BELFER CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
November 26, 2014
By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program
Iran's supreme leader should be grateful to congressional hard-liners like Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and to the various right-wing organizations that are working hard to derail a possible nuclear deal. If the latest extension of the talks goes nowhere and congressional opposition gets the United States blamed for the failure...the opportunity to open Iran up to the outside world will be postponed yet again....Treating Cuba like a pariah for 50 years hasn't toppled the Castro brothers, and keeping Iran isolated and sanctioned hasn't shaken the Islamic Republic much, either.
November 26, 2014
By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
"...[J]ournalists in the past were often regarded as neutral intermediaries between hostage takers and those willing to pay ransom. Now it is unsafe for journalists to go anywhere near ISIS."
November 25, 2014
Los Angeles Times
By Sven-Eric Fikenscher, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
"Skeptics might argue that expanding the joint plan would give Iran the opportunity to undermine sanctions, but modest sanctions relief is unlikely to weaken the overall sanctions regime. The joint plan has not undermined the existing sanctions. And there would be pressure on Iran to comply with an expanded agreement since cheating probably would be met with renewed sanctions. Unlike the alternative scenarios, this approach would buy some additional time and keep Iran in check."
"Possible Frameworks for Verification of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East - The Nuclear Dimension"
Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, issue 33
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
This policy brief argues that, on balance, a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone would be better off relying on IAEA verification and safeguards at the beginning. Over the medium- to longer- term, given the political will, financial, and human resources, the regional states could invest in a regional authority to build up their own capacity and thereby contribute to strengthening mutual confidence and trust.
November 24, 2014
The National Interest
"ISIS cannot be defeated with airstrikes, and that's all the West seems prepared to do. The coalition needs local and regional support. It must be prepared to send in large numbers of ground forces for a long time. Only Iran will be both able and willing to do that."
November 24, 2014
"Should Endowments Divest Their Holdings in Fossil Fuels? No: The Symbolic Act Would Achieve Little and Cost Much"
Wall Street Journal
By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
"...[E]ven if divestment were to reduce the industry's financial resources, this would only serve to reduce fossil-fuel companies' efforts to develop emissions-cutting technologies such as carbon capture and storage. It also could slow development of new renewable energy sources by fossil-fuel companies pursuing sensible diversification strategies. Also, keep in mind that a major reason for recent declines in U.S. carbon emissions is our increased use of natural gas (a fossil fuel) instead of coal to generate electricity."
November 22, 2014
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"The last few weeks’ escalating cycle of tensions, Israeli settlements expansions, murderous attacks by both Israelis and Palestinians, and reprisal demolitions of Palestinian homes may well escalate into something much more vicious and terrible, but it is hard to see what such an escalation would achieve. We have witnessed such cycles many times in the past 66 years, since Israel was created and the Palestinians experienced forced exile, refugeehood and occupation."
"A Pre-Lima Scorecard for Evaluating which Countries are Doing Their Fair Share in Pledged Carbon Cuts"
The authors explore a novel approach to evaluating the ambition and fairness of countries' voluntary pledges to reduce emissions. This approach could facilitate negotiations at the upcoming UN climate conference in Lima—and the broader process leading to a new 2015 international climate agreement.
By Morena Skalamera, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Geopolitics of Energy Project
As Moscow’s relations with the West deteriorate, Putin seeks to show the world and the Russian people that he has alternative friends to the East. Be that as it may, the incentives leading to the mega deal were in place much earlier. This paper proposes a framework for assessing the deal along three dimensions: 1) gas trade and energy security implications; 2) regional- and global policy-related implications; and 3) prospects for the future.
November 21, 2014
While the purpose of multilateral negotiations with Iran is to reduce proliferation concerns, successful talks may in fact accelerate nuclear plans in the Gulf states and Jordan, writes Senior Fellow Olli Heinonen.