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Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Mailing address

Littauer 329A
79 JFK Street
Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Meghan L. O'Sullivan

Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

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

Contact:
Telephone: 617-496-4308
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: meghan_osullivan@ksg.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Meghan L. O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Her expertise includes the geopolitics of energy, decision making in foreign policy, nation-building, counterinsurgency, and the Middle East. From July 2013-December 2013, she served as the vice chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland, which sought to resolve on-going obstacles to peace. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. There, she helped run two strategic policy reviews: one on Afghanistan in the summer of 2006 and one on Iraq in late 2006 and early 2007, which led to the “surge” strategy. She spent two years in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008 to help conclude the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq. 

Prior to this, Dr. O'Sullivan was senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia in the NSC; political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad; chief advisor to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. She has published several books and articles on American foreign policy, including Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism (2003) and edited volume (with Richard Haass) Honey and Vinegar: Incentives, Sanctions, and Foreign Policy (2000).

Dr. O'Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a consultant to the National Intelligence Council, and a strategic advisor to John Hess, the Chairman and CEO of Hess Corporation, an American independent oil and gas company.  She is also a foreign affairs columnist for Bloomberg View as well as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Aspen Strategy Group.  Dr. O’Sullivan serves as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund, a director of the board of TechnoServe, a member of the Advisory Board to the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, and a member of the board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.

She has been awarded the Defense Department's highest honor for civilians, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, and three times been awarded the State Department's Superior Honor Award. In 2008, Esquire Magazine named her one of the most influential people of the century.

Dr. O'Sullivan received a B.A. from Georgetown University, a masters of science in Economics and doctorate in Politics from Oxford University.

 

 

By Date

 

2015

July 14, 2015

The Energy Implications of a Nuclear Deal between the P5+1 and Iran

Report

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

On June 23 and 24, twenty five experts met at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government under the auspices of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The group, which included experts from academia, the financial sector, government, and the energy industry, spent an evening and the following full day discussing and debating the possible energy implications of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

 

 

Wikipedia Commons

November 8, 2014

"The global gas market, LNG exports and the shifting US geopolitical presence"

Journal Article, Energy Strategy Reviews, volume 5

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The upstream renaissance in the United States that has resulted from the successful application of new technologies in the exploration and development of shale gas has generated ripples through the global gas market. The US is soon to become a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is remarkable given conventional wisdom just a decade ago was that the US would become a substantial importer of LNG.

 

 

wikimedia CC

February 9, 2015

"China’s Energy Hedging Strategy: Less Than Meets the Eye for Russian Gas Pipelines"

Paper

By Amy Myers Jaffe, Kenneth B. Medlock III and Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

China’s energy needs have been a major factor shaping the global energy landscape in the 21st century. A significant contributor to rising global energy consumption and increasing prices over the last decade, the country is being actively courted by the world’s largest oil and gas exporters as a pivotal growth market for the future. As part of this, policymakers and industry leaders have been closely monitoring the potential for growing strategic and energy ties between China and its producer neighbor, Russia.

 

 

Secretary of Defense Flickr

January 26, 2015

"Why Saudis Are Holding Strong on Oil"

Op-Ed, Bloomberg View

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A consensus has emerged since the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will not change course on oil policy. This consensus is probably right, at least for the short term.  It is, however, correct for reasons other than the ones that most observers have invoked.

 

2014

Wikimedia CC

December 7, 2014

Meghan O'Sullivan on Dropping Oil Prices

In the News

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Professor Meghan O'Sullivan appeard on December 7, 2014 on "This Week" with Geroge Stephanopolous to discuss falling oil prices.

 

 

AP Images

December 3, 2014

"The Saudis Won't Let Oil Free-Fall"

Op-Ed, Bloomberg View

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

With a few exceptions, the consensus emerging from last week’s inconclusive Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting is that if OPEC is not dead, it is at least in a coma.  This may be a reasonable judgment based on the group’s ability to take collective action on a production cut to bolster the price of oil in the short run. 

 

 

Fall 2014

The Crisis with Russia

Book

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School, Jonathon Price, Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Kevin Rudd, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

This edition is a collection of papers commissioned for the 2014 Aspen Strategy Group Summer Workshop. On the occasion of the 30th year anniversary of the Aspen Strategy Group (founded in 1984), the Summer Workshop in Aspen, Colorado convened a nonpartisan group of preeminent U.S.-Russia policy experts, academics, journalists, and business leaders. The group's policy discussions were guided by the papers found in this volume, whose scope ranges from exploring the history of the U.S.-Russia relationship, current developments in the Sino-Russian relationship, the NATO and European responses to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, energy considerations, areas of potential U.S.-Russia cooperation, and finally, the broader question of U.S. national security and interests in the European region.

 

 

AP Images

November 14, 2014

"New China-Russia Gas Pact Is No Big Deal"

Op-Ed, Bloomberg View

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The latest China-Russia gas deal, declared on the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing this week, got far more attention than it deserved.  Eager to add fuel to the narrative of an emerging strategic relationship between Beijing and Moscow, commentators pronounced the deal as a game-changer, a symbol of a new partnership between long-estranged countries.  Yet, a look beyond the words of Russian gas executives (always a good idea) suggests that there is much more hype than substance here. The deal seems to be little more than an effort to ensure that Putin did not leave China empty-handed, particularly in the wake of a big U.S.-China declaration on climate.

 

 

2013

"The Entanglement of Energy, Grand Strategy, and International Security"

Book Chapter

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Americans are pleasantly surprised about how their energy fate appears to have changed, in such a short time, with little notice or anticipation. Within the last five years, both actual US production of oil and gas and projections for future American production have changed dramatically. Whereas in the mid-2000s, experts predicted that the US should anticipate a future of severe dependence on imported natural gas, in 2012 Washington is debating the pros and cons of becoming an exporter of this resource. Even more quietly, domestic production of oil has increased, in large part due to the development of the tight oil in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

 

 

The U.S. Army

August 8, 2014

"Can Obama Rise to the Moment in Iraq?"

Op-Ed, Bloomberg View

By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

To many, President Barack Obama’s authorization of airstrikes in Iraq -- and their commencement a few hours ago -- appears to be a major shift in U.S. posture. Certainly, this is the hope of millions of Kurds, tens of thousands of Yezidis, and countless other Iraqis desperate to stave off further gains by the radical fighters of the Islamic State in the Levant. Undoubtedly, it was a tough decision for the president, who has long been reluctant to use force in the Middle East and has prided himself on having "ended" the war in Iraq.

But is the shift as consequential as it seems? Obama's rhetoric on Thursday suggests we should be cautious in over-interpreting the turn of events, and very concerned about the sustainability of American engagement.

 

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