About Power & Policy

Power & Policy is a virtual forum for debating the exercise of American power in the world. The principal bloggers are Harvard Kennedy School faculty members and associates who have spent decades studying how power works. Many of them have used power themselves, in a range of government and military roles, so they understand first-hand the realities and constraints.  The blog is hosted by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Kennedy School’s principal center for global policy analysis.

The blog invites submissions from guest bloggers, and encourages lively but civil discussion through comments. All commenters are required to disclose their names to ensure accountability and full disclosure of interests.

Power & Policy focuses on policy issues, not the party politics of the day. It stays close to the headlines and the key challenges facing the Obama Administration and other governments. The blog seeks to stay relevant and realistic, not theoretical and abstract.

We define power broadly, going beyond traditional diplomatic and military tools to embrace all the dynamic elements of soft power and smart power that have come into play in the information age. Cyber power, an emerging area of expertise within the Belfer Center, is on the table. Economic power and its role in shaping global relations is certain to be a frequent theme. The nature of diplomacy in a post-Wikileaks world is relevant, along with policy issues of development aid. While the focus is on the United States, the exercise of power by other countries and non-state actors also is fair game.

The overriding goal is to deepen the knowledge and understanding of policy-makers, those who influence policy, and interested citizens to help them make sound judgments about the use of power and the obstacles to exercising it effectively. We want to proffer surprising new ideas and provoke critical analysis.

Power & Policy also plans more formal assessments of specific policy issues by posing The Power Problem. Each month, we will call on one of our bloggers to analyze the policy options to address a specific challenge facing the United States. Then we will invite guests to offer their critique of the initial proposals; commenters can also chime in on these problems.

We plan to use video blog entries, graphics and maps to enrich the text. We welcome feedback from readers to improve the blog.

Send proposed guest blog posts, questions and ideas to Power & Policy moderator James F. Smith, whose day job is director of communications for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Bookmark and Share