Belfer Center Home > People > Graham Allison

« Back to Graham Allison

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 Topic

 

Summer 2016

From the Director

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

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

What is the most serious danger facing the world today?

Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Mohamed ElBaradei, and Dick Cheney all give the same answer: nuclear terrorism. If terrorists succeed in exploding a nuclear weapon in New York, Boston, or London, the other issues we care about will not matter much.

In 2009, President Obama proposed an ambitious agenda to address this danger. Among the steps he called for was a Global Summit on Nuclear Security. Seven years and four summits later, including the final one this spring in Washington, we can take stock of progress—and the Belfer Center’s role in helping conceive and sustain it. Policy impact is rarely a simple case of cause and effect.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

April 4, 2016

"Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security.

The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. A few months ago, during a raid in the apartment of a suspect linked to the November attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official. Belgian police are said to have connected two of the Brussels terrorists to that footage.

 

 

March 2016

"US and Iranian interests: Converging or Conflicting?"

Op-Ed, Iran Daily

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

The nuclear issue has dominated relations between the US and Iran over the past decade. Now that the two countries have shelved that issue by agreeing to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it is appropriate to ask where and how the national interests of both countries converge and conflict.

 

 

(SIPA via AP)

March 8, 2016

"Is Iran Still Israel’s Top Threat?"

Op-Ed, The Atlantic

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

Six months after the United States Senate failed to block the Iranian nuclear agreement, the Islamic Republic has taken major steps to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is monitoring the country’s compliance, declared that Iran has fulfilled its initial nuclear commitments, and most international sanctions on Iran have been lifted.

 

 

(Belfer Center Photo/Benn Craig)

October 14, 2015

Belfer Center Conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry

News

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

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs hosted Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, October 13, for a discussion of diplomacy and challenges in key hotspots around the globe.

In a one-on-one discussion with Secretary Kerry, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison asked Kerry about his concerns and plans related to Iran, Syria, Russia, and the Islamic State, among others.The overflow event in the Charles Hotel ballroom included questions from the audience of more than 500 Harvard students and faculty.

Included here is the complete U.S. Department of State transcript from the event. The video is included with the original transcript.

 

 

(AP Photo)

September 28, 2015

"U.S.-Russia Relations: What Would Henry Kissinger Do?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

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

Over a public career that spans six decades, and now in his 93rd year, Henry Kissinger has been cautious about offering presidents advice in public.  But the outline of what he would say if Obama asked him about Russia is clear in the interview he gave to Jacob Heilbrunn in The National Interest’s latest issue. Drawing on decades of experience with successive Russian leaders during the Cold War, as well as many hours of quality face time with Putin, Kissinger’s views about how the United States should manage its relationship with Russia could hardly differ more from the bipartisan Washington consensus and Obama administration policy.

 

 

(AP Photo)

September 24, 2015

"The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, The Atlantic

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

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

 

 

(AP Photo)

August 5, 2015

"Iran Deal Keeps Our Military Options Open"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

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

In the debate about whether the Iranian nuclear agreement provides Iran a “path to a bomb” or instead provides us a “window to a target,” Americans should listen carefully to the Israeli who knows best.

In his campaign to persuade Congress to reject this deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has focused like a laser beam on the claim that this agreement “paves Iran’s path to a bomb” because its key constraints expire in a decade. In contrast, one of Israel’s most respected national security barons, Amos Yadlin, formerly chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate under Netanyahu, has pointed out that when the agreement expires, an American or Israeli military attack will not be more difficult, and indeed could be easier than it is today.

 

 

Gary Cameron/Reuters

August 4 2015

"9 Reasons to Support the Iran Deal"

Op-Ed, The Atlantic

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

Having carefully reviewed the lengthy and complex agreement negotiated by the United States and its international partners with Iran, I have reached the following conclusion: If I were a member of Congress, I would vote yes on the deal. Here are nine reasons why.

 

 

U.S. Department of State

July 10, 2015

"4 Myths about the Iran Sanctions"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The latest sticking point in nuclear negotiations with Iran has little to do with the issues that have captivated attention in Washington—centrifuges, uranium stockpile and inspections of military sites. Instead, it has focused on the intricacies of sanctions: the Iranian delegation has demanded that a United Nations embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles be lifted. While the United States rejects such a concession, the Russians have reportedly broken ranks and support Iran’s position.

 

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.