Articles

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen in Beijing as Chinese battle tanks roll by during a Sept. 3, 2015 parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II.

(AP Photo)

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

| September 24, 2015

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

Gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment recovered en route to Libya in 2003.

U.S. Department of Energy

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Nonproliferation Emperor Has No Clothes: The Gas Centrifuge, Supply-Side Controls, and the Future of Nuclear Proliferation

| Spring 2014

Policymakers have long focused on preventing nuclear weapons proliferation by controlling technology. Even developing countries, however, may now possess the technical ability to create nuclear weapons. The history of gas centrifuge development in twenty countries supports this perspective. To reduce the demand for nuclear weapons, policymakers will have look toward the cultural, normative, and political organization of the world.

In this Sept. 24, 2010, file photo the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) prepares for the Cyber Storm III exercise at its operations center in Arlington, Va.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Future of Power

| Spring 2011

"The conventional wisdom among those who looked at the Middle East used to be that you had a choice either of supporting the autocrat or being stuck with the religious extremists. The extraordinary diffusion of information created in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries reveals a strong middle that we weren't fully aware of. What is more, new technologies allow this new middle to coordinate in ways unseen before Twitter, Facebook, and so forth, and this could lead to a very different politics of the Middle East. This introduces a new complexity to our government's dealings with the region."

This image provided by the U.S. Department of Defense shows an infrared image of the Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser Testbed, right point, destroying a target missile, left point, on Feb. 11, 2010.

AP Photo

Journal Article - China Security

Space, Stability and Nuclear Strategy: Rethinking Missile Defense

| Forthcoming Summer 2010

"...[T]he United States has spent several tens of billions of dollars on missile defense research-and yet China, Iran, North Korea and possibly others have continued to pursue increasingly effective long-range ballistic capabilities. If missile defenses are a deterrent, why do US competitors-to say nothing of outright enemies-seem undeterred?"

This night view shows the Norris Dam rising from the Clinch River in Norris, Tenn., July 22, 1935. Powerful spotlights placed on and above the dam enable construction work to continue night and day of the Tennessee Valley Authority's project.

AP Photo

Journal Article - International History Review

Meeting the Challenge from Totalitarianism: The Tennessee Valley Authority as a Global Model for Liberal Development, 1933–1945

| March 2010

"...[T]he rivalry between models of socio-economic development did not begin with the cold war. During the Depression, liberals sought to show that planned economic and social development was possible without the use of autocratic methods. Liberal internationalists, aware that their totalitarian ideological competitors offered their own attractive modernization programmes needed a liberal champion. In the TVA they found a global model that became nearly synonymous with liberal development because of its claim to harmonize potentially destabilizing forces. At a time when development models were features of the international discourse, the TVA distinguished itself by offering proof that large-scale, socially transformative, planning-based development was viable in a liberal democracy. The ease with which these ideas supplied an ideological strategy during the cold war illustrated the degree to which modernization had already proved its effectiveness as a weapon against ideological challenges to liberalism."