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HKS in the News July 16, 2012

1. Kuwait Foundation awards $8.1M gift (Ellwood, Burns) The Harvard Gazette

2. Focus on equality of opportunity, not outcomes (Summers) Reuters

3. Port security: U.S. fails to meet deadline for scanning of cargo containers (Allison) The Washington Post

4. Five Obamacare Myths (Blendon) The New York Times

5. The New Global Economy’s (Relative) Winners (Rodrik) Social Europe Journal

6. Hillary Clinton's tenure: Not so bad (Walt) Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

7. Afghanistan is missing from the campaign (Bilmes) The Boston Globe

Kuwait Foundation awards $8.1M gift

The Harvard Gazette

July 16

Quoted: Dean David Ellwood, Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Topic: Gift to the Kennedy School

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) has given $8.1 million to Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) to support the continuation of the Kuwait Program at HKS’s Middle East Initiative. …

“Through the Kuwait Program, the Kennedy School will deepen its engagement with the Gulf region and help educate leaders who will make a lasting impact in the area and throughout the world,” says David T. Ellwood, dean and Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at HKS. “We are grateful for the gift to support the program and the many vital projects it advances.” …

Nicholas Burns , Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations at HKS, says, “We are grateful for the Kuwait Foundation’s confidence in our expanding Middle East program. This generous gift will broaden our capacity to engage in research, executive education, and teaching on the Middle East and to bring leaders from throughout the region to our School. We hope it will also promote a much more intensive exchange among our students and the young people of the Middle East at a time of reform and hope in the region.” …

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Focus on equality of opportunity, not outcomes


July 16

Commentary by: Lawrence Summers, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

Topic: American economic opportunity

Even if the process of economic recovery proves protracted, the American economy will eventually recover, and cyclical issues will cease to dominate the economic conversation. It is likely that issues relating to inequality will move to the forefront. There is no question that income is distributed substantially more unequally than it was a generation ago - with those at the very top gaining share as even the upper middle class loses ground in relative terms. Those with less skill, especially men who in an earlier era would have worked with their hands, are losing ground, not just in relative but in absolute terms.

These issues frame an important part of the economic debate in this election year. Progressives argue that widening inequality jeopardizes the legitimacy of our political and economic system. They contend that at a time when the market is generating more inequality, we should not be shifting tax burdens from those with the highest incomes to the middle class, as has taken place over the last dozen years. …

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Port security: U.S. fails to meet deadline for scanning of cargo containers

The Washington Post

July 15

Quoted: Graham Allison, Belfer Center

Topic: Nuclear terrorism

The Obama administration has failed to meet a legal deadline for scanning all shipping containers for radioactive material before they reach the United States, a requirement aimed at strengthening maritime security and preventing terrorists from smuggling a nuclear device into any of the nation’s 300 sea and river ports.

The Department of Homeland Security was given until this month to ensure that 100 percent of inbound shipping containers are screened at foreign ports. …

Graham Allison , a Harvard University political scientist and author of a best-selling book on nuclear terrorism, said that a nuclear device is more likely to arrive in a shipping container than on a missile. But he acknowledged that preventing such an attack is expensive and that there is no guarantee prevention measures will work.

“The game between hiders and seekers is dynamic, and there is no 100 percent solution,” Allison said in an e-mail interview. “The cost-benefit trade-off is the toughest issue.” …

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Five Obamacare Myths

The New York Times

July 15

Quoted: Robert Blendon

Topic: The Affordable Care Act

On the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths. …

When Mitt Romney signed that Massachusetts law in 2006, the coverage kicked in almost immediately. Robert Blendon, a Harvard expert on health and public opinion, recalls the profusion of heartwarming stories about people who had depended on emergency rooms and charity but now, at last, had a regular relationship with a doctor. Romneycare was instantly popular in the state, and remains so, though it seems to have been disowned by its creator. …

Blendon believes that because of the delayed benefits and the general economic anxiety, “It will be very hard for the Democrats to move the needle” on the issue this election year. …

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The New Global Economy’s (Relative) Winners

Social Europe Journal

July 13

Commentary by: Dani Rodrik

Topic: Challenges facing the global economy

The world economy faces considerable uncertainty in the short term. Will the eurozone manage to sort out its problems and avert a breakup? Will the United States engineer a path to renewed growth? Will China find a way to reverse its economic slowdown?

The answers to these questions will determine how the global economy evolves over the next few years. But, regardless of how these immediate challenges are resolved, it is clear that the world economy is entering a difficult new longer-term phase as well – one that will be substantially less hospitable to economic growth than possibly any other period since the end of World War II. …

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Hillary Clinton's tenure: Not so bad

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

July 13

Commentary by: Stephen Walt, Belfer Center

Topic: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Is Hillary Clinton a great secretary of state? A puff piece in The New York Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago referred to her as a "rock star diplomat," and quoted Google chairman Eric Schmidt calling her "the most significant Secretary of State since Dean Acheson."

(Hmm ... has Schmidt ever heard of some guys named Dulles, Kissinger and Baker?) I'm neither a fan nor a foe of Ms. Clinton, but one can't really call her a great secretary at this point, through no fault of her own.

First the positives. There's no question that Clinton has been terrifically energetic, as well as a loyal team player. In this sense, President Obama's decision to appoint her has worked out brilliantly, due in no small part to her willingness to serve the man who defeated her for the 2008 nomination, and in a broader sense, to serve her country. …

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Afghanistan is missing from the campaign

The Boston Globe

July 15

Commentary by: Linda Bilmes

Topic: The U.S. presidential election

After 11 years, 2,000 American lives, trillions of dollars, and lifelong disabilities for nearly half of the soldiers who have fought there — we are still at war in Afghanistan. Yet if you listen to the election campaign, you would hardly know it.

The war has become an inconvenience that nobody wants to mention. President Obama — who added 30,000 troops in 2009 in a failed effort to stabilize the country — says he plans to bring these 30,000 home in the fall, leaving “only” 68,000 or so to toil for a further year alongside a similar number of unhappy NATO troops. Beyond that, he expects the troop levels to drop to a smaller “unspecified” number. …

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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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