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Graham Allison

Graham Allison

Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School

Member of the Board

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 496-6099
Fax: (617) 495-1905
Email: graham_allison@harvard.edu

 

 

By Date

 

2014 (continued)

AP Photo

November 11, 2014

"Vladimir Putin's Dicey Dilemma: Russia Stands at a Fateful Fork in the Road"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"This is the moment for Obama to help Putin understand that he now stands at a fateful fork in the road. If he moves swiftly to end the conflict with Ukraine by offering terms acceptable to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, he can restore economic relations with the West, gain access to advanced technologies required to increase future production of Russian oil and gas and modernize other sectors of the Russian economy, and thus ensure Russia's chance for a stable, prosperous future. The alternative is to persist on a path that presents growing risks of what he fears most."

 

 

(Rex Features via AP Images)

November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: A Belfer Center Tribute

News

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

From Belfer Center Director Graham Allison:

November 11 is a solemn date. It marks the end of mankind’s first world war, which began 100 years ago. It reminds us each year of the extraordinary and mostly unseen sacrifice men and women in uniform make to protect the rest of us.

As George Washington noted, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

At the Belfer Center, Veterans Day is especially meaningful. That’s because dozens of our faculty, staff, and fellows have either served or are serving in armed forces around the world. It is only fitting that a research center dedicated to “advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security” should be composed of so many who commit themselves personally to this security.

 

 

Photo by Kenny Holston/Getty

October 27, 2014

"Defeating ISIS: With Whose Boots on the Ground?"

Op-Ed, The Atlantic

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS has become the target of heated criticism, not only from partisan opponents but from many of his supporters as well. Categorically ruling out American boots on the ground, while subcontracting the bloody job of house-to-house fighting to the Iraqi military, Free Syrian Army, and Kurdish Peshmerga, can only assure failure, critics argue.

These assessments fall into a familiar trap: assuming that what has been announced is the sum of the matter. Especially for admirers of the diplomatic sleights of hand practiced by Henry Kissinger or Jim Baker, neglecting the obvious when assessing the current strategy is unfair.

 

 

(AP Photo/Eric Garst, U.S. Navy)

October 15, 2014

"The Case for a War Tax"

Op-Ed, Politico

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Politico Magazine, in an article titled “Is America's Military Too Small for Obama's New War on Terror?” asked a dozen top military thinkers whether the United States needs a new defense budget to fight Obama’s new war on terror? And if so, what should that new budget look like—where should the Pentagon cut, and where should it add?

Graham Allison responded to Politico in commentary titled "The Case for a War Tax."

 

 

(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

September 29, 2014

"Is America on the ISIS Hit List?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his organization are unusual among terrorists in their explicit articulation of their ambitions, their agenda, their priorities, and their strategy," writes Graham Allison. "Analyzing their actions, one finds a high level of alignment between what they say and what they do."

To whom, Allison asks, does ISIS pose the most imminent and even existential threat?

 

 

(AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

July 30, 2014

"Just How Likely Is Another World War?"

Op-Ed, The Atlantic

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"A century ago this month, Europeans stood on the brink of a war so devastating that it forced historians to create a new category: 'World War.' None of the leaders at the time could imagine the wasteland they would inhabit four years later. By 1918, each had lost what he cherished most: the kaiser dismissed, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of the flower of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which European leaders had been masters of the globe came to a crashing halt."

With lessons learned from WWI, Graham Allison asks, how likely is another world war?

 

 

July 25, 2014

How Nicky and Willy Could Have Prevented World War I

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

One hundred years ago this week, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany exchanged a series of telegrams to try to stop the rush to a war that neither of them wanted. They signed their notes “Nicky” and “Willy.”

 

 

July 10, 2014

"Overcoming the Great Recession: Lessons from China"

Paper

By Liu He, Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

In the aftershocks of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, Liu He led a research team that prepared an analysis of earlier financial crises to provide guidance for the Chinese government’s response. Graham Allison and Lawrence Summers arranged for that document to be translated and have published it here as a joint discussion paper of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School.

Summers and Allison, who wrote the foreword for the paper, introduce it with comments on why they think Liu He's perspective is so valuable.

 

 

(AP Photo)

July 1, 2014

"The Nuclear Maginot Line"

Op-Ed, Politico

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Oren Setter, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

French Minister of War Andre Maginot became infamous among military strategists for his fixation on a single route of attack that led to a fatal neglect of alternatives. Seeking to block a German invasion along the primary East-West axis, Maginot constructed an impregnable line of fortifications in the 1930s. He succeeded in preventing the attack he most feared, but when German panzers outflanked that line and rolled through Belgium in 1940, their attack from the rear led to France’s surrender in just six weeks.

 

 

June 2014

"Blocking All Paths to an Iranian Bomb: How the West Can Avoid a Nuclear Maginot Line"

Paper

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Oren Setter, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"In concentrating so much of their mindshare on imposing constraints on Iran's known nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, and Arak, are the US and its five negotiating partners at risk of creating a nuclear Maginot line?" In this discussion paper, Director of the Belfer Center Graham Allison and MTA/ISP Research Fellow Oren Setter explore what the US might be missing: alternative pathways for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

 

Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe

Graham Allison, founding dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a former top official at the Pentagon, and one of America’s leading scholars of nuclear strategy and national security, presents the evidence and argument that led him to two provocative conclusions: a nuclear terrorist attack on an American city is inevitable on our current course and speed, but preventable if we act now. 

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.