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HKS in the News May 21, 2012

1. Anchoring NATO with leadership (Burns) The Chicago Tribune

2. How Close Is Iran to Exploding Its First Nuclear Bomb? (Allison) Scientific American

3. The Economist Who Changed the Way We Think About Housing (Glaeser) Bloomberg News

4. More women are needed in Congress (Hunt) The Boston Globe

5. Winning the competition for ideas ( Belinsky ) The Boston Globe

Anchoring NATO with leadership

The Chicago Tribune

May 21

Commentary by: Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Topic: The future of NATO

Professor Burns was also quoted in The New York Times , The Sydney Morning Herald , and News24 (South Africa)

The long-term need for stronger political leadership is NATO's most important challenge. The eurozone debt crisis and substantial reductions in defense spending have badly weakened Europe's military capabilities and sapped its ambitions for global leadership. The decline is so severe that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned of a "dim, if not dismal" future for NATO. Meanwhile, the United States has identified Asia and the Middle East as its top foreign policy priorities, leaving many NATO allies skeptical of Washington's enduring commitment to Europe's security.

Chicago presents a chance for President Barack Obama and NATO leaders to push back on this gloom and doom.

NATO still matters to Americans. It is the most successful alliance in modern history and binds the U.S., Canada and Europe into the greatest democratic community on the planet. A stronger, more ambitious and more united transatlantic partnership will be essential in shaping a future where the U.S. will still be the indispensable global leader. …

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How Close Is Iran to Exploding Its First Nuclear Bomb?

Scientific American

May 30

Commentary by: Graham Allison, Belfer Center

Topic: Iran’s nuclear program

Over the past decade Iran has been cautiously, but steadily, putting in place all the elements it needs to construct a nuclear weapon in short order. But as James R. Clapper, director of National Intelligence, told the U.S. Senate in January, while the Iranians are “moving on that path ... we don’t believe they have actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.”

For several years experts have debated the possibility of a “breakout” scenario in which Iran makes a mad dash to complete and test its first bomb before other nations can act to stop it. That would require doing as much as possible to prepare for bomb making without tripping the alarms of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the source of most good intelligence about Iran’s declared program. From that point, Iran would then race to conduct a test quickly, perhaps in as little as several weeks. How close is Iran to achieving such an option? …

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The Economist Who Changed the Way We Think About Housing

Bloomberg News

May 15

Commentary by: Edward Glaeser, Taubman Center, Rappaport Institute

Topic: The late economist John M. Quigley

John M. Quigley, who died last week, was a pioneering economist who helped change the way we think about housing. He devised statistical models of housing quality and the risks inherent in mortgage-backed securities, documented the discrimination that restricted the housing choices of African-Americans, and wrote about the impact of housing wealth on consumption.

In 1970, the Journal of the American Statistical Association published a path-breaking paper by Quigley and his mentor, the urban economist John Kain, on the determinants of housing prices. They were not the first economists to try to tease out the impact of structure and neighborhood on prices and rents, but Kain and Quigley had a rich data set that enabled them to develop the prototype for papers estimating the value of housing quality. …

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More women are needed in Congress

The Boston Globe

May 19

Commentary by: Swanee Hunt

Topic: Gender balance in politics

Political strategists say that women are critical to the Democrats’ strategy for retaining control of the Senate. But now, more than ever, women of both parties have a good reason to run — not for cover, but for office — because huge majorities of Americans say we’d be better off with more women in the political system.

Women seem to be heeding this call, with a record number of female Democrats running for US Senate this year, in part because their relative absence from the halls of power has been so noticeable. …

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Winning the competition for ideas

The Boston Globe

May 20

Quoted: Mike Belinsky MPP 2012

Topic: Harvard College Innovation Challenge- Instiglio, public sector innovation award winners

… States like Massachusetts have already started experimenting with “social impact bonds” — a sophisticated way of saying that they’re structuring agreements with vendors to pay for social services based on whether they achieve results. …

“These are basically pay-for-success contracts,” says team member Mike Belinsky, a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “If you don’t have an impact, we’ll pay you zero. The provider of the service is taking on the risk.”

Instiglio, a company founded by four students at the Kennedy School, wants to bring that practice to developing countries, addressing problems such as HIV and AIDs in sub-Saharan Africa or youth violence in Colombia and Mexico. Using the social impact bond approach, African governments might contract with health care providers to educate people about AIDS, the use of condoms, and other ways to prevent the spread of the disease, and tie payments to a decline in infections. …

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Broadcast Notes

Lawrence Summers, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

Reuter’s “The Freeland File,” 5/16

Topic: Challenges facing the U.S. economy

Topic: The dangers of Greece leaving the Euro
Topic: Obama's plan to raise taxes on the top one percent

This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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