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  • Author: Simon Henderson, Olli Heinonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Iran's nuclear program dates from the late 1950s. By the 1960s, the united states had supplied the iranians with a small research reactor. Later, the shah had ambitious plans to construct twenty-three nuclear power reactors, and initial orders were placed with west german and french companies. Iran also started to invest in nuclear fuel-cycle services, though was unable, due to u.s. Pressure, to obtain reprocessing or uranium enrichment plants. It did, however, invest in the eurodif enrichment plant in france and the roessing uranium mine in namibia, shareholdings it maintains today. When iran signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1968 and ratified it in 1970, all its nuclear activities became subject to inspection by the international atomic energy agency (iaea).
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Namibia
  • Author: Nuno P. Monteiro, Alexandre Debs
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What causes nuclear proliferation? What role do security threats play in driving states to acquire nuclear weapons? Intuitively, security is the most important factor driving nuclear acquisition. Yet existing security theories of proliferation, while accounting for why some states with grave security concerns have developed nuclear weapons, are unable to explain why others have not. Today only nine states have the bomb, a number much lower than the pessimistic predictions made by early security-based arguments on the causes of proliferation. Clearly, the view that "security is the only necessary and sufficient cause of nuclear proliferation" is not borne out by the history of the nuclear age. This limitation of existing security theories has exposed them to criticism on several fronts. Initially, a burgeoning scholarship emerged focusing on the nonsecurity "sources of the political demand for nuclear weapons." More recently, "supply-side" arguments on proliferation view states' demand for nuclear weapons (for security or other reasons) as largely irrelevant, claiming instead that the odds of nuclear acquisition depend on the availability of international nuclear assistance.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Khalid Homayun Nadiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has pursued seemingly incongruous courses of action in Afghanistan. It has participated in the U.S. and international intervention in Afghanistan at the same time as it has permitted much of the Afghan Taliban's political leadership and many of its military commanders to visit or reside in Pakistani urban centers. This incongruence is all the more puzzling in light of the expansion of indiscriminate and costly violence directed against Islamabad by Pakistani groups affiliated with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan's policy is the result not only of its enduring rivalry with India but also of historically rooted domestic imbalances and antagonistic relations with successive governments in Afghanistan. Three critical features of the Pakistani political system—the militarized nature of foreign policy making, ties between military institutions and Islamist networks, and the more recent rise of grassroots violence—have contributed to Pakistan's accommodation of the Afghan Taliban. Additionally, mutual suspicion surrounding the contentious Afghanistan-Pakistan border and Islamabad's long record of interference in Afghan politics have continued to divide Kabul and Islamabad, diminishing the prospect of cooperation between the two capitals. These determinants of Pakistan's foreign policy behavior reveal the prospects of and obstacles to resolving the numerous issues of contention that characterize the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship today.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? The answer to this question has important implications for U.S. national security policy. According to one popular view, the United States and China are destined to compete unless they can figure out each other's designs. A recent Brookings Institution report warns that although “Beijing and Washington seek to build a constructive partnership for the long run,” they may be headed for trouble given their “mutual distrust of [the other's] long-term intentions.” Similarly, foreign policy experts James Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon argue that “trust in both capitals...remains scarce, and the possibility of an accidental or even intentional conflict between the United States and China seems to be growing.” Reversing this logic, many analysts believe that U.S.-China relations may improve if the two sides clarify their intentions. Thus the Pentagon's latest strategic guidance document declares that if China wants to “avoid causing friction” in East Asia, then its military growth must be “accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions.” Meanwhile China scholars Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell recommend that even as the United States builds up its capabilities and alliances, it should “reassure Beijing that these moves are intended to create a balance of common interests rather than to threaten China.”
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Is there an oil weapon? Concern about the use of oil as an instrument of coercion has been central to state intervention in oil markets. Historically, the U.S. government sought to ensure access for domestic firms in the Middle East on national security grounds. Current U.S. national security strategy identifies the importance of Middle Eastern oil production to the global oil market as justification for retaining a military presence in the region. Conversely, rising U.S. oil production in the 2000s leads some analysts to propose that the United States should reduce its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Fiona S. Cunningham, M. Taylor Fravel
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Whether China will abandon its long-standing nuclear strategy of assured retaliation for a first-use posture will be a critical factor in U.S.-China strategic stability. In recent years, the United States has been developing strategic capabilities such as missile defenses and conventional long-range strike capabilities that could reduce the effectiveness of China's deterrent. Writings by Chinese strategists and analysts, however, indicate that China is unlikely to abandon its current nuclear strategy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Henry Lee, Scott Moore, Sabrina Howell, Alice Xia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent decades there has been a gradual transformation in environmental policy away from command-and-control policies and toward the use of more flexible, market-based mechanisms. This transformation is evident in the environmental policy of the United States, and the European Union where many scholars and policymakers have accepted the argument that, in comparison with more traditional regulatory approaches, market-centered solutions offer a cheaper and more efficient way to achieve many environmental policy objectives. While market mechanisms may work in certain economies and certain countries, whether they are appropriate for addressing the problem of climate change for countries without an institutionalized domestic market economy, such as china, is still an open question. This report summarizes the discussions, conclusions, and questions posed during The Harvard- Tsinghua Workshop on Market Mechanisms to Achieve a Low-Carbon Future for China. As the report makes clear, most participants believe that market mechanisms have a powerful role to play in achieving a low-carbon future for China. However, considerable differences emerged among the participants regarding the proper design and implementation of market mechanisms, and sig-nificant questions remain concerning the proper role of market mechanisms in addressing climate change. This report, and the workshop it summarizes, does not attempt to resolve these differences, but aims to contribute to an ongoing discussion on the future of climate policy in China. The re¬mainder of this Introduction describes the context for the workshop, its three thematic sessions, and outlines three over-arching themes that emerged. These themes are explored in the summaries of the three thematic sessions, while the Conclusion raises issues for further research. The impetus for the workshop was laid out in three public keynote speeches that addressed, respec¬tively, China's desire to achieve a low-carbon future, reasons to prefer market mechanisms over other potential solutions, and the importance of sustaining innovation in achieving climate policy objectives. China has adopted pilot cap-and-trade programs in five Provinces and two cities – to¬gether accounting for seven percent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions. These pilots support a vision of achieving a “third industrial revolution” where economic growth and value-creation is de-coupled from carbon dioxide emissions. Second, market mechanisms are generally preferred by economists to regulation and subsidies as a means to reduce emissions because they achieve reductions at a lower overall cost, tend to direct emissions to their highest-value uses, and demand less institutional capacity since emitters rather than governments decide how to reduce emissions. Third, emissions reductions need to be linked to continual technological and policy in¬novation, as well as the need for proper design and implementation of market mechanisms. This point was emphasized with reference to the European Union Emissions Trading System (EUETS), where initial carbon permit prices were too low to incentivize low-carbon research and develop¬ment. The low initial price of the EUETS made it more palatable to industry, but too low to send a significant market signal due to institutional weaknesses and the economic downturn. The keynote addresses framed the discussion for the remainder of the workshop, which consisted of three off-the-record thematic sessions. Each thematic session focused on a different set of mar¬ket mechanisms to address different facets of the climate policy challenge. The first session exam¬ined instruments designed to limit and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, either by imposition of a tax designed to internalize the external cost of climate disruption or through establishment of a cap-and-trade system whereby permits to emit carbon dioxide are issued under an overall cap set by government, and which can then be traded as some emitters make efficiency improvements. The second session examined the use of subsidies and other incentives to encourage clean technol¬ogy innovation, and the third session examined the potential for a water-rights trading system to allocate water resources under conditions of increasing scarcity triggered by disruption in precipi¬tation and increased evaporation rates. The workshop concluded with a session devoted to developing a framework for further research and debate on the use of market mechanisms to refine and advance China's climate policy. The framework centered on three over-arching issues concerning market mechanisms: policy mix, innovation systems, and governance. The first of these issues concerns the inclusion of market mechanisms in a broader mix of policy responses, including command-and-control, which may be combined to achieve specific policy objectives. The second concerns the use of market mecha¬nisms to develop, sustain, and enhance innovation systems that continually create new solutions and technologies to achieve a low-carbon future. The third concerns the importance of institutional design and governance systems to ensure the proper functioning of market mechanisms.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Yuen Foong Khong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One of the early exhibits of the 2010 Shanghai Expo that greeted the visitor was a display of the Chinese living room through time. What made the otherwise prosaic display rise above the ordinary was its point of departure: the year 1978. The 1978 room was dim, dowdy, and equipped with the most basic furniture, reflecting a poor household. The 1988 living room offered visible improvements, while the 1998 living room had many, but not all, of the accoutrements of the middleclass living room. The 2008 living room—whether aspiration or reality—had it all: ambient lighting, leather sofas, and a plasma television screen. The message was clear: China today would prefer not to dwell on the past; the focus needs to be on economic modernization and its payoffs that began with Deng Xiaoping's opening up of China's economy in 1978.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Todd H. Hall, Jia Ian Chong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A century has passed since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion a chain of events that would eventually convulse Europe in war. Possibly no conflict has been the focus of more scholarly attention. The questions of how and why European states came to abandon peaceful coexistence for four years of armed hostilities—ending tens of millions of lives and several imperial dynasties—have captivated historians and international relations scholars alike.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Tanisha M. Fazel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Several recent books argue that war is on the decline. In Winning the War on War, for example, Joshua Goldstein lauds the recent successes of the peacemaking community in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast. In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker writes that not only war but violence in general has become much less common, as the civilizing forces of literacy and modern government have tempered our baser instincts and allowed our "better angels" to prevail.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, East Asia