Articles

452 Items

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sign the historic Oslo accord at the White House in September 1993.

Wikicommons/Vince Musi

Magazine Article - Harvard Magazine

The Indispensable Power

| June 16, 2020

When we emerge finally from the grip of the coronavirus, Americans will need to account for a public-health disaster that has killed well over 100,000 people to date and shuttered nearly every institution in our society (including Harvard) for much of the spring and into the summer.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, members of the Kurdish internal security forces stand on their vehicle in front of a giant poster showing portraits of fighters killed fighting against the Islamic State group, in Manbij, north Syria. Manbij, a mixed Arab and Kurdish town of nearly 400,000, was liberated from Islamic State militants in 2016 by the YPG fighters with backing from U.S-led coalition airstrikes. With Turkey's threats, the town has become the axle for U.S. policy in Syria, threate

(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Political Power of Proxies: Why Nonstate Actors Use Local Surrogates

| Spring 2020

Unlike state sponsors, which value proxies primarily for their military utility, nonstate sponsors use proxies mainly for their perceived political value. An analysis of three case studies—al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the People’s Protection Units in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon—illustrates this argument.

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Magazine Article

Inside China's controversial mission to reinvent the internet

| Mar. 27, 2020

On a cool day late last September, half a dozen Chinese engineers walked into a conference room in the heart of Geneva's UN district with a radical idea. They had one hour to persuade delegates from more than 40 countries of their vision: an alternative form of the internet, to replace the technological architecture that has underpinned the web for half a century. 

Whereas today's internet is owned by everyone and no one, they were in the process of building something very different - a new infrastructure that could put power back in the hands of nation states, instead of individuals.

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Magazine Article

Jack Ma Offers to Supply the US With Covid-19 Tests and Masks

| Mar. 13, 2020

As the US government promises to ramp up more Covid-19 testing, an unlikely billionaire is offering to lend help: Jack Ma, cofounder of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba. Ma's philanthropic organization, the Jack Ma Foundation, said early Friday morning it would donate 500,000 Covid-19 testing kits and 1 million protective face masks to the US.

Chernobyl welcome sign

Wikimedia CC/Jorge Franganillo

Journal Article - Futures

Accumulating Evidence Using Crowdsourcing and Machine Learning: A Living Bibliography about Existential Risk and Global Catastrophic Risk

    Authors:
  • Gorm E. Shackelford
  • Luke Kemp
  • Catherine Rhodes
  • Lalitha Sundaram
  • Seán S. ÓhÉigeartaigh
  • Simon Beard
  • Haydn Belfield
  • Shahar Avin
  • Dag Sørebø
  • Elliot M. Jones
  • John B. Hume
  • David Price
  • David Pyle
  • Daniel Hurt
  • Theodore Stone
  • Harry Watkins
  • Lydia Collas
  • Bryony C. Cade
  • Thomas Frederick Johnson
  • Zachary Freitas-Groff
  • David Denkenberger
  • Michael Levot
  • William J. Sutherland
| February 2020

The study of existential risk — the risk of human extinction or the collapse of human civilization — has only recently emerged as an integrated field of research, and yet an overwhelming volume of relevant research has already been published. To provide an evidence base for policy and risk analysis, this research should be systematically reviewed. In a systematic review, one of many time-consuming tasks is to read the titles and abstracts of research publications, to see if they meet the inclusion criteria. The authors show how this task can be shared between multiple people (using crowdsourcing) and partially automated (using machine learning), as methods of handling an overwhelming volume of research.

WWI chemical weapon firing pipes

Wikimedia CC/Rosser1954

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Gas, Norms, and Statistics: The Jury is Still Out

| 2019

Damir Kovačević, Afrimadona, and Martin Claar's (KAC) statistical adjudication between the potential role of norms versus strategic deterrence in preventing interstate chemical-weapons use is a welcome contribution (Vol. 26, Nos. 3–4, pp. 251–66). The authors conclude that a powerful non-use norm is the most convincing explanation for downtrending chemical warfare. However, closer examination by  David M. Allison and Stephen Herzog in this response to the original article reveals several analytical issues, including inaccurate presentation of data and alternative explanations, that may undermine their results.

Members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron monitor an operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile

USAF/Michael Peterson

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Overwhelming Case for No First Use

| Jan. 13, 2020

The arguments in favor of the United States' declaring that the only purpose of its nuclear weapons is to deter others who possess them from using theirs — in other words, that in no circumstances will this country use nuclear weapons first — are far stronger than the arguments against this stance. It must be hoped that the next US administration will take this no-first-use step promptly.