"Perceptions and Narratives of Security: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iran-Iraq War"
By Annie Tracy Samuel, Research Fellow, International Security Program
This paper explores the importance of the Iran-Iraq War for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by analyzing how the Guards have used the war to present their positions on Iran's national security.
By Ethan Corbin, Research Fellow, International Security Program
This paper examines the state of Syria's regional armed group allies today in the face of Syrian decline.
By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Twenty years ago Russia and fourteen other newly-independent states emerged from the ruins of the Soviet empire, many as nations for the first time in history. As is typical in the aftermath of the collapse of an empire, this was followed by a period of chaos, confusion, and corruption. As the saying went at the time, “everything is for sale.” At that same moment, as the Soviet state imploded, 35,000 nuclear weapons remained at thousands of sites across a vast Eurasian landmass that stretched across eleven time zones.
Today, fourteen of the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union are nuclear weapons-free. This paper will address the question: how did this happen? Looking ahead, it will consider what clues we can extract from the success in denuclearizing fourteen post-Soviet states that can inform our non-proliferation and nuclear security efforts in the future. These clues may inform leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other responsible nations attending the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, 2012. The paper will conclude with specific recommendations, some exceedingly ambitious that world leaders could follow to build on the Seoul summit’s achievements against nuclear terrorism in the period before the next summit in 2014. One of these would be to establish a Global Alliance Against Nuclear Terrorism.
"A successful international climate policy framework will have to meet two conditions, build a coalition of countries that is potentially effective and give each member country sufficient incentives to join and remain in this coalition. Such coalition should be capable of delivering ambitious emission reduction even if some countries do not take mitigation action. In addition, it should meet the target without exceedingly high mitigation costs and deliver a net benefit to member countries as a whole. The novel contribution of this paper is mostly methodological, but it also adds a better qualification of well-known results that are policy relevant."
In a new Harvard Project Discussion Paper, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei's Valentina Bosetti and Enrica De Cian model the behavior of countries not participating in a cooperative climate regime. The regime imposes counterbalancing influences upon these countries, but under some conditions they may act to both reduce emissions and increase clean-energy R&D
By Vivek Mohan, Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Information and Communications Technology and Public Policy Project
Consumer expectations of online and mobile privacy have in recent years diverged significantly from reality. In certain circumstances, the United States government has the ability to access a consumer's cloud-based email, location data gathered from their mobile phones, and information about what calls a user places on a mobile device—without a warrant. While a broad coalition is spearheading reform efforts in Washington, providers of these services should take proactive steps to bring consumer understanding of their privacy more in line with reality.
"New Threats, Old Technology: Vulnerabilities in Undersea Communication Cable Network Management Systems"
By Michael Sechrist, Former Associate, Explorations in Cyber International Relations (ECIR), Jan.-Jun. 2012; Former Project Manager, ECIR , Oct.-Dec. 2011; Former Research Fellow, ECIR, Jul. 2010-Sep. 2011, Former Associate, Explorations in Cyber International Relations (ECIR), Jan–Jun 2012; Former Project Manager, ECIR, Oct–Dec 2011; Former Research Fellow, ECIR, Jul 2010–Sept 2011
This paper explores the vulnerabilities to cyber attacks of infrastructure that today carries nearly all the world's data and voice traffic: undersea communications cables. Long-standing physical vulnerabilities in cable infrastructure have been compounded by new risk found in the network management systems that monitor and control cable operations. Unlike an attack on a water treatment plant's control systems, however, an attack on the cables' control systems could devastate the world's economies — presenting a different kind of Internet "kill switch" altogether — shutting down world commerce, and doing it all with the click of a mouse.
"Socio-Economic Sustainability of Biofuel Production in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from a Jatropha Outgrower Model in Rural Tanzania"
By Elisa Portale
This new discussion paper investigates whether an outgrower scheme for a Jatropha production project in Tanzania is capable of developing “socio-economic sustainable outcomes for farmers.” The answer relies on the inclusion of an analysis of the farmers’ material benefits and subjective perceptions about the overall welfare contribution of the outgrower scheme. This research is the first to propose a practical way to operationalize such an analysis and to apply it to a concrete investment project.
By Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Josh Drake, Former Belfer IGA Fellow 2009-2011, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and L. Val Giddings
Today, three of ten people on the planet rely on others to grow their food and 900 million remain chronically food insecure. By 2050 the global demand for agricultural production is expected to double. Half of the global population will live in cities and will need to be fed through market channels. Meeting these demands will require significant increases in agricultural productivity. Modern, science-driven farming including genetically modified crops represents the best chance of generating the increases in agricultural productivity necessary to feed our future. This paper's overall conclusion is that genetically modified crops can and should play a critical role in agricultural productivity. It is offers a roadmap for those interested in objectively evaluating both the risk and benefits of biotechnology in agriculture.
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Because of the global commons nature of climate change, international cooperation among nations will likely be necessary for meaningful action at the global level. At the same time, it will inevitably be up to the actions of sovereign nations to put in place policies that bring about meaningful reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of emissions of greenhouse gases in most economies, as well as the variation in abatement costs among individual sources, conventional environmental policy approaches, such as uniform technology and performance standards, are unlikely to be sufficient to the task. Therefore, attention has increasingly turned to market-based instruments in the form of carbon-pricing mechanisms. We examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the major options for carbon pricing: carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, emission reduction credits, clean energy standards, and fossil fuel subsidy reductions.