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Newspaper Article - Harvard Gazette

Graham Allison on how Kennedy and Khrushchev stepped back from brink and worries among Western leaders that Putin might not

| Oct. 17, 2022

In a conversation with the Harvard Gazette's Alvin Powell, Allison discussed lessons of the John F. Kennedy-Nikita Khrushchev standoff, hard decisions facing President Biden, and the prospect of a cornered Putin. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Two photos of American and Chinese soldiers juxtaposed and facing each other.

NDU Press

Analysis & Opinions - PRISM - National Defense University

The 21st Century's Great Military Rivalry

| September 30, 2022

A quarter-century ago, China conducted what it called “missile tests” bracketing the island of Taiwan to deter it from a move toward independence by demonstrating that China could cut Taiwan’s ocean lifelines. In response, in a show of superiority that forced China to back down, the United States deployed two aircraft carriers to Taiwan’s adjacent waters. If China were to repeat the same missile tests today, it is highly unlikely that the United States would respond as it did in 1996. If U.S. carriers moved that close to the Chinese mainland now, they could be sunk by the DF-21 and DF-26 missiles that China has since developed and deployed. This article presents three major theses concerning the military rivalry between China and the United States in this century.

The USS Vesole, foreground, a radar picket ship, steams alongside the Soviet freighter Polzunov, outbound from Cuba, for an inspection of her cargo in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 11, 1962

AP Photo/Pool

Analysis & Opinions - Arms Control Today

The Cuban Missile Crisis at 60: Six Timeless Lessons for Arms Control

| October 2022

As the best documented major crisis in history, in substantial part because Kennedy secretly taped the deliberations in which he and his closest advisers were weighing choices they knew could lead to a catastrophic war, the Cuban missile crisis has become the canonical case study in nuclear statecraft. Over the decades since, key lessons from the crisis have been adapted and applied by the successors of Kennedy and Khrushchev to inform fateful choices.

On the right is Miklhail S. Gorbachev with then Belfer Center Director Graham Allison on the left. With a Harvard Kennedy School JFK Jr. Forum backdrop behind them. 

Martha Stewart

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

Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s Legacy

Former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who is known for ending the Cold War, dissolving the Soviet Union, and changing the map of Europe, died Tuesday, August 30. He was 91.

We asked several Center experts for their thoughts on Gorbachev and his impacts – and how his life and actions are relevant to the challenges the world faces today.

Port of Odesa

Photo by Zinnsoldat shared under a Creative Commons license.

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

Fact and Analysis Check: Is Odesa ‘Putin’s Obsession'?

| August 29, 2022

The New York Times’ lead story on the front-page of its Sunday Aug. 21 edition declares: Odesa is “Putin’s Obsession.” Needless to say, this is a big idea. In the midst of a brutal war, after an attempted Kyiv coup failed, Russian aggressors have succeeded in capturing all of Luhansk, 75% of Donetsk, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and most of the southern tier, establishing a land bridge from Russia to Crimea, this proposition—if it were true—could provide a clue about where this phase of the bloody war might plausibly reach stalemate.

This combination image shows U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, Nov. 6, 2021, and China's President Xi Jinping in Brasília, Brazil, Nov. 13, 2019.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres

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

The Great Diplomatic Rivalry: China vs the U.S.

This report is not about current U.S. and Chinese diplomatic efforts to meet challenges posed by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war. Instead, it is an assessment of both nations’ statecraft and diplomacy in addressing the challenges posed by the first 20 years of the 21st century—before Putin invaded Ukraine.