Reports & Papers

1470 Items

A view of the Yangtze River near Chongqing city.

© Landsat/Copernicus. Used with Permission.

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Unlocking the Deadlock

| January 2017

The world has witnessed a new era of cooperation on climate change between the United States and China. This cooperation between the world’s two largest economies and carbon emitters played a fundamental role in the international negotiations leading up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015. This includes, in particular, the joint announcement of their respective post-2020 climate actions in November 2014 and the crafting of common visions on key issues related to the Paris Outcome in September 2015. The world has high expectations that the United States and China will enhance their future collaboration on climate change. These expectations will be the cornerstone of translating the Paris vision into action. Furthermore, the Joint Presidential Statement released in March 2016 also stressed that “joint efforts by the United States and China on climate change will serve as an enduring legacy of the partnership between our two countries”.

Server racks inside a data center at American Electrical Power headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, May 2015.

AP

Paper - Cyber Security Project, Belfer Center

The Legend of Sophistication in Cyber Operations

| January 2017

In a drumbeat of news stories and corporate press releases, one phrase has dramatically grown in use over the last decade: “sophisticated cyber attack.” These words have been used to describe specific intrusions into telecommunication providers, insurance companies, social media hubs, banks, the Pentagon, a host of security firms, government agencies, research labs, movie studios, and much more. It seems the world is awash in sophisticated network intrusions. 

But if everything is sophisticated, nothing is. This paper unpacks “sophistication” in cyber operations, exploring what it means, and what it should mean, for an operation to attain such a status. It examines the incentives for victims and observers to overstate the sophistication of other actors. Additionally, it offers a more rigorous framework for defining the term that takes into account technical and operational factors. But deploying the lens of sophistication by itself can be misleading; this paper also explores the incentives some actors have to deploy less sophisticated capabilities. 
 

Discussion Paper

The Challenges and Promises of Greening China's Economy

| January 2017

In the 2014 joint U.S.-China climate announcement, China pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030. Another serious pledge was then made to lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% from 2005 levels in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). This paper shows the compatibility between the non-fossil fuel share pledge and carbon intensity target and summarizes key challenges China has been facing (and will face) in scaling up non-fossil fuels as promised.

A section of the Delegen mountain range, near Uzynbulak, Kazakhstan.

©2016 Google Earth, DigitalGlobe. Used with Permission.

Report

Lessons from Kazakhstan

| January 2017

When the Republic of Kazakhstan declared independence from the Soviet Union on December 16, 1991, its leaders found themselves in possession of 1,040 nuclear warheads, seven heavy bombers, and hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles and other nuclear weapons-related equipment. These weapons and delivery systems were only one part of the new country’s inheritance. Kazakhstan now held one of the largest and most diverse systems for producing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in history.

Nuclear materials and sensitive equipment remained strewn across the massive Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site, where the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear weapons test and followed with 455 more. Just to the east, a metallurgy facility in the town of Ust-Kamenogorsk held enough highly enriched uranium to make about 24 nuclear weapons. Further west, the city of Stepnogorsk housed an industrial-scale facility ready to produce and weaponize several hundred metric tons of tons of anthrax and other biological agents if war broke out between the Soviet Union and the United States. At a nuclear reactor along the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan now possessed one of the largest stocks of weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium in the world—enough to produce around 775 nuclear weapons. Still other sites held capabilities needed for developing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Skilled scientists and experts with experience relevant to running WMD programs went unpaid or under-employed. Many left the country altogether.

The work of reducing WMD threats remains as critical today as it was in December 1991. Though these threats have changed in time, the world still faces WMD challenges as daunting and diverse as those Kazakhstan inherited.

Jewish settler youth prepare barricades to block the entrance to a building in Amona, an unauthorized Israeli outpost in the West Bank, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Time to Decide and Act

    Author:
  • Dan Meridor
| January 5, 2017

Israel’s success in the face of extraordinary odds is undeniable, writes former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor. In security, prosperity, democratic rights, innovation, and education, it is an exemplar for the region. But staying the course that Israel has followed the last 50 years, Meridor warns, entails an existential threat to Israel, because it will lead to a one-state reality.

Meridor proposes a new Israeli policy that will change the present course. It will disable the “one state solution” and enhance a “two state solution,” reviving the credibility of Israel’s declared policy of reaching a reasonable solution and returning clarity and justice to the Zionist cause.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA

| December 2016

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, the status of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers is increasingly coming under question.  Since the nuclear agreement was the product of a realignment of Iranian elites toward moderate forces, the unravelling of the agreement holds the potential to disrupt Iranian politics once again. This report, The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA, by Iran Project Director Payam Mohseni, provides an in-depth analysis of Iran's factional political scene and assesses the impact of the agreement on the 2016 Iranian parliamentary elections and the future of Iranian politics.

Paper - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Russia and Cyber Operations: Challenges and Opportunities for the Next U.S. Administration

| December 13, 2016

Russian cyber operations against the United States aim to both collect information and develop offensive capabilities against future targets. Washington must strengthen its defenses in response.

Paper - Harvard Business School

Henry A. Kissinger as Negotiator: Background and Key Accomplishments

| Dec. 12, 2016

Following a brief summary of Henry A. Kissinger’s career, this paper describes six of his most pivotal negotiations: the historic establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, the easing of geopolitical tension with the Soviet Union, symbolized by the signing of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (“SALT I”), the limited success of the SALT II negotiations, the mediation after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war of the agreement on Sinai disengagement between Egypt and Israel and of the Israel-Syria Separation of Forces Agreement, and the Paris Peace Accords to end the Vietnam War.

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Paper - Harvard Business School

Henry Kissinger's Negotiation Campaign to End the Vietnam War

| Dec. 12, 2016
President Richard M. Nixon was elected in 1968 with the widespread expectation that he would bring about an end to the costly and unpopular war in Vietnam. The task largely fell to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. When the negotiations began, North Vietnam appeared to have a winning hand with time on its side. To induce agreement from North Vietnam on acceptable terms, Kissinger orchestrated a complex negotiation campaign with multiple fronts: North Vietnam, the U.S. public and Congress China, the USSR, West Germany, and South Vietnam. Kissinger’s efforts culminated in the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, which held for about two years before collapsing in the wake of Watergate. The account in this working paper carefully describes — but does not analyze nor draw lessons from — core features of these challenging negotiations. Forthcoming papers will provide analysis and derive general insights from this negotiation campaign.