Sept. 4, 2003 – Soldiers march to the helicopter that will return them to Kandahar Army Air Field. The Soldiers were searching in Afghanistan for Taliban fighters and illegal weapons caches. (US Army)


Strategic Empathy

April 16, 2014

As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, it leaves violence and uncertainty in its wake, despite having spent $650 billion and losing 2,000 lives, writes Matt Waldman.

“How did such vast and sustained investments not deliver a more favorable outcome?” The most egregious error of the United States, Waldman argues, “was to pursue a strategy founded on a misreading of its enemy.”

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"U.S. Needs to Plan for the Day After an Iran deal"

By David Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow

Read More ›



U.S. Engagement with South Asia

Conversation w/Nisha Biswal, Asst. Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. April 16, 4:30PM.

More Info ›




April 15, 2014

"Would Better Data Have Helped?"

Boston Globe

By Ed Davis and Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy (on Leave)

"For government to function effectively in the future, it must commit to changes in how we assess information. The primary focus should be on more comprehensive training for public employees on how to gather and most effectively access the information they need. Often there are antiquated and bureaucratic barriers to information sharing that serve no purpose and hinder the capacity of government to interpret different pieces of data from different sources."



Kris Snibbe

April 11, 2014

"Working With China on Key Issues Necessary"

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

Robert Zoellick, senior fellow with Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and former head of the World Bank, spoke to a crowd of about 150 as part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s (HUCE) “China 2035: Energy, Climate, Development” lecture series. As reported in the Harvard Gazette, “HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of environmental science and engineering, introduced the event, saying that it’s important to understand China because it looms so large on the world stage.”



April 8, 2014

"Democracy Dividends from the Afghanistan Investment"

Wall Street Journal

By David H. Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow and Michael O'Hanlon

With an enthusiastic election turnout on Saturday, the Afghan people took a major step toward electing a new president—a crucial step for a young democracy seeking to demonstrate that it can peacefully pass power from one leader to another. This will be a first for Afghanistan, a country where most transitions have been violent. But we need to be patient and realistic as we watch and support this process as it plays out over the spring and summer. photo

April 10, 2014

"Putin's Calculus"

New Europe

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"...Obama's declaration that Russia is a regional power acting out of weakness, no less than Russia's suspension from the G-8, may have hit Putin where he is most vulnerable. His actions in Ukraine have undoubtedly brought Russia tangible gains in the short term. But they also imply less obvious costs. It remains to be seen whether Putin's bold move was worth it."




April 9, 2014

"U.S. Needs to Plan for the Day After an Iran deal"

Washington Post

By David H. Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow and Vance Serchuk

Advocates of the effort to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran over its illicit nuclear activities have emphasized the benefits an agreement could bring by peacefully and verifiably barring Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Skeptics, meanwhile, have warned of the risks of a “bad deal,” under which Iran’s capabilities are not sufficiently rolled back.

Largely absent from the debate, however, has been a fuller consideration of the strategic implications a nuclear agreement could have on the U.S. position in the Middle East.




April 10, 2014

"Playing to Putin’s end game"

Boston Globe

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

Recent ethnic Russian demonstrations in Eastern Ukraine and fistfights in the Ukrainian parliament are more dramatic displays in the ongoing saga of a country unraveling. Furthermore, Putin's words--Crimea ibeing his last territorial demand--and actions--moving thousands of troops to to the Ukrainian border--aren't matching up.

Professor Burns writes about the need for a strong reponse from the U.S. and Europe. He suggests two options: imposing tough economic sanctions and moving NATO forces to the Baltics and Poland. Our allies, as well as Putin, are looking to see if Washington will display confidence, toughness, and leadership in the most serious security crisis in Europe since the Cold War’s end.


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<em>International Security</em>

The winter 2013/14 issue of the quarterly journal International Security is now available!

  1. Why the United States Should Spread Democracy
  2. Complexity, Innovation, and Development: Schumpeter Revisited
  3. The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon
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 ›

"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