By Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Isabella Bennett and Ali Wyne, Former Research Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
This policy brief examines political forgiveness, when countries or groups are able to reconcile or set aside historic enmities.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman makes the case that insights from frameworks of personal forgiveness can help nations seize the moment when their interests align and, accordingly, move to achieve political forgiveness. First, the process of forgiveness requires a sense of justice—victims must feel that perpetrators have been held accountable and will no longer be able to hurt them. It must also be a deep, extended undertaking: when perpetrators offer only superficial acknowledgments of the victims’ pain and attempt to move on quickly, victims perceive those efforts as perfunctory, even disingenuous.
Additionally, countries must reestablish genuine, ongoing contact to overcome narratives of “the other” that inhibit forgiveness. They should not assume, however, that political forgiveness will proceed as a linear, three-part process in which the perpetrator issues an apology, the victim accepts the apology, and the two subsequently cultivate their ties on the basis of aligned national interests.
April 28, 2016
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The IAEA’s reporting has been insufficiently clear regarding Iranian inventories of nuclear material. Iran is continuously enriching uranium and producing heavy water, and exceeding the JCPOA’s limits threatens to cut its nuclear breakout time. A clear, unambiguous IAEA accounting of Tehran’s nuclear inventories is therefore all the more essential.
Economic Research Forum
A policy brief by MEI Research Fellow Jamal Haidar and MEI Visiting Scholar Hedi Larbi on the reforms needed in the Arab world to contribute to improve the business environment and create productive jobs.
...[M]ilitary integration's benefits are unclear, the costs can be high, and the outsiders pressing for it do not suffer the consequences. The first rule of international intervention is "do no harm." Military integration fails that test.
March 17, 2016
By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Senior Fellow William Tobey testified on March 17, 2016, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Reviewing the Administration’s Nuclear Agenda."
March 14-15, 2016
By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Hui Zhang presented "China’s Civilian Reprocessing Programs" to the International Panel on Fissile Materials meeting in Washington, D.C., March 14-15, 2016.
This analysis suggests that the United States will continue to face difficult trade-offs in its Taiwan Strait policy. On the one hand, the United States should not—as some prominent analysts have suggested—scale back its commitment to Taiwan. Such a change in U.S. policy would accelerate the shifting balance of power in the strait, thereby magnifying the risk of armed conflict between the PRC and Taiwan. On the other hand, Washington must continue to tread cautiously on the Taiwan issue. The fact remains that many in China care deeply about Taiwan.
By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project
On Nov 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it veered into its airspace for 17 seconds. On December 13, a Russian ship fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea. Bilateral tensions, with overt military dimensions, have seemed to quickly replace the goodwill that characterized relations only a year ago.
November 16, 2015
By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Russia’s national interests in Syria do not hinge on continuation of Bashir al-Assad’s rule. Therefore, Vladimir Putin could be prepared let Assad go as long as Russia has a say in transition to the new government in Syria and that government agrees to honor Russia’s national interests at stake.
January 4, 2016
By Philippe Fargues, Associate, Middle East Initiative
"As 2015 comes to a close, the annual numbers of migrants smuggled to Greece and Italy and asylum claims lodged in Germany have passed a million, as well as the number of additional displacements produced this year by the conflict in Syria. Moreover, Europe’s Mediterranean shore has now the unchallenged title of the world’s most lethal border. Not only this. The migrant crisis is also putting to the test some of Europe’s most fundamental values, from the freedom of circulation within its territories, to international protection beyond..."