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  • Author: Bill Brownell, Scott Stone
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The release of the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report on March 31, 2014, provoked the usual calls for urgent and immediate action in response to climate change, including in particular at the international level in the form of a new climate treaty built upon domestic regulatory regimes. Irrespective of whether these calls for action are overly strident or carefully measured, the law plays a central role. In almost any discussion, the breadth and stringency of national and sub-national regulations and the extent to which a treaty can make them “legally binding” assumes paramount importance. But this emphasis on law is misplaced, because it runs headlong into the hard reality that would confront any international climate agreement in the US Senate. And given the soaring use of coal around the world, it also draws attention and resources away from far more achievable opportunities to develop and deploy advanced coal technologies that would allow the world's most abundant, accessible, and affordable energy resource to meet critical energy needs in balance with each country's environmental, economic, and security priorities.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the Ukraine crisis demonstrates, in an unpredictable world, military capabilities can be a critical factor. The longstanding goals of the United States and its NATO allies have been to create a Europe whole and free, and globally to support such goals through collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security. Ukraine raises the issue of how best to accomplish those ends. As part of the Ukraine response, there have been and will continue to be diplomatic, economic, and energy efforts. However, one key element will be to create more effective integrated capabilities that will support NATO's military tasks, and thus the values and goals that NATO represents.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Pinar Dost-Niyego, Orhan Taner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The recent events in Ukraine have revived the question of European dependence on Russian natural gas. The security of Europe's natural gas supply has been a consistently important issue in Russian-European Union (EU) relations. Russia provided 34 percent of EU gas in 2012, and Russian policies can have a direct impact on EU supplies. After the West-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, a lot has been said about the 'US shale gas revolution' and the possibilities of the United States becoming an energy exporter for future European energy needs. Although US energy independence seems to promise new perspectives for future European energy security, as well as for the balance of power in the Middle East, this is not for this decade. We cannot expect that the European Union would be able to cut off all of its energy relations with Russia, but we can foresee–or at least agree–that the European Union should diversify its natural gas supplies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Danya Greenfield, Barbara K. Bodine
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: With the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the explosion of violent conflicts from Tripoli to Gaza, the Middle East is looking more unstable and unpredictable than ever. While the focus in Washington is centered on jihadist extremists in Iraq and Syria at present, the threat from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) against the United States continues. Top al-Qaeda leadership in Yemen is hailing the territorial gains of ISIS in Iraq, and some al-Qaeda operatives are imitating ISIS' techniques such as public slaughters of those deemed infidels, prompting fears of cooperation between two of the most active Islamist militant networks. Recent aggression by the Houthi movement, a Zaydi Shia rebel militia, against state institutions and tribal opponents has opened a new front of instability and security vacuum that AQAP is all too ready to exploit. Inattention to the interconnected nature of tribal conflict, terrorist activity, poor governance, economic grievances and citizen discontent is proving to be a dangerous combination for both Yemen and the United States. The Yemeni context may seem far from the current focus on Baghdad and Damascus, but getting the US strategy right in Yemen will have consequences for regional stability and core US interests throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Terrorism, Foreign Aid, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: C. Boyden Gray
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of World War II, the greatest concern facing the United States and its European allies was restraining the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communism. Cooperation on military security was paramount, and the United States and Europe rose to the challenge by creating NATO, a new type of multilateral defense agreement. Once again, the transatlantic relationship is at a new and perilous crossroads. But now it is economic, rather than military security that is at risk. Crisis grips the economies of Europe, just as the United States, mired in historic levels of unemployment in the wake of the 2008 recession, is rethinking its strategic priorities and place in the world. As before, fears mount concerning the future of liberal democracy and Western capitalism. The question is whether transatlantic cooperation will again rise to the challenge.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current turbulent global landscape recalls past key transition points in history such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, when the path forward was not so clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of very different global futures. As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the transatlantic community is entering a new era in history that will pose a very different set of challenges and offer unprecedented opportunities. If it is to survive, the NATO Alliance must navigate this crucial period by fundamentally reconsidering its place in the global landscape as well as its future roles, missions, and functions from a strategic, long-term perspective. The world is changing rapidly, and if NATO does not adapt with foresight for this new era, then it will very likely disintegrate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fundamentals of the natural gas sectors of the United States and European Union (EU) are on divergent paths. While the US prepares for gas exports on the back of the unconventional gas revolution, Europe is facing declining indigenous production and growing dependence on imports. The Central and Southeastern Europe (CSEE) region has moved closer to integrate into the EU's internal energy market, but it remains in a vulnerable position in the short-term compared to the rest of the EU and especially the US due to the region's historic exposure to Gazprom's monopolistic abuse. A concerted US, EU, and regional effort is needed to implement a diversification strategy, where US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports could make a real difference. In the medium and long run, the region can benefit from and play a crucial role in Europe's gas supply diversification strategy and may even succeed in adapting the US unconventional experience, contributing to a healthier energy import balance on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Sean R. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In looking at twenty years of independence in the former Soviet region of Central Asia, Kazakhstan stands out in most respects as a stable oasis in a desert of uncertainty. It is the wealthiest country in Central Asia. It has not suffered any serious conflict since gaining independence, and the development of its economy, financial sector, and private sector has been steadily moving forward as has its engagement with the global economy. It is little wonder, therefore, that the most stable and fruitful bilateral partnership for the United States in the region over the past twenty years has been with the Republic of Kazakhstan. US-Kazakhstan relations have never experienced a significant crisis, and there has been ongoing cooperation between the two countries in a variety of areas, including nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, and energy extraction.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Banning Garrett, James B. Steinberg, David Ignatius, Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: How will the US economy evolve over the next twenty years and what might be the impact of various US economic scenarios on the global system? Will the United States have a Japan-like decade or two of anemic growth? If so, would this lead the United States to reduce its foreign involvement and commitments, become more protectionist, and focus on its internal problems? Or will the United States solve its fiscal and debt problems, reinvigorate growth and innovation, and return to sustainable economic growth? Would this underpin a renewed commitment to active US global leadership in mobilizing international cooperation to manage security, economic growth, and global challenges?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Regardless of how the conflict in Afghanistan (along with NATO's role, presence, and draw down) is resolved, one consequence will be to increase the importance of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) both in Europe and for the entire transatlantic community. Whether Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) produce a stunning victory in which Afghanistan emerges as a stable state under the rule of law with a viable government or a rocky withdrawal in the midst of continuing violence with no clear solution in sight, NATO nations will have long tired of that war. Fortunately, the Lisbon Summit with a 2014 end date has eased domestic political pressures over Afghanistan. However, that relief is by no means permanent.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe