Analysis & Opinions | 2016

 U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the news media at Trump Tower in New York City. Dec. 6.

Analysis & Opinions

December 13, 2016

The End of the Commonwealth

John TirmanThe Huffington Post

Amid the many controversies attending the election of Donald Trump is one easy to overlook: the mounting assault on “public goods” — public education, public lands, public information and public health, among them.

Pentagon

Analysis & Opinions

December 12, 2016

Reports of saving the Pentagon billions are just fake news

Harvey M. SapolskyThe National Interest

The Balkan teenagers are at it again, this time in the guise of members of the Defense Business Board and consultants from McKinsey, with the claim that their report offering $125 billion in savings was being suppressed by the Department of Defense.

Moscow - St. Basil's Cathedral at Sunset Zoom/Josh Simerman

Analysis & Opinions

November 29, 2016

How to think about Russia

Barry R. PosenThe National Interest

Because the West is strong, and relative to Russia likely to get stronger, it is in a position to accommodate some Russian concerns, says Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Security Studies Program. Posen is among several experts featured in The National Interest on the future of US-Russia relations.

There are no plausible scenarios for which the first use of nuclear weapons might be useful. India’s nuclear forces are strictly to deter a WMD attack, and can, therefore, be oriented entirely for retaliation. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar)

Analysis & Opinions

November 18, 2016

Confusion is risky

Vipin Narang, Christopher Clary The Indian Express

After Manohar Parrikar’s comments on no-first-use policy, a prime ministerial clarification is called for. Since 1998, a key pillar of India’s nuclear policy has been a pledge not to use nuclear weapons first. After considering the utility of individually negotiated bilateral or multilateral agreements committing to no-first-use (NFU) of nuclear weapons, by August 1998, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, opted to unilaterally announce that India would “not be the first to use nuclear weapons”.

The Wall And The Ban: Can Trump Really Accomplish Either?

Analysis & Opinions

November 16, 2016

The Wall and the Ban: Can Trump really accomplish either?

John TirmanWBUR

Anti-immigrant fervor fueled Donald Trump’s White House bid from the beginning, so a Trump presidency naturally worries undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Map of South Asia

Analysis & Opinions

October 20, 2016

South Asian nuclear tensions: Back to core issues

Jayita SarkarBulletin of the Atomic Scientists

To be sure, when tensions erupt between nuclear-armed adversaries in a conflict-prone zone, a superpower’s regional role is far from irrelevant, writes Jayita Sarkar, a Research Fellow with the MIT Security Studies Program.

A displaced woman carries goods as United Nations Mission in South Sudan peacekeepers patrol outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians site in Juba on October 4, 2016.

Analysis & Opinions

October 13, 2016

Impose an arms embargo in South Sudan

Jacey FortinBoston Globe

“For many South Sudanese, peace has been punitive. Millions have been displaced by a civil war that began in 2013, two years after the country achieved independence,” writes Jacey Fortin, the Center’s Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow, in an opinion piece for the Boston Globe.

The lines that have been crossed

Analysis & Opinions

October 4, 2016

The lines that have been crossed

Vipin NarangThe Hindu

As the dust settles following the so-called September 29 “surgical strike” which witnessed the publicly acknowledged employment of Indian special forces across the Line of Control (LoC) for the first time in over a decade, it is useful to take stock of the larger implications…

Analysis & Opinions

September 18, 2016

How to get China to use its leverage against North Korea

Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels The National Interest

It is time for a bargain between Washington and Beijing on a new and tougher approach—one that will require China to use its leverage to change North Korean behavior. Barring that, those most directly threatened—South Korea, Japan, and the United States—will rightly adopt new defensive measures that will, ultimately, impinge on Beijing’s security interests.

 Standing guard at a monument in Harare, March 2011.

Analysis & Opinions

September 12, 2016

Why Zimbabwe's military sticks with Mugabe

Philip MartinForeign Affairs

Zimbabwe is headed for turbulent waters. Over the last few months, a protest movement has highlighted popular dissatisfaction with what many Zimbabweans see as the economic mismanagement and heavy-handed tactics of the government of President Robert Mugabe. Opposition groups are joining forces in an effort to defeat the ruling party in the 2018 elections.

A municipal worker dances as voters line up in a township near Durban to cast their votes in South Africa’s Aug. 3 elections.

Analysis & Opinions

August 12, 2016

Here are 4 reasons that South Africa’s ANC lost ground in this month’s elections

Nina McMurry, Philip Martin, Evan Lieberman and Daniel de KadtThe Washington Post

On Aug. 3, South African municipal elections delivered a startling result. The African National Congress won the majority of votes nationwide, as it has in every election since it brought apartheid to an end in 1994. But this year, for the first time, the ANC looked vulnerable, and secured only 53.9% of votes cast throughout the country, its first result below 60%.

Ships

Analysis & Opinions

July 13, 2016

The strategic implications of the South China Sea tribunal’s award

M. Taylor FravelThe National Interest

On July 12, the tribunal hearing the case issued its ruling that can only be described as a huge win for the Philippines. Digesting all 507 pages of the award will take time, allowing only for preliminary judgments to be made. I discuss several strategic implications.

Analysis & Opinions

May 8, 2016

Putin's pullout: a failing public relations campaign

Carol R. SaivetzLawfare

Russia won in Syria—or so Putin would like us to believe. The Russian intervention seemed to tip the balance of forces in Assad's favor, and Russia announced a pullout with its mission accomplished. Carol Saivetz of MIT, a regular Lawfare contributor, makes the case for skepticism. 

A Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, designed by DCNS specifically for the Royal Australian Navy as Australia intends to buy 12 new submarines, is seen in this illustration picture released by France's DCNS to Reuters, April 26, 2016.

Analysis & Opinions

May 3, 2016

Poor substitute

By Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels Foreign Affairs

The announcement last week that Australia will replace its aging submarine fleet with Shortfin Barracuda submarines from France is an enormous missed opportunity, not only for Australia, but also for its most important allies, Japan and the United States. 

Navy ship

Analysis & Opinions

April 26, 2016

US Navy ships shouldn't be floating billboards for democrats

Harvey M. SapolskyThe National Interest

The secretaries of the armed services have been losing power ever since the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947. The service secretaries are no longer members of the president’s cabinet and rarely perform more than ceremonial duties. 

Analysis & Opinions

April 19, 2016

SCOTUS and immigration: the politics behind the case

John TirmanHuffington Post

The oral arguments before the US Supreme Court on President Obama’s executive order on immigration were made Monday, and afterwards most observers agreed it’s not clear how the Court will decide the case. 

Analysis & Opinions

March 22, 2016

Has ISIS declared war on Europe?

Jim WalshWBUR: Here & Now

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Brussels today. Here & Now's security analyst Jim Walsh discusses the attacks with host Robin Young.

Analysis & Opinions

March 10, 2016

To stop the missiles, stop North Korea, Inc.

Jim Walsh and John ParkThe New York Times

American diplomats should be proud of the new sanctions on North Korea that the United Nations Security Council passed last week. In response to a nuclear test in January and missile launch in February, the Council, at the United States’ urging, agreed to a ban on North Korean imports of jet fuel and to mandate inspections of all cargo coming into or out of North Korea. 

Analysis & Opinions

March 4, 2016

North Korea ramps up nuclear readiness

Jim WalshWBUR: Here & Now

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his country's nuclear weapons should be ready for use "at any time." Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd asks security analyst Jim Walsh about that and what this new declaration from Kim really signifies.

Analysis & Opinions

February 8, 2016

UN condemns North Korea rocket launch

Jim WalshWBUR: Here & Now

The United Nations Security Council say it will impose new sanctions on North Korea after its launch of a long-range rocket. Sunday's action follows a fourth nuclear test a few weeks ago, and the two acts violate existing sanctions. Here & Now's Robin Young checks in with our security analyst Jim Walsh.

Analysis & Opinions

January 27, 2016

Sanders’ surge is part of a growing global movement

Meera SrinivasanBoston Globe

The rebellious energy of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the presidency in the United States, coupled with some good timing, has fueled global hopes that the left could be poised to make a comeback in Western democracies after decades of retreat.

Analysis & Opinions

January 26, 2016

Beyond the Syria debacle

John TirmanHuffington Post

It is unlikely that the upcoming Syria talks in Geneva will in any way resolve the crisis or even move closer to a resolution. That hopelessness is evident on all sides. 

Analysis & Opinions

January 4, 2016

Saudi allies sever ties with Iran

Jim WalshWBUR: Here & Now

The execution of a Shiite cleric by Saudi Arabia on Saturday sparked violent anti-Saudi protests in Iran yesterday. In response, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran last night, and allies including Sudan and Bahrain followed suit this morning.