The firing of Steve Goldstein, the suddenly former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will have a three-fold negative impact on the United States’ pursuit of its strategic foreign policy interests overseas, in addition to and distinct from the effects of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's firing earlier the same day.

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The poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter, and twenty-one other British citizens in Salisbury is the most recent of too many such examples. 

On March 12, days after the attempted assassination of Skripal, Nikolai Glushkov, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his home in London.

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Newly former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement, former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, do not necessarily see eye to eye on every major foreign policy issue. Their divergent views raise serious questions as to how the shake-up in leadership at Foggy Bottom will alter the course of US foreign policy around the world.

In particular, Pompeo has a history of disparaging the Iran nuclear deal and remains supportive of US President Donald J. Trump’s harsh rhetoric on North Korea. As the White House prepares for Trump to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sometime this spring and threatens to withdraw from the Iran deal, Pompeo could tip the policy scales and pivot away from the work done by Tillerson’s State Department.

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Rex Tillerson is out and Mike Pompeo is in.

On March 13, US President Donald J. Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a little more than a year on the job. Trump announced in a tweet that he is nominating Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s replacement. The position requires Senate confirmation.

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US Marine Corps retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., interim chairman of the Atlantic Council board of directors, delivered this speech on March 1, 2018.

Distinguished guests, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Ambassador and Mrs. Ischinger.

It is a great honor for me to be with you in city of Berlin, which holds such historical significance to Germany and to the transatlantic alliance.

It is a particular pleasure to be able to pay an American tribute to my friend Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger at this evening’s gala in his honor.

Tonight, the American-Chamber of Commerce, Germany, recognizes Ambassador Ischinger for his unparalleled lifetime commitment to fostering German-American ties, and to his belief that a robust dialogue between Europe and the United States is as important today as it ever has been. 

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Russia’s state-owned arms company has reaped enormous profits from its support to Bashar al-Assad’s government, which is responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

The chief executive officer of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, said that in 2017 the company signed contracts in fifty-three countries worth approximately $15 billion. These contracts include new clients in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, expanding the geographic scope of the Russian arms market. 

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In a speech March 9 at the Atlantic Council, US Department of Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker, the Trump administration's top sanctions official, confirmed that new Russia sanctions are being prepared, and suggested that they would target members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's power structure.

This was just one of the items covered in a half-day conference hosted by the Atlantic Council's Sanctions Initiative. The event convened policy makers, sanctions veterans of previous US administrations, experts, foreign diplomats, and business representatives.

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Though ostensibly a tool to pause fighting between regime and rebel forces in Syria, the latest ceasefire attempt on February 26 collapsed in less than two hours. This was in fact a Russian-supported “humanitarian pause,” intended to last five hours and allow aid to reach the besieged inhabitants of the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. Five hours proved to be not enough time for aid workers to carry out the mission, and too much time for combatants to stop fighting.

Prior to this measure, the United Nations (UN) Security Council (and therefore Russia) had approved a longer, more ambitious thirty-day ceasefire after the ongoing regime offensive on Eastern Ghouta caused over five hundred deaths in one week. That ceasefire cannot really be said to have broken down because it never took hold in the first place.

There are a few key reasons why all the ceasefires, de-escalation agreements, humanitarian pauses, and cessations of hostilities eventually collapse in Syria.

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Last summer, US President Donald J. Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it endangered the United States. A few months later, he derided North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man” and said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was wasting his time attempting to negotiate with the regime in Pyongyang. Kim in turn threatened the United States noting in his new year’s day speech that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk and is ready to use it. Trump shot off a provocative tweet about the size of his own nuclear button, which he said was “much bigger and more powerful” than Kim’s.

In the backdrop of this war of words, North Korea conducted a series of missile tests, and even one nuclear test, while the United States led the international community in imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Kim’s regime. These sanctions aim to choke off the financing and fuel that have kept Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions alive.

All this led to the surprise announcement on March 8 that Trump has accepted an invitation to meet Kim in May.

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While #MeToo was born in the United States, it quickly sparked a sister movement in Europe, #MeTooEU. Brussels was shocked by the outpouring of stories of abuse and aggression against women—predominantly emanating out of the European Parliament—and the apathy with which their complaints had been handled through official channels. On this International Women's Day, there is a lot of talk about changing this unacceptable situation.

Looking back at what she calls “terrible developments” over the past twelve months, the European Council's Gender Equality Adviser Cristina Gallach is definitely a glass-half-full feminist. She believes women in the European Union (EU) are in a better place today than a year ago.

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