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  • Author: Faysal Itani, Nathaniel Rosenblatt
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, US policy has consistently failed to achieve its stated object: a negotiated political transition based on the mutual consent of the regime and opposition. The United States and its Western allies have focused on summits and high-level diplomacy as the most effective means to that laudable end. This approach ignores an essential missing ingredient: an opposition able to coordinate different anti-regime forces, exercise agency on their behalf, and provide decent local governance, without which Syrians will continue to suffer and fight irrespective of whether the regime is overthrown.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria, 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: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Jihadists are steadily capturing territory and resources and establishing a state in Syria and Iraq. The most capable jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), now controls swathes of territory, energy resources, and sophisticated military hardware in both countries. Although the extremists are currently occupied with fighting other nonregime armed groups and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, these efforts are a means to an end: building a state from which to confront and target the United States, its allies, and its interests in the region. These jihadist groups also bring boundless suffering to the populations they control, and serve as a magnet for and inspiration to jihadists worldwide.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Richard LeBaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tension between the United States and its partners in the Gulf flared up visibly in the last several months, notably with Saudi Arabia's public displays of displeasure with the US approach to the Syria conflict, nervousness about an interim nuclear deal with Iran, and sharp differences over Egypt. Gulf distrust of US intentions and actions is nothing new, and is in no small part rooted in the Gulf states' deep frustration with how the United States executed the war in Iraq, which they perceive as placing Iraq under Iran's sphere of influence. But these latest tensions also point to a fundamental gap in expectations about the US role in the region and its commitment to security for the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The links between the United States and Morocco are among the oldest of the US' diplomatic bonds. In 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III was the first foreign sovereign to recognize the independence of the thirteen former British colonies. Subsequently, the 1786 Treaty of Peace and Friendship—negotiated by Thomas Barclay and signed by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—established diplomatic relations between the two countries. Modified in 1836 with the addition of various security and commercial protocols, the accord is still in force, making it the United States' longest unbroken treaty relationship. But as venerable as this history is, the strategic importance of Morocco to pursuing the Atlantic community's interests in the security and development of northwestern Africa has only recently become fully apparent to US policymakers and analysts. President Barack Obama's invitation to King Mohammed VI to make an official visit to the United States this year indicates the importance that both countries attach to this significant strategic relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, North America, Morocco, Northwest Africa
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Fatemah Aman
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When compared to its often rocky relations with Arab countries to the west, the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to retain largely cordial ties with its neighbors to the east. Historic linguistic, religious, and cultural connections have helped Iran keep its influence in South Asia and become a key trading partner despite US-led sanctions. Because of its strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, Iran provides India with access to Afghanistan and Central Asia that does not require transit through Pakistan. However, Iran and its neighbors, including Pakistan, face acute challenges such as scarce and poorly managed water resources, ethnic insurgencies, energy imbalances, and drug trafficking that require regional solutions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Arabia, North America, Persia
  • 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: Jeffrey Mankoff, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey's handling of its Kurdish population and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. US policy toward the Kurds remains subordinate to wider regional security interests. Officially, the United States does not support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. In practice, however, US policy is often inconsistent: the United States backs Kurdish groups in some states while opposing them in others.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan
  • 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: Kori Schake, Lord Robertson, Franklin C. Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Slightly over two years ago, NATO was embroiled in an internal controversy of its own creation which bore within it the seeds of a deep crisis within the Alliance. Several governments, impelled by a heady mix of domestic politics and a newly fashionable interest in nuclear disarmament among certain elites, actively sought the removal of US nuclear weapons from the European portion of the Alliance. In doing so, they raised serious questions about their adherence to the central core of the Alliance: the Article 5 guarantee.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The transatlantic partnership has historically been at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been at the heart of the partnership. But the factors that long made "transatlantic" the dominant foreign policy construct have fundamentally changed – and with it has come a need for concomitant strategic and operational changes to meet new requirements.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Ross Wilson, Damon Wilson
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan is lurching forward, its future uncertain. Eleven weeks after street protests forced the collapse of the regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and three weeks after the worst ethnic violence in the country's history, a measure of security-enforced calm has returned. The apparently successful June 27 referendum on a new constitution and mandate for Interim President Roza Otunbayeva will provide legitimacy and confidence to the government. But Otunbayeva and the group around her appear to underestimate the difficulties they face and to overestimate their ability to control events. They will have to work hard to overcome divisions among their ranks, staggering political and economic challenges, the risks of renewed violence in the south and antipathy toward Kyrgyzstan elsewhere in Central Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Seventeen months after disputed presidential elections, the Iranian government has forced opposition protestors off the streets but continues to face an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy that is undermining its capacity to implement effective domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Lincoln A. Mitchell, David L. Phillips
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Research Project on Enhancing Democracy Assistance is undertaken by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and the Atlantic Council of the United States. This report recognizes that democracy assistance is essential to the promotion of US foreign policy and global interests, and offers political and technical recommendations in order to enhance democracy assistance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kenneth Katzman
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This compendium contains the text of major regulations, laws, and other documents governing U.S. interactions with North Korea. Also provided are the text of U.N. Resolutions, agreements, and other documents that represent major policy decisions in U.S. relations with North Korea. Accompanying each major document, law, or regulation is a brief analysis discussing the policy reflected by that document and major significance of the provisions of the law or regulation promulgated.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: James Goodby, Jack N. Merritt
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States has few more important policy goals than eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The risk that the repressive Pyongyang regime could transfer nuclear weapons and materials to rogue states or terrorist groups weighs particularly heavy on the minds of U.S. policymakers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The U.S. government has sought to advance democratic and free-market change in Cuba for 47 years. Those efforts have failed. Indeed, the transfer of power from Fidel Castro has produced little change in Cuba's politics and took place with no manifestations of broad popular demands for an end to one-party Communist rule. Instead, the Cuban people appear to be resigned to peaceful and gradual change on the island. Most observers judge that any transition to democracy, rule of law, and capitalism is years away.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Gen. Jack N. Merritt
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The People's Republic of China (PRC). As of mid-2002, the PRC's policy is to emphasize the positive, stressing its desire for an improved – and hopefully more stable – relationship with the United States. This policy reflects China's recognition of the need for stability at a time of many challenges. In the next few years, the PRC leadership will be seeking to extend economic reform and build prosperity beyond the limited areas in big cities and the eastern provinces that have made great strides in recent years. China will need to adjust the economy to the market-opening demands that World Trade Organization (WTO) membership will bring and it will face the problem of moving successfully over the next decade through a transition in leadership without compromising the continued power of the Party leadership group.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Curtis M. Coward, Jeffrey P. Bialos
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This Report identifies strategic options available to the Bulgarian government and its defense industry, as well as the United States and its NATO partners, for transforming and repositioning the industry for the 21st century and facilitating its integration into the NATO and European Union industrial base. Since other Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries that are aspirants to NATO membership face similar difficulties concerning their defense industries, many of the recommendations herein apply to these countries as well. The report is based on numerous interviews with officials of government entities, private sector firms, and nongovernmental organizations and a review of pertinent governmental and private reports and original documents. A number of the members of the Atlantic Council's working group visited Bulgaria and several of its defense firms in April 2001. Given limitations of time and access to information, the report does not, however, attempt to set forth a thorough review of each firm in the Bulgarian industry.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Brent Scowcroft, C. Richard Nelson, Lee H. Hamilton, James Shlesinger
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current stalemate between the United States and Iran, while emotionally satisfying to many Americans, does not serve overall U.S. interests well. It hinders the achievement of several key U.S. geopolitical interests, especially over the longer term. These interests include, but are not limited to, regional stability, energy security, and the broader and evolving geopolitical relationships between the United States and China and Russia in the Persian Gulf and Caspian basin. Furthermore, the leading industrial countries are moving to improve relations with Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: C. Richard Nelson, Jr. Gillespie, Brandon Grove Jr., David E. McGiffert
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The implications of the transfer of the Panama Canal go well beyond U.S. relations with Panama. This complex transition provides an important lesson for Latin America and the rest of the world on how countries of vastly different size and outlook can work together. The success of this 20 year process lies mainly in first identifying the primary common interest of the United States, Panama and the major canal users: access to an open, safe and efficient canal. Important but secondary concerns, including U.S. military access to facilities in Panama, were addressed during the process but never were allowed to displace the primary interest. By focusing on this clear, compelling key objective, both Panama and the United States were able to accommodate fundamental changes in the political, economic and security context, including several changes in administrations, tough negotiations and even a military confrontation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: John D. Macomber, Charles McC. Mathias
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Can the United States collaborate with foreign nations in armaments development and production without jeopardizing US national security? This question - in light of America's global security obligations - demands a satisfactory answer. The economic and political advantages of greater international cooperation are significant. Benefits from cooperation include improved interoperability of weapons and equipment used by US allies and partners in operations with the United States, reduction in production costs, and preservation of a defense industrial base among US allies. Yet, considerations of national security are equally cogent.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America