Articles

60 Items

Magazine Article - Harvard Gazette

Britain muses: play bridge or solitaire?

    Author:
  • Christina Pazzanese
| June 17, 2016

On Thursday, voters in the U.K. will decide by a simple majority whether to remain in the E.U. during a national referendum known as “Brexit” (a portmanteau of the words British and exit). Over the last month, public opinion polling showed voters evenly split, with the “leave” campaign edging upslightly in recent days. Douglas Alexander is a senior fellow in The Future of Diplomacy Project.The Gazette spoke with Alexander about the upcoming referendum and the potential fallout for the U.K. and Europe.

Sub-Saharan migrants climb over a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Friday, March 28, 2014.

Santi Palacios/ AP

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Barriers to Entry: Who Builds Fortified Boundaries and Why

    Authors:
  • Ron E. Hassner
  • Jason Wittenberg
| Summer 2015

Contrary to conventional wisdom, states do not typically construct fortified boundaries in response to border disputes or to prevent terrorism. Instead, most build such boundaries for economic reasons, to keep out unwanted migrants from poorer states. Further, Muslim states are more likely to both build and be the targets of fortified boundaries.

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.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his plane after traveling from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Vienna, Austria, on July 13, 2014 for allied talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

State Dept.

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Fool's Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran

| Fall 2014

"The P5+1 should set aside the effort to craft an all-at-once comprehensive bargain and instead adopt a strategy of negotiating incremental agreements. An incremental approach has a number of advantages. The negotiators could focus on one sticking point at a time, without having to coordinate agreement on all of them at once. Negotiators could defer currently intractable issues, like enrichment capacity, until greater trust is built or new opportunities arise. Most importantly, the compromises already achieved under the JPA could be maintained and consolidated, independently of the ups and downs of ongoing negotiations."

Israelis, social protesters, and left wing activists march against the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 24, 2012.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Survival

Striking Iran: The Debate in Israel

| December 2012–January 2013

"Although the unusual public nature and stridency of the debate struck many around the world, it is still hard for those abroad to understand how great the effect on the Israeli public has been. The Iranian nuclear programme had been the one consensual issue in an otherwise politically frenetic and deeply divided country and was dealt with, so the public believed, in a manner appropriate to the severity of the threat."

(R-L) Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov, General Secretary of the Communist Party Josef Stalin, & German Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact in Moscow, Aug 23, 1939.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Preventing Enemy Coalitions: How Wedge Strategies Shape Power Politics

| Spring 2011

States use wedge strategies to prevent hostile alliances from forming or to dis­perse those that have formed. These strategies can cause power alignments that are otherwise unlikely to occur, and thus have significant consequences for international politics. How do such strategies work and what conditions promote their success? The wedge strategies that are likely to have significant effects use selective accommodation—concessions, compensations, and other inducements—to detach and neutralize potential adversaries. These kinds of strategies play important roles in the statecraft of both defensive and offensive powers. Defenders use selective accommodation to balance against a primary threat by neutralizing lesser ones that might ally with it. Expansionists use se­lective accommodation to prevent or break up blocking coalitions, isolating opposing states by inducing potential balancers to buck-pass, bandwagon, or hide. Two cases—Great Britain’s defensive attempts to accommodate Italy in the late 1930s and Germany’s offensive efforts to accommodate the Soviet Union in 1939—help to demonstrate these arguments. By paying attention to these dynamics, international relations scholars can better understand how balancing works in specific cases, how it manifests more broadly in interna­tional politics, and why it sometimes fails in situations where it ought to work well.