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Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

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

 

 

By Date

 

2016 (continued)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

March 14, 2016

"A 'catastrophe of epic proportions'"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

There is a powerful symbolism in the impending collapse of Iraq’s Mosul dam. Built on the cheap by Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s, it holds back up to 2.9 trillion gallons, roughly twice as much as Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. We all know what happened when Hurricane Katrina breached the levees around Pontchartrain’s south shore in 2005.

No hurricane is needed to breach the Mosul dam. Built on a weak foundation of soluble gypsum, its stability has always depended on continuous grouting. In 2007 the US Army Corps of Engineers, alarmed by what they had found after the invasion of Iraq, carried out repairs. But since the withdrawal of American forces, the dam has deteriorated. For several weeks in 2014 it came under the control of the Islamic State. Fighting between ISIS and Kurdish Peshmerga forces is just one of the reasons the dam has fallen into disrepair. A contract with an Italian engineering company to overhaul the dam has only just been signed by the Iraqi government.

 

 

Michael Vadon

February 28, 2016

"Trump doesn't wear jackboots -- but we need to stamp on his populism"

Op-Ed, The Sunday Times

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Panic is setting in. "Watching Donald Trump's rise, I now understand ... exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany." Thus my Harvard colleague, the political theorist Danielle Allen.

"[Trump's] remedy is 1930s to the core: nationalism, crude bombast, mytho-history and sloganeering." Thus Victor Davis Hanson, also a colleague at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

 

 

(AP/Richard Drew)

February 15, 2016

"Financial Panic or Slow Burn?"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"In the best-known scene of 'The Revenant,’ Leonardo DiCaprio is hideously mauled by a bear. The world’s investors now know exactly how that feels."

In this op-ed, Niall Ferguson writes that "nearly every major equity index is down since the beginning of the year, with Italy as the worst performer (-23 percent) and Canada the best (-5 percent). The S&P500 is down 9 percent. With the exceptions of precious metals and safe haven sovereign bonds, it has been a rout."

 

 

February 13, 2016

"Henry Kissinger Provided Strategic Vision in Dangerous Times"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"For Bernie Sanders to call Henry Kissinger 'one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,' is a reminder that, for all his appeal to younger Democrats, Sanders is a throwback to a bygone era."

Niall Ferguson writes that "Sanders’s gratuitous broadside against the 92-year-old statesman was calculated to hurt his rival Hillary Clinton, who has made no secret of her respect for Kissinger (not least in her recent review of his book 'World Order')."

 

 

World Economic Forum

January 25, 2015

"The mood of Davos turns out to be quite wrong"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

“It’s a bit like reliving your college years, but with each year compressed into a day.” That was how one of my friends summed up the Davos World Economic Forum last week. “On Day One, you are a frisky freshman. There isn’t an invitation you don’t accept. But by Day Four, you are ready to graduate and return to the real world.”

A certain amount of unfamiliar discomfort reinforces the sensation that all the participants have briefly returned to their student days. The average Davos bedroom is a monastic cell. The sandwiches in the Congress Center would dismay a hungry undergraduate. Also reminiscent of university are the lectures people like me are shipped in to deliver.

 

 

(Photo by Martha Stewart)

Fall/Winter 2015-2016

"Ferguson’s New Look at Kissinger and the Lessons of History"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Josh Burek, Communications and Outreach Director and Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Few figures provoke as much passionate debate as Henry Kissinger. Equally revered and reviled, his work as an academic, national security advisor, diplomat, and strategic thinker indelibly shaped America’s role in the 20th century. Kissinger’s counsel knew few boundaries. His advice was sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama. Yet the man and his ideas remain the object of profound disagreement.

 

2015

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

November 30, 2015

"Student protesters more akin to Puritans"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

While the world has been gripped by epoch-making events — from jihadist massacres in Paris to downed warplanes in Syria — American universities have been gripped by events that are better described as emoji-making. Like the emoticon with the smile and the tears, I cannot decide if these events make me want to laugh or cry.

 

 

November 23, 2015

"We face a three-headed monster"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Let’s come off the prescription meds," writes Niall Ferguson. "The world faces three distinct threats: an epidemic of jihadist violence, most of it in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia; uncontrolled mass migration from these places to Europe; and the emergence of a “fifth column” of Islamic extremists within nearly all Western societies, including the United States....

The ancient Greeks believed that the gates of Hades were guarded by a monstrous three-headed dog. Like Cerberus, the monster we confront today has three heads: rampant jihadism, uncontrolled mass migration, and homegrown extremists. To defeat it, we shall need to keep our own heads very clear indeed."

 

 

Wikipedia Commons

November 16, 2015

"Paris and the fall of Rome"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

I am not going to repeat what you have already read or heard. I am not going to say that what happened in Paris on Friday night was unprecedented horror, for it was not. I am not going to say that the world stands with France, for it is a hollow phrase. Nor am I going to applaud President Hollande’s pledge of “pitiless” vengeance, for I do not believe it. I am, instead, going to tell you that this is exactly how civilizations fall.

 

 

September 29, 2015

Kissinger: Volume 1: The Idealist, 1923-1968

Book

By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Few figures provoke as much passionate disagreement as Henry Kissinger. Equally revered and reviled, his work as an academic, national security adviser, diplomat, and strategic thinker indelibly shaped America’s role in the 20th century. Kissinger’s counsel knew few boundaries: His advice was sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama. Yet the man and his ideas remain the object of profound misunderstanding.

Drawing on 50 archives around the world, including Kissinger’s private papers, this book by Niall Ferguson, Kissinger: Volume 1: The Idealist, 1923-1968, argues that America’s most controversial statesman, and the cold war history he witnessed and shaped, must be seen in a new light.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.