Reports & Papers

38 Items

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

A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century

Many of the most serious challenges the United States will face in 2021 and beyond will require our diplomats to take the lead. These include the return of great power competition, leading a global response to the pandemic and its consequences, supporting American companies overseas during a devastating recession, mounting a major effort on climate change, negotiating an end to the Afghan and Iraq wars, and helping American citizens in every corner of the world who need the support of their government. Morale in the State Department, however, is at an all-time low and efforts to promote greater racial and ethnic diversity have failed just when the country needs women and men of all backgrounds as our primary link to nearly every country in the world. There are challenges to be met inside the Foreign Service, including an honest self-assessment of the Service’s internal culture.

In this April 22, 2020 photo, Gerard Bakulikira, right, and captain Tim Daghelet, left, both wear a Romware COVID Radius digital bracelet, which flashes red when people are too close to each other and creates a log of contacts. 

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Paper

Considerations for Digital Contact Tracing Tools for COVID-19 Mitigation: Recommendations for Stakeholders and Policymakers

Many are looking to digital contact tracing to assist reopening efforts, especially in light of reports that the U.S. could expect as many as 100,000 more deaths due to the virus by this Fall. This report focuses on how the U.S. might consider various proposed solutions.

We believe there are real benefits, challenges, and even potential harms in using digital solutions in the fight against COVID-19, but we must also acknowledge that the promise of any technology and associated systems to assist manual contact tracing efforts is largely hypothetical in the United States. There is not one catch-all answer; the truth is that technology is not a panacea, but it may be able to assist official efforts at an unprecedented time. However, no technological solution can succeed without two specific factors: public trust and buy-in, and rapid, widespread testing for everyone living in the U.S. To achieve the first, a number of factors must be addressed by officials in the states looking to implement digital solutions, and by technology developers.
 

A young boy walks past a wall with graffiti urging people to wear face masks in Harare, Thursday, May, 28, 2020.

AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Paper

Three No-Regret Decisions for the Next Three Months: How Partners Can Assist Africa’s COVID-19 Fight

| June 2020

Covid-19 has been described by the Head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as “an existential threat to the Continent.” Updated forecasts by the World Health Organisation (WHO) warn that up to 190,000 people could die from Covid-19 in Africa, and notwithstanding continuing epidemiological uncertainty, it is already clear that Covid-19 threatens fragile health and economic systems across the continent. This paper considers the latest economic forecasts and assesses those now most at risk by highlighting potentially devastating “secondary effects” of the pandemic. Recognizing the leadership already shown by many African governments, and the steps already taken by the international community, the paper looks ahead and highlights three “no regret” decisions, which could and should be taken by the international community in the next three months to assist Africa’s Covid-19 fight.

A MEP walks in the mostly-vacant Plenary chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Paper

Transatlantic Dialogue: The Missing Link in Europe’s Post-Covid-19 Green Deal?

| April 2020

This policy brief emphasizes that the European Green Deal's effectiveness in a post Covid-19 world will require the involvement of strategic partners, especially the US. In the context of a potential US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the consequential vacuum, it will be even more important to engage the US in implementing the GD. In light of divergence between the US and the EU during past climate negotiations (e.g. Kyoto, Copenhagen, and Paris), we suggest a gradual approach to US engagement with GD initiatives and objectives.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, sail in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019.

U.S. Navy photo / SPC Kaila V. Peters

Paper

Asia Whole and Free? Assessing the Viability and Practicality of a Pacific NATO

    Author:
  • Aaron Bartnick
| March 2020

This report will address four questions in the Pacific NATO debate. First, is there a historical precedent for a Pacific NATO? This report does find a precedent in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), though it was largely unsuccessful due to its lack of regional adoption, weak mutual defense provisions, and ultimately became tainted by the Vietnam War.

Second, would such an alliance be necessary given the plethora of existing multilateral partnerships in the region? While there is a broad multilateral landscape in the Indo-Pacific, there is currently no agreement that combines both the wide reach and deep obligations of a hypothetical Pacific NATO. However, the Quad and RIMPAC do bring together many of the key Indo-Pacific powers and serve as an important foundation for U.S.-oriented multilateral regional security.

Third, how could such an alliance be structured? This report examines three options: expanding NATO’s mandate beyond Europe, building on its Enhanced Opportunity Partner (EOP) program, and creating a new alliance system. It also uses the case of Montenegro’s NATO accession to generate a broad set of criteria for future membership.

And fourth, how would Indo-Pacific nations, including China, respond to such an alliance? This would be exceedingly difficult. China has significant economic leverage over even our closest allies, like Australia and Japan.

Intractable internal disputes abound, particularly between South Korea and Japan and four nations—Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam—with competing claims in the South China Sea. Two of the United States’ most important partners in the region, India and Singapore, have a longstanding aversion to exactly this type of alliance system. And for newer partners, like Malaysia and Indonesia, the value proposition is even less clear. The Chinese are likely to respond to any attempts at a multilateral military alliance in its backyard with a whole-of-government effort to stop it. If that alliance includes Taiwan, it could result in even more aggressive action.

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

kees torn/Flickr

Paper - National Bureau of Asian Research

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

This essay examines Russia’s growing role in Asia’s energy markets, assesses the implications for the U.S., and examines the claim that closer Sino-Russian energy ties are adding new incentives for a broader strategic alignment.

Oil painting of four men

Saleh Lô

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

Anger Management

| June 21, 2018

The goal of this report is to address the role that popular frustration can play in the politics of the Arab world. It analyzes contemporary populist movements to identify how the internal logic of populism could be applied in this region and how the cultural context can shape local messages, addressing in particular the roles of Islam, anti-Western sentiment and extremist propaganda. It also proposes actionable guidance for Western practitioners, including in terms of communication.

Report: More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

Free-Photos/Pixabay

Report - Axios

More Climate Change Recognition, Action Among Major Investors

| May 10, 2018

Since the Paris Agreement's adoption in 2015, a majority of the world's largest investors have begun to take action on climate change. According to a new report, the 2016–2017 year showed an average improvement in decarbonization within all major investor categories except pension funds.

The Future of Politics Report

Credit Suisse Research Institute

Report Chapter

An Outlook on Global Politics 2018

| Jan. 23, 2018

Nicholas Burns, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and former US Under Secretary of State, looks at what lies ahead for global politics as well as current geopolitical risks. “The world is experiencing the most profound leadership transition in a generation,” states Burns, who adds that 2018 promises to be a year of significant challenge to global stability and peace.  


Tokyo at night

Flickr / Agustin Rafael Reyes

Paper - London School of Economics

Global Review of Finance For Sustainable Urban Infrastructure

    Authors:
  • Graham Floater
  • Dan Dowling
  • Denise Chan
  • Matthew Ulterino
  • Tim McMinn
  • Ehtisham Ahmad
| December 2017

This paper is a background review representing part of the initial phase of the Financing the Urban Transition work program. The review builds on a growing body of research that highlights both the importance of national sustainable infrastructure and the need to develop more effective and efficient financing mechanisms for delivering compact, connected cities that meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While progress has been made in both these areas over the last five years, there remains a policy gap between the international/national level and the municipal level.