Nuclear Issues

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Secretary of State Kerry speaking to Harvard students during Belfer Center event hosted by Director Graham Allison (right).

(Belfer Center Photo/Benn Craig)

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

Belfer Center Conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry

| October 14, 2015

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs hosted Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, October 13, for a discussion of diplomacy and challenges in key hotspots around the globe.

In a one-on-one discussion with Secretary Kerry, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison asked Kerry about his concerns and plans related to Iran, Syria, Russia, and the Islamic State, among others. The overflow event in the Charles Hotel ballroom included questions from the audience of more than 500 Harvard students and faculty.

Included here is the complete U.S. Department of State transcript from the event. The video is included with the original transcript.

Could the Ukraine Crisis Spark a World War?

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Could the Ukraine Crisis Spark a World War?

| May 7, 2014

The thought that what we are now witnessing in Ukraine could trigger a cascade of actions and reactions that end in war will strike most readers as fanciful. Fortunately, it is, writes Graham Allison. But we should not forget that in May 1914, the possibility that the assassination of an Archduke could produce a world war seemed almost inconceivable. History teaches that unlikely, even unimaginable events do happen.

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

Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis for Today’s Crises

| November 2, 2012

In Harvard Professor Graham Allison’s view, “the significant unknowns” during the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly catapulted John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev into nuclear war. For former diplomat Nicholas Burns, the principal take-away from the crisis was the importance of giving an adversary a way out of a confrontation short of complete surrender. Allison and Burns were panelists on Oct. 14 at a forum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston to consider the modern lessons flowing from the missile crisis. The event kicked off an intensive series of seminars and workshops for scholars from Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to mark the 50th anniversary of the missile crisis. Panel moderator Juliette Kayyem, Kennedy School lecturer in public policy, reminded the audience that the missile crisis is often framed through the myth of the tough American president staring down the Russian foe and making him blink. Kayyem said that version fails to capture the nuanced secret diplomacy and the American concessions that made a deal possible.