- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Quarterly Journal: International Security

International Security Journal Highlights

Spring 2013

Winter 2012/13 Vol. 37 No. 3

"Don’t Come Home, America: The Case against Retrenchment"

Stephen G. Brooks, G. John Ikenberry, William C. Wohlforth

Challenging the conventional wisdom that it is time for retrenchment, a new assessment recommends that the United States continue to pursue a strategy of global leadership. A systematic analysis shows that advocates of retrenchment tend to overestimate the costs and underestimate the benefits of deep engagement. Rather than reining in its global security commitments and limiting its efforts to promote a liberal international order, the United States should continue to maintain a strong presence abroad.

"Is a Nuclear Deal with Iran Possible? An Analytical Framework for the Iran Nuclear Negotiations"

James K. Sebenius, Michael K. Singh

Applying a “negotiation analytic” framework to the Iran nuclear negotiations could help to determine if and how a deal could be struck. Given mainstream assumptions about Iran’s interests, however, it appears that currently no such deal is possible through negotiation alone. The United States should thus work to open a zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, by relentlessly worsening Iran’s nodeal options while enhancing the value of a deal. If a ZOPA can be created, then sophisticated negotiation will be the key to reaching a worthwhile agreement.

"Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Examining the Linkage Argument"

Jeffrey W. Knopf

Commentators have much debated whether there is a link between nuclear disarmament and the health of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, but there has been little research to support either side of this debate. A new analysis suggests that a demonstrated commitment to nuclear disarmament does in fact tend to enhance support for nonproliferation. Given the multitude of factors that affect state decision making, however, progress on disarmament will not by itself address all the challenges to making the nonproliferation regime effective.

"The Long and Short of It: Cognitive Constraints on Leaders’ Assessments of “Postwar” Iraq"

Aaron Rapport

Why was the George W. Bush administration’s assessment of the challenges posed by “postwar” Iraq so wide of the mark? Construal level theory, a psychological theory that describes how people mentally represent distant future actions, may be part of the explanation. Individuals tend to place more value on the desirability of actions that come at the end of a sequence of events relative to the feasibility of those actions. Decision makers are therefore more likely to underestimate the risks of—and thus under-prepare for—events that will occur in the distant future. Recognizing this tendency could help prevent such miscalculations in the future.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: International Security Journal Highlights.” Quarterly Journal: International Security (Spring 2013).