Analysis + Opinion | 2023


Analysis + Opinion

December 26, 2023

Billionaire-built cities would be better than nothing

Edward L Glaeser and Carlo RattiThe New York Times

The Bay Area needs a lot more housing, and we may need privately built cities to get there.

Ships are loaded with cargo at the Shekou Port in Shenzhen, China, on Sept. 3, 2010

Analysis + Opinion

December 17, 2023

America needs a single integrated operational plan for economic conflict with China

George J Gilboy and Eric Heginbotham Lawfare

Lessons from a recent wargame for managing a crisis over Taiwan.

A Brazilian soldier training for a radiological weapons attack, Brasília, May 2013

Analysis + Opinion

December 15, 2023

Why the world should still worry about dirty bombs

William C Potter, Sarah Bidgood & Hanna NotteForeign Affairs

Visions of dirty bombs and radiological terrorism obscured the fact that the threat from radiological weapons was not limited to terrorist groups.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023

Analysis + Opinion

December 13, 2023

America shouldn’t insist on a strategic defeat of Russia

Michael O’Hanlon and Caitlin TalmadgeThe Hill

Most Americans believe Ukraine has the moral high ground — but that is different from believing Ukraine will get everything it wants at the end of this fight.

Then-Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide attends the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9), held in the form of a videoconference, July 2, 2021.

Analysis + Opinion

November 30, 2023

PALM10: Japan’s chance to engage with Pacific island countries

Mina Pollman, PhDThe Diplomat

As China attempts to increase its influence over the PICs, Japan must marshal a strategic response that connects these states to its broader objectives in the Indo-Pacific.

Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, October 2019

Analysis + Opinion

November 10, 2023

China’s misunderstood nuclear expansion

M Taylor Fravel, Henrik Stålhane Hiim, and Magnus Langset TrøanForeign Affairs

Many eyes are on China’s efforts to accelerate the expansion of its nuclear weapons. Instead of speculating, we can look to China’s own strategists: “Their writings and analysis since 2015 suggest that China’s nuclear expansion is less a shift in Chinese intentions than a response to what Beijing perceives as threatening changes in US nuclear strategy, reflecting an acute security dilemma.” Anxiety is growing among both countries' defenses.

Rafah border crossing

Analysis + Opinion

October 20, 2023

How should we think about a mass exodus of Palestinians from Gaza?

Elizabeth N Saunders and Kelly M GreenhillGood Authority

Mass migration is a common and tragic feature of war. Many people think of it as an unintended consequence of conflict, as people flee for their lives, from guns, tanks, and artillery on the ground and from bombs and missile strikes from the air. This conventional wisdom is correct, but incomplete.

Analysis + Opinion

September 25, 2023

China’s economic slowdown was inevitable

Yasheng HuangForeign Affairs

Statism has not contributed to China's economic success in recent years, but rather the reduction of it. President Xi Jinping's efforts to increase statism have discouraged capitalists from investing in the country's economy, instead turning to other countries. Additionally, the focus on building infrastructure rather than strong health and education programs have damaged the strength of country's economy. Yusheng Huang states that the Chinese government must make more pragmatic economic decisions to end this downturn.

Chinese soldiers guarding the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 2022

Analysis + Opinion

September 15, 2023

The myth of Chinese diversionary war

M Taylor FravelForeign Affairs

If China’s economic woes get worse, its leaders will probably become more sensitive to perceived external challenges, especially on issues such as Taiwan. Increased pressure on China could easily backfire and motivate Beijing to become more aggressive in order to demonstrate its resolve to other states despite its internal difficulties, writes Taylor Fravel in Foreign Affairs.

Men on a motocycle in front of burning tires

Analysis + Opinion

September 14, 2023

The real intervention Haiti needs

Malick W GhachemForeign Policy

Haitians are not alone in their financial predicament. But Haiti has been the canary in the coal mine of the international financial order. The dismal state of its currency and economy prefigured the fate of so many post-colonial nations, from Venezuela to Tunisia. Malick Ghachem, professor of history and a CIS research affiliate, explains.

Russian sergeant on front line for Ukraine

Analysis + Opinion

August 3, 2023

Ukraine has a breakthrough problem

Barry R PosenForeign Policy

Military history suggests Ukraine’s current campaign is far more daunting than the public understands.

 Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and H.E. Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives

Analysis + Opinion

August 2, 2023

With visits to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Japan seeks to shore up Indian Ocean presence

Mina PollmannThe Diplomat

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa visited the Indian Ocean island states in his latest foreign tour.

Analysis + Opinion

July 21, 2023

Kishida’s trip to Middle East focuses on energy, defense cooperation

Mina PollmannThe Diplomat

There are ironies involved in both, given that fossil fuels ties Japan and the region together more than shared liberal values.

Former home secretary Priti Patel agreed the partnership with Rwanda

Analysis + Opinion

July 20, 2023

Rwanda plan is in legal limbo, but history shows such migration deals are unlikely to disappear

Fiona B Adamson and Kelly M GreenhillThe Conversation

Migration “deals”, as historical analysis shows, are almost never just about migration. Rather, they are more often quid pro quo arrangements linked to other domestic and foreign policy goals.

Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces' infantry unit march during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016

Analysis + Opinion

July 13, 2023

Pushing on an open door: Japan’s evolutionary security posture

Eric Heginbotham, Samuel Leiter & Richard J SamuelsThe Washington Quarterly

Japan’s responses to changing international circumstances reflect longstanding political and bureaucratic desires as much as objectively framed requirements.

Japanese flag

Analysis + Opinion

July 11, 2023

Japan takes another step toward expanding defense exports

Mina PollmannThe Diplomat

The LDP-Komeito coalition is working to overcome internal differences on loosening the existing restrictions.

  Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

Analysis + Opinion

June 18, 2023

Can you sanctions-proof a government?

Caileigh GlennLawfare

Sanctions are an important US and allied policy instrument, but one that often fails to achieve the most ambitious policy objectives. Using Russia as an example, Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellow Caileigh Glenn assesses the different ways that targets of sanctions can push back and examines the limits of sanctions and how they might be made more effective.

Syrian civilians eat an Iftar meal provided by a group of volunteers in a damaged neighborhood of Atarib, Aleppo countryside,

Analysis + Opinion

June 9, 2023

HR 3202: Analyzing legislative efforts to block Arab engagement with Syria

Steven Simon and Joshua LandisThe Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Opposition to HR 3202 does not imply support for US normalization with Assad, only a recognition that standing in the way of our regional partners’ diplomatic and economic engagement would be counterproductive both to US interests and to the welfare of the Syrian people.

Flags of Saudi Arabia and Israel stand together in a kitchen staging area as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds meetings at the State Department in Washington on Oct. 14, 2021.

Analysis + Opinion

June 5, 2023

Is Saudi-Israeli normalization worth it?

Aaron David Miller and Steven SimonForeign Policy

It would be a dramatic accomplishment, but not nearly as transformational as many may think.

The silhouette of an American flag

Analysis + Opinion

May 23, 2023

Did the unipolar moment ever end?

Foreign Affairs

Is the global distribution of power today is closer to being unipolar than it is to being bipolar or multipolar? Experts weigh in. 

The aftermath of clashes in Khartoum, Sudan, April 2023

Analysis + Opinion

May 1, 2023

Sudan’s generals are dragging the country toward disaster

Mai Hassan and Ahmed KodoudaForeign Affairs

Only civilian leaders can forge a path to piece. 

Soldiers wearing camouflage march down a desert road

Analysis + Opinion

April 23, 2023

Why security assistance often fails

Rachel Tecott MetzLawfare

Around the world, the United States relies heavily on security assistance to gain influence and make its allies more formidable. When actual war breaks out, however, many long-time recipients of such assistance fight poorly or otherwise do not seem to have heeded the lessons that U.S. trainers tried to impart.

Analysis + Opinion

April 21, 2023

The threat of civil breakdown is real

Steven Simon and Jonathan StevensonPolitico

National security officials are still not prepared for a far-right revolt.

Smoke over Khartoum

Analysis + Opinion

April 20, 2023

The failed “coup-proofing” behind the recent violence in Sudan

Isaac ChotinerThe New Yorker

Isaac Chotiner interviews Mai Hassan, Faculty Director of MIT Africa and Associate Professor of Political Science, about the recent violence in Sudan. 

Headshot of Dick Samuels

Analysis + Opinion

April 10, 2023

The cost of 'normalcy': Updating Japan's national security

Richard J SamuelsYale MacMillan Center Council on East Asian Studies

Richard J Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies, gives the 23rd Annual John W Hall Lecture in Japanese Studies. 

Analysis + Opinion

March 16, 2023

You can go home again: A proposal for phased military withdrawal from Iraq and normalizing US–Iraq relations

Steven Simon and Adam WeinsteinQuincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

US interests in Iraq are derived from an interest in regional stability and impel the continuation of an “advise, assist, and enable” mission in the near term. There is no need, however, to maintain a long–term military presence in the country. 

Analysis + Opinion

February 24, 2023

Nuclear war theory: Continuity and change

Stephen Van EveraColumbia SIPA

Ford International Professor of Political Science Stephen Van Evera participated in A Conference on Today’s Competitive Geopolitical Landscape – in honor of Robert Jervis, hosted by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He spoke on a panel about Robert Jervis' work on nuclear war theory.

Map of Ukraine

Analysis + Opinion

February 13, 2023

Lessons from Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Barry Posen and Stephen Van EveraDefense Priorities

MIT Security Studies Program Professors Barry Posen and Stephen Van Evera, along with other top experts, share their insights on key takeaways from the first year of the war in Ukraine.

Japanese and Chinese flags

Analysis + Opinion

February 7, 2023

Japan, China hold Foreign Minister call days after NATO chief’s visit

Mina PollmannThe Diplomat

Tokyo continues to try to keep relations with Beijing stable even as it deepens military cooperation with NATO and other partners.

Analysis + Opinion

February 3, 2023

A better way to protect free speech on campus

Malick W GhachemThe Chronicle of Higher Education

Grand statements of principle ignore classroom realities. 

Taiwanese soldiers

Analysis + Opinion

January 31, 2023

Why we believe the US still has the upper hand in a war over Taiwan

Eric HeginbothamNewsweek

Recently conducted simulations of a Chinese invasion of that although such a war would be costly to all sides, China would lose—so long as the United States continues to invest in maintaining deterrence and chooses to intervene directly and vigorously.

Antony Blinken

Analysis + Opinion

January 30, 2023

As Blinken visits Israel amid violence, US confirms drone attacks on Iran

Steven SimonResponsible Statecraft

While affirming Washington’s strategy against Tehran, Blinken will have to convince Netanyahu against flaming an Israeli-Palestinian war.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Analysis + Opinion

January 29, 2023

Russia in the Caucasus and Central Asia after the invasion of Ukraine

Carol R SaivetzLawfare

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reshaped the politics of much of the former Soviet periphery. 

Analysis + Opinion

January 13, 2023

Biden is about to have his hands full in the Middle East

Aaron David Miller and Steven SimonForeign Policy

Iran and Israel may set Washington’s agenda for the next two years.

Analysis + Opinion

January 4, 2023

Russia's rebound

Barry R PosenForeign Affairs

How Moscow has partially recovered from its military setbacks.