Research Briefs


Three Crises that Can’t Wait

“There is no rest for the weary in international politics,” writes Nicholas Burns in “Three Crises that Can’t Wait.” Obama will face many strategic challenges, but three burning issues will not wait, Burns write. The most important, he argues, is the revival of the economy and a compromise with Republicans on a tax and budget package. America’s future role in Afghanistan — at 11 years, the longest war effort in American history — will require the president to balance a desire to withdraw with a need to fight terrorist groups and support the Afghan government. And in the Middle East he must deal with revolution in Syria, a growing nuclear threat in Iraq, and growing unrest. “Obama has an opportunity to become a transformational president in foreign policy. He urged Americans, in his acceptance speech, to “move with confidence beyond this time of war.” He is poised to lead us past the 9/11 decade to rebuild American strength overseas and restore a hopeful and positive American leadership in the world. He has the advantage of a country much more united on foreign policy than domestic.”

Nicholas Burns, Three Crises that Can’t Wait; Boston Globe

The Case for Gender Diversity

““Any structure that systematically excludes half the population is losing out on the wisdom and insights of some of its most able citizens,” write Dean David Ellwood and Academic Dean Iris Bohnet in “The Case for Gender Diversity.” Since 2005, when Ellwood became dean, the percentage of tenured women faculty at hks has grown from 9 percent to 23 percent, and 45 percent of newly tenured faculty members have been women. “This is real progress, but we still have a long way to go,” Ellwood and Bohnet write. “To attract a diverse pool, we define faculty searches as broadly as possible. Search committees are required to report to the faculty and the deans how they took diversity into consideration. And drawing on the very latest social science research, we are using ‘gender equality nudges’ that have been proven successful in the evaluation process to improve our hiring outcomes. Specifically, we have sought to bundle multiple searches together to avoid some of the challenges faced by all schools that search for a single candidate at a time. Our goal is to find those truly exceptional people who our old systems might have missed.”

Iris Bohnet, David Ellwood, The Case for Gender Diversity; Harvard Kennedy School Working Paper

The Best of Times

“Because Arthur Ochs (Punch) Sulzberger was so affable and selfeffacing, his extraordinary toughness—even ruthlessness—came as a shock to those ill-advised enough to put him in a corner,” writes Alex Jones in “The Best of Times, a tribute to the publisher of The New York Times, who passed away in September. Sulzberger faced the possibility of jail when he led the Times through the publication of the Pentagon Papers, withstanding the assault of the Nixon White House. “It was arguably the most important moment in American journalism history, and certainly the proudest moment for The New York Times — and for the Ochs/ Suzlberger family,” Jones writes. Sulzberger, as have all the members of the publisher’s family, considered themselves not just the owner, but the steward of the nation’s newspaper of record. “Punch would be extremely uncomfortable with the plaudits and tributes that will come with his passing. He would want to point to something bigger — the staff of The New York Times and its readers and supporters. But he would also have wanted his stewardship to have been viewed as a family affair. It was always a family affair. And it is the extreme good fortune of us all that it still is.”

Alex JonesThe Best of Times; The Harvard Crimson

The Truth About Sovereignty

“We cannot have globalization, democracy, and national sovereignty simultaneously,” writes Dani Rodrik in “The Truth About Sovereignty.” “We must choose two among the three.” The crisis in the Eurozone is the result of a system that was intended to restrain sovereignty, but never fully designed to do so. “If European leaders want to maintain democracy, they must make a choice between political union and economic disintegration. They must either explicitly renounce economic sovereignty or actively put it to use for the benefit of their citizens. The first would entail coming clean with their own electorates and building democratic space above the level of the nation-state. The second would mean giving up on monetary union in order to be able to deploy national monetary and fiscal policies in the service of longer-term recovery. The longer this choice is postponed, the greater the economic and political cost that ultimately will have to be paid.”

Dani Rodrik, The Truth About Sovereignty; Social Europe Journal

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