Analysis + Opinion | 2021

URL address to access the Internet

Analysis + Opinion

July 26, 2021

Public-private partnerships key to providing high-quality broadband to all

"Billions for broadband" are about to pour out of Washington. That sounds good, but it is not aligned with the reality faced by many individual states, counties and towns. In rural – as well as some poor urban – areas, the "business model" for private ISPs “prevents” them from offering service.

Haiti's acting prime minister Claude Joseph

Analysis + Opinion

July 21, 2021

How the US could really help Haiti

What are the options for American policy makers to help Haiti? Military intervention or an international protectorate are out of the question on both moral and practical grounds. It is also difficult to envision Washington’s promised security assistance as more than temporary and limited. 

Pope Francis delivers Sunday prayers from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 4. (Vatican Media/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis + Opinion

July 7, 2021

Politicians aren’t usually saints. But Pope Francis just put one on the path to sainthood.

Is the pope endorsing the European Union? Emma Campbell-Mohn, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science and the Security Studies Program, explains in a recent essay in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage

A United States Navy vessel

Analysis + Opinion

July 2, 2021

Freedom of navigation operations: A mission for unmanned systems

The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team on the ground in Syria. (Image: The National Guard)

Analysis + Opinion

July 1, 2021

US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, explained

The United States has carried out airstrikes targeting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria in recent days. The Biden administration said the attacks on weapons storage facilities were meant to deter increasing violence by the militias Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The Iraqi Shia paramilitary groups had conducted drone attacks against US troops in Iraq over the last few months. Who exactly are those militia groups, and why is the US responding in this way at this time?

A supporter of Ebrahim Raisi displays his portrait during a celebratory rally for his presidential election victory in Tehran, Iran, June 19, 2021 Photo by Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency via Reuters

Analysis + Opinion

June 28, 2021

Why Iran may be in no hurry to get nuclear weapons even without a nuclear deal

Mayumi FukushimaRand Corporation

History shows that many countries with advanced nuclear technologies but without nuclear bombs opt to stay that way, rather than rushing to build nuclear weapons as soon as they can.

US soldiers in Afghanistan

Analysis + Opinion

June 22, 2021

Is Washington right to leave Afghanistan?

Foreign Affairs asks experts—including faculty and students affiliated with the Center and the Security Studies Program—to state whether they agreed or disagreed with the withdrawal from Afghanistan. They were also asked to rate their confidence level in their opinion. An excerpt of their responses are featured here.

Weaponized migration image showing armed police and refugees

Analysis + Opinion

June 2, 2021

Morocco ‘weaponized’ migration to punish Spain. That’s more common than you think.

Strategically engineered migration is far more common than most people realize. At any given time, somewhere in the world, leaders inside or outside governments are likely manipulating migrants and/or refugees to pursue political, military or economic objectives. Here’s what we know.

Yoshihide Suga

Analysis + Opinion

May 23, 2021

How Japan is falling short

Samuel LeiterNational Interest

For its own sake, Japan must end its time on the American cheap-ride and invest politically and financially in its own defense, writes Samuel Leiter. Leiter is a PhD candidate at MIT.  This essay took first prize in the 2021 John Quincy Adams Society/The National Interest Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest.

Illustration of China flag background and puppeteer

Analysis + Opinion

April 29, 2021

How not to win allies and influence geopolitics

Audrye Wong's essay in the May/June 2021 issue of Foreign Affairs describes China's self-defeating economic statecraft. Wong is a Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

Vladimir Putin

Analysis + Opinion

April 21, 2021

Russia: A problem, not a threat

Joshua ShifrinsonNewsweek

To be sure, Russia is a destabilizing force in Europe and the Middle East, led by a government with a horrible civil liberties and human rights record. Nevertheless, these issues do not require the U.S. to treat Russia as an adversary or a threat to core American interests. Instead, Russia is a problem child in international relations that can, and should, be coolly managed.

People Liberation Army soldiers and tanks are shown during military disengagement at the India-China border in Ladakh. (Indian army/AFP/Getty Images)

Analysis + Opinion

March 3, 2021

China and India are pulling back from the brink. They’ve created a buffer zone and started talks.

M Taylor FravelThe Washington Post

The disengagement may be a sign of easing tensions along part of the India-China border dispute known as the western sector. Also called Ladakh or Aksai Chin, this area comprises roughly 12,7000 square miles (excluding areas of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir that India also claims as part of this sector). In multiple areas, China and India hold conflicting views of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) lies, which creates numerous smaller disputes within the larger territorial conflict.

SOUDA BAY, Greece (Feb. 20, 2021) Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Bradley Holloway, right, and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Matthew Hayes man a M2HB .50-caliber machine gun as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departs Souda Bay, Greece, Feb. 20, 2021.

Analysis + Opinion

February 25, 2021

A liberal case for seapower?

Jonathan Caverley and Sara McLaughlin MitchellWar on the Rocks

The Biden administration should not confuse Trump’s enthusiasm for ships with a coherent vision of the naval forces’ role in his “America First” approach to the world.  Jon Caverley and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell weigh in with their thoughts on maritime strategy.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Feb. 20, 2021) Marine machine gun teams fire 50-cal and M240 machine guns during a live-fire gunnery training exercise aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18)

Analysis + Opinion

February 23, 2021

Don't knock yourself out: How America can turn the tables on China by giving up the fight for command of the seas

Paul van HooftWar on the Rocks

The United States should give up its quest for command of the maritime commons in the Western Pacific. In this piece, Paul van Hooft argues that the United States should not trap itself by framing the rise of China as an existential struggle between two titans that depends on the United States retaining command of the Western Pacific.

Senior Airman Josh Serafin, a B-52 Stratofortress crew chief with the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, walks around the aircraft he maintains prior to crew startup at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. on January 26, 2017. It is not uncommon for temperatures in Minot to dip below minus 20, making maintenance efforts extremely difficult. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brandon Shapiro)

Analysis + Opinion

February 22, 2021

Sole purpose is not no first use: Nuclear weapons and declaratory policy

Ankit Panda and Vipin NarangWar on the Rocks

Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang exaimine the debate on the US nuclear policy and the “no first use” pledge.  This essay was first published in War on the Rocks here.

President Biden with head of NATO

Analysis + Opinion

February 16, 2021

Can Europe defend itself?

Barry Posen joins the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah to discuss the future of the alliance and America’s security interests in Europe. They cover Posen’s recent piece for the journal Survival, in which he insists—and demonstrates how—Europe can defend itself.

Image of retro panel of nuclear current dials and readers

Analysis + Opinion

February 16, 2021

After the apocalypse: US nuclear policy

Inkstick Media

What should the Biden administration prioritize when it comes to US nuclear policy? Heather Williams and Vipin Narang are among the scholars requested to offer their recommendations.

Vladimir Putin videoconference with Ilham Aliyev

Analysis + Opinion

February 14, 2021

Russia’s new crises on the periphery

Carol SaivetzLawfare

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Russia has sought to maintain its sway in the post-Soviet space despite numerous upheavals. Carol Saivetz explains in a recent article first published here in Lawfare.

Indian advocates from Punjab state attend a sit-in protest near New Delhi on Wednesday.

Analysis + Opinion

February 5, 2021

India’s farm protests turned violent last week. But why are farmers protesting in the first place?

Saksham Khosla and Aidan MilliffThe Washington Post

Farmers remain steadfast in their demands — a full repeal of the new laws. Union leaders promise to continue protests late into the year, and the government shows few signs of backing down from the broader agricultural policy agenda. The standoff will be another hard test of India’s ability to resolve political disputes through peaceful consensus-building.

Mahsa Rouhi

Analysis + Opinion

January 27, 2021

A Middle East Forum can help Biden succeed

President Joe Biden has yet to outline his overarching strategy for the Middle East. While some in the United States and abroad fret that Biden’s America will disengage from the region and create vacuums that adversaries will exploit the greater likelihood is that the new administration will neither be leaving nor leading in the Middle East.

President Trump at a campaign rally for Republican US Senate candidates in Dalton, Ga., on Jan. 5, 2021. (Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) (Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Analysis + Opinion

January 8, 2021

There is no legal way to stop Trump from ordering a nuclear strike if he wants to, expert says

Elizabeth N SaundersThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang comments on Speaker Pelosi's conversation with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and discusses the protocol for launching a nuclear strike.  “The United States is one of the only countries to have sole launch authority — even Russia does not. It is striking that the Russian system requires an additional vote to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s, but America’s does not.”