19 Items

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

International Council Debates Critical Global Issues

A lively discussion of “Russiagate” at the JFK Jr. Forum on Tuesday, May 2, launched the 2017 annual meeting of the Belfer Center International Council . 

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Deal or No Deal: The Choice Before Congress

| Aug. 11, 2015

Albert Carnesale, Member of the Board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes in The National Interest that the idea of another deal being negotiated after the current accord under review should Congress reject it is faulty. He argues that there is no diplomatic path to a better deal because American leverage would be significantly weaker if the agreement is rejected, a military solution will fail to set back Iran's program by more than a few years, and Iranian compliance with the deal without the US will tie American hands to influence further nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

Deal or No Deal: The Choice Before Congress

(White House photo)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Deal or No Deal: The Choice Before Congress

| August 5, 2015

Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are understandably frustrated. While they urge the U.S. Congress to reject the agreement negotiated by the United States, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, and endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council, they have been unable to identify a plausible alternative that would better serve the national security interests of the United States and our allies and friends. What alternatives, whether feasible or not, have been offered, and how do they compare to endorsing the pact that is currently being considered by Congress?

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Is the Iran Nuclear Deal Good Enough?

| June 26, 2015

Albert Carnesale, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles and Chairman of the International Council of the Belfer Center, writes in The National Interest that the crucial question that must be considered in debating the emerging nuclear accord with Iran is not "is it a good deal?" but "is it a good deal compared to the alternatives?" He argues that referencing some undefined "better deal" is not helpful for debate, and notes the key features of the emerging agreement that would push back Iran's breakout time by a year in exchange for sanctions relief. He suggests that there is debate over whether or not more sanctions would produce an agreement or cause the talks to fail, and suggests that the U.S. should compare the deal to the other two main alternatives, an unconstrained nuclear program or a war with Iran. He notes that the deal can be successful by spelling out monitoring and constraints on the program, and will create verification measures significantly stronger than those currently in place under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, although it would come with the cost of legitimizing Iran's nuclear program and providing funds that may potentially be used for terrorist activities in the region. He concludes that the deal as it appears based on information released now appears to be a good one, in that it will overall enhance the security of the United States and its allies.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif meeting last spring in Switzerland to discuss the nuclear deal.

Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Is the Iran Nuclear Deal Good Enough?

| June 26, 2015

The parties to the talks over Iran’s nuclear program seek to reach an agreement by the self-imposed (and therefore extendable) deadline of the end of this month. No agreement has yet been reached, and statements made by the various parties provide an incomplete and not entirely consistent picture of the basic provisions to be included. Nevertheless, the question most hotly debated among political leaders and pundits is: “Is this a good deal?” The logical response to this question is: “Compared to what?”

Almost all of those who maintain that the emerging agreement is not a good deal have as their basis for comparison “a better deal.” But that’s of no practical use. Everyone would prefer a deal that they judge to be better than the one that appears to be emerging. Disagreements arise over what would constitute a better deal and over the feasibility of achieving it.

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Report - U.S. Department of Energy

Secretary of Energy Advisory Board: Report of the Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation

The Secretary of Energy on December 20, 2013 established the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation (TFNN) and charged it to “advise the DOE on future areas of emphasis for its nuclear nonproliferation activities by addressing the following questions:

1. What are the current and likely future challenges to nuclear nonproliferation?

2. What should DOE be doing to help the United States Government prepare to meet those challenges?

3. What are DOE’s current areas of emphasis in nuclear nonproliferation?

4. In what ways should DOE’s nuclear nonproliferation efforts be modified and/or expanded?

5. What obstacles stand in the way of making the recommended changes in DOE’s nuclear nonproliferation activities, and how might they be overcome?”

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Magazine Article - National Academy of Engineering The Bridge

Recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future: A Plan for Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Nuclear Waste

| Summer 2012

On January 29, 2010, the White House released a memorandum from the president to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu directing him to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (the Commission) and to appoint its members (White House, 2010): The Commission should conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

This article is based largely on the author’s participation as a member of the Commission and draws heavily on the language of the report: Report to the Secretary of Energy (referred to as the BRC report) (BRC, 2012).2

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Report - National Academy Press

America's Climate Choices: Final Report

| May 12, 2011

The report finds that the significant risks that climate change poses to human society and the environment provide a strong motivation to move ahead with substantial response efforts. Current efforts of local, state, and private sector actors are important, but not likely to yield progress comparable to what could be achieved with the addition of strong federal policies that establish coherent national goals and incentives, and that promote strong U.S. engagement in international-level response efforts.

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Defusing The Nuclear Menace

| September 4, 1988

ARMS CONTROL has fallen off the nation's political radar in recent months. But it shouldn't. The world is as dangerous as ever.

U.S. and Soviet arsenals number over 50,000 nuclear weapons, most more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima; intercontinental ballistic missiles can deliver these destructive payloads in less than 30 minutes to any point on the globe.