BELFER CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
October 30, 2014
The Huffington Post
By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
"...[T]he hijackers promised to end the siege if they were allowed safe passage, and the Egyptian authorities agreed. The hostages disembarked on October 9. It was decided to fly the hostages, plus Abu al-Abbas, out of the country aboard an Egyptair plane. However, unbeknownst to the Egyptians, intelligence was obtained by the U.S."
Thursday October 30, 2014
The American Interest
By Ali Wyne, Former Research Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Rarely,” the New York Times observed this July, “has a president been confronted with so many seemingly disparate foreign policy crises all at once.” Some of these crises, like the ascent of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are bloody and fast-moving. Others, like the civil war in Syria, are grisly, protracted, and slow-moving. Others are grinding along sufficiently slowly that they feel less like crises than enduring foreign-policy challenges: consider the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program, which Graham Allison likens to “a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion,” and China’s quiet but purposeful campaign to settle its maritime disputes, which will likely play out over several decades.
October 28, 2014
Wall Street Journal
By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Four weeks ago I was in London at a conference organized by one of the biggest U.S. banks. The program included a session with the dread title, “2014, The Death of Volatility?” As it followed a rash of similar presentations and articles this year—“The Strange Death of Volatility,” “The Day Volatility Died” and the like—I knew from experience that a spike in volatility was imminent. And sure enough, since the end of last month, financial markets around the world have gone from gliding up an escalator to riding a bucking bronco.
October 27, 2014
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
By Ariane Tabatabai, Associate, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
"Tehran has made it clear that its goal is to have industrial-scale enrichment. But while fixing a clear and concrete goal, Khamenei's speech also gave a lot of room for his negotiating team to maneuver. This part of the speech was lost in translation in the United States."
October 27, 2014
By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, 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.
October 14, 2014
On October 14, Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, gave the 2014 Edwin L. Godkin Lecture at Harvard Kennedy School's JFK Jr. Forum. The lecture was titled "The Huntington Legacy in Political Development." Fukuyama discussed his new book, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, emphasizing the importance of institutions in political development. The event was moderated by Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
The transcript of Fukuyama's address is available in PDF format.
October 24, 2014
By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program
"And then a lone gunman opens fire in Canada. Even when the loss of life or damage is small — thankfully — each new terrorist incident tends to magnify public concern and is used to justify increasingly stringent counterterrorism measures."
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Valentina Bosetti, Gabe Chan, Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Gregory Nemet, Former Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, January–June 2011 and Elena Verdolini
Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.
October 22, 2014
By Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
"Africa's desire to become a knowledge-based economy is within reach. But it is not being helped by economic policies that emphasise raw materials instead of building versatile technological capabilities that can drive industrial diversification."
October 22, 2014
By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Facing a complex and difficult task in negotiating an agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, the Obama administration is beginning to leak what many observers have long understood -- that it sees no point in trying to obtain Congressional approval for any nuclear deal with Iran.