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

Dara Kay Cohen and Former International Security Program Fellows to be Honored at 2019 International Studies Association Annual Meeting

Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Public Policy Dara Kay Cohen, an International Security Program (ISP) Faculty Affiliate, and three former ISP Fellows, Ahsan I. Butt, Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark, and Ketian Zhang, will receive International Security Studies Section awards at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA) in Toronto, Canada, in March 2019.

WWI Centenary Commemorated at the Tower of London in 2014 with 888,246 ceramic poppies

Shawn Spencer-Smith/ Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Atlantic Council

100 Years Later: Reflecting on the Lessons of World War I

| Nov. 11, 2018

"An abiding lesson for the United States is that we must remain committed to Europe—to our democratic allies in NATO as well as to our strategic partnership with the European Union," writes Professor Nicholas Burns, Faculty Chair of the Belfer Center's Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, in his reflection on the 100 years since the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918.

The atomic cloud over Hiroshima, taken from the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945 (U.S. government/Wikimedia).

U.S. government/Wikimedia

Journal Article - The Journal of Strategic Studies

How Durable is the Nuclear Weapons Taboo?

| Nov. 09, 2018

The nuclear weapons taboo is considered one of the strongest norms in international politics. A prohibition against using nuclear weapons has seemingly shaped state behavior for nearly seven decades and, according to some observers, made nuclear use ‘unthinkable’ today or in the future. Although scholars have shown that nuclear aversion has affected decision-making behavior, important questions about the nuclear taboo remain unanswered. This article seeks to answer a basic question: How durable is the taboo? We develop different predictions about norm durability depending on whether the taboo is based primarily on moral logic or strategic logic. We use the comparable case of the norm against strategic bombing in the 20th century to evaluate these hypotheses. The logic and evidence presented in this paper suggest that the norm of nuclear non-use is much more fragile than most analysts understand.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

AP/Richard Drew

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

Saudi Arabia Isn't Cuddly; Neither Is Iran

| Nov. 08, 2018

Chuck Freilich writes that while the international community has recently been consumed by the gruesome murder of a Saudi journalist, nothing really has changed. The Saudi regime has long been the most heinous on earth, but the overarching strategic considerations that have militated for ongoing cooperation with it continue to do so. The Iranian regime is no more attractive than the Saudi one, and its pursuit of regional hegemony and nuclear weapons make it the far greater danger. Iran must remain the primary focus of Israel's attention.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin provide an update on the Trump administration's Iran policy at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., on November 5, 2018 (State Department via Flickr).

State Department via Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Not very SWIFT

| Nov. 06, 2018

Not only would sanctioning SWIFT be a major escalation in U.S. sanctions policy, but an entirely reckless decision. Realistically, enforcing sanctions against SWIFT would have significant consequences for both the U.S. and global financial system—upending decades of international norms.

A stack of Iranian rials and a stack of Euros (Ivar Husevåg Døskeland via Flickr/Creative Commons).

Ivar Husevåg Døskeland via Flickr/Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

International Anti-Money Laundering Reforms and Iran

| Nov. 06, 2018

Although it remains to be seen whether or not the Iran nuclear deal is salvageable, there are few incentives left for Iran to implement anti-money laundering reforms. For better or worse, the Financial Action Task Force and the future of the JCPOA have become politically intertwined as a consequence of US unilateral sanctions.