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  • Author: Hui Zhang, Tuosheng Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat of nuclear terrorism has become one of the most significant challenges to international security. China has worked to meet this challenge, but a continuing effort is needed. The 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits raised the issues of nuclear security to a higher political level and enhanced international consensus on the danger of nuclear terrorism. China actively participated in the first two summits, and President Xi Jinping will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March 2014. China's commitment to nuclear security is now well established. Former president Hu Jintao emphasized in 2012 that, "the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be overlooked." Meeting that threat, as President Hu recognized, "is a long and arduous task."
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Amy Myers Jaffe, Meghan L. O'Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Some of the most dramatic energy developments of recent years have been in the realm of natural gas. Huge quantities of unconventional US shale gas are now commercially viable, changing the strategic picture for the United States by making it self-sufficient in natural gas for the foreseeable future. This development alone has reverberated around the globe, causing shifts in patterns of trade and leading other countries in Europe and Asia to explore their own shale gas potential. Such developments are putting pressure on longstanding arrangements, such as oil-linked gas contracts and the separate nature of North American, European, and Asian gas markets, and may lead to strategic shifts, such as the weakening of Russia's dominance in the European gas market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Young people in Iran have emerged as important players on the country's political scene but remain marginal on its economic scene. They were a vital part of President Khatami's political base and contributed to his landslide victories at the polls, in 1997 and 2001. In June 2009 they again played a key role, this time in challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial reelection, which led to massive anti-government protests in the nation's largest cities. A year later the political crisis appears to have subsided, but the economic crisis that has engulfed the country since early 2008 has deepened, and with it the crisis facing Iran's youth. Youth unemployment is at record high levels and, for the majority of youth, marriage and family formation are increasingly becoming challenges to overcome rather than celebrations of reaching adulthood.
  • Topic: Islam, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Bonnie Glaser, John Park
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Beijing viewed North Korea's explosion of a nuclear device in October 2006 as not only an act of defiance to the international community and a threat to regional stability, but also an act of defiance toward China. Chinese officials admit that their toolbox for managing the North Korean nuclear weapons challenge must now include a combination of pressure and inducements. Three considerations underpin Beijing's aid policy toward North Korea: 1) protecting China's military-strategic environment; 2) maintaining security and stability along the Sino-DPRK border; and 3) sustaining economic development and political stability in the three Chinese northeastern provinces that border North Korea. There are intense debates among Chinese analysts over: 1) whether North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons; 2) the strategic value of the DPRK to China; 3) whether the Sino-DPRK treaty should be revised, abandoned, retained and its ambiguity stressed to enhance deterrence; and 4) the likelihood of a rapid improvement in U.S.-DPRK relations and how such a development would affect Chinese interests. Chinese analysts are generally less concerned with North Korea's immediate economic prospects than they were last year, reporting severe but stable conditions. Inflation has subsided and market mechanisms have largely replaced government rations as the primary means for securing a livelihood. In contrast to last year, when Chinese analysts were consumed by the seeming zero-sum choice between stability and reform facing the North Korean leadership, North Korea's slightly improved economic situation seems to have allayed the immediacy of Chinese concerns about North Korea's economic stability. Chinese experts report no fundamental change in North Korea's economic policies following the 2002 reforms. Chinese analysts provide conflicting assessments of whether government attempts to prohibit selling of grain in markets are succeeding and the extent to which the grain rationing system is working. Chinese DPRK specialists are encouraged that the DPRK has haltingly adopted some agricultural and market reforms and allowed greater autonomy to individual factories and enterprises. But they acknowledge that North Korea has not yet allowed farmers to act independently of their work teams, a step China took as early as the late 1970s that raised productivity sharply. Chinese analysts anticipate that reforms will continue as long as they do not threaten central government control. Chinese analysts widely assert that the North Korean system remains stable and they are confident that it will remain so for at least several years absent the sudden death of Kim Jong Il or external interference aimed at destabilizing the regime. In the long run, however, sustainable development through economic reform remains an essential prerequisite for stability, and North Korea's ability to move down that path is not yet assured. There are numerous indicators that the Chinese examine to assess stability trends in North Korea. These indicators are grouped in the following manner: 1) factionalism in the regime and potential challenges to Kim Jong Il's leadership; 2) political controls and ideological education; 3) influences from the outside; 4) the general public's loyalty to the Kim family; 5) crimes and illicit activities; 6) the economy, food supply, and economic reform; and 7) Kim Jong Il's health and the leadership succession. Chinese analysts see few signs of immediate instability in any of these areas at present, but they worry that the potential for instability may grow. In the event of instability in North Korea, China's priority will be to prevent refugees from flooding across the border. If deemed necessary, PLA troops would be dispatched into North Korea. China's strong preference is to receive formal authorization and coordinate closely with the United Nations (UN) in such an endeavor. However, if the international community did not react in a timely manner as internal order in North Korea deteriorated rapidly, China would seek to take the initiative in restoring stability. Contingency plans are in place for the PLA to perform at least three possible missions in the DPRK: 1) humanitarian missions such as assisting refugees or providing help after a natural disaster; 2) peacekeeping or “order keeping” missions such as serving as civil police; and 3) “environmental control” missions to clean up nuclear contamination resulting from a strike on North Korean nuclear facilities near the Sino-DPRK border and secure “loose nukes” and fissile material. There is apparent new willingness among Chinese institute analysts and PLA researchers to discuss the warning signs of instability in North Korea and how China might respond if the situation gets out of control and threatens Chinese security. Some Chinese experts say explicitly that they favor holding a discussion on stability in North Korea in official channels with the United States, including possible joint responses in support of common objectives such as securing nuclear weapons and fissile material. Other analysts maintain that such discussions are premature.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Haroon Ullah
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The literature of political development has long advocated the importance of integrating the rural countryside into mainstream political institutions. This paper argues that rural incorporation is best understood within the context of pro-peasant policy innovations targeting specific constituencies in an electorate. While there are important preconditions that set the stage for rural incorporation (legitimacy of the political party, party organization), rural incorporation is fostered when credible commitments are made to voter blocs. Combining case-study analysis and formal modeling, this paper focuses on the reasons pro-peasant policies lead to rural incorporation but not necessarily regime durability. Insights derived center on the importance of credible commitments to party dynamics, the path dependence of early elections, and the decision parameters of constituencies with limited information.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Michael Kremer, Asim Khwaja, David Clingingsmith
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.
  • Topic: Demographics, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia, Mecca
  • Author: Whitney Raas, Austin Long
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The use of military force to halt or reverse nuclear proliferation is an option that has been much discussed and occasionally exercised. In the 1960s, for example, the United States considered destroying China's nuclear program at an early stage but ultimately decided against it. More recently, the key rationale for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the threat posed by Iraq's suspected inventory of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Although significant evidence of WMD was not found in the Iraq case, the potential utility of military force for counterproliferation remains, particularly in the case of Iran. The possibility of military action against Iranian nuclear facilities has gained prominence in the public discourse, drawing comments from journalists, former military officers, and defense analysts. This makes the Iranian nuclear program a potential test case for military counterproliferation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Iran, Asia
  • Author: Jim Walsh
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This report describes meetings and events that took place in the DPRK (Pyongyang), the PRC (Beijing), and the ROK (Seoul) from June 25th through July 4th, 2005. The report focuses on my meetings in the DPRK, including discussions with. Kim Gae Gwan, Vice Foreign Minister (5.5 hrs) Kim Myung Gil, Deputy Dir. General of the American Depart. (3.3 hrs) Kim Yong-dae, Vice Chair of Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (1 hr.) Gen. Ri Chan Bok, Korean People's Army, Rep. to the Panmunjum (1 hr.) Ri Hak Gwon, Vice Chair, Korea Comm. for the Promotion of Intl. Trade (1 hr.) My Foreign Ministry guides were Mr. Hyon and Mr. Hwang.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Vladimir Dvorkin
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the first paragraphs of their declaration at the Evian Summit in early June 2003, the G8 leaders stated, .We recognize that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery poses a growing danger to us all. Together with the spread of international terrorism, it is the pre-eminent threat to international security.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Simon Saradzhyan
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The likelihood of a catastrophic terrorist attack against Russia is growing, as radical separatists in troubled Chechnya increasingly become more desperate, and security at many of Russia's civil nuclear facilities remains insufficient. They have already demonstrated their capability and willingness to inflict massive indiscriminate casualties by organizing an apartment bombing in the southern Russian city of Buinaksk. They have acquired radioactive materials, threatened to attack Russia's nuclear facilities, plotted to hijack a nuclear submarine, and have attempted to put pressure on the Russian leadership by planting a container with radioactive materials in Moscow and threatening to detonate it. These incidents occurred between 1994 and 1996, during Russia's first military campaign in Chechnya at a time when separatists were so overwhelmed and outmanned they believed that acts of terrorism employing nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) materials—if not weapons of mass destruction (WMD)—could be the only way to force Russian troops to retreat from Chechnya.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia