New Atlanticist

NATO’s top military commander says Russia set on ‘strategic competition’ with West

A "revanchist Russia" would use violence to alter international norms, boundaries, and institutions and poses a threat to the United States' transatlantic allies and partners, NATO's top military commander US Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said April 30.

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Russia's track record in the long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is consistent with Russian efforts in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's calls for a Novorossiya: No war, no peace—but always a place at the table for Russia.

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Ukraine's economy is in crisis. Experts warn that the country's gross domestic product could shrink by 6 to 12 percent and inflation could exceed 40 percent in 2015, although one prominent economist put that figure in triple digits already. The war in eastern Ukraine has throttled the country's industrial capacity. To prevent the country from default, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped in with a $40 billion international rescue package in March.

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‘It is not important that Britain is not important,’ says Atlantic Council’s Dungan

If one thing is nearly certain about Britain’s general elections May 7, it is that they will produce no clear victor and, as a result, could lead to another coalition government—or even a hung Parliament.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is leading his Conservative Party (the Tories) in a tough battle against the Labour Party’s Ed Miliband. Cameron’s coalition ally for the past five years, Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats (the LibDems), haven’t decided whether they want to stay in their political marriage of convenience with the Tories.

Meanwhile, third parties such as Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) and Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) have steadily eroded support for both the Tories and Labour. This is especially true for Labour, which is likely to lose a majority of its seats in Scotland—its traditional stronghold—to the SNP.

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The US ban on crude oil exports was a prominent topic of discussion when industry leaders and high-ranking government officials from across the globe convened in Houston in April for IHS CERAWeek, one of the energy industry’s largest annual conferences.

Indeed, over the past year the longstanding ban has emerged as one of the hottest issues in the debate on US energy policy.

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Breedlove, Ghani, Hewson, and Keith receive Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award

What do Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Ashraf Ghani, Marillyn A. Hewson, and Toby Keith have in common? The answer to that question is probably: not much. That was until all four were honored with the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award at a glittering ceremony April 30 at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Washington.

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A Brazilian woman trying to interest her fellow citizens in municipal politics joined a State Department official, a Pentagon strategist, and the publisher of Foreign Policy magazine April 30 for an Atlantic Council discussion titled “Imagining Solutions.”

The lively discussion—covering topics from Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas to the worldwide explosion in smartphones—marked the last of four sessions comprising the two-day Global Strategy Forum sponsored by the Strategy Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

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The Washington establishment is unprepared for the technological and geopolitical risks of the future, America is losing influence around the world—and while the United States is still indispensable as a superpower, there’s debate on whether it ought to remain so.

These are among the takeaways from the Atlantic Council’s Global Strategy Forum held April 29-30 in Washington, as seen by Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.

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Analysts debate US role in the face of global challenges

President Bill Clinton, speaking in 1996 on the US-backed NATO military intervention in Bosnia, described the United States as an “indispensable nation.”

Scholars debated that premise April 30 at the Global Strategy Forum hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Strategy Initiative in Washington.

Xenia Wickett, Dean of Chatham House’s Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, defended the premise, while Christopher A. Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the CATO Institute, took an opposing view.

Yet Wickett and Preble often found themselves agreeing with each other.

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Panel discusses ‘power of narrative’ in getting message across on important issues and preparing for future challenges

Do you care much about climate change? How about the fate of polar bears gingerly making their way across thinning Arctic ice? Most people would probably care a lot more if they heard how dramatic temperature spikes and rising sea levels would disrupt their own lives, panelists said April 29 at the Atlantic Council.

In discussions on the consequences of climate change, “the vast majority of what we are talking about are things that are down the road … Americans just don’t think that way,” said Heather Zichal, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. “They [want to know] ‘What’s happening in my backyard? How am I going to get my kids to school?’”

She added: “As much as you can localize the message, the better off you are. Nobody in Iowa is worried about polar bear habitats, but when it comes to growing seasons and extreme drought and extreme flooding, that is something that is on everybody’s radar.”

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