Showing posts from January, 2016
In Putin's Russia, Intellectuals Trapped in a ‘Zone of Silence’  Intellectuals in Russia today suffer a fate that they consider to be worse than death—being forced to remain silent. “Instead of killing us they offer to move us to the zone of complete silence,” said Ilya Danishevsky, Chief Editor of the Vremena Publishing House. While some may view this as a “more humane approach,” it is a fate that writers cannot accept, he added. Danishevsky works closely with authors who challenge the official discourse. “We do not say the government needs censorship to prevent us from publishing our books. One doesn’t need to censor what does not exist,” Danishevsky said in Russian through an interpreter.
Libya: The Chaos Continues Libya’s internationally recognized parliament on January 25 rejected a unity government proposed under a UN-backed plan out of concern that it was too large, dealing a setback to efforts to end a period of uncertainty that has allowed the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to put down roots in the North African nation. The House of Representatives (HoR) gave the Tunis-based governing council ten days to come up with a shorter list of cabinet members.
A Roadmap for Europe  The European Union’s unity is being tested in some significant ways. Chief among these challenges are the United Kingdom’s potential exit—a “Brexit”—from the EU, mediocre long-term economic prospects, an influx of migrants that is the largest movement of people on the continent since World War II, geopolitical threats posed by a revanchist Russia and a Middle East in the midst of upheaval, and the task of developing a digital roadmap that will support competitiveness and growth. Europe’s future hinges on how it addresses all these issues.
How Do You Disrupt ISIS’ Social Media Strategy and Safeguard Freedoms?   The Obama administration is “trying to come to grips with” how to prevent terrorists from using technology as a recruiting tool, while at the same time safeguarding individual freedoms, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the Commander of US Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, said at the Atlantic Council on January 21.
Keeping Georgia’s NATO Dream Alive Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili was catapulted to office in December of 2015 after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, Irakli Garibashvili. In his previous role as Foreign Minister, Kvirikashvili led significant initiatives to advance Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic and European integration efforts. That will continue. Kvirikashvili says realizing Georgia’s dream of EU and NATO membership will be a top priority for his administration. “We are not looking for shortcuts and do not expect immediate progress in the integration process, but it is of the utmost importance to demonstrate to our people that the process is not stalled and that it is delivering tangible results,” Kvirikashvili said.
Obama Must Institutionalize Iran Nuclear Deal Diplomacy  The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran on January 16 after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal it reached with the P5+1 countries last year.
Dealing with Iran: A Policy of Engagement and Deterrence As the State Department’s No. 3 official in the George W. Bush administration, R. Nicholas Burns was instrumental in negotiating sanctions to punish Iran for its nuclear program. Those sanctions were lifted on January 16 when the International Atomic Energy Agency determined that Iran was in compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement it concluded with the P5+1 countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany—in July of 2015. Burns, a Harvard University professor of diplomacy who is on leave this semester at Stanford University and an Atlantic Council board member, discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by the Iran nuclear deal in a phone interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen.
Poland’s Right Turn Worries Brussels Poland has been widely hailed as the poster child of democracy in Eastern Europe in the decades since the collapse of communism. Is that about to change under the ruling Law and Justice Party? After sweeping to power in October, the Law and Justice Party (PiS), led by former Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczynski, has moved swiftly to tighten controls over the civil service, the courts, and the media. This has sparked large protests across Poland. It has also set off alarm bells in Brussels. But there is little the European Commission is likely to do to sanction a country that brings considerable economic heft to the European Union and is a key NATO partner.
US' Syria Policy 'Paralyzed' by Rhetoric that Assad Must Go, Says Hagel  Former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, thinks that the Obama administration has become “paralyzed” by its rhetoric that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down, said budget cuts have pushed the United States “perilously close” to being unable to maintain its military dominance, equated the Republican presidential campaigns to an amateur talent contest, and had some advice for Donald Trump: “focus on uniting this country, not dividing it.”
‘Security and Economic Development are Two Sides of the Same Coin’  A stable Afghanistan is vital for regional prosperity because gas pipelines, power grids, and road and rail networks can be constructed providing economical and much-needed energy and market access to the neighborhood, a top Afghan official said on January 12.
Can Ghani Make Peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan?  Representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States are meeting in Islamabad this week to draw up a roadmap for peace talks with the Taliban. James B. Cunningham, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and current Khalilzad Chair on Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, discussed the prospects of peace in an interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen.
Has Turkey Become a Distraction in the War on ISIS?  Turkey’s entry into the US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) last summer was marked by Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish militias—a departure from the coalition’s mission. In November, Turkey shot down a Russian jet that it said had violated its airspace. Turkey is now involved in a dispute with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the presence of Turkish troops at a base in northern Iraq.  Has Turkey become a distraction in the war on ISIS?
In Brexit Debate, David Cameron Averts Crisis. For Now.   British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to allow members of his cabinet to pick sides and actively campaign for the United Kingdom to stay in or leave the European Union avoids a split in his government and Conservative Party for now, but may not succeed in these objectives in the long term, says the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell. Cameron has promised to hold an in/out referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain part of the EU. That vote could take place as early as this summer.