Showing posts from 2016
Joseph Kabila Has Passed His Expiration Date   The United States must ratchet up pressure on Congolese President Joseph Kabila in an attempt to convince him to leave office; a failure to do so would risk dragging the country and its neighbors into a costly war, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
Turkey-Russia Relationship Will Survive Russian Ambassador’s Assassination   The assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey on December 19, while a tragic incident, is unlikely to have a significant impact on the diplomatic relationship between Moscow and Ankara that has been forged over priorities in Syria, according to two Atlantic Council analysts.
Transatlantic Security in a Trump Era The year 2016 has been a terrific one for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The rising tide of populism across Europe has brought to the forefront far-right populist leaders, in France and Germany , for example, who espouse pro-Russia rhetoric. The elections of Donald Trump in the United States and pro-Kremlin leaders in Moldova and Bulgaria have been celebrated in Moscow. Meanwhile, Europe has become more divided over refugees, economic stagnation, and Islamic extremism. Will all this weaken the West’s resolve to stand up to a revanchist Russia?
US Must Deliver a ‘Painful’ Response to Putin for Russian Meddling  There are huge national security implications of Russia’s meddling in the US presidential elections, which is why the Obama administration must deliver an overt response that is painful to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Michael Morell, a former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Taking Stock of the Challenge Posed by Russia  The United States shares European concerns about the erosion of Russian compliance with international treaties, but “it is not self-evident that the way forward is new commitments,” as has been proposed by the foreign ministers of fourteen European nations, said Daniel B. Baer, the US representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
A Two-Pronged US Strategy for the Middle East  The United States must develop a two-pronged strategy for the Middle East that prioritizes ending the civil wars and unlocking untapped human potential, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force.
Indian-American trump card It wasn't so long ago that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley described Donald Trump as "everything a governor doesn't want in a president". Trump fired back, on Twitter: "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!" It came as a surprise, then, when Trump, now President-elect of the United States, picked Haley (the daughter of Indian immigrants) to serve in his Cabinet as ambassador to the United Nations. And that Haley accepted.
Trump Must Not Rip Up the Iran Nuclear Deal  US President-elect Donald Trump must honor the terms of a deal that prevents Iran from making a nuclear weapon, said Madeleine K. Albright, a former US secretary of state and an honorary director of the Atlantic Council’s board, in a meeting with reporters this week.
Africa Presents an Opportunity for Trump   US President-elect Donald Trump must make Africa a priority because it is in the United States’ interest to help tackle the security, humanitarian, and developmental challenges emanating from the continent, according to J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
Mr. Trump, Don’t Pull Out of the TPP   If US President-elect Donald Trump were to keep his promise to withdraw the United States from a trans-Pacific free-trade agreement it would severely undermine US credibility and open the door for China to set the rules on global trade, according to Atlantic Council analysts. 
Article 5 Must Be ‘Red Line’ of US-Russia Reset, says Former NATO Secretary General   Russia would be “ill-advised” to take great comfort from Donald Trump’s election, said George Robertson, a former secretary general of NATO, adding that NATO’s commitment to the defense of its member states must be at the core of any future reset in the relationship between Washington and Moscow.
Trump Must Avoid the Russia Reset Trap  As a candidate, Donald Trump said that if elected president he would examine the possibility of recognizing Russia’s claim to Crimea and lifting sanctions imposed by the United States in response to Kremlin-orchestrated aggression in Ukraine. 
Governance Battle Crucial in Iraq, says Retired Gen. David H. Petraeus This is Part 2 of a two-part interview. Retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus believes that the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, while a “generational” one, will eventually be won. The more consequential battle, he contends, is the war that will follow: for governance. 
Former NATO Leaders to Trump: Don’t Make Bad Deals with Putin US President-elect Donald Trump must not strike any deals with Russian President Vladimir Putin that turn Ukraine into a “bargaining chip,” and must send a clear signal of commitment to the security of the United States’ NATO allies, two former secretaries general of the Alliance said on November 15.
Trump Must Reassure Israel, Gulf Partners Over Iran, says Retired Gen. David H. Petraeus This is Part 1 of a two-part interview. As the next president of the United States, Donald Trump should reassure both Arab Gulf partners and Israel of a US commitment to address the threat posed by Iran, said retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, a former director of the CIA who serves on the Atlantic Council’s board of directors.
Trump’s Victory is Brexit Gone Global   Atlantic Council Executive Vice President for Programs and Strategy, Damon Wilson, discussed the implications of Donald Trump’s election victory, and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Dealing with Putin As presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have taken divergent views of Russia and its relationship with the United States. Clinton, a Democrat who as secretary of state presented a big red “reset” button to her Russian counterpart in 2009, has taken a hawkish view of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Trump, on the other hand, has said that it “wouldn’t be so bad” if the United States got along with Russia. How, then, should they approach Russia when either of them are elected president on November 8?
‘Null Set’ Not the Answer to Putin's Cyberattacks   The United States must respond to the cyberattacks it has accused Russia of carrying out without triggering an all-out cyber war, retired Gen. Philip Breedlove, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, said at the Atlantic Council on November 3. 
Trouble with the Philippines   Tensions between the United States and the Philippines—a former US colony with which Washington has had a mutual defense treaty since 1951—have put a question mark over the future of the relationship and are being watched warily by countries in the Asia-Pacific. 
Keep the Faith: Fighting Islamophobia The United States and Europe have entered a “dark period” of Islamophobia, and no easy solutions are at hand, panelists contended in a discussion at the Atlantic Council in Washington on October 20.
Pushing for Peace in Colombia Two ground realities in Colombia—former guerrillas gathered in remote rural cantonments with scarce infrastructure and nationwide elections in the spring of 2018—make it imperative that a peace agreement that is acceptable to all sides is quickly found, according to Kevin Whitaker, the United States’ ambassador to Colombia.
Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal The next president of the United States must build on the opportunity provided by the nuclear deal to normalize ties with Iran, said Ellen Laipson, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, in Washington on October 19.
In DRC, Questions About President Kabila’s Intentions   Joseph Kabila has no intention of seeking a third term in office. The fact that he will likely remain president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) long after his term ends in December—until a successor is elected—is simply because he respects the constitution, said Barnabé Kikaya Bin Karubi, the president’s diplomatic advisor.
The Rise of the Strongman  In the prevailing atmosphere of growing nativism and xenophobia, the phenomenon of the strongman is on the rise across the globe, said a senior US official, and this will be the case as long as people believe that the world will continue to be chaotic.
Negotiating a Brexit  The European Union wishes to negotiate the “best exit possible” for the United Kingdom from the bloc, said David O’Sullivan, the EU’s ambassador to the United States.
Plebiscite Leaves Colombia’s Peace Process in Limbo   On October 2, Colombian voters rejected a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. This was a “surprising” outcome of a plebiscite that has thrown into question the prospects for peace in the country, according to Atlantic Council analysts. 
NATO ‘Best Deal’ the United States Has Ever Made   In a thinly veiled swipe at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former secretary general of NATO, said on September 29 that it is in the United States’ best interests to be the world’s “policeman,” and it would be dangerous to condition the defense of allies on their financial contributions toward security.  
South Sudan’s First Vice President Blames Roads, Criminals for Blocking UN Efforts   South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai blames the absence of roads, the presence of criminals, and weak governance structures for the obstruction of UN peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in his country.
Waiting for Death in Aleppo Any hope of reviving a US- and Russian-backed ceasefire agreement in Syria may have been dashed by the air and ground offensives unleashed by the Syrian regime on the rebel-held parts of the western city of Aleppo.
Syria Ceasefire: Beyond Hope? The United States and Russia have little chance of resurrecting the fragile Syria ceasefire, said Frederic C. Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.  
Georgia’s European Choice ‘Irreversible,’ says Georgian Prime Minister  In an election season in which Georgia’s NATO aspirations have been hotly debated, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili insists that his country’s European choice is “irreversible.” “An overwhelming majority of the people of Georgia consider the goal of joining EU and NATO to be a necessity that will lead to a higher standard of democracy, security, peace, and prosperity in our country and region,” Kvirikashvili said in an interview.  US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) met Georgia’s prime minister, Georgi Kvirikashvili, in Tbilisi, Georgia, on July 6. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)
Moldova’s Prime Minister Committed to a Pro-Europe Path   Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip said his government is committed to European integration and expressed the hope that the country’s next president will share that same commitment. Moldova will hold its first direct presidential elections on October 30. Like in past elections, this one has split voters between pro-Europe and pro-Russia candidates. “I hope that the next president will fully understand the need for keeping Moldova’s EU ascension on a smooth and stable path,” said Filip.
Iran Seen Abiding by Terms of Nuclear Deal   Iran is living up to the commitments it made as part of a nuclear agreement reached with six world powers in 2015, a senior State Department official said on September 9. “On the nuclear side, so far, Iran has lived up to its commitments, and that’s a good thing,” said Chris Backemeyer, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran.
It’s Too Soon to Write Off Angela Merkel Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the setback her party suffered in elections in an eastern state this past weekend was a repudiation of her welcome to Syrian migrants, but the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell said backing away from this controversial policy will only hurt the German chancellor further. “The voters would be more skeptical of her if she were to reverse what is a deep personal commitment, even though they may disagree with it,” said Burwell, vice president, European Union and Special Initiatives, at the Atlantic Council.
Obama Makes Final Asia Trip Amid Questions About US Reliability US President Barack Obama’s final official trip to Asia comes amid uncertainty over the future of a signature trade pact aimed at preventing China from setting the rules of global trade and at a time when Beijing has shown an increasing willingness to challenge US power.
The UN Goes to South Sudan. Here’s What to Expect. A sharply divided United Nations Security Council will likely end up delivering mixed messages this week on a rare visit to South Sudan—a nation that is once more on the brink of full-blown civil war, according to the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.
What Does Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Mean for Brazil?  Brazil’s Senate on August 31 impeached President Dilma Rousseff, the country’s first female president, on the grounds that she had manipulated the budget to conceal growing economic problems.
Lessons from Colombia’s Peace Process Colombia’s government and the leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on August 25 finalized a deal that ends fifty-two years of conflict. A bilateral ceasefire went into effect on August 29. More than 220,000 people have been killed and six million displaced by the armed conflict. The deal will be put to the Colombian people in a plebiscite scheduled to be held on October 2. What lessons does the Colombian experience hold for peacemakers looking to end wars raging around the world—from Syria to South Sudan?
Winning the Peace in Colombia  On the brink of ending Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos must now make a concerted effort to convince Colombians that the peace deal he struck with the leftist guerrillas is worthy of their support.
Making Sense of Turkey’s Intervention in Syria  Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on August 24 seized an Islamic State stronghold in Syria. The military operation marks a significant escalation of Turkey’s role in the war against the Islamic State and comes days after the Turkish government vowed to “cleanse” its borders of the militants.
France Facing its Biggest Threat Since 1945 France, a victim of terrorist attacks for the past nineteen months, is facing its greatest security challenge since World War II, according to Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States. “It is a very, very dark moment for my country,” said Araud. “It is obviously the biggest threat that France really has been facing since 1945.” “It is a threat against our security, but it is also a threat against our values, the social fabric of our country,” he added.
Europe’s (In)security Challenge A spate of terrorist attacks across Europe over the past nineteen months has shaken confidence in European security, but has had divergent impacts on the popularity of the leaders of France and Germany, according to the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has seen a rise in support, French President François Hollande has found his already low approval ratings dip further.
Putting Turkey’s Crackdown in Context   The Turkish government’s crackdown on its opponents must be seen in the context of the trauma inflicted on the country as a result of the failed coup, but it must not come at the cost of the viability of democratic institutions, according to the Atlantic Council’s Aaron Stein.
Wanted: A Measured Response to Turkey’s Post-Coup Attempt Crackdown   The United States and Europe must have a measured response to developments in Turkey where a failed coup has been followed by a swift and widespread crackdown by the Turkish government, according to former US and UK officials.
In France, More Security, But Not at the Expense of Inclusivity   France must strike a delicate balance between securing its homeland while integrating all communities into French society, and one cannot come at the expense of the other, according to the Atlantic Council’s Damon Wilson.
Congolese Presidential Candidate Urges Use of Sanctions to Bring About Democratic Change in DRC   Moise Katumbi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s leading opposition candidate for president, has urged the international community to use sanctions to press Congolese President Joseph Kabila to give up power. A political crisis in a country where war claimed around five million lives between 1994 and 2003 could create instability that spreads to the DRC’s neighbors, he warned.
A ‘Body Slam’ for China  A ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague that China’s claims to “historic rights” in the South China Sea are unlawful delivers a setback to Beijing’s territorial ambitions. The question remains, however, whether this verdict will in any way alter China’s behavior.
South Sudan: Heading Down a Familiar Road to War?   The international community needs to take a more active role in defusing the crisis in South Sudan where gun battles between forces loyal to the president and vice president over the weekend resulted in the death of 200 people, said the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham. Contending that South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his vice president, Riek Machar, have been forced into a “shotgun marriage” as a result of an agreement on a unity government, Pham, who is director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said it is unreasonable to expect to successfully impose reconciliation upon warring factions that are not ready for it.
Turning Brexit into Reality Incoming British Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to move ahead with taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union, and this is the most likely future course, said the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell. However, a Brexit is not inevitable.
Brexit May Strengthen NATO The British vote to leave the European Union will have minimal impact on the United Kingdom’s role in NATO; it could, in fact, enhance the Alliance’s importance as a forum at which to address global challenges, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said in Warsaw on July 7. “The British are going out of their way to stress that Britain’s status within NATO is unaffected by Brexit,” said Vershbow, “that is a fact.”
With Brexit Looming, United States Advised to Forge Ties with Germany, the UK   In light of the British decision to leave the European Union, US President Barack Obama and his successor must forge a closer bond with Germany and shore up the “special relationship” with the United Kingdom, said R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board director who served as under secretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.
Atlantic Council Report Advocates Troop Buildup in Europe in Response to Russian Threat   NATO must respond to threats from Russia by permanently stationing troops in the Baltic States, Poland, and the Black Sea region, according to a new Atlantic Council report.
EU Needs a ‘Huge Transformation’   We asked our experts to tell us what the European Union needs to do differently in light of the referendum. This is what they had to say: Andrea Montanino is the director of the Global Business and Economics Program at the Atlantic Council. He was formerly executive director of the International Monetary Fund representing the governments of Italy, Albania, Greece, Malta, Portugal, and San Marino. It is clear that the European Union needs a huge transformation, and it especially needs a group of leaders that gives it a new direction. I would like to see on the day after the referendum the leaders of EU member states meeting in Brussels and taking a number of decisions that will deepen the union. 
Post-Brexit, Germany ‘Has to be Very Careful’ The EU has to recognize that it has many issues that it needs to face. There is much dissatisfaction in many countries with policies coming out of Brussels and with the level of transparency with which Brussels operates.
Brexit: An ‘Earthquake’ in London A vote by the British to leave the European Union should not be viewed as an isolated incident. It should, instead, set off alarm bells about the future of the European project.
US Seeks Renewed NATO Pledges to Afghanistan   NATO’s Warsaw summit in July and a European Union conference in Brussels in October must provide clear commitments to Afghanistan in order to boost the prospects of peace in that country, a senior Obama administration official said at the Atlantic Council on June 21.
Colombia Stands on the Brink of Peace  On the cusp of signing a bilateral ceasefire that will end Latin America’s longest running war, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos must ensure that the peace deal with leftist rebels is implemented to the letter—particularly ensuring justice for the victims—and shore up support for the agreement among Colombian voters, according to Latin America analysts at the Atlantic Council.
Brexit or Bremain, What the EU Desperately Needs is Reform   British voters will take part in a referendum on June 23 to decide whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. Latest polls show a close race. For months, proponents and opponents of the so-called Brexit have made their case to the British public.
Ben Rhodes: Tearing Up Iran Nuke Deal Will Precipitate a Crisis in the Middle East   The next US president would precipitate a crisis in the Middle East and alienate America’s allies if he or she decides to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran, a senior White House official said at the Atlantic Council on June 16. “The way in which the Iran deal was structured creates enormous disincentives for an incoming president to tear it up,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.
Is Libya’s Breakup Imminent?   The battle to drive the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham out of the Libyan city of Sirte may have the unintended consequence of putting in proximity forces loyal to the UN-backed unity government in the west and a rival general in the east. A clash between these factions would certainly destabilize Libya, but it could also split the North African nation in half, said the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
Former US Officials to White House: In Orlando Response, Don’t Get Distracted by Campaign Rhetoric As a lone gunman’s deadly rampage at an Orlando nightclub in the early hours of June 12—the worst mass shooting in modern US history—dominated the presidential campaign rhetoric, former US officials advised the Obama administration to remain above the fray. “I wouldn’t react to the political campaigns’ rhetoric,” said Frances Fragos Townsend, a former homeland security advisor to then-US President George W. Bush.
Keep Door Open to Russia: Breedlove  It is important not to close the door to Russia, which is led by a man whose number one goal is to create rifts within NATO and the European Union, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, said at the Atlantic Council on June 8.
NATO Enlargement Seen About Filling Gaps   Montenegro’s defense minister, Milica Pejanović-Đurišić, has some advice for countries aspiring to join NATO: explain to partners and friends the importance of alliance membership from a political standpoint. Pejanović-Đurišić is well positioned to give such advice. In December 2015, NATO extended an invitation to Montenegro to begin accession talks and become the twenty-ninth member of the alliance.
What the UN Gets Wrong About Rights in Eritrea A UN panel’s expected conclusion that crimes against humanity are being committed in Eritrea would be legally indefensible because of the flawed methodology in the compilation of the report and would further erode the credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Africa, said the Atlantic Council’s Bronwyn Bruton.
Atlantic Council Honors Champions of Freedom   Recipients of the Atlantic Council’s Freedom Awards on June 3 delivered impassioned pleas to safeguard the freedoms they have dedicated their lives to protect.
Polish Foreign Minister Seeks ‘Substantial’ NATO Buildup on Europe’s Eastern Flank   NATO should undertake a “substantial” military buildup in Poland and the Baltic States to address the challenge posed by an “aggressive” and “revisionist” Russia, Poland’s Foreign Minister, Witold Waszczykowski, said on June 2. “NATO’s keyword should be deterrence…not as an offensive measure, but rather as the most effective and, in fact, only instrument of peacebuilding,” he said. 
Europe Facing a ‘Stress Test’ Europe is facing a “stress test” in the form of challenges from a “belligerent” Russia, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a historic influx of migrants, high rates of unemployment, and low levels of trust in European institutions, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, said at the Atlantic Council on May 25. Given this reality, he added, it is important for the UK to remain in the European Union.
Taliban Leader’s Death Puts Pakistan on Notice The US drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Pakistan over the weekend should send a clear signal that the United States will no longer tolerate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.
A ‘Shortsighted’ US Embrace   The Obama administration has, in the conduct of its war against terrorism, embraced a “shortsighted” approach that sets aside a democratic agenda and overlooks human rights abuses committed by some of its closest allies and partners in the Middle East, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said on May 18.
Failure to Quickly Ratify TPP Will Delay Trade Deal by ‘at Least a Decade’ A failure by Congress to speedily ratify a free-trade agreement between the United States and eleven other Pacific Rim nations will mean that it would take “at least a decade” to muster the political capital needed to push the deal over the finish line, retired Adm. Michael Mullen, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the Atlantic Council on May 16.  
Libya Gets a Helping Hand in Anti-ISIS Fight   A decision by the United States and twenty other nations to provide weapons and training to help Libya’s UN-backed government fight the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) will put pressure on opponents—particularly a popular former General in Benghazi—to rally behind the new administration, said the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
Contributions to NATO More Than Just Budgetary, says Canada's Defense Minister NATO member states’ defense expenditure must be measured in much more than just budgetary terms, Canada’s Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, said on May 12. 
Give (Arab) Peace (Initiative) a Chance   In the absence of a credible Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Gulf Arab states and Israel will find it hard to elevate their security cooperation to deal with the threats posed by Iran and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, according to the Atlantic Council’s Bilal Y. Saab.
Brexit Could Lead to ‘Dismembering’ of the European Union A British exit from the European Union would weaken the United Kingdom, likely unravel the EU by setting off a “cascade of referendums,” and endanger US national security interests, two former US national security advisors said on May 11.
Chuck Hagel to Next US President: Talk to Putin As it ramps up its troop presence in Europe’s eastern flank, NATO must be careful not to get embroiled in a “Cold War buildup” with Russia, and the next US president must make it a priority to engage directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chuck Hagel, a former US defense secretary who currently serves as a distinguished statesman at the Atlantic Council, said in Washington on May 10.
A ‘Steady March to Authoritarianism’ in Turkey   Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s decision to resign following disagreements with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will heighten political polarization inside Turkey, said the Atlantic Council’s Aaron Stein.
Brexit Would Have a ‘Dramatic Effect’ on the West’s Stability The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would have a “dramatic effect” on the stability of the West, warned Lord George Robertson, who has served as Secretary General of NATO as well as the United Kingdom’s Defence Minister.
Former Defense Secretary Gates to America: ‘Reject Isolationism’ American leaders must “reject isolationism” and Europe must “get its internal security house in order,” former US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards gala in Washington on May 3.
Donald Trump: A ‘Dangerous’ Man R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board director who served as the State Department’s number three official in the George W. Bush administration, offered a searing critique of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s April 27 foreign policy speech in an interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. Burns is currently a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and an advisor to Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.* Here are excerpts from our interview.
US-India Relationship: Playing Defense  As the United States and India set out to realize their goal of elevating annual bilateral trade to $500 billion over the next decade, deeper defense cooperation will be key to energizing a trade relationship that has “plateaued,” two senior US Senators said at the Atlantic Council on April 25.
Putting TTIP on Hold Would be a ‘Mistake’   A transatlantic trade deal, currently being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, is critical to improving existing standards on issues such as public health, environmental regulations, and labor and safety issues, according to a new Atlantic Council report.
To B or Not to B? Obama Steps into Brexit Debate  US President Barack Obama’s forceful, and unusual, call for the United Kingdom not to leave the European Union reflects a combination of Washington’s unease over the possibility of a Brexit and its big stake in the outcome of the vote, according to the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell. British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama leave Number 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s official residence, in London on April 22. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)
Is the Taliban Winning? A deadly suicide bombing in Kabul shows that the Taliban are determined to drag out the conflict, but it also adds a sense of urgency for Pakistan to end its support for the militants, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.
South Sudan: Paging Dr. Riek Riek Machar’s failure to return to Juba this week to take up his duties as Vice President of South Sudan has been met with statements of dismay from the international community, but his no-show should come as no surprise, said the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham. Riek Machar’s failure to return to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to take up his duties as Vice President has raised questions about the durability of a peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
‘Vague’ Requests for Help Will Hinder Effort to Stabilize Libya Vague requests for assistance by the United Nations-backed government in Libya will undermine Western governments’ ability to stabilize the North African nation that has been plunged in chaos since the ouster of its longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, according to the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.
US Disengagement from Middle East ‘Raises a Question About American Values’ On the eve of the US-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh on April 21, Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President of the Emirates Policy Center in Abu Dhabi, discusses key challenges in the United States’ relationship with its Arab Gulf partners, the cost of US disengagement, and the Iranian threat.
Road to Riyadh: Bridging the Gulf  As US President Barack Obama prepares to attend a summit with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh on April 21, the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel has some words of advice: The United States must not be neutral in its relationships with its Arab Gulf partners and Iran. US President Barack Obama (center) hosted the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at Camp David in Maryland on May 14, 2015. From left are United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan; Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa; Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said; the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Al Thani; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef; and GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
In Brazil, Is Impeachment the Answer?   A series of missteps, mismanagement, and misfortunes have brought Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the threshold of the fate she now faces: impeachment.   Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, is facing impeachment following a vote in the lower house of Congress on April 17. (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)
Norway’s Foreign Minister: Migrant Crisis Underscores Need to Prevent Fragile States Turning into Failed States The migrant crisis straining Europe and security challenges in North Africa and the Middle East have made it imperative for a concerted effort to prevent fragile states from becoming failed states, Norway’s Foreign Minister, Børge Brende, said on April 14.
Millions in Nigeria are Starving, Warns UN Official Millions of people are starving in northeastern Nigeria and efforts to reach out to Boko Haram—the Islamist militant group directly responsible for their plight—to ensure a space to deliver humanitarian aid have been met by silence, a senior United Nations official said on April 15.
US Foreign Policy Needs to be ‘Balanced’ Between ‘Great Exertions’ and ‘Retreat’   Zalmay Khalilzad served as the US Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration. A member of the Atlantic Council’s Board of Directors, Khalilzad has recently authored an insightful and widely praised memoir— The Envoy . In a wide-ranging interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen, he discussed the lessons learned from the US experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, prospects for peace with the Taliban, and US diplomacy in a post-Iran nuclear deal Middle East, among other issues.  "The right lesson to learn from Iraq and Afghanistan is that big projects such as these two need to be done very selectively and rarely, we also need to recognize that we might have to do them again,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq. Khalilzad is a member of the Atlantic Council’s Board of Directors. (Atlantic
Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama: Enlargement a Secondary Priority for the European Union A combination of economic, security, and migration challenges facing Europe could “fuel instability in the Western Balkans” and “bring more uncertainty to the south and east,” Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, said on April 13.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg Stands Up for the Alliance   NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg refused to wade into US domestic politics, but he delivered a forceful defense of the Alliance on April 6 in remarks that may be interpreted as a firm rebuttal to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s criticism of the grouping as “obsolete.” Noting that the mutual interests of the United States and Europe are best served by a strong North Atlantic alliance, Stoltenberg said: “Without NATO, transatlantic cooperation would be weaker, Europe and North America less safe, and the world a more dangerous place.” 
No, Europe, Migrants Are Not Stealing Your Jobs   Contrary to the rhetoric from some politicians, there is very little evidence that migrants take jobs away from host populations, and in Europe, where some countries have low to negative population growth, migration should be seen as a boon, according to an International Monetary Fund study.
Distract, Deceive, Destroy: Atlantic Council Report Exposes Putin’s Deceptions in Syria A new Atlantic Council report uses open-source data to debunk Russian claims that its military mostly struck Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) targets, and links Russia to attacks on civilian facilities and the use of cluster bombs in Syria. So why haven’t Western governments that have more sophisticated intelligence capabilities employed similar technologies and techniques to counter Russian propaganda?
Rula Ghani: Afghanistan’s First Lady. Myth Buster. Afghanistan’s First Lady, Rula Ghani, delivered a spirited defense of her husband’s administration on March 31 and warned that “repeated half truths take a life of their own…and suddenly become conventional wisdom.” Speaking at the Atlantic Council, Ghani described and disputed numerous “myths” about Afghanistan that she said exist in the West, particularly in the Western media.
Poland’s President Seeks Stronger NATO Presence in Europe’s East Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, wants an enhanced NATO presence—in the form of troops as well as infrastructure—in Central and Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression, but said his government does not want to isolate Russia or return to the Cold War.
Georgia’s President Wants Security Guarantees for Eastern Partnership Countries   The terrorist attacks on Paris and Brussels show that there is an urgent need for “bigger security guarantees” for countries of the Eastern Partnership, Georgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, said at the Atlantic Council on March 30.
South Sudan: ‘A Problem Child’ Years of conflict, a dysfunctional government, and the international community’s failure to impose tough and meaningful sanctions have contributed to the crippling food insecurity that has caused tens of thousands of people to flee South Sudan, according to the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.
Belgium Seeks More Action on Intelligence Shared Among European Nations   European nations need to do a better job of working together to detect, share, and act on intelligence related to terrorist plots, according to Johan Verbeke, Belgium’s Ambassador to the United States. “There is information that we share with others, but we know it is not being used,” Verbeke said in an interview. “That is a weak spot for some.”
‘We Reap What We Sow’   European governments, and in particular Belgium, are paying a heavy price for having neglected terrorist sleeper cells that have been forming for well more than a decade in their growing, poorly integrated immigrant communities, said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council.
On Brussels Bombings: ‘The Moment Has Come When We Need to Act,’ says Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga   Kosovo’s President, Atifete Jahjaga, has called on governments in countries facing the threat of Islamic terrorism to set aside political differences and ramp up intelligence sharing and cooperation with their neighbors. “The moment has come when we need to act,” Jahjaga said in an interview on March 23.