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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: Jason Marczak, Peter Schechter
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Why is now the right moment to commission a poll on the US public's views toward Cuba and US-Cuba relations? Why is a new, nonpartisan Latin America center reaching out to grab the third rail of Latin American foreign policy in the United States? Both good questions. Sometimes in foreign policy, structural impediments or stark policy differences will stymie progress in a certain area. Relations with China could not proceed until the United States recognized a “one China” policy that forever downgraded US relations with Taiwan. An activist foreign policy with Africa was impossible until the United States denounced apartheid.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Cuba, Latin America
  • 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
  • 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
  • Author: Amy Hawthorne, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States and Europe have yet to show the requisite political will or to develop sustainable strategies to help Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen in their democratic transitions more than two years after a wave of popular revolutions toppled decades-old autocracies. To be sure, deepening political, economic, and security challenges in these countries from June 2012 to August 2013, the period analyzed in this report, complicated efforts to provide support. Yet the United States and the European Union (EU) missed important opportunities to capitalize on openings where they existed or to send consistent and sustained diplomatic messages where needed. Faced with the vast amounts of cash the Gulf countries could provide rapidly to the transition countries, especially to Egypt, some in Washington and Brussels wondered if the United States and the EU even had much to offer. In the past year, fatigue and frustration more than energy and hope have characterized US and European engagement with these countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world has achieved unprecedented peace, prosperity, and interdependence, but past achievements—and further progress—are threatened by a host of looming challenges. Global institutions that served us well and transformed the world are becoming victims of their own success and must be reformed or replaced to deal with new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. Governments everywhere face rising expectations and increasing demands but find themselves less able to manage the challenges they face.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • 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: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The new United States defense guidance has substantial implications for transatlantic nations that must be addressed at the NATO Summit in May. Specifically, how does the longstanding transatlantic security bargain apply in this globalized world? What are the key security challenges at this strategic turning point? How should those challenges be met in a time of financial constraint? And what are the key actions the transatlantic nations should undertake?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Science and Technology, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Rosa Balfour, Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The 2011 wave of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa has prompted policymakers to rethink their approach and bring outdated policies up to speed with a rapidly changing region. To respond to short-term, immediate needs, the United States and EU have made pledges of financial assistance and political support for the Arab countries in transition to stem economic collapse, capitalize on democratic openings and opportunities for growth, and provide incentives to guard against backsliding on reforms.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • 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: 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: Kenneth Katzman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This chapter contains major policy statements and documents on Iran primarily from the current and previous U.S. Administrations. The statements and documents presented here are intended to be illustrative of themes in U.S. policy toward Iran. Statements on specifi c aspects of U.S. policy toward Iran, such as U.S. interpretations of Iran's disputed June 12, 2009 presidential election, Iran's positions on multilateral meetings on its nuclear program, its holding of dual U.S.-Iranian nationals periodically, are a frequent feature of daily State Department and White House press briefi ngs on U.S. foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, United Nations
  • Author: Ross Wilson, Damon Wilson
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: An arc of potential disorder and instability increasingly looms over Central Asia. This year's political turmoil and ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan illustrated the difficulties and dangers before the region –and that American interests confront there. Much of Central Asia is not succeeding economically or politically. Parts of it face the prospect of indigenous extremist violence and/or could become new safe havens for transnational threats emanating from Afghanistan. U.S. strategies that for years aimed to support the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and success of the new Central Asian states have come to be dominated by the exigencies of the Afghan war and an increasingly unproductive conversation on human rights and democracy. As a result, those strategies are failing, and U.S. policy is being marginalized.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Central Asia
  • Author: Kristen E. Smith, John Raidt
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The United States possesses clear and compelling national interests in West Africa, particularly in the region's maritime domain. These vital security, economic, and humanitarian interests, including reliable long-term access to energy, shared largely by the African people and the international community, are at grave risk from regional instability and the increasing potential for state failures in an economically and politically distressed area of over 250 million people.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States