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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: Nicholas Dungan
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Competitiveness encompasses all the factors that will serve to make a society, an economy, and a country successful in the globalized world of the twenty-first century. France and the United States rank among the most competitive countries overall, but both have seen their position decline in recent years in key attributes of competitiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For too long, the United States and Europe have failed to embrace Latin America as a partner in a broader transatlantic community. Modern Latin America, like the United States, springs from a common European heritage and shares the historical, political, and philosophical roots that bind the West so closely together. The region is of growing strategic importance, with its expanding markets, energy resources, and global economic reach. But while Latin America is changing rapidly, the United States and Europe have been slow to sufficiently recognize and embrace this new world, missing crucial policy and business opportunities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama faces a relatively short timeframe in which to peacefully address the most significant near-term foreign policy and security challenge for his second term. Due to Iran's persistent nuclear advances, Obama's repeated pledge that the United States would stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons could well be tested in the coming months, requiring intensified diplomatic engagement and careful calculation of the repercussions (regionally and globally) of a military response.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Atlantic Ocean
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report has a simple message: We are not prepared for the negative consequences of many new technologies or as well-positioned as we should be to take full advantage of the benefits. Emerging technologies are likely to be more beneficial than detrimental, but the opposite could be true if we are not careful. This report examines emerging technologies in three broad areas—energy, smart cities, and manufacturing—that are playing critical yet disruptive roles: all present opportunities for the US and its partners, but also huge challenges and risks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Isabelle Francois
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The past twenty years have been marked by a series of setbacks and disappointments in the US-European-Russian dialogue, despite regular attempts to develop a strategic partnership. In this cyclical relationship, 2012 was a low point in Western relations with Russia, from the calculated absence of President Vladimir Putin at the NATO summit in Chicago to the Russian ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, and the US reaction to the Sergei Magnitsky case. The year 2013 could have been the beginning of an upswing in the trilateral dialogue. In April, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on the margins of the G8 foreign ministers' gathering in London. At the same time, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon called on Putin in Moscow, where he hand-delivered a letter from President Barack Obama detailing potential areas of cooperation. A series of meetings between Russian and American officials throughout the summer saw a new diplomatic push to reframe the US–Russia relationship in the run-up to the Group of Eight meeting in June and the G20 meeting in September 2013. However, the Edward Snowden affair and Obama's subsequent decision to cancel the planned September meeting with Putin in light of insufficient progress on bilateral issues point to a pause in the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe
  • Author: David J. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Mexico's Congress passed its final hurdle to reform the Constitution and allow for private investment in the energy industry on December 12, 2013. This significant achievement heralds the most comprehensive energy reform in the last seventy-five years of the country's history.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Andrew Paterson, Walter Howes
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Global energy demand will increase substantially in the coming decades under pressure from global trends, including an increasing population that will reach 9 billion by 2040, and, for the first time in history, will be overwhelmingly urban. Meeting basic global energy needs will require the use of all available sources of energy while addressing and minimizing environmental and climate impacts. Nuclear energy is an established part of the world's electricity mix, and provides large-scale, reliable, base-load electricity demand. As such, it seems to be well matched to fit into an increasingly urban world that aims to mediate environmental challenges.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Atlantic Council promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century. The Council embodies a nonpartisan network of leaders who aim to bring ideas to power and to give power to ideas by stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues with a view to enriching public debate and promoting consensus on appropriate responses in the Administration, the Congress, the corporate and nonprofit sectors and the media in the United States and among leaders in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Through its diverse networks, the Council builds broad constituencies to support constructive US leadership and policies. Its program offices publish informational analyses, convene conferences among current and/or future leaders, and contribute to the public debate in order to integrate the views of knowledgeable individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests and experiences.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Asia, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The National Intelligence Council in its new report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, argues that the historic moment the Obama Administration now confronts “recalls past transition points–such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989–when the path forward was not clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of different global futures.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, Politics, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Atlantic Ocean
  • 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
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The broadest and toughest sanctions regime imposed on any country except Libya has not convinced Iran's leaders to abandon a program that appears aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Instead of seeking even more crippling economic penalties—such as an oil embargo—that would fracture the international consensus on Iran, the United States should tighten implementation of measures already in force and enact more sanctions linked to human rights, which have a wide constituency in Europe and demonstrate to the Iranian people that international concerns extend beyond nuclear weapons. The U.S. should also work with its diplomatic partners to craft new proposals that would couple acceptance of limited uranium enrichment with rigorous international monitoring, and encourage China, Iran's major trading partner, to use its leverage in support of nonproliferation.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Iran
  • Author: Julie Chon
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When it comes to resolving financial crises, size matters, but so does transparency. In both the US and European crises, the drive for size—firing off enough public funds to plug the hole in the financial system—has proven to be self-defeating as markets raise ever higher, unrealistic, and inappropriate expectations for government policy. This strategy addresses some of the economics and none of the politics of crisis management. The race to meet the size test distracts policymakers from addressing the real impediment to restoring investor and public confidence: the inherent uncertainty and lack of transparency associated with extraordinary government actions in times of crisis. The absence of transparent decision-making inflicts a costly blow to the credibility of policymakers because markets and citizens cannot see or believe what leaders are doing to stabilize the financial system.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2008 and 2009 political and business leaders scrambled to stabilize the financial system and avert a slide into world-wide depression as a financial crisis of historic proportions spread across the globe. A series of bold emergency measures succeeded in defusing the crisis, and these same leaders began searching for ways to avoid a similar breakdown in the future. At the same time, the effort to restart economic growth and job creation began in earnest.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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: Franklin D. Kramer, John R. Lyman, Mihaela Carstei
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Energy security presents quintessential geopolitical challenges. In Central Europe, achieving energy security can be a critical element for a continent seeking to resolve vestigial Cold War complexities with Russia and toward meeting 21st century challenges including balanced economic development, energy diversity and climate change. Central Europe, utilizing both European Union support and Western European national assistance and enhanced by United States technical assistance, can take five key steps that will go far toward resolving energy security challenges and help to reframe the geopolitics of the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Two years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked a meltdown of the global financial system, we are at a crucial point that calls for us to step back and examine our progress in the effort to redesign the rules governing global financial markets. The immediacy of the crisis has passed, allowing for clearer analysis of the manifold causes and an evaluation of how the reforms that have been put in place match up with those causes. At the same time, the urgency of the process has not yet entirely dissipated and it is not too late to fill in any holes or to resolve conflicts created by differing approaches around the world.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe