Tag Archives: Obama

Do U.S. drone strikes on al-Qaida make us safer?

By Sean M. Lynn-Jones On June 4, a missile fired from a pilotless U.S. drone reportedly killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, said to be al-Qaida’s second-in-command, in a remote region of Pakistan. Just over a year earlier, U.S. special forces stormed … Continue reading >

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Posted in Analysis, Guest Post, International Security Journal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Swing Vote: How the Election Could Tip the Balance of the Supreme Court

By Ben W. Heineman Jr. Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs This article first appeared on TheAtlantic.com Justice Kennedy is often the deciding vote in divisive 5-4 decisions. A new nomination could strip him of this role … Continue reading >

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New defense strategy guidance: Hardly a strategic pivot

By Kevin Ryan (Brigadier General, US Army, Retired, and Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School) Don’t get me wrong – I am pleased that the executive branch and defense establishment have developed … Continue reading >

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Lessons learned since 9/11: Narratives matter

Was 9/11 a turning point in world history? It is too soon to be tell. After all, the lessons of World War I looked very different in 1939 than they did a mere decade after 1918.

As I argue in The Future of Power, one of the great powers shifts of this century is the increased empowerment of non-state actors, and 9/11 was a dramatic illustration of this long term trend. In 2001 an attack by non-state actors killed more Americans than a government attack did at Pearl Harbor in 1941. But this “privatization of war” was occurring before 9/11 and some American government reports in the 1990s even warned it was coming.

The long-term effect of 9/11 depends on how the United States reacts and the lessons it has learned. In the short term of the past decade, the US has learned to take the new threat seriously and has improved its security procedures and been able to prevent a recurrence of 9/11. All that is to the good.

World Trade Center memorial lights (Photo by John Franco)
World Trade Center memorial lights (Photo by John Franco)

But there is a larger question about terrorism. Continue reading >

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Obama’s Vindication in Libya

By Nicholas Burns President Obama’s careful, persistent policy on Libya has worked. The rebels are on the verge of a major victory. Libya’s cynical and brutal dictator, Muammar Qadhafi, has lost effective power and is on the run. As I … Continue reading >

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Obama’s Afghanistan speech: A missing piece in the puzzle

President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan has been described as a domestic political compromise between those who want a rapid drawdown and those who want more time. Foreign policy always rests on domestic compromises in a democracy, and the initial reaction … Continue reading >

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Joe Nye’s answer to John Deutch on governance

My friend John Deutch has challenged me to explain the breakdown of governance in the United States and to identify what can be done about our capacity to deal with it.

The problems are real, but “breakdown” is too strong a word to describe them, and it is important to put current problems in historical perspective. The founders deliberately designed American government to be inefficient with checks, balances, and delays. As the joke goes, it was designed so King George could not rule over us — nor anyone else. Some argue that an inefficient 18th century design cannot cope with 21st century global problems like the rise of Asia or the transnational diffusion that I describe in The Future of Power. However, our inefficient system has coped with even greater problems in the past with only one serious breakdown a century and a half ago. Continue reading >

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Posted in The Power Problem | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attention Mr. Obama: East Jerusalem was within the 1967 lines

By Charles G. Cogan Associate, Belfer Center International Security Program In his speech on the Middle East on May 19th, President Obama put forward a sort of peace plan, without the name: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be … Continue reading >

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Posted in Guest Post | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vigilance essential in coming months

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs We must remain especially vigilant over the next weeks and months. There is likely to be a global spike in terrorist threats … Continue reading >

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The Boston Marathon: In preparedness, the old is new again

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum By Arnold Bogis Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs This month the Obama Administration released Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8 on National Preparedness.  While arguments can be made both in favor and … Continue reading >

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