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  • Author: Lauren Speranza
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tackling hybrid threats, particularly from state actors such as Russia and China, remains one of the greatest challenges for the transatlantic community. Hybrid threats have gained more traction among policymakers and publics across Europe and the United States, especially in a world with COVID-19. Over the last five years, Euro-Atlantic nations and institutions, such as NATO and the European Union (EU), have taken important steps to respond to hybrid issues. But, as hybrid threats become more prominent in the future, policymakers must move toward a more coherent, effective, and proactive strategy for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats. To develop such a transatlantic counter-hybrid strategy for Russia and China, this paper argues that two major things need to happen. First, transatlantic policymakers have to build a common strategic concept to guide collective thinking on hybrid threats. Second, transatlantic policymakers need to take a range of practical actions in service of that strategic concept. In a strategic concept for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats, Lauren Speranza offers five strategic priorities that could form the basis of this strategic concept and presents a series of constructive steps that NATO, the EU, and nations can take, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society, to enhance their counter-hybrid capabilities against Russia and China.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, Science and Technology, European Union, Innovation, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Hans Binnendijk, Conor Rodihan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The conventional military threat from Russia towards Europe most acutely affects a number of frontline Nordic and Baltic states from the Barents Sea in the Arctic through the Baltic Sea region: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, these countries, in concert with other Euro-Atlantic allies and partners, have concentrated on strengthening their own defenses and on developing and enhancing eight sets of different defense cooperation arrangements. As the only two non-NATO and militarily nonaligned nations in the region, Finland and Sweden’s role in regional security and their level of cooperation with these and other partners poses challenges as well as opportunities for deterrence and defense in Europe’s northeast. These two countries have particularly emphasized cooperation with partners as they seek to build an interlocking web of security relationships to improve defense in the region. The core arrangements within this network include: The Finnish-Swedish bilateral defense relationship; Nordic Defense Cooperation; Nordic-Baltic Eight; The Northern Group; NATO Partnerships; The European Union; Ad hoc arrangements such as the Joint Expeditionary Force; Framework Nations Concept, and European Intervention Initiative; Finnish-Swedish-US trilateral and bilateral defense cooperation. These “geometries of deterrence” vary in scope, scale, and membership, but taken together, they enhance a range of important components of deterrence. In Geometries of Deterrence, Hans Binnendijk and Conor Rodihan assess the contributions of each of these arrangements against an ideal or “gold standard” for conventional military deterrence, before evaluating the arrangements collectively and offering recommendations to further strengthen deterrence for Finland, Sweden, and indeed for all of Northeastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Northern Europe
  • Author: Daniel Fried, Brian O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: US President Donald J. Trump’s administration has found it challenging to maintain a consistent position with respect to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression at home and aggression abroad. It may again fall to Congress to attempt to counter Russia’s election interference, already ongoing in the form of disinformation; back Ukraine as its government seeks to deal with a Russian invasion; and contend with other forms of Kremlin aggression. In “Pushing Back against Russian Aggression – Legislative Options” authors Daniel Fried, the Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, evaluate two Russia sanctions bills, the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) and the Defending American Security Against Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA), as tools to forestall new Russian interference in US elections. The authors walk readers through a set of sanctions escalatory measures—covering finance, energy, and the cyber sector – that both sanctions bills draw from. In sum, Fried and O’Toole conclude that DASKA’s sanctions are more measured and thus more implementable. By contrast, the authors deem DETER’s sanctions on financial institutions as simply too harsh with excessive spillover risk to US and Western financial markets to be implementable.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Economy, Business , Legislation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, Christian Trotti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced five new nuclear-capable, strategic weapons systems. These systems include a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile and a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarine drone. What does Russia have to gain from developing these novel and exotic nuclear weapons? And what should the United States and NATO do about it? This new Atlantic Council issue brief, Russia’s Exotic Nuclear Weapons and Implications for the United States and NATO, answers these questions. Informed by a workshop convened by the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Los Alamos National Laboratory, authors Matthew Kroenig, Mark Massa, and Christian Trotti evaluate the potential utility, motivations, and consequences of these new systems. Among other conclusions, the most significant may be that great-power competition has returned, and with it, the importance of nuclear weapons in international politics.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Power, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tatiana Mitrova
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fate of the “Russian Energy Strategy Up to 2035” paper—a key document defining the country`s strategic priorities in this critically important industry and submitted by Russia’s Energy Ministry every five years—illustrates well the contradictory predicament of Russia’s energy sector. In 2015, after two years of preparations, the latest version was submitted to the government, but national authorities have not approved it until now. Behind the scenes, many conflicting interests prevent the setting of a clear and coherent long-term vision.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Gaiane Safarova
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Like every country, Russia has a very specific demographic footprint; its fertility, mortality, and migration rates, as well as its age composition, all affect its performance domestically and on the world stage. Russia’s current demographics were shaped by its history, particularly crises like World War II, and its future will be deeply affected by conditions like its dropping fertility rate and aging population
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Michel Duclos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. According to many reports, Iranian leaders—notably including Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)—were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria and save Bashar al-Assad’s skin in September 2015
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Tate Nurkin, Stephen Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: AI is expected to have a transformational impact on the future of geopolitics, defense, and security. The emerging geopolitical and security context influencing the future of AI technology development has been driven by the erosion of traditional geopolitical frameworks, increased conflict between liberalism and authoritarianism, the pervasiveness of social media use and 4IR-driven digitization of industries, as well as the ability of more actors to affect strategic and operational environments. However, the future of AI will depend on the decisions of great power competitors—the US, China and Russia—global trends development, and the management of uncertainties associated with emerging technologies. In this fluctuating environment, where the US is engaged in a high-stakes competition with is near-peer adversaries, and AI is enabling paradigm-shifting changes in public and private sector operations, how should the US respond? In this new Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, A Candle in the Dark: US National Security Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, Tate Nurkin and Stephen Rodriguez provide an integrated strategy to respond to this key issue. According to Former US Secretary of Defense Dr. Ashton B. Carter, author of the foreword, this paper “effectively articulates the current technological landscape and offers a coherent strategic framework for the United States and its allies to harness AI’s upside potential, while mitigating downside risks and defending against emerging threats.” In a world full of uncertainties, this paper provides a holistic way forward for the US to leverage the full potential of AI while maintaining America’s technological competitiveness.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Intelligence, National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship, Drones, Conflict, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul D. Miller
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What is “world order” and why should Americans care? Less than half of all Americans have a passport, and less than five percent travel internationally. Only 26 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from international trade. Since the end of the Cold War most Americans probably feel safe from foreign threats most of the time: they feel little sense of danger or threat from the world. Even the terrorist attacks of 2001 have receded into memory and increasingly feel like an aberration rather than a precedent. Americans may feel a sense of unease about the world, but we are confident that even the nation’s wars safely take place “over there,” not here at home. If the United States can afford to tune out much of the world because of its geography, wealth, and power, why should we care? Americans have been the unconscious beneficiaries of a world order that would not exist without them. Just as we take for granted electricity and indoor plumbing without thought to the wiring and piping that make them possible, so too we take for granted the peace, prosperity, and stability of our world without thought to the infrastructure of the free world. The free world exists because the most powerful states in the world are open societies: liberal capitalist democracies who largely see the world the same way and have worked together to keep the peace and build wealth. That order is now imperiled. The United States no longer enjoys an unquestioned advantage over its rivals, Russia and China, as it once did. North Korea and Iran threaten the United States with nuclear weapons and support for terrorism. Perhaps most threatening of all: rising nationalist and populist movements around the world, including in the United States, are undermining popular support for international cooperation, free trade, and collective security. This report is about the free world: what it is, why it is imperiled, why Americans should care, and what we can do about it. Some skeptics have criticized the international order. President Donald Trump regularly criticizes “globalism,” and many Americans seem inclined to believe that the United States is losing its sovereignty and that the world is taking advantage of America’s generosity. We respectfully disagree. The free world, and American leadership of it, is good for America and good for the world. It helps keep us safe and give us opportunity. Far from eroding America’s sovereignty, it is a tool of American influence. Most importantly, the aspirations of the free world are just. It is a system of ordered liberty among nations, a tool or mechanism for allowing nations and individuals to flourish in freedom and safety. Investing in the free world is an investment in our values and our common values.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, North America, Global Focus, United States of America