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

Hot Off the Presses

Fall/Winter 2014 - 15

A sampling of recent books from the Belfer Center


The Next Great War? The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict

Edited by Richard N. Rosecrance, Director, Project on U.S.-China Relations; Steven E. Miller, Director, International Security Program (ISP); Belfer Center Studies in International Security; The MIT Press (December 2014)

A century ago, Europe’s diplomats mismanaged the crisis triggered by the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and the continent plunged into World War I, which killed millions, toppled dynasties, and destroyed empires. Today, as the 100th anniversary of the Great War prompts renewed debate about the war’s causes, scholars and policy experts are also considering the parallels between the present international system and the world of 1914. Are China and the United States fated to follow in the footsteps of previous great power rivals? Will today’s alliances drag countries into tomorrow’s wars? Can leaders manage power relationships peacefully? Or will East Asia’s territorial and maritime disputes trigger a larger conflict, just as rivalries in the Balkans did in 1914?

In The Next Great War?, experts reconsider the causes of World War I and explore whether the great powers of the 21st century can avoid the mistakes of Europe’s statesmen in 1914 and prevent another catastrophic conflict. They find differences as well as similarities between today’s world and the world of 1914—but conclude that only a deep understanding of those differences and early action to bring today’s great powers together can enable the United States and China to avoid a great war.

“The essays that Richard Rosecrance and Steven Miller have assembled in this volume are judicious and nuanced, brimming with insights for theorists, historians, and policymakers alike.”

Ali Wyne, Global Asia

Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation

By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice, Harvard Kennedy School; Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Cambridge University Press (July 2014)

One of the greatest challenges facing human civilization is the provision of secure, affordable energy without causing catastrophic environmental damage. As the world’s largest economy, and as a world leader in energy technologies, the United States is a particularly important case. In the light of increased competition from other countries (particularly China), growing concerns about the local and global environmental impacts of the energy system, an ever-present interest in energy security, and the realization that technological innovation takes place in a complex ecosystem involving a wide range of domestic and international actors, this volume provides a comprehensive and analytical assessment of the role that the U.S. government should play in energy technology innovation. It will be invaluable for policymakers in energy innovation and for researchers studying energy innovation, future energy technologies, climate-change mitigation, and innovation management.

Digital is the New Third Age: Adventures in the Blogosphere

By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, ISP; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 2014)

This book is a collection of the author’s blogposts from 2008–2013, almost all of them from The Huffington Post and reposted on the Belfer Center’s website by the International Security Program. Most of them deal with the author’s particular areas of expertise, from North Africa to South Asia, but also with Europe and trans-Atlantic issues. A few are film reviews, and others deal with the U.S. Presidency and the Congress.


Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt

By Tarek Masoud, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Cambridge University Press (April 2014)

Why does Islam seem to dominate Egyptian politics, especially when the country’s endemic poverty and deep economic inequality would seem to render it promising terrain for a politics of radical redistribution rather than one of religious conservativism? Tracing the performance of Islamists and their rivals in Egyptian elections over the course of almost 40 years, this book not only explains why Islamists win elections, but illuminates the possibilities for the emergence in Egypt of the kind of political pluralism that is at the heart of what we expect from democracy.

“….Tarek Masoud relies on data from four decades of electoral politics in Egypt to show that the power of Islamic parties comes not from religious rhetoric but rather from the ability to speak to the material concerns of voters. This is an important book, meticulously researched, well-written and clearly argued. It demystifies Middle East politics and goes to the heart of the most important questions asked about the role of Islam in politics….”

Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins University, author of The Rise of Islamic Capitalism and The Dispensable Nation

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hot Off the Presses.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Fall/Winter 2014 - 15).