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

Notable Quotes

Winter 2007-2008

"HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT A NATION WITH 300 MILLION PEOPLE, a $13 trillion GDP and a defense budget of more than $600 billion is unable to muster 30,000 additional troops and sustain the surge for even a full year? The bottom line is that the leaders responsible for our military-the president, the secretary of Defense, and Congress- refused over the past six years (as their predecessors had before them) to recruit, train and equip more troops."

-Graham Allison and Kevin Ryan, "No Choice-Withdrawal Starts in '08," Los Angeles Times (11 September 2007)


"ANOTHER DECADE OR SO OF ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL' EMISSIONS would likely commit the planet to a temperature level that assessments by the most respectable scientific groups have concluded will bring immense suffering from such climate-related phenomena as floods, droughts, wildfires, severe tropical storms, rising sea level, and changing distribution of pests and pathogens."

-Kelly Sims Gallagher and John Holdren, "Sea Change in the Politics of Climate," Washington Post online (19 April 2007)


"IT'S AS IF WE'RE SITTING IN 1945, and World War II has just come to an end, and Europe is devastated," Stavins said in a recent interview. "Imagine trying to build a world monetary system and a system of world trade. This is an unbelievably difficult problem."

-Robert Stavins, "Climate: Negotiators Start Search for Post-Kyoto Accord," Greenwire (4 September 2007)


"THE UNITED STATES MUST ADOPT A TWO-PRONGED POLICY. The first is to encourage China to become a ‘responsible stakeholder' in the international community. The second is to hedge against competitive or aggressive behavior by China."

-Ashton Carter and William Perry, "China on the March," National Interest (March/April 2007)


"CHINA'S STRATEGY IS ONE OF HUMANITARIAN AND DEVELOPMENT AID plus influence without interference, in contrast to the West's coercive approach of sanctions plus military intervention."

-Jason Qian and Anne Wu, "China's Delicate Role on Darfur," Boston Globe (23 July 2007)


"TO UNDERCUT THE ABILITY OF THE TALIBAN to purchase arms, pay soldiers, and buy the support of villagers, the United States and NATO need to break the back of the drug trade in and out of Afghanistan. However, reliance on eradication-the current weapon of choice-is foolish and wasteful."

-Robert Rotberg, "Losing the War in Afghanistan," Boston Globe (2 April 2007)


"AS EARLY AS 1993, al-Qaeda attempted to buy highly enriched uranium in Sudan. Seized documents from Afghanistan detail al-Qaeda's efforts to gain nuclear materials there from 1996 to 2001; Osama bin Laden has called getting the bomb a ‘religious duty.' In Russia, Chechen terrorist teams carried out reconnaissance at two secret nuclear weapon storage sites in 2001."

-Matthew Bunn, "Thwarting Terrorists: More to Be Done," Washington Post (September 26, 2007)


"THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ORDINARY PAKISTANIS euphorically chanting in the streets in support of Iftikhar Chaudhry, the suspended chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, demonstrate that Pakistan has outgrown Pervez Musharraf 's transitional leadership."

-Hassan Abbas, "Musharraf 's Party is Over," National Interest online (11 June 2007)


"BUT UNLIKE OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENTS battling repressive regimes, which have traditionally looked to the West for a lifeline, Iran's activists are adamant that for all the gratitude they may feel for their Western supporters, they would prefer that we keep our distance."

-Fotini Christia, "A Quiet Battle for Rights in Iran," Washington Post (26 August 2007)


"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE FUTURE, ONLY FUTURES. One conceivable future is that after (if?) Mr. Putin steps down next year, Russia will become more liberal in its politics. But that is not the future I would put my money on. A more plausible future is that, having more or less stifled internal dissent, Russia is now ready to play a more  aggressive role on the international stage."

-Niall Ferguson, "Russia's Weimar Complex; Could History be Repeating Itself?" National Post (6 June 2007)


"THE SOFT POWER OF ATTRACTION is a critical component of being a major presence or leader in the world. And engaging with others diplomatically is a crucial part of attracting others. When we don't talk to people, even our enemies, that makes us look arrogant rather than humble."

-Joseph Nye, interviewed in "Bush Team Explores Use of ‘Soft Power,'" NPR's Morning Edition, (23 March 2007)


"GIVEN A ‘TICKING TIME BOMB' SITUATION like those on 24, nearly 44% of (college students) supported the use of torture, and 62% backed the employment of ‘soft' torture methods, including ‘water-boarding.' . . . A Christian Science Monitor/TIPP survey done shortly after the 9/11 attacks put the level of support for torture at 32%."

-Kelly M. Greenhill, "24 On the Brain," Los Angeles Times (28 May 2007)


"BLAIR WILL BE REMEMBERED BY MANY AFRICANS for his courage in articulating the continent's needs. It was during his tenure that the sovereign activism of the UK saw the world community start to focus on Africa's quest for competence-building and the jettisoning of the traditional focus on relief."

-Calestous Juma, "How Blair Redefined the Aid Game," Business Daily (25 May 2007)


"THE IMPOSITION OF ADDITIONAL UN SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS ON IRAN would prolong instability in Iraq, exacerbate the Iran-U.S. dispute, and encourage rapid revolutionary developments in the Persian Gulf."

-Abbas Maleki, quoted in "Additional Sanctions Would Exacerbate Iran-U.S. Dispute,"Tehran Times (31 May 2007)


"THE MOST REASSURING SOURCE OF HOPE AND NORMALCY FOR PALESTINIANS will emerge from jump-starting the economic machine that has been grounded to a dangerously lethargic pace."

-Raja Kamal, "Fighting Militancy with Economics," Chicago Tribune (19 June 2007)


"WE WILL NEVER KNOW EVERYTHING, and we will probably never achieve ‘identity of opinion,' but we keep clarifying the relevant questions and issues-and that is, after all, the essence of the scholarly enterprise."

-Ernest May, "An Identity of Opinion: Historians and July 1914," Journal of Modern History (June 2007)


"WASHINGTON CANNOT GIVE PAKISTAN THE SPHERE OF INFLUENCE in southern Afghanistan that it desires to make sure it will not be encircled by India. however, Washington can give Pakistan greater interest in Afghanistan's stability than it has now by encouraging Kabul to include Pakistan's allies and clients in government; and more important, to finally recognize its international border with Pakistan."

-Vali Nasr, "How to Squeeze Jihad Culture out of Pakistan," Christian Science Monitor (20July 2007)


"IF THE UNITED STATES GAVE A QUARTER OF THE TIME, money, effort, and high-level diplomatic attention to reaching a peace agreement that it has on UN force rhetoric, no-fly zones, and threats to invade Darfur, there might be peace."

-Marie Besançon, "Facing a Fragile Situation in Darfur," Boston Globe (9 August 2007)


"PRESIDENT BUSH IS ON RECORD saying that we ought to create an "ownership society.". . . Let's do that by giving individuals a property right in their own names and personal identifiable information. This reform would not protect individual privacy from undue government surveillance. But it would begin to limit the amount of personal data collected, maintained, and processed by commercial firms . . ."

-Nolan Bowie, "Treating Money as Free Speech," Boston Globe (16 July 2007)


"WESTERN JOURNALISTS AND EDITORS in particular may be consistently missing the most important story in the Arab world: the quest by millions of ordinary people to create a better political and socioeconomic order, anchored in decent values, open to the world, pluralistic and tolerant yet asserting indigenous Arab-Islamic values."

-Rami Khouri, "Missing the Epic Story of the Middle East," Agence Global (11 August


2007) "AS THE CENTERPIECE OF THE TRANSFORMED RELATIONSHIP, there is enormous political will to complete the [civil nuclear] deal, but the devil is in the details. The Indians have dug their heels in on a couple of integral points, including the enrichment and reprocessing in India of spent fuel and the removal of a clause from U.S. legislation that mandates U.S. sanctions if India tests nuclear weapons. The United States has little room to maneuver."

-Xenia Dormandy, "Growing Links for U.S.and India," Boston Globe (19 July 2007)


"NEVER BEFORE IN HUMAN HISTORY has the most powerful weapon available to our species been so widely forsworn. The vast majority of the world's states realize, as Langewiesche does not, that their security is better served by not having nuclear weapons- particularly if their neighbors can be convinced to forgo them as well."

-Matthew Bunn, "Bombs We Can Stop," American Scientist (September/October 2007)

(To read op-eds in full, see Publications on the Belfer Center website: www.belfercenter.org)

-Compiled by Courtney Anderson, Communications Office

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Notable Quotes.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Winter 2007-2008).