April 21, 2014 – A pro-Russia guard barricades the office of the Security Service in Luhansk. Today, US VP Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country; his visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine. (AP)


Ukraine on the Brink?

April 22, 2014

Belfer Center experts urge caution by Washington and Moscow on their next steps in the Ukraine crisis.

Graham Allison writes “How Ukraine crisis could pull U.S. to war.” More

Kevin Ryan suggests that Putin’s dilemma now is similar to that of President Bush in December 2001 on Afghanistan and Iraq. More

Simon Saradzhyan explains how “Russia's Red Line in Ukraine Got Real.” More




(AP Photo/Alex Wong, Pool)

April 17, 2014

"A 'Weak' America is Making Asia Uneasy"


By Ernest Bower and Derwin Pereira, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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.



Creative Commons

April 17, 2014

"Cure Rot by Exposing It to Fresh Air"

Agence Global

By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative

"One of the most fascinating but problematic recent incidents on the extent of allowable free speech in the United States took place this week when Brandeis University withdrew an invitation to the Somali-Dutch-American anti-Islamic firebrand Ayaan Hirsi Ali to give a speech and receive an honorary degree. After the university administration issued the invitation, over 80 Brandeis faculty sent a letter to the school’s president demanding the withdrawal of the invitation—which is what happened. The university invited her instead to speak on campus and engage in a public dialogue, which she declined."



State Dept Photo

April 16, 2014

"Learning from the Past in the Iranian Nuclear Dispute"

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.



April 15, 2014

"Would Better Data Have Helped?"

Boston Globe

By Ed Davis and Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy (on Leave)

"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."



Kris Snibbe

April 11, 2014

"Working With China on Key Issues Necessary"

By Robert B. Zoellick, Non-resident Senior Fellow

Robert Zoellick, senior fellow with Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and former head of the World Bank, spoke to a crowd of about 150 as part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s (HUCE) “China 2035: Energy, Climate, Development” lecture series. As reported in the Harvard Gazette, “HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of environmental science and engineering, introduced the event, saying that it’s important to understand China because it looms so large on the world stage.”



April 8, 2014

"Democracy Dividends from the Afghanistan Investment"

Wall Street Journal

By David H. Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow and Michael O'Hanlon

With an enthusiastic election turnout on Saturday, the Afghan people took a major step toward electing a new president—a crucial step for a young democracy seeking to demonstrate that it can peacefully pass power from one leader to another. This will be a first for Afghanistan, a country where most transitions have been violent. But we need to be patient and realistic as we watch and support this process as it plays out over the spring and summer.


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<em>International Security</em>

The winter 2013/14 issue of the quarterly journal International Security is now available!

  1. Why the United States Should Spread Democracy
  2. The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon
  3. Good News from Ukraine: It Doesn’t Have Nukes

"The closer we get to the end game, the more incentive he has to stretch it out."

Gary Samore, on the delayed disarmament process in Syria

The Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International affairs has been ranked the world's top University Affiliated Think Tank for 2014.

The annual ranking were issued by University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. More Info ›