian government.  Obama will need strong support from the Congress and public to pursue a tough-minded and successful U.S. strategy on both crises.



September 10, 2014

"Polarization and Solidarity Coexist in Arab Societies"

Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

"Never in the modern history of the Middle East have so many countries experienced such intense, often violent, domestic conflict or political paralysis. The ongoing wars or severe ideological confrontations in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, and Bahrain have sparked a new industry in explaining what is really going on in this region: Sykes-Picot-crafted artificial borders collapsing, Shia-Sunni and/or Saudi Arabian-Iranian tensions sparking proxy wars, or failed state-centered nationalism being replaced by sectarian identities."



September 8, 2014

"The 2014 Israel-Hamas War: A Preliminary Net Assessment"

The National Interest

By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

On August 26, after more than fifty days of fighting, the latest phase of the Israel-Hamas War ended with an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire. It will be months, if not years, before the ramifications of the 2014 war will become clear and fully apparent. At this early point, just over a week after the ceasefire was announced, any assessment of the violence must be considered tentative at best. The following are a number of early reflections on this recent explosion of Palestinian-Israeli violence.




September 5, 2014

"Reinventing Africa's Universities"


By Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa

"...Africa's demand for higher education is rising. This gives every country the opportunity to redesign the next generation of universities. Ethiopia, for example, has created 24 new universities with a focus on science and technology."



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<em>International Security</em>

The Summer 2014 issue of the quarterly journal International Security
is now available!

  1. Why the United States Should Spread Democracy
  2. Why Terrorism Does Not Work
  3. Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing

"The closer we get to the end game, the more incentive he has to stretch it out."

Gary Samore, on the delayed disarmament process in Syria

The Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International affairs has been ranked the world's top University Affiliated Think Tank for 2014.

The annual ranking were issued by University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. More Info ›