INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE
April 18, 2014
By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Despite the ray of good news in Thursday's Geneva agreement on steps to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, President Obama was right to sound a note of caution, observing that "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point."
The deal, reached by Russia, Ukraine and the West, called for, among other things, disarming illegally armed pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, and the surrender of the government buildings they have seized.
April 17, 2014
Op-Ed, Moscow Times
By Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
What is President Vladimir Putin's next move? The answer is thus far undecided, perhaps even for Putin.
To put ourselves in Putin's shoes, writes Kevin Ryan, "Western observers and analysts have searched history for analogous moments in time. Historians tell us that if we can find similar historical circumstances, we might be better able to predict what will happen next. Some experts look to 1914 and the run-up to World War I for clues and insights. But for Putin and his inner circle, the most analogous moment in history is December 2001. Russia is playing the role of the U.S. as it basked in the initial 'success' of Afghanistan and contemplated Iraq. The parallels are uncanny."
April 17, 2014
Chinese actions in maritime Asia are raising questions about American willingness and ability to act decisively in the region. That ambiguity is bad news for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), traditionally dependent on the U.S. security umbrella and more recently enjoying rapid expansion of trade with China.
April 16, 2014
Op-Ed, Middle East Report Online
By Tytti Erästö, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom Research Fellow
The controversy over the Iranian nuclear program is in many ways a product of the US-Iranian conflict. The United States and Iran are in the grip of mutual negative perceptions that, in turn, have been reinforced by the escalatory dynamics of the nuclear dispute. After years of seeming diplomatic deadlock, these dynamics suddenly changed for the better in the autumn of 2013. The positive trends culminated in November, when Iran agreed with the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, the so-called P5+1, on a confidence-building deal known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). Given the record of diplomatic non-achievement, the deal is a historic development.
By Terence Roehrig, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
For sixty years, the United States has maintained an extensive network of military bases on the Korean Peninsula to ensure South Korea's security. An alliance that lasts for over half a century is likely to evolve as power configurations and the security environment change; this has certainly been the case for the U.S.–South Korea alliance. This chapter examines the key dimensions of this evolution as they alter the U.S. military presence in South Korea.
April 15, 2014
Op-Ed, Boston Globe
"For government to function effectively in the future, it must commit to changes in how we assess information. The primary focus should be on more comprehensive training for public employees on how to gather and most effectively access the information they need. Often there are antiquated and bureaucratic barriers to information sharing that serve no purpose and hinder the capacity of government to interpret different pieces of data from different sources."
Strategic Empathy: The Afghanistan Intervention Shows Why the U.S. Must Empathize with its Adversaries
By Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program
"...[H]ow did such vast and sustained investments not deliver a more favorable outcome? Conditions were undoubtedly challenging, but most observers — and indeed U.S. officials — agree that major mistakes were made....But the most egregious error of the United States was to pursue a strategy founded on a misreading of its enemy."
April 10, 2014
Op-Ed, New Europe
By Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor
"...Obama's declaration that Russia is a regional power acting out of weakness, no less than Russia's suspension from the G-8, may have hit Putin where he is most vulnerable. His actions in Ukraine have undoubtedly brought Russia tangible gains in the short term. But they also imply less obvious costs. It remains to be seen whether Putin's bold move was worth it."
April 10, 2014
Op-Ed, Boston Globe
By Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School
Recent ethnic Russian demonstrations in Eastern Ukraine and fistfights in the Ukrainian parliament are more dramatic displays in the ongoing saga of a country unraveling. Furthermore, Putin's words--Crimea ibeing his last territorial demand--and actions--moving thousands of troops to to the Ukrainian border--aren't matching up.
Professor Burns writes about the need for a strong reponse from the U.S. and Europe. He suggests two options: imposing tough economic sanctions and moving NATO forces to the Baltics and Poland. Our allies, as well as Putin, are looking to see if Washington will display confidence, toughness, and leadership in the most serious security crisis in Europe since the Cold War’s end.
April 7, 2014
By Jaganath Sankaran, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
"Given the budgetary constraints under which spacefaring nations like the United States and India operate, cooperation is a valuable means to furthering our understanding of Earth's ecosystem."