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Robert D. Blackwill

Robert D. Blackwill

International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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

 

Experience

Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. As deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, Ambassador Blackwill was responsible for government-wide policy planning to help develop and coordinate the mid- and long-term direction of American foreign policy. He served as presidential envoy to Iraq and was the administration’s coordinator for U.S. policies regarding Afghanistan and Iran. Ambassador Blackwill went to the National Security Council (NSC) after serving as the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003, and is the recipient of the 2007 Bridge-Builder Award for his role in transforming U.S.-India relations. Prior to reentering government in 2001, he was the Belfer Lecturer in International Security at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 1989 to 1990, Ambassador Blackwill was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush for European and Soviet affairs, during which time he was awarded Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contribution to German unification. Earlier in his career, he was the U.S. ambassador to conventional arms negotiations with the Warsaw Pact, director for European affairs at the NSC, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs. The author and editor of many articles and books on transatlantic relations, Russia and the West, the Greater Middle East, and Asian security, Amb. Blackwill is a contributor to the Financial Times, a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Aspen Strategy Group, and on the board of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His latest book, coauthored with Belfer Center Director Graham Allison, is titled Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (MIT Press, February 2013).

 

 

By Date

 

2014

AP Images

March/April 2014

"America's Energy Edge"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Affairs

By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong.

 

2013

November 24, 2013

Iran's Mullahs Have a Vote

Op-Ed, Politico

By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Too many American chaise-lounge bombardiers, condemning the substance of the
interim nuclear agreement reached with Iran this weekend in Geneva, ignore or dismiss
the consequences of the likely price of diplomatic failure—a U.S. attack on Iran.
Discussing that daunting prospect as if it were a video game, they use terms like
“surgical strike” and “limited military engagement” to suggest that such a U.S.-Iran
confrontation would be successful, decisive and over in a hurry. The day after, in their
estimation, would look pretty much like the day before. Such strident advocacy ignores
one crucial variable—the reaction to an American attack by the Iranian leadership. The
mullahs have the decisive vote on what would happen next.

 

 

November 29, 2013

Should American Values Trump American Interests?

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Media reports of intense disagreements within the Obama administration with respect to policy toward Syria should come as no surprise. For decades, Washington policymakers and pundits have debated the right balance between America’s democratic values and its national interests.

 

 

October 17, 2013

"Ideal Qualities of a Successful Diplomat"

Paper

By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Based on his experience in the Oval Office, the White House Situation Room, the State and Defense Departments and in foreign capitals over four decades, Ambassador Robert Blackwill shares fifteen characteristics that he believes are fundamental for successful diplomats.

 

 

AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin

March 1, 2013

"Lee Kuan Yew, Grand Master of Asia"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School and Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Graham Allison and Robert Blackwill comment on the future of China and its possibilities. They note: "Only one individual has been called 'mentor' by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who initiated China’s march to the market, and its new leader Xi Jinping. Only one individual has been called upon for counsel about these developments by every U.S. president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. That individual is Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore."

 

 

(AP Photo)

February 25, 2013

"Lee Kuan Yew's China"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Ali Wyne, Former Research Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill spotlight Lee Kuan Yew in their latest book, Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World.

 

 

February 19, 2013

"Be Wary of Rising China, Says Lee Kuan Yew"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, The Australian

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Ali Wyne, Former Research Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Read an excerpt in The Australian from a new book on the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, by Belfer Center Director Graham Allison and Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, with Belfer Center Associate Ali Wyne. The book is titled: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World.

 

 

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

February 16, 2013

"Will China Ever Be No. 1"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School and Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Will China continue to grow three times faster than the United States to become the No. 1 economy in the world in the decade ahead? Does China aspire to be the No. 1 power in Asia and ultimately the world? As it becomes a great power, will China follow the path taken by Japan in becoming an honorary member of the West? Graham sAllison and Robert Blackwill suggest that while nobody knows the answer to these questions, the person they believe should be consulted for an answer is Lee Kuan Yew.

 

 

February 14, 2013

"Seek the Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew"

Op-Ed, Politico

By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School

Graham Allison and Robert Blackwill provide a preview of their latest book, "Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World."

 

 

Wikimedia Foundation

February 13, 2013

"Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew Talks America's Strengths And Weaknesses"

Op-Ed, Forbes

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Ali Wyne, Former Research Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Both in the United States and abroad, many influential observers argue that the U.S. is in systemic decline. Not so, says Lee Kuan Yew, the sage of Singapore. Lee is not only a student of the rise and fall of nations.  He is also the founder of modern Singapore. As prime minister from 1959 to 1990, he led its rise from a poor, small, corrupt port to a first-world city-state in just one generation.

 

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