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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.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry (center) meeting in Vienna to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement.

Carlos Barria/Agence France-Presse

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Crucial Questions Remain as Iran Nuclear Talks Approach Deadline

| June 28, 2015

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator was heading back to Tehran on Sunday to consult with his nation’s leadership, as negotiators remained divided over how to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear program and even on how to interpret the preliminary agreement they reached two months ago.

US and Ukrainian soldiers stand guard during opening ceremony of the 'Fiarles Guardian - 2015', Ukrainian-US Peacekeeping and Security command and staff training, in western Ukraine, in Lviv region, Monday, April 20, 2015.

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Magazine Article - The National Interest

Russia and America: Stumbling to War

| May-June 2015

In the United States and Europe, many believe that the best way to prevent Russia’s resumption of its historic imperial mission is to assure the independence of Ukraine. They insist that the West must do whatever is required to stop the Kremlin from establishing direct or indirect control over that country. Otherwise, they foresee Russia reassembling the former Soviet empire and threatening all of Europe. Conversely, in Russia, many claim that while Russia is willing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (with the exception of Crimea), Moscow will demand no less than any other great power would on its border. Security on its western frontier requires a special relationship with Ukraine and a degree of deference expected in major powers’ spheres of influence. More specifically, Russia’s establishment sentiment holds that the country can never be secure if Ukraine joins NATO or becomes a part of a hostile Euro-Atlantic community. From their perspective, this makes Ukraine’s nonadversarial status a nonnegotiable demand for any Russia powerful enough to defend its national-security interests.

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.

Magazine Article - American Interest

Our Pacific Predicament

| March/April 2013

"American interests rest on stability in the region to allow the continuing growth of trade and investment that benefits all countries. The U.S.-Japan alliance remains crucial to stability in East Asia, but so too are good relations in all three sides of the strategic triangle. One thing is clear: If, despite all we do, Sino-Japanese relations deteriorate toward literal conflict, the United States will be faced with some very tough choices."

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Security Curve and the Structure of International Politics: A Neorealist Synthesis

    Author:
  • Davide Fiammenghi
| Spring 2011

Realist scholars have long debated the question of how much power states need to feel secure. Offensive realists claim that states should constantly seek to increase their power. Defensive realists argue that accumulating too much power can be self-defeating. Proponents of hegemonic stability theory contend that the accumulation of capabilities in one state can exert a stabilizing effect on the system. The three schools describe different points along the power con­tinuum. When a state is weak, accumulating power increases its security. This is approximately the situation described by offensive realists. A state that con­tinues to accumulate capabilities will eventually triggers a balancing reaction that puts its security at risk. This scenario accords with defensive realist as­sumptions. Finally, when the state becomes too powerful to balance, its oppo­nents bandwagon with it, and the state’s security begins to increase again. This is the situation described by hegemonic stability theory. These three stages delineate a modified parabolic relationship between power and secu­rity. As a state moves along the power continuum, its security increases up to a point, then decreases, and finally increases again. This modified parabolic re­lationship allows scholars to synthesize previous realist theories into a single framework.

Magazine Article - Harvard Magazine

Toward a Liberal Realist Foreign Policy: A Memo for the Next President

| March-April 2008

"On January 20, you will inherit a legacy of trouble: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, North Korea for starters. Failure to manage any one of them could mire your presidency and sap your political support—and threaten the country’s future. At the same time, you must not let these inherited problems define your foreign policy. You need to put them in a larger context and create your own vision of how Americans should deal with the world."

Magazine Article

Six Years After 9/11

| Sep. 11, 2007

BEIRUT -- This week’s sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States sees the top American military and diplomatic officials in Iraq speaking to the US Congress about American strategy in Iraq. The juxtaposition is noteworthy: Six years ago, a small band of Al-Qaeda militants attacked the United States and killed some 3000 people. Today, an army of over 160,000 American troops wages a war in Iraq that has seen tens of thousands of people killed since 2003. Neither policy makes much sense to anyone in the world, other than to those fanatics on both sides who decided to pursue these actions.