For more on the region, visit the Belfer Center's Middle East Initiative
November 30, 2016
Op-Ed, The Diplomat
By Aaron Arnold, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Before trashing the Iran deal — the agreement inked last fall, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief — the incoming Trump administration should consider how a policy of soft economic engagement with Tehran could provide Washington with strategic leverage and increased bargaining power in a post-Iran deal world.
Throughout his campaign, now President-elect Trump attacked the Iran deal, claiming that “it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.” The future of the deal now seems to be far less certain, as Trump fills key positions with outspoken critics of the agreement. Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump’s recent pick for CIA director, is well-known for his hardline stance on the deal, recently noting that it should be “rolled back.”
November 28, 2016
By Cathryn Clüver, Executive Director, The Future of Diplomacy Project
David Saperstein, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, spoke on Monday, November 14th at the Harvard Kennedy School on “U.S. Efforts to Promote Religious Freedom Abroad.” In a wide-ranging discussion moderated by Future of Diplomacy Project Executive Director Cathryn Clüver, the diplomat and rabbi explained the importance of religion and human rights as part of an integrated approach to foreign policy.
November 23, 2016
In the News
By Robert M. Danin, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
The election of Donald Trump has fueled an intense struggle within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the future disposition of the West Bank that Israel has occupied for nearly fifty years.
November 22, 2016
Op-Ed, Project Syndicate
By Ishac Diwan, Visiting Scholar, Middle East Initiative
It has been five years since Egypt and Tunisia underwent regime change, and both countries are still suffering from low economic growth, large fiscal deficits, high unemployment, and rising public debts.
November 18, 2016
Podcast Collection: Globalization and its Discontents in MENA - Fall 2016 MEI Study Group with Prof. Robert Springborg
By Robert Springborg, Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar, Middle East Initiative
During the Fall 2016 semester, visiting scholar Professor Robert Springborg invited a distinguished group of scholars to address the implications of slowing global integration for the Middle East, a region both harmed and helped by rapid globalization in the late 20th century. Over the course of nine seminars, the group explored issues including postcolonial countercurrents in the Middle East and North Africa, the Iranian nuclear agreement, Egypt's military economy, resource wealth, liberal arts education, economic strain and its impact on Islamism, and the future of the United States' Middle East alliances.
"Scientific Wealth in Middle East and North Africa: Productivity, Indigeneity, and Specialty in 1981–2013"
Journal Article, PLoS ONE, issue 11, volume 11
By Afreen Siddiqi, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Jonathan Stoppani, Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Science, Technology, and Pubic Policy Program
Several developing countries seek to build knowledge-based economies by attempting to expand scientific research capabilities. Characterizing the state and direction of progress in this arena is challenging but important. In this article, the authors employ three metrics: a classical metric of productivity (publications per person), an adapted metric which we denote as Revealed Scientific Advantage (developed from work used to compare publications in scientific fields among countries) to characterize disciplinary specialty, and a new metric, scientific indigeneity (defined as the ratio of publications with domestic corresponding authors) to characterize the locus of scientific activity that also serves as a partial proxy for local absorptive capacity.
November 16, 2016
Op-Ed, Agence Global
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
BOSTON — The election of Donald Trump as the next American president has added a major new element of uncertainty to a Middle Eastern picture that had already achieved its highest state of confusion, violence, and uncertainty in its modern history. The factors that will determine the policies Trump will pursue there are many, and they are all moving in unknown directions at the same time. Trying to predict the implications of the Trump presidency for the Middle East is a fascinating game that involves numerous Middle Eastern players and foreign powers, is mostly anchored in guesswork, wishful thinking, and conspiracy theories, and mostly ends up reflecting a lot of wild speculation.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 2, volume 41
By Michael Horowitz, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2005-2007, Sarah Kreps, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007–2008 and Matthew Fuhrmann, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom, January–August 2009; Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2008–December 2009
Claims that drones will soon remake warfare or international politics are unwarranted. Although almost a dozen states now possess armed drones, and more are racing to acquire them, they will not play a decisive role in interstate conflicts. Drones will rarely be “winning weapons,” because they are vulnerable to air defenses. States will, however, continue to use drones against terrorists and domestic opponents.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 2, volume 41
How do great powers decide whether to arm or ally with client states? Great powers face the “patron’s dilemma”: ensuring clients’ security without being drawn into unwanted conflicts. Thus, great powers offer alliances only to states whose interests closely match their own, and arm only states that are relatively weak and therefore unlikely to behave aggressively. U.S. policies toward Israel and Taiwan reveal that the United States engaged in calculation of its rational interests instead of being influenced by domestic politics.
November 11, 2016
By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School
Dr. Ian Bremmer, expert in political risk and founder of the Eurasia Group, gave a seminar sponsored by the the Future of Diplomacy Project on Thursday, November 9 at the Harvard Kennedy School, titled “Managing Risk in an Unstable World."