International Relations

6139 Items

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

History Advises Biden to Match Signals with Actions in Ukraine

Dec. 24, 2021

As Russian troops mass along the border with Ukraine, the White House has been calibrating its response. President Joe Biden has warned that in the event of an invasion, the US and allies would make Russian President Vladimir Putin pay a heavy price. Likely measures would particularly include economic sanctions such as a cut-off from the SWIFT payments system and turning off the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline.  Good. It is possible that such threats will deter Putin.

an alert from the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

AP/Jon Elswick

Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

The End of Cyber-Anarchy?

| January/February 2022

Joseph Nye argues that prudence results from the fear of creating unintended consequences in unpredictable systems and can develop into a norm of nonuse or limited use of certain weapons or a norm of limiting targets. Something like this happened with nuclear weapons when the superpowers came close to the brink of nuclear war in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis. The Limited Test Ban Treaty followed a year later.

Ukrainian servicemen walk to their position at the frontline with with Russia-backed separatists outside Verkhnotoretske village in Yasynuvata district of Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 27, 2021.

AP/Andriy Andriyenko

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

What are the best US military options for Ukraine?

| December 12, 2021

Since last April, Russia has been slowly and methodically building up military forces near Ukraine’s border. Those who recall the 1990 U.S. military buildup in advance of the January “Desert Storm” attack to free Kuwait and invade Iraq, will recognize that such a buildup is a serious threat. 

Melissa Fleming


Presentation - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Communicating the UN at a Time of Polarization

| Dec. 10, 2021

Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the United Nations, explains the challenges of her role in an era of profound political, social and digital fragmentation and polarization. Ms. Fleming outlines the new approach she is bringing to UN communications – one that aims not just to inform the public of what the UN does, but to engage them to care and mobilize them for action. She also explores the threats posed by misinformation, on COVID-19, climate change and so much more. Erika Manouselis, Research and Administrative Manager at the Future of Diplomacy Project, moderated this discussion.

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

Gen. Dunford Shares Insights With National Security Fellows

| Fall 2021

Every other Tuesday, early in the morning and no matter the weather, you can usually spot 17 National Security Fellows (NSFs) making their way from different parts of Boston to a Belfer Center third-floor conference room in Cambridge. They come from all military services, the Coast Guard, Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office. Their research at the Center this year covers a broad range of national security issues from governance and corruption in multiethnic societies to defense technology, artificial intelligence, and space capabilities. They are as different as their professional backgrounds suggest, but on these Tuesday mornings they are united by their eagerness to hear directly from one of the most disciplined military thinkers of our times - General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (ret.). 

A Russian Tu-95 bomber, top, is intercepted by a U.S. F-22 Raptor off the coast of Alaska in this photo taken June 16, 2020. (North American Aerospace Defense Command via AP)

North American Aerospace Defense Command via AP

How Do U.S. and Russian Defense Sectors Influence Policies?

  • Natasha Yefimova-Trilling
| Fall 2021

Whenever Washington or Moscow unveils a new weapon, ears in the other capital perk up and analysts try to divine how the new system fits into U.S. or Russian military strategy—not least of all, strategy toward its Cold War-era nemesis. But how often do decisions related to national security arise because of institutional forces only tenuously related to states’ strategic planning? More specifically, how do the countries’ respective defense industries influence policy? The Belfer Center’s Russia Matters project asked two scholars—one American, one Russian—to investigate the latter question. Their articles, published in November, reveal fascinating differences (and similarities) in the way this influence is exercised in countries with vastly different political and economic systems.

Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi, center, and China's State Councilor Wang Yi, second from left, speak

Pool via AP/Frederic J. Brown

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

What Really Matters in the Sino-American Competition?

| Dec. 06, 2021

Joseph Nye writes that although the United States has long commanded the technological cutting edge, China is mounting a credible challenge in key areas. But, ultimately, the balance of power will be decided not by technological development but by diplomacy and strategic choices, both at home and abroad.