Belfer Center Home > People > Joseph S. Nye

« Back to publication

Joseph S. Nye

Mailing address

Taubman 162
Visions of Governance in the 21st Century Project
79 John F. Kennedy St.
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Joseph S. Nye

Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

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

Telephone: (617) 495-1123
Fax: (617)-496-3337



Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is University Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Princeton University, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, and earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and a Deputy Under Secretary of State. His recent books include Soft Power, The Power Game: A Washington NovelThe Powers to Lead, The Future of Power, Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era and the latest released in 2015 Is the American Century Over? He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. In a recent survey of international relations scholars, he was rated the fifth most influential over the past 20 years; ranked as the most influential scholar on American foreign policy, and in 2011, Foreign Policy named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers. November of 2014, Emperor Akihito of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of his contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.



By Date



July 10, 2015

"The Limits of Chinese Soft Power"

Op-Ed, Today's Zaman

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"The other limit is China reluctance to take full advantage of an uncensored civil society. As noted by the Economist, the Chinese Communist Party has not bought into the idea that soft power springs largely from individuals, the private sector, and civil society. Instead, it has clung to the view that the government is the main source of soft power, promoting ancient cultural icons that it thinks might have global appeal, often using the tools of propaganda."



June 22, 2015

"China Is Not More Economically Powerful Than the U.S., and It Is Far From Certain If and When It Will Be"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"In an interdependent relationship, power depends on asymmetries in the interdependence, and China depends heavily on access to the American market. Dumping dollars would be self-destructive. In 2009, some Peoples Liberation Army officials suggested that China use its dollar reserves to punish the United States for its arms sales to Taiwan, but economic officials quickly pointed out that this would impose intolerable damage on their own economy."



June 12, 2015

"A Key to America's Power"


By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"Population alone does not determine national power, but it is an important component, particularly if those human resources are educated and assimilated. It is encouraging, therefore, that the United States is one of the few developed countries that is projected to avoid demographic decline and keep its share of world population, partly as a result of immigration."



June 3, 2015

"Is U.S.-China Conflict Imminent in the South China Sea?"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"The U.S. argues that UNCLOS grants foreign ships and planes free access beyond a 12-mile territorial limit, while China claims that military flights cannot cross its 200-mile economic zone without its permission. If China claimed such a zone for each of the sites it occupies, it could close off most of the South China Sea."



May 18, 2015

"Is Cybersecurity Like Arms Control?"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"In little more than a generation, the Internet has become the substrate of the global economy and governance worldwide. Several billion more human users will be added in the next decade, as will tens of billions of devices, ranging from thermostats to industrial control systems (the 'Internet of Things'). All of this burgeoning interdependence implies vulnerabilities that governments and non-governmental actors can exploit. At the same time, we are only beginning to come to terms with the national-security implications of this. Strategic studies of the cyber domain resemble nuclear strategy in the 1950s: analysts are still not clear about the meaning of offense, defense, deterrence, escalation, norms, and arms control."



May 18, 2015

"The American Century Will Continue But It Won't Look the Same"

Op-Ed, Politico

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"On the key new transnational issues — financial stability, climate change, pandemics, terrorism and cyber strife — American leadership will be important, but success in the years ahead cannot be one-sided. Achieving our goals in the 21st century will require the cooperation of other nations, both friendly and not. In this sense, power becomes a positive-sum game. If the American century is to continue, it will not be enough to think in terms of American power over others. One must also think in terms of power to accomplish joint goals — goals that will involve sharing power with others such as China, Europe, Japan, India, Brazil...."



April 27, 2015

"Is America Like Rome?"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"Ancient Rome had an economy without productivity, a society riven by internecine warfare, and in political institutions, rampant corruption and decay that made Rome incapable of defending itself. Despite our problems, the facts make it hard to sustain an analogy with the United States. American culture has cleavages, but they remain manageable and less dangerous than at times in the past. Our society remains open to the outside world and better able than most to renew itself by immigration."




April 19, 2015

"The Challenge of Russia's Decline"

Op-Ed, The Korea Times

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"...Russia seems doomed to continue its decline ― an outcome that should be no cause for celebration in the West. States in decline ― think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 ― tend to become less risk-averse and thus much more dangerous. In any case, a thriving Russia has more to offer the international community in the long run."



April 3, 2015

"The China Challenge"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"...[T]he United States has more time to manage its relations with a rising power than Britain did a century ago, and China has incentives for restraint. Too much fear can be self-fulfilling. Whether the United States and China will manage their relationship well is another question. Human error and miscalculation are always possible. But with the right choices, war is not inevitable, and the impressive rise of China is a long process that is still far from signifying the end of the American century."



March 25, 2015

"The American Century Will Survive the Rise of China"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

"China's size and relatively rapid economic growth will bring it closer to the US in terms of its power resources in the next few decades. But this does not necessarily mean it will surpass the US in military, economic and soft power."



Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

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.