Events

  • U.S President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev at the Hofdi House in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the Reykjavik Summit, 11 October 1986.

    The Official CTBTO Photostream

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Nuclear Abolitionism and the End of the Cold War

    Thu., Feb. 7, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Stephanie Freeman, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    During most of the Cold War, U.S. and Soviet officials built a broad consensus among their publics that nuclear weapons provided essential security by deterring the actions of hostile states. In the 1980s, however, the radical goal of nuclear abolition enjoyed staunch support from both grassroots movements across the globe and the leaders of the two superpowers, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. This presentation will examine nuclear abolitionists' influence on the trajectory of the Cold War's last decade, from 1979 to 1989. It will assess anti-nuclear activists' impact on elite decision-makers and consider how their shared interest in nuclear disarmament transformed U.S. and Soviet foreign policy in the 1980s. This talk will demonstrate that nuclear abolitionists played a decisive yet unappreciated role in ending the Cold War.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Oxfam distributing water in the Horn of Africa during a severe drought, 24 February 2011.

    Wikimedia CC/Oxfam

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    The Nexus between Internationalism and Localism in Civil Conflict: Insurgents' Policy toward Humanitarian Access

    Thu., Jan. 31, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ayako Kobayashi, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Why do some rebel groups restrict international humanitarian access to areas under their control, while others allow it? Some scholars posit that rebels strategically comply with international humanitarian law to legitimize their status in the international arena. Others underline the importance of exploring interactions between non-state armed groups and local populations from which protection norms may emerge. This interdisciplinary project will fill the gap between the internationalism and localism by proposing a new typology of rebel groups, addressing conditions under which rebels are more likely to allow humanitarian access, and through case studies illustrating the theory.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Map of Cold War–era Europe showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The blue columns show the relative amount of total aid per state.

    Wikimedia CC

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Borrowed Power: Financial Origins of Grand Strategy

    Thu., Jan. 24, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Daniel Z. Jacobs, Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellow, International Security Program

    What are the sources of grand strategy, the relationship of national power to national interest? Answers to this question tend to emphasize domestic interests, cultural and ideational impulses, state capacity, or the distribution of military power. The speaker, however, argues that it is a state's ability to harness the wealth of others that shapes both what the state wants (i.e., national interest) and how the state goes about getting it (i.e., national power).

    The core component of this argument is financial power; that is, the costs a state pays to facilitate public spending through borrowing. When these costs are relatively high, the state is likely to define its national interest narrowly and rely for its security on the self-correcting nature of the balance of power. By contrast, when the costs of borrowing are relatively low, the state will take a broader view of its national interest. As a result, the state is likely to reshape the balance of power in its favor and attempt to preserve this newfound distribution. Overall, scholars and policymakers can say that as a state's financial power rises, its grand strategy becomes increasingly ambitious.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Memorial to the Fighters for Soviet Power in the Far East, 1917–1922, Vladivostok, Russia

    Paul Behringer

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Reconquering the Russian Far East: Civil War, Intervention, and Centralization

    Thu., Jan. 17, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Paul Behringer, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    In 1917–1918, the Russian state collapsed and its empire disintegrated. The Bolsheviks, having seized power in November 1917, managed to hold onto authority amid repeated challenges from domestic and foreign opponents in all directions. In October 1922, Lenin's party emerged victorious from the rubble of one of the most destructive civil wars in history. Historians have put forward several convincing arguments for why the Bolsheviks were able to win the overall struggle. But the fact that the new regime was also able to reconstitute much of the Russian Empire, extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean, is as astounding today as it was unlikely in 1918. This presentation attempts to explain this accomplishment by framing the civil war in the Russian Far East as a contest between geopolitical, social, ideological, and international forces of centralization and decentralization. Building on the most recent historiographic trends in the study of the Russian Civil War, it also speaks to political science research on the broader issues of intrastate conflict, foreign intervention, and violence.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • The public military degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus

    Public Domain/Henri Meyer

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Taking the Bizarre Seriously in Diplomatic History

    Thu., Dec. 20, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    Speaker: Ben Rhode, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    In 1898, France's military attaché in London recommended that his superiors make a secret agreement with his anonymous Irish nationalist informant in order to undermine the British Empire and counterbalance supposedly hostile British behavior. Most historical assessments have either overlooked or discounted this attaché's recommendation, considering him untrustworthy or unsober. Such an interpretation is initially appealing, especially given the bizarre and conspiratorial material in the informant's unpublished reports. This seminar will challenge prevailing scholarship that ignores or deprecates this recommendation or the attaché's credibility. It will locate the episode within the context of French concerns over Britain's exploitation of the Spanish-American War, the Dreyfus Affair, and Fashoda; a preoccupation with supposed national subversion; and alarm over the phenomenon of "fake news." Using this episode as a case study, it will argue for taking alarming or peculiar observations in the diplomatic record seriously: neither downplaying their strangeness nor overlooking how, within their context, they could be sincerely believed and hold deep appeal.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Mutiny in Cote d'Ivoire in January 2017

    Ultima Ratio

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    The Wartime Roots of Military Obedience and Defiance in Insurgent-Ruled States

    Thu., Dec. 13, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Philip Andrew Martin, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Why do some winning armed movements build states with robust control over military forces after civil war, while others do not? Why, for example, did the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) succeed in building powerful and obedient post-war armies, while winning coalitions in Côte d'Ivoire (2011—), Libya (2011—), and Afghanistan (2001—) experienced military fragmentation and the growth of private armed networks controlled by ex-rebel commanders? While existing scholarship points to the role of ideology and external intervention, this book project argues that two wartime factors — threats to the survival of armed movements, and the social linkages between militant group commanders and insurgent-ruled communities — shape the bargaining power and behavior of ex-rebel commanders during transitions to postwar politics.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Map of the Persian Gulf

    Wikimedia CC/Edbrown05

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Changing Security Dynamics in the Persian Gulf

    Thu., Dec. 6, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Dina Esfandiary, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    For over a decade now, thinking on regional relations in the Persian Gulf has focused largely on the competition for regional hegemony between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the different layers of this rivalry. But recent events, in particular, the Arab Spring and Iran’s response, the announced U.S. pivot to Asia, and the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, served as catalysts for changes in the security dynamics of the Persian Gulf. Smaller Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, led by the UAE, previously content to align with the Saudi position, appear to be developing a growing self-awareness that represents a significant challenge to the existing order. The speaker will explore how these three events have affected regional developments and what these changes will mean for the region.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Dr. Peter Neumann, Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization in the United Kingdom, addresses the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism's first session — Understanding Violent Extremism Today — at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 19, 2015.

    State Department/ Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Countering Violent Extremism: A Quest for Legitimacy and Effectiveness

    Thu., Nov. 29, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Anina Schwarzenbach, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    In the face of the increased number of individuals adhering to extremist ideologies in modern democratic states, governments have augmented the amount of public money spent on counter violent extremism strategies and programs. Despite this fact, systematic analyses of currently implemented strategies and programs are surprisingly sparse.

    This seminar will discuss — by focusing on Germany, France, and the United States — which governmental approaches are most appropriate to counter violent extremism and what ought to be expected from the strategies and programs in terms of legitimacy and effectiveness.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Inadvertent Expansion in World Politics

    Thu., Nov. 15, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Nicholas D. Anderson, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Most existing theories of expansion and territorial conquest tend to focus on key actors at the center of great states and empires, and on their will and ability to engage in expansion. However, a number of important instances of territorial expansion in the history of great power politics do not align well with these theories, showing territorial expansion to be far more peripherally-driven and far less intentional than they would expect. Drawing on research on the British and Japanese Empires, as well as on America's westward expansion, this presentation will outline a theory of inadvertent expansion that helps account for these puzzling and counter-intuitive cases.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Jihadism Constrained: The Limits of Transnational Jihadism and What It Means for Counterterrorism

    Thu., Nov. 8, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Barak Mendelsohn, Associate Professor of Political Science, Haverford College

    The seminar focuses on three factors — material, ideational, and intra-movement — that limit the ability of transnational jihadi groups to attain their objectives. These limitations should inform a less interventionist and more cost-effective strategy of containment.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    National Security Institutions and Interstate Crisis

    Thu., Nov. 1, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Tyler Jost, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Cyber Security Project

    Why do interstate crises occur? Existing scholarship posits that states use crises to reveal information about capabilities, resolve, and preferences. This book project instead argues that interstate crisis propensity is in part a function of the design of national security institutions, defined as the rules and procedures for deciding and executing national security strategy.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Artificial Intelligence: The Profits and Perils for Military Operations and Decision Making

    Thu., Oct. 25, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Lt. Col. Wes Adams, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    In his research, Lt. Col. Adams investigates the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the future of military decision making. Since the dawn of recorded warfare, battlefield commanders sought greater speed and insight over their enemy, trying to reduce what Clausewitz would famously declare the "fog and friction" of war. Over time, myriad technologies offered promises of battlefield omniscience but failed. Will AI be the final technology to deliver on the promise, or the next failed attempt at clearing the fog?

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict

    Thu., Oct. 18, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Jacob N. Shapiro, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; Co-author, Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict

    How a new understanding of warfare can help manage today's conflicts more effectively. Small Wars, Big Data provides groundbreaking perspectives for how small wars can be better strategized and favorably won to the benefit of the local population.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT, 1 July 1968.

    Courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    The Hegemon's Toolkit: U.S. Hegemony and the Politics of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

    Thu., Oct. 11, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Rebecca Davis Gibbons, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program

    The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is widely credited with contributing to international security through its promotion of nuclear restraint. Whereas almost all states in the international system are members of the NPT, many of these states have not signed on to additional treaties and agreements designed to strengthen the regime. Having already committed to foreswear the possession of nuclear weapons, why would some NPT members avoid taking steps to further the treaty's proclaimed goals? States' affinity to U.S. global leadership explains such variation.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • President of Russia Vladimir Putin with President of China Xi Jinping before a roundtable meeting of leaders during the Belt and Road international forum, 14 May 2017.

    Wikimedia CC/www.kremlin.ru

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Unlocking Eurasian Gateways? China's Belt and Road Initiative and its Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy

    Thu., Oct. 4, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Thomas Cavanna, Visiting Assistant Professor of Strategic Studies, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

    Since its launch by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has become the symbol of China's rising foreign policy ambitions. Yet most studies on the subject remain descriptive in nature or limited in scope, exploring specific themes, regions, or projects. This seminar aims to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive analysis of the Belt and Road Initiative, its multiple dimensions, its prospects of success, and its potential implications for U.S. grand strategy.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • On the cover of Puck published on April 6, 1901, in the wake of gainful victory in the Spanish–American War, Columbia—the National personification of the U.S.—preens herself with an Easter bonnet in the form of a warship bearing the words "World Power" and the word "Expansion" on the smoke coming out of its stack.

    Library of Congress

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Power, Perception, and Status: Understanding Ambiguous Global Order

    Thu., Sep. 27, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Benjamin Zala, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    For some time now, in both the scholarly literature and the statements of practitioners, it has been possible to identify competing perceptions of how many major centers of power exist in the world. Therefore whether the distribution of power should be characterized as unipolar, bipolar, multipolar, or perhaps even "nonpolar," has been a central theme of much analysis leading to a general sense of ambiguity in the way scholars and policymakers describe the inter-state order. This seminar will outline a way of making sense of this phenomenon without abandoning polarity analysis altogether. It will answer two central questions; how can scholars and policymakers account for the occurrence of competing perceptions of polarity theoretically? And how should they characterize its importance historically?

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • India test-fired its surface-to-surface nuclear capable Agni-I (A) ballistic missile off Abdul Kalam Island in its eastern state of Odisha on 6 February 2018.

    Wikimedia CC/Tasnim News Agency

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    India's Search for Deterrence: Nuclear Subcultures and Policy Choices

    Thu., May 17, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Frank O'Donnell, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    This seminar will first discuss how the requirements of Indian deterrence, as perceived by New Delhi's strategic elite, have evolved since 1998. It will next detail the characteristics of two "minimalist-political" and "maximalist-operational" schools of thought within Indian nongovernmental strategic elite discourse, and how their comparative influence has changed over time. The seminar will reconstruct the policy options developed by this strategic elite as it faced each nuclear policy juncture and demonstrate how a numerically dominant option in each discourse provides a reliable proxy indicator for the subsequent official strategic decision. It will conclude with an exploration of how this approach can inform scholarly understanding of current and potential future Indian nuclear policies.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • View to the south of Yucca Mountain crest showing coring activities.

    DOE

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    The Stalemate of Nuclear Waste Management and its Effect on the Fuel Cycle, Security, and Non-Proliferation Endeavors

    Thu., May 10, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Katlyn M. Turner, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    The state of long-term management of nuclear waste in the United States is at an impasse. While technical options exist for long-term radiological waste isolation, these are irrelevant in the face of the socio-political complications of siting and operating a nuclear waste repository. This lecture will outline and detail 1) the history of nuclear waste management options considered by the United States leading to its decision to pursue a long-term geologic repository for ultimate waste disposal, 2) the process—technical and political—of attempting to site Yucca Mountain as the United States' repository for civilian nuclear waste, and 3) the outlook moving forward for any attempts to site and operate a long-term geologic repositor—Yucca Mountain or otherwise—for nuclear waste in the United States. This lecture will attempt to situate the struggle to effectively manage nuclear waste within the realm of nuclear energy issues, nuclear security, and nuclear non-proliferation issues.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Artsakh St. sign in Watertown, Mass. The Republic of Artsakh, commonly known by its former name of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, is a state with limited recognition in the South Caucasus. Watertown is a major center of the Armenian diaspora in the U.S.; Massachusetts has passed a bill recognizing Artsakh.

    Wikimedia CC/Yerevanci

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Diaspora Entrepreneurs and Contested States: Transnationally Linked, Positionally Different

    Thu., May 3, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Maria Koinova, Reader in International Relations, University of Warwick; Senior Research Fellow, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame

    This presentation introduces findings from the large-scale European Research Council Starting Grant "Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty," directed by Dr. Maria Koinova as a Principal Investigator at the University of Warwick (2012–2017). Why do conflict-generated diasporas in liberal states mobilize transnationally in moderate or contentious ways for their homelands experiencing contested sovereignty? How contexts shape diaspora mobilizations is crucial. Koinova’s work evolving from this project challenges statist theories analyzing the role of diasporas in conflict processes through interactions between diasporas, host-states, and home-states.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • A member of the 341st Security Forces Group guards a missile launch facility during an LF recapture simulation as part of the Grizzly Rampart training exercise March 18 near Malmstrom Air Force Base. The exercise was implemented to evaluate the readiness of the 341st Missile Wing and ensure first-responder Airmen know and follow the standards set in place for real-world events.

    USAF/Collin Schmidt

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Training Nuclear Security Leaders: A Tiered Approach

    Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Brian Filler, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    The leaders responsible for securing U.S. nuclear weapons, materials and infrastructure must receive the best training possible. This seminar will discuss how the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) currently train their tactical and senior nuclear security leaders and where that training should be improved and augmented. The seminar will then present the recommendation that is being forwarded to the departments, calling for the establishment of Tiered DOD-DOE Nuclear Security Leaders Training. The proposed training is designed to provide breadth and depth of knowledge for all of the departments' tactical and senior nuclear security leaders. Finally, the presentation will discuss how the proposed training could improve the security of nuclear assets around the world.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

    Co-sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

  • Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin shaking hands at the BRICS Summit, July 8, 2018

    Kremlin.ru

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Authoritarian Resurgence: Power, Politics, and the Making of Foreign Policy in Russia and China

    Thu., Apr. 19, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Torrey Taussig, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    In a renewed era of great power competition, leading authoritarian regimes have progressed from consolidating power within their borders to projecting power beyond them. Nowhere is this trend more evident, or important, than in Russia and China. This seminar will first discuss how Russian and Chinese foreign policy strategies have evolved over the course of the twenty-first century, as both nations have become revisionist powers in their respective regions. The seminar will also discuss how scholars and policymakers can gain greater insight into Russian and Chinese foreign policy decision making by assessing dynamics within their authoritarian political orders — including leaders, the institutions in which they operate, and their requirements for domestic legitimacy. As Presidents Putin and Xi continue to develop personalist systems at home, these internal factors will have increasing importance for U.S. foreign policy in the years ahead.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

    NOTE: CHANGED DATE

  • Gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment recovered from the BBC China in Italy, en route to Libya, in 2003.

    DOE

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Stop or I'll Shoot, Comply and I Won't: The Paradox of Coercion

    Thu., Apr. 12, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Reid Pauly, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    In making demands, coercers must communicate the credibility of their threats to punish. They must also, however, communicate the credibility of corresponding assurances not to punish if the target complies. This presentation will explain the paradox at the heart of coercion and explore how states overcome it by signaling the contingency of their actions.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Glass mural found in an office of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi).

    Alexander K. Bollfrass

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Blinded by Belief: U.S., UK, and East German Nuclear Espionage in West Germany

    Thu., Apr. 5, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Alexander K. Bollfrass, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    Fears of a West German bomb sharpened Cold War tensions, making the country's nuclear program an intelligence priority for all concerned states. Based on original archival and newly declassified files, this presentation evaluates the accuracy of U.S., UK, and East German intelligence assessments of the Federal Republic's proliferation risk. Despite spectacular collection successes, the Stasi's analysts were required to view the world through thick ideological lenses. The result was a distorted picture of West German ambition to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Azadi Tower, Azadi Square, Meydea-e Azadi, Meydan-e Shahyad, Tehran province, Iran Flag colors

    Creative Commons/Mahdi Kalhor

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Iranian Grand Strategy: Deterring and Contesting the American Hegemon since 1979

    Thu., Mar. 29, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Mahsa Rouhi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

    Theories of grand strategy tend to focus on major powers. This seminar sheds light on the grand strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a regional power. It explores the principles of Iranian grand strategy, whether explicitly stated or implicit in its national policies. The speaker will provide an analysis that lays out the grand strategy, its elements, and how it provides a framework to guide all Iranian foreign policy. 

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

    Co-sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

  • Flag of the People's Republic of China crashing with flag of the United States of America

    Creative Commons

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    To Bid or Not To Bid: Is Hegemony Worth the Candle?

    Thu., Mar. 22, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Irina A. Chindea, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar explores the — at times — conflicting relationship between the external goal of rising and existing hegemons to maximize power and influence in the international system, and the domestic responsibility to provide for the security and well-being of their citizens. In the attempt to make a successful hegemonic bid or consolidate primacy, these powers often end up engaged in expensive international wars, shifting away resources from internal development. This seminar presentation unpacks the key drivers behind this trade-off and assesses its implications.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • UTair Mil Mi-8AMT delivering food aid in Ulang, South Sudan, 23 March 2017

    Creative Commons/Alexandr Podolian

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Rebel Strategies toward Humanitarian Access in Civil Wars

    Thu., Mar. 15, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ayako Kobayashi, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Why do some rebel groups restrict humanitarian access to their territory, while others allow it? Under what conditions does one rebel group change its attitude toward humanitarian access? This presentation introduces a typology of rebel groups — four types identified as quasi-state, extrovert, introvert, and isolationist rebels, depending on their strategic appeals to international and/or domestic audiences.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • South China Sea claims map

    VOA

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Calculating Bully: Explaining Chinese Coercion

    Thu., Mar. 8, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ketian Zhang, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar will zoom in on the temporal trends of Chinese coercion in the South China Sea as well as on one case, the 2012 Scarborough incident between China and the Philippines.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  •  Capt Richard C. Zilmer leads his Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2/8 Marines ashore from the landing ship Saginaw (LST 1188) at the port of Beirut on 29 September 1982.

    U.S. Navy

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Reagan's Retreat: Lebanon and the Limits of U.S. Power, 1981–1985

    Thu., Mar. 1, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Alexandra Tejblum Evans, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    This presentation will evaluate U.S. policy toward Lebanon from 1981–1985, tracing the gradual expansion and rapid contraction of American efforts to stabilize a complex civil and regional conflict. By situating the United States' diplomatic and military interventions within a broader effort to strengthen American influence in the Middle East, it will demonstrate how the experience shaped the Reagan administration's perception of threat—and opportunity—in a moment of structural change. It will identify persistent barriers to U.S. interests in a vital region and shed light on how American leaders learn through crisis.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics

    Thu., Feb. 22, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speakers: Peter Krause, Co-Editor, Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International PoliticsPhil M. Haun, Dean of Academics, U.S. Naval War College; Tristan Volpe, Assistant Professor, Defense Analysis Department, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School

    A discussion of the new edited volume, Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics, by a co-editor and two of the contributing authors.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • The amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) transits the South China Sea at sunset to participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2010. Cobra Gold is an annual exercise designed to create interoperability between the Thai, U.S. and Singaporean task forces, 28 January 2010.

    U.S. Navy

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Grand Plans in International Relations: U.S. Responses to China's Rise

    Thu., Feb. 15, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Nina Silove, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar addresses the questions of the existence and effects of comprehensive, long term "grand plans" in international politics and their effects on state behavior by examining a least-likely case for finding the existence of operative plans: the responses of the United States to the rise of China.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • A Coast Guard patrol vessel passes by Uotsuri, the largest island in the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu chain, 2 October 2012. Now uninhabited, it used to be home to 248 Japanese, in a community of 99 houses in the late 1890s. They were mostly employed working in a Bonito flake factory on the island.

    Al Jazeera English

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Chinese Wedging in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dispute: An Empirical Assessment

    Thu., Feb. 8, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Andrew D. Taffer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar will explore China's contemporary strategy in its offshore territorial conflict with Japan. It will present evidence to suggest that Beijing has adopted a "wedging" strategy in the disputes aimed principally at weakening Japan's with the United States. Along with a close empirical analysis, it is highlighted that much of Beijing's conduct has corresponded with principles of coalition wedging established in Chinese writings and which the Chinese Communist Party has historically employed. The research is then situated in terms of—and used to critically analyze—the international relations literature on "wedging."

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • A memorial to the Tamil civilians killed by the Sri Lankan security forces in the final phase of the war against the LTTE. Mullivaikkal, July 14, 2017.

    Kate Cronin-Furman

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Getting Away with Mass Murder: The Logic of Atrocity Denials

    Thu., Feb. 1, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Kate Cronin-Furman, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Why do state perpetrators of mass atrocities stubbornly deny their crimes long after the evidence of guilt is clear? This talk will present an argument that such denials, even when totally unconvincing, can successfully affect members of the international community’s incentives to intervene. Evidence from Burma and Sri Lanka illustrates the specifics of this strategy and the conditions under which it is likely to succeed.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Lighting flashes as the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits the Straight of Malacca.

    U.S. Navy

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Conceptions of International Order during the Cold War: Russia, China, and the United States

    Thu., Jan. 25, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Paul Fraioli, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar will present Chinese and Russian ideas about global order and international law that emerged during the Cold War, trace their historical antecedents, and present contemporaneous reactions to these views from policymakers in the U.S. government. It will also discuss how these ideas illuminate current topics, including “new form of great power relations” between the United States and China, and debates over several maritime and landed territorial disputes.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • A pair of Marines barricaded behind a wall watch for snipers in the international neutral corridor in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1965.

    Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Frustrated Presidents and the Emotional Underpinnings of U.S.-Imposed Regime Change

    Thu., Jan. 18, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Payam Ghalehdar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar presents a novel argument about U.S. regime change that centers on the emotional state of U.S. presidents. It develops the concept of "emotional frustration," an unpleasant emotional state marked by the perception that the behavior of a target state is driven by anti-American hatred. Emotional frustration produces aggressive tendencies, which impulsively spur the turn to military force and make regime change an attractive tool to strike the target state and relieve frustration.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • United States Air Force Logistics Command and Control … Concept to Reality by 2035

    Chad Ellsworth

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    United States Air Force Logistics Command and Control: Concept to Reality by 2035

    Thu., Dec. 21, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Chad Ellsworth, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    The United States Air Force must mature its ability to act quickly, operationally, and logically, in response to dynamic adversaries within an ever-changing geopolitical environment. The Air Force logistics enterprise must take steps now to ensure it meets the demands of the future. What steps should be taken by senior leaders now to drive needed change? This seminar will look at the Air Force initiative to transform its logistics support enterprise.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • A street-level view of Cleveland, Ohio in 1930.

    Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    "Every Citizen a Statesman": Democracy and Foreign Policy in the American Century

    Thu., Dec. 14, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker:  David Allen, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    In the middle of the twentieth century, foreign policy elites led a national movement to create democratic, foreign policy publics in communities across America, building what we now know as World Affairs Councils. This seminar will take Cleveland as its case study, explaining the rise and fall of the movement for "citizen education in world affairs" through the city where had seemed to have most success, in the 1930s and 1940s, and yet went through the steepest decline even before the Vietnam War. Americans, in other words, tried to build a democratic foreign policy, but they failed. This seminar demonstrates how and why.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Map of the Caliphate proposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    Creative Commons

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Territorial Logic of the Islamic State

    Mon., Dec. 11, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Burak Kadercan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Strategic Studies, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

    All analysts agree that the self-proclaimed Islamic State is a "territorial" organization, but there exists little systematic analysis over two questions: how can scholars and policymakers make sense of ISIS' territorial vision, and how does the group's territoriality affect its strategy? Drawing on insights from political geography and the history of past Islamic states, this seminar identifies ISIS as a "hybrid" spatial form that brings together elements from both historical Islamic states and the nation-state ideal. ISIS' hybrid territorial practices are associated with its global and regional objectives, which follow a simple logic: degrading and destroying what the group refers to as "grayzones," or zones of religious and sectarian reconciliation. 

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Navy of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution commandos and missile boats in Great Prophet IX Maneuver in the general area of Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, 25–27 February 2015.

    Creative Commons

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    No Conquest, No Defeat: Iran's National Security Policies

    Thu., Dec. 7, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ariane Tabatabai, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Ariane Tabatabai will discuss the role of strategic culture in shaping Iran's national security policies. She will map the Iranian national security decision-making process and the drivers framing the country's security thinking and policies.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Evacuees from the DAO Compound are offloaded onto the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Midway (CVA-41) during the evacuation of South Vietnam ("Operation Frequent Wind"), April 29, 1975

    Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Mars at Twilight: Leaders, Ideas, and Ending U.S. Wars, 1964 – 2011

    Thu., Nov. 30, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker:  A. Bradley Potter, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    This seminar will examine the United States' experience ending wars from Vietnam to Iraq. In particular, it will consider the role senior political and military leaders played in crafting American approaches to bringing wars to a close. The importance of historically informed ideas about the utility of force and the nature of war termination feature prominently in exploring just how leaders might matter in ending wars.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    The Unipolar Era: Why America's Edge Will Endure

    Thu., Nov. 16, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Michael Beckley, Research Fellow, International Security Program

    The United States has been the world's dominant power for more than a century. Now many analysts believe other countries are rising. Is the United States doomed to decline? Is the unipolar era over? In this seminar, Michael Beckley argues that the United States has unique advantages over other nations that, if used wisely, will allow it to remain the world's sole superpower throughout this century.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • "No chance to criticize." Uncle Sam sits at a table on which is a small cake on a platter labeled "Cuba," with a decanter labeled "Philippine Islands" on the table and a bottle labeled "Porto Rico" in an ice bucket. On the left, John Bull (Britain) and other colonial powers hold swords slicing a large cake on a platter labeled "China." John Bull (to the Powers): "What are you mad about? We can't grudge him a light lunch while we are feasting!"

    Library of Congress

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    "The Spanish Question is Burning": Living and Dying Nations in 1898

    Thu., Nov. 9, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ben Rhode, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

    This seminar will examine British diplomatic perceptions of Spain's defeat in 1898. It will explore British reactions to Spain's bitterness over being considered a "dying nation" and the supposedly close U.S.-UK relationship. It will discuss British concerns that Spain might fall under the influence of hostile states and that Spanish retaliatory actions could pose a strategic threat to the British Empire. In doing so, it will investigate understandings of national power, influence, and diplomacy at the fin de siècle.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower meeting with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles at the White House, August 14, 1956.

    Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Agents of Empire: The Making of U.S. Intelligence in the Middle East

    Thu., Nov. 2, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Jeffrey G. Karam, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    Under what conditions do intelligence officials and diplomats make accurate assessments of domestic developments, such as revolutions or military coups, in foreign states? "Agents of Empire" is the first interdisciplinary study that examines U.S. intelligence failures and successes in the Middle East during the Cold War.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Power through Influence: Understanding Great Power Competition in the Contemporary World

    Thu., Oct. 26, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Mathias Frendem, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    How do great powers compete in the contemporary world? With great power wars and territorial acquisitions being rare since 1945, competition instead primarily takes place for influence over minor powers. Influence can be very beneficial, but this is not always the case. Minor powers have considerable agency and often seek to use the great powers to pursue their own aims. The speaker outlines why great powers compete for influence, the main challenges they face, and the best strategies for overcoming these.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation cover image

    Voto by Christian Grooms for Electing Peace

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Electing Peace and Considering Concessions in Colombia

    Fri., Oct. 20, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

    Speaker: Aila M. Matanock, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

    Settlements to civil conflict, which are notably difficult to secure, sometimes contain clauses enabling the combatant sides to participate as political parties in post-conflict elections. In this seminar, the speaker will discuss some of her research suggesting that electoral participation provisions allowing rebel parties helps secure peace between combatants. 

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • President John F. Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The President knows but does not reveal that he is now aware of the missile build-up in Cuba, October 18, 1962.

    Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    How to Think About Nuclear Crises

    Thu., Oct. 19, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speakers: Mark S. Bell,  Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota Twin Cities; 

    Julia Macdonald, Assistant Professor in International Relations, Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

    How dangerous are nuclear crises, and how should scholars and policymakers think about them? What dynamics govern how they unfold? The speakers argue that correctly interpreting nuclear crises—and how one thinks about the effects of nuclear weapons during these times—hinges on crisis participants' theories about processes of escalation to the nuclear level. 

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

    Co-sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

  • HMS Dreadnought underway, with an anchor suspended from the starboard deck edge, circa 1906–1907. Note the array of booms used to deploy her anti-torpedo net system.

    Public Domain

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Seapower between the First and the Second Machine Age: From Self-propelled Torpedoes to Artificial Intelligence

    Thu., Oct. 12, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Andrea Gilli, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

    What are the consequences for international politics of the emergence of robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence: the so-called second machine age? Are these new technologies going to promote instability and conflict, as many warn, or are they going to reinforce U.S. military primacy. How are they going to affect warfare, use of force, and even world politics? The literature in international relations theory has generally neglected technology and its dynamics and thus does not offer clear guidance.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • During World War II, German Nazis shot more than ten  thousand residents of Nis and Southeast Serbia on Bubanj hill. After the war, the execution site was transformed into a memorial park, with a monument in the shape of three clenched fists, symbolizing the resistence of men, women, and children who died on the location.

    Creative Commons

    Seminar - Open to the Public

    Targeting Noncombatants as a Strategy in War or Wartime Military Occupation: An Empirical Assessment

    Thu., Oct. 5, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Ivan Arreguin-Toft, Senior Research Fellow, Cyber Security Project

    In the past two decades, an increasing number of social scientists, military historians, and practitioners have weighed in on an important question relevant to the conduct of war and wartime occupation: what actually happens when a given political actor deliberately or systematically harms noncombatants as a strategy? 

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    "No Such Thing as a Little War": The Ideas Driving Great Power Military Intervention

    Thu., Sep. 28, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    1 Brattle Square - Room 350

    Speaker: Jacqueline L. Hazelton, Assistant Professor, Department of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Naval War College

    What beliefs influence liberal great power policymakers to back a government threatened by an insurgency? Why do great powers continue seeking insurgent defeat when costs rise? This seminar identifies a core belief about national and international security in the literature on pacification from the post–World War II era to the current period of liberal interventionism. It analyzes how this belief distorts analyses of past interventions and shapes policymakers' intervention choices.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Getting Published: Writing for 'International Security' and Other Journals

    Thu., Oct. 8, 2009 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

    What do journals of international relations look for when they select articles for publication?  How can authors increase the chances that their articles will be accepted?  The editor of International Security will discuss strategies for getting published, with particular focus on the editorial philosophy and procedures of International Security.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

  • Seminar - Open to the Public

    Grabbing the Third Rail: Reflections on The Israel Lobby

    Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

    John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

    The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is one of the more controversial recent books in international affairs.  This seminar will discuss the book's main thesis, examine some of the critical responses to it, and consider how the debate on the "special relationship" between the United States and Israel has evolved over the past two years.

    Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come-first served basis.