Editor: Beth Maclin, Former Communications Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
To address the array of nuclear threats and specifically the specter of a nuclear bomb exploding in one of our cities with consequences that will fundamentally change our lives and our world, the supreme requirement is for meaningful, sustained international cooperation.
Mohamed ElBaradei, Graham Allison, and Ernesto Zedillo, "Nuclear Security," International Herald Tribune (April 10, 2010)
. . . [W]hile references to NATO-related threats have won more play in the media, the innovations in the doctrine's provisions on nuclear weapons are clearly more significant. For the first time since the adoption of the first-use policy, the Russian leadership has decided to constrain, if only somewhat, the use of nuclear weapons in a strategic document.
Simon Saradzhyan, "Nuclear ‘Constraint' in Russia," International Relations and Security Network (February 16, 2010)
More importantly, progress in Pakistan-strengthening economic growth, governance, and liberal values-takes years to realize but only a few American airstrikes or Taliban bombings to destroy. American mistakes in the region have been aggravating public sentiments for years and fueled fundamentalism in the mainstream.
Nadia Naviwala, "Let Pakistan Make Its Own Progress," International Herald Tribune (March 16, 2010)
. . . [T]he Pakistani decision to take down Baradar and several Afghan Taliban governors may show that Pakistan made the strategic decision that supporting the Afghan Taliban no longer advances its core national security interests. If true, the odds of success for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan have significantly increased.
Eric Rosenbach, "Pakistan Smart to Hit Taliban," Boston Globe (February 21, 2010)
The Taliban's often brutal form of conservative justice shocks the liberal sensibilities of the western electorates paying for the war. Bringing them into the political process will mean conceding that where, for example, young brides wed older men, NATO troops are not the right means to change those customs and attitudes.
Azeem Ibrahim, "NATO's New Afghan Strategy Underlines the Necessity of Talking to the Taliban," Huffington Post (February 12, 2010)
Many experts and scholars ﬁnd China's no-ﬁrst-use pledge suspect, claiming it is just a declaratory policy. On the other hand, if a country really pledges a meaningful no-first-use policy, in practice, experts argue that its force posture, including size, configuration, and readiness, would be significantly different from that with a first-use option.
Hui Zhang, "China's Perspective on a Nuclear-Free World," Washington Quarterly (April 2010)
China's rising demand for Africa's natural resources helped to re-establish Africa as a source of valuable commodities for the global market. But it also helped to focus Africa's political attention on why, despite its vast resources, the continent still remains poor.
Calestous Juma, "Africa and China" debate, Economist (February 15, 2010)
The more weight the two nations have, the more important for them to treat bilateral relations with discretion and avoid provocations. As one possesses powerful means to take action against the other, the countermeasures from the other country would be equally strong.
Anne Wu, "U.S. and China Need Not Bare Teeth," Boston Globe (February 22, 2010)
Certain Chinese scholars are now writing about the decline of the u.s., with one identifying the year 2000 as the peak of American power. This overconfidence in foreign policy, combined with insecurity in domestic affairs, may combine to explain the change in Chinese behavior in the latter part of 2009. If so, China is making a serious miscalculation.
Joseph S. Nye, "China's Bad Bet Against America," Daily News Egypt (March 11, 2010)
Middle East Politics
Whatever you think of its strategy or its tactics, the Obama administration is genuinely committed to achieving a two-state solution, which is hardly an act of hostility toward Israel. On the contrary, for Obama to keep this difficult and time-consuming issue on his already crowded agenda is an extraordinary act of friendship-especially when friendship means speaking difficult truths.
Stephen Walt, "In the Fight over Settlements, Who are Israel's Real Friends?" Washington Post (March 21, 2010)
Iraq is on much sounder footing today than it was in 2005 or 2006. Yet once again, after Sunday's parliamentary elections, the country is probably in store for long negotiations over who will share power in the new government-a battle that could strain Iraq's fledgling political institutions and complicate the planned drawdown of U.S. forces. Although forming a government is an Iraqi affair, the United States has clear interests in the character of that government.
Meghan O'Sullivan, "After Iraq's Election, The Real Fight," Washington Post (March 7, 2010)
Tilting the scales in favor of a regionalist approach in Iran's foreign policy will not only be beneficial, but is key to realizing Iran's national and security interests. Such a strategy, however, should be based on creating a "balance" in the various geographic-geopolitical, historical-civilizational, and political-security approaches of Iran's foreign policy. It should also be centered on establishing relations with various geographical regions and political-security and economic sub-systems.
Kayhan Barzegar, "Regionalism in Iran's Foreign Policy," Iran Review (February 8, 2010)
Even after September 11, colleagues have repeatedly asked me whether religion "really" matters. I always say the same thing: "Go read 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta's letter." Religion matters a great deal, and its positive and negative influence both within and between states is certain to continue well into the coming decades.
Monica Toft, "Religion Matters in International Relations," Huffington Post (March 1, 2010)
Religion matters and is worth studying, but policy is far more important for promoting normal and friendly ties between Americans and the citizens of Muslim-majority countries. Policy, not faith, is the issue and the problem.
Rami Khouri, "America and Islam," Agence Global (March 3, 2010)
Science and Technology
Just as our country's capacity to perfect and cope with extreme weather events depends heavily on science and technology, so does our ability to . . . meet energy needs without wrecking global climate; to protect our troops abroad and our citizens at home; and to create the new products, services and high-quality jobs that real economic recovery and sustained growth will require. Putting the science and technology in place to meet these challenges requires a vigorous partnership between the public and private sectors in which the federal government's funding and encouragement of research, development and science and math education are crucial.
John P. Holdren, "The Science Budget and the Future," Politico (March 2, 2010)
The rest of the Eurozone could allow Greece to take a temporary leave of absence with the right and the obligation to return at a more competitive exchange rate. More specifically, Greece would shift its currency from the euro to the drachma, with an initial exchange rate of one euro to one drachma. Bank balances and obligations would remain in euros. Wages and prices would be set in drachma.
Martin Feldstein, "Let Greece Take a Eurozone ‘Holiday,'" Financial Times (February 12, 2010)
Imperial collapse may come much more suddenly than many historians imagine. A combination of fiscal deficits and military overstretch suggests that the United States may be the next empire on the precipice.
Niall Ferguson, "Complexity and Collapse," Foreign Affairs (March/April 2010 issue)
The saga of President Obama is but 14 months old. It is too soon to tell whether health care reform will be a policy success in implementation and a long-term political success (like Medicare) as it changes a health care system bristling with problems. And, of course, it is far, far too soon to make any meaningful judgments about his tenure.
Ben Heineman, "No Presidential Greatness Without Spending Political Capital," Atlantic (March 23, 2010)
Compiled by Beth Maclin and Lucia Cordon
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