Britain’s conservative Daily Telegraph splashed its front page September 14 with the banner headline “A United States of Europe.” The page was embellished with a half-photo of the face of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, framed by the blue, gold-starred flag of the European Union.

The eurosceptic Telegraph was not, of course, hailing the imminent birth of a United States of Europe. On the contrary, the newspaper was using the further integration proposed in Juncker’s State of the Union speech to the European Parliament the previous day to demonstrate the wisdom of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU)—rejecting once and for all the closer European political union that most Britons have traditionally resisted.

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In a reaction that is sure to bolster the narrative of those claiming responsibility for the attack, US President Donald J. Trump released a series of tweets labeling the incident at London’s Parsons Green subway station on  September 15 an act of terrorism before British authorities had done so. Trump claimed, among other things, that Scotland Yard had failed to identify and prevent the attack and that the solution was to “cut off” the Internet and make his travel ban to the United States “far larger, tougher, and more specific.”

The perceived success of a terrorist attack is a subjective measure, filled with uncertainties and spin, and partly dependent on the level and type of coverage it receives in the media—this includes the reactions of world leaders and the effect those words have on their countries’ populations.

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A recent series of militant attacks that forced the closure of three of Libya’s key oil fields represents the latest blow to the North African nation’s efforts to revive its energy sector while reigning in the chronic instability that has plagued the country since its 2011 revolution.

Over the course of two weeks in late August, the Rayayina Patrols Brigade (RPG) targeted oil fields and other facilities along a key pipeline corridor in western Libya, disrupting production at  the Hamada el Hamra, El-Feel, and El Sharara oil fields by an estimated 360,000 bpd.

Though all three fields are scheduled to resume production this week following a negotiated settlement, the attacks underscore the challenges the Tripoli-based and internationally recognized Government of National Accord continues to face as it attempts to revamp production and stabilize the country amidst a fraught security environment.

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The US Department of Justice’s demand that a US affiliate of Russian state-sponsored news agency RT register as a foreign agent  follows an Atlantic Council report, which suggested that RT be labelled a tool of the Kremlin.

“We suspect that RT is likely violating US law by spreading propaganda on behalf of a foreign government without properly identifying itself,” Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI) said at the launch of “Agent of Influence: Should Russia’s RT Register as a Foreign Agent?” at the Atlantic Council on September 9.

According to Cicilline, who delivered the keynote address, RT, a news agency which broadcasts local-language programs all over the world, “is the propaganda arm of the Russian government.” Not only is RT government-funded, but it spreads information which furthers Russia’s aims of destabilizing Western democracy, he said.

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As Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful ever recorded, leaves Florida battered in its wake, US energy infrastructure continues to bear the strain of long-term planning neglect. The damage wrought by the storms and the impact on the energy sector demonstrates that the time is right to prioritize infrastructure, particularly pipeline infrastructure planning.

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In the midst of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations in August, US President Donald J. Trump tweeted saying that NAFTA is the “worst trade deal ever made,” and threatened to withdraw the United States from the agreement because Canada and Mexico are being “difficult”. While many have brushed these statements off ahead of the third round of discussions, set to begin on September 23, one cannot help but wonder: How close are we to a new and improved NAFTA?

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Former US undersecretary of state, R. Nicholas Burns, discusses US options, the importance of Chinese pressure, and lessons learned from the Iran nuclear crisis

New sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on September 11 in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test are “not significant enough,” according to R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board member who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

Sanctions must be part of a “patient long-term strategy” that includes deterrence, working closely with allies, and negotiations, said Burns, laying out the United States’ options for dealing with the North Korean crisis. 

Capping a summer marked by defiant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un dramatically escalated the crisis on September 3 by successfully testing a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that is capable of being placed on an ICBM. On September 15, North Korea launched a missile over Japan—it's second such act in just over two weeks. The test was in defiance of a fresh round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on North Korea earlier in September. 

As the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department from 2005 to 2008, Burns was the lead US negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. Drawing on that experience, he emphasized the need for a multilateral approach to defuse the North Korean crisis. China, he said, would be a critical player in such an approach.

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US President Donald J. Trump’s September 4 decision to rescind a program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who were illegally brought to the United States to remain in the country undermines his administration’s stance towards Central America.

While Trump reportedly vacillated until the last hour about whether to end the program that provided protection to these young people—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—immigration hawks ultimately prevailed.

There is uncertainty about the immediate impact on DACA-eligible children—known as Dreamers—of the decision to unravel the program former US President Barack Obama put in place by executive order in 2012. Trump has effectively deferred to the US Congress to revamp the nation’s immigration laws and protection for DACA recipients over the next six months.

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A new Atlantic Council report that seeks to enhance the US State Department’s effectiveness recommends, among other things, a more results-oriented budget and streamlined foreign aid.

 A key recommendation is to use the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as “the platform to build a more robust, effective civilian assistance capacity, empowering it with an expanded mission set and greater control over US foreign assistance efforts.”

 The report’s authors—ten foreign policy experts—also agreed that in order to make the State Department more effective, its structure must be refined, its personnel properly prepared for their jobs, and its relationship with the US Congress improved.

 This analysis is “more important than ever,” US Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said at the Atlantic Council on September 6. Royce delivered the keynote address at the report’s launch.

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Turkmenistan must invest in new infrastructure to export its vast energy resources if it is to become a substantial player in the global energy market. Achieving this objective would reduce Turkey and the European Union (EU)’s dependence on Russian gas.

Turkmenistan boasts the sixth-largest natural gas reserves in the world, an estimated 617 trillion cubic feet (tcf), along with an estimated 600 million barrels of proven oil reserves. However, despite its vast energy resources, the Central Asian nation has thus far failed to become a major energy player. There are several potential pipeline interconnections that could help Turkmenistan achieve this status, yet none are without political complications.

Through the proposed Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan could export gas across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to Europe, circumventing Russia and Iran. While this is considered a natural eastward extension of the existing Southern Gas Corridor, it is strongly opposed by Russia and Iran as it may threaten their energy dominance.

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