Graham Allison is Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he served as the founding dean from 1977 to 1989. Allison served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan and as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans under President Clinton, coordinating DOD strategy and policy towards Russia, Ukraine, and the other states of the former Soviet Union. He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the DOD's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretaries Weinberger, Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry and Cohen. He has authored five books, including his first, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), which was released in a revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the all-time bestsellers.
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The authors suggest guidelines for American foreign policy, ways in which it should be carried forward, and considerations which should be taken into account in the process.
Fifty years ago, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. Today, it can help U.S. policymakers understand what to doand what not to doabout Iran, North Korea, China, and presidential decision-making in general.
Other than the security of chemical weapons, there are no vital American national interests in the developments in Syria.