65th Anniversary of Soviet Union's First Nuclear Test

August 29, 2014

The Soviet Union's first nuclear test took place August 29, 1949 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan. In 2012, American, Russian, and Kazakh nuclear scientists and engineers completed a secret 17-year effort to secure vulnerable weapons-grade plutonium at the site, where many Soviet nuclear tests took place during the Cold War. Their successful collaboration to keep dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists is told in the Belfer Center report Plutonium Mountain.

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Wikimedia CC

August 25, 2014

"Do Homework Before Supporting Groups in ISIS Fight"

By Khaled Sheykholeslami and Ariane Tabatabai, Stanton Nuclear Security Predoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

"The United States and several key regional states, including Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey may have very different interests, but they all have a shared interest in better understanding and working together to stop groups that dislike Americans as much as Jews, Persians, Shi’as, secular Muslims, and the Saudi monarchy. They should refrain from empowering and expressing blind support for a group or entity without fully understanding it first."



Loavesofbread CC

August 20, 2014

"Bad Policy, Bad Policing"

Boston Globe

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

"Dual-use has the benefit of being both efficient and effective. The firefighter who shows up at a burning building does not wonder, at that moment, whether an arsonist or a careless cigarette smoker is to blame. She just wants to put the fire out. The medics at the Boston Marathon finish line had no idea whether the carnage came from a terrorist attack or a gas explosion. They just implemented their well-honed plans for treating a sudden surge in injuries."



AP Images

August 19, 2014

Crafting a Strategy for Deterring Putin

Washington Post

By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project

At the public kickoff of a discussion here about U.S. policy toward Russia and Ukraine, former defense secretary Robert Gates joked that his favorite definition of diplomacy was “petting a dog and saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”



Loavesofbread CC

August 19, 2014

"We Work Together...But We Live Apart"

The Huffington Post

By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program

"When we observe on television the tragic scenes in Ferguson, Missouri, we get a idea of just how damaged our society is: what we see, in large part, is a black underclass living for the most part apart."



August 19, 2014

"Obama's Second-Term Energy Policy Is Working"

Wall Street Journal

By John M. Deutch, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"President Obama has put energy and the environment at the top of his second-term agenda. The focus has been on climate change, and on exploiting the unexpected plenty of North American oil, gas and energy technology. The administration's progress has been notable...," writes John Deutch.

"The president's highest priority is to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions of existing electricity generating power plants....The projected CO2 reductions—about 30% below 2005 levels by 2030—are reasonable and shouldn't significantly increase industry or consumer costs."



White House Photo

August 13, 2014

"Double Diss"

Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[I]t's clear Clinton understands George W. Bush blew it big-time, and that repeating his mistakes will doom the next president as well. What's less clear is why she didn't openly embrace the more prudent policies that both her husband and her former boss championed. My guess: she was just reacting to the president's favorability ratings and pandering to the usual suspects, which is what anyone running for office is likely to do these days."



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<em>International Security</em>

The Summer 2014 issue of the quarterly journal International Security
is now available!

  1. Why the United States Should Spread Democracy
  2. How an Iran Hawk Lets IS Off the Hook
  3. Do Homework Before Supporting Groups in ISIS Fight

"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 ›