International Relations

410 Items

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

Rahm Emanuael/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

| June 18, 2018

Early in Richard Rhodes’s new book, “Energy: A Human History,” we hear of a prominent citizen using colorful language to lament the state of his polluted city and urge his government to shut down industry or move it elsewhere: “If there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano [on] a foggy day.” Though this could easily apply to modern-day Beijing, the speaker here is John Evelyn, a wealthy horticulturalist and one of the founders of the scientific Royal Society of London — and he’s complaining about London in 1659.

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

Ray Dalio Applies Lessons From the Past to Today’s Financial World

| Summer 2018

The great Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote that “there can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.”

Billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Ray Dalio has taken it upon himself to break that mold by championing the use of history in the financial world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev in Moscow, Russia. April 9, 2018 (Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press). Keywords: Putin, Russia

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The New Republic

The Problem With “Cold War” Comparisons

| Apr. 17, 2018

Disoriented in a historical re-play, as headlines would have it, that seems to have crammed the timeline from the Machtergreifung to the Truman Doctrine into a mere nine months, The New Republic called up prizewinning Cold War historian Arne Westad at Harvard Kennedy School to get his thoughts. Over the course of a short phone call, he offered his take on proxy conflicts, Putin’s motivations, and why Russia is in a weaker position than it may seem.

Donald Trump is pictured in New York. August 1, 1984. (Marty Lederhandler/Associated Press). Keywords: Donald Trump, New York, 1980s

Marty Lederhandler/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

The Revenge of the '80s

| Apr. 09, 2018

It was on Sept. 2, 1987, that Trump took out a full-page newspaper advertisement with the headline: “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” In it he called on the United States to cease spending money on Middle Eastern peace-keeping that mainly benefited the Saudis and Japanese, to “end our vast deficits by making Japan and others who can afford it pay,” and to “reduce our taxes, and let America’s economy grow.”

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Rex Tillerson’s Last Act: Leave Quietly or Go Down Fighting

| Mar. 13, 2018

Like his predecessors in the Trump administration, Rex Tillerson faces a choice: He can end his rocky tenure by departing quietly or by stoking controversy, going along with the transition or salvaging his own reputation. The experience of Alexander M. Haig, President Ronald Reagan’s first secretary of state and the most recent to leave amid controversy, illustrates the importance of this decision.

An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem and flags during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. November 9, 2017 (Andy Wong/Associated Press).

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - Cato Unbound

The Future of U.S.-China Relations Begins at Home

| Mar. 12, 2018

Kori Schake’s essay (and the book from which it is adapted) provides a serious, penetrating, and provocative invitation to debate the overriding geostrategic challenge of our time: what to do about the rise of China. Safe Passage is an outstanding example of the sort of work we champion at the Harvard Belfer Center’s Applied History Project. It illuminates current challenges by careful analysis of the historical record. And the case she examines in which the United States rose to rival and eventually surpass the British global hegemony is among the most instructive of the 16 cases in the Harvard Thucydides’ Trap case file for policymakers seeking to cope with the current U.S.-China competition.

Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University

Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

America's IR Schools Are Broken

| Feb. 20, 2018

"One obvious problem is that the conduct of 'international affairs' is not really a professional vocation, but rather a political one. Influential foreign-policy leaders are not chosen strictly for their expertise but also for their ideological convictions, reputations, personal connections, and political loyalty."