New Atlanticist

‘Proportionate’ Response Will Be Hard to Shape, Atlantic Council’s Jason Healey Says


The US government faces a tough challenge in determining how to fulfil President Obama’s promise to “respond proportionately” to North Korea’s cyber attack on Sony Pictures, according to Atlantic Council analyst Jason Healey.

“What this really means for now is that the administration will keep the issue quiet, continue the focus on Cuba, and allow DC to take a year-end vacation,” Healey wrote today in an essay for the Christian Science Monitor.

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Peace talks aimed at ending South Sudan's civil war are 'going nowhere' because the process is mostly led by countries that are party to the conflict, according to Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center

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Pascual: As Russia Faces Economic Downturn, West Should Probe Kremlin on Chances of a Merkel-Brokered Deal


In his annual press conference this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered no clear suggestion for how he proposes to dig Russia out of its deepening economic hole. And he signaled no new direction in government’s sponsorship of the separatist war in southeastern Ukraine. On both crises, his performance left all his options open.

Putin held to his most recent rhetorical status quo on Ukraine. He averred that he finds in Ukrainian President Poroshenko a man with whom peace could be made, leaving himself room to negotiate for a deal in which he might hope to achieve at least a minimum of his immediate goals—to retain an effective veto on Ukraine’s integration with Europe and its institutions, beginning with the European Union.

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As Ukraine’s new government has taken office and vows to clean up endemic corruption—publicly perceived as Europe’s worst, according to Transparency International—here are some leading indicators of its progress, as suggested by the Atlantic Council’s Kyiv-based senior fellow, Brian Mefford. You can find his full essay on this at his own blog.

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Relations with Cuba No Longer ‘The Poisoned Chalice,’ Atlantic Council Analysis Showed


President Barack Obama’s sweeping changes to US-Cuba policy were at least in part influenced by an understanding that this was widely favored among the American people. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center released a poll in February that found support on both sides of the aisle for normalization with Cuba, and this poll has served as a crucial piece of the Cuba policy dialogue.

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Atlantic Council Analyst Karim Mezran on Libya's Escalated Warfare


Meddling by international actors in Libya has undermined a United Nations effort to broker peace in the North African nation, according to Karim Mezran, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, and France have inserted themselves into the conflict, backing various factions that are locked in a bloody battle for power in Libya. “If all these external forces support troops on the ground, then the push for war is much stronger than the push for peace,” said Mezran.

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Quick Takes from Atlantic Council Experts


President Barack Obama today announced a historic policy change that opens up diplomatic relations, facilitates trade, and expands travel to Cuba.    

Immediately after the White House announcement, Atlantic Council experts provided the following analysis.

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Russia’s Choice, Between Market Reforms and State Controls, May Open or Shut Doors to Détente Over Ukraine


The Russian ruble’s stunning collapse this week may lead President Vladimir Putin to order changes at the country’s central bank and in his cabinet. As he does, will he tilt his government toward Russia’s market-oriented economic reformers or toward its proponents of tighter state controls? And, does the West dare to hope that Russia’s economic crisis might edge Putin toward some discreet reduction of his war against the independence of Ukraine and other former Soviet states?

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Counter-Terror Drive in Waziristan Has Dislodged, Not Destroyed, Militants, Says Shuja Nawaz


The killing by Pakistan’s Taliban of more than 140 people, mostly children, at a school is likely to “provide some glue for a consensus [in Pakistan] that you cannot negotiate with terrorist groups,” according to Atlantic Council South Asia specialist Shuja Nawaz. The assault, in northwestern Pakistan, shocked the South Asian nation and drew international condemnation.

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The 24th Ibero-American Summit, which sought to put the focus on education in the context of slow economic growth, did not produce a specific proposal to address the challenges of developing human capital.

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