The United States should strengthen cooperation with its allies and partners while recognizing that cybersecurity is inextricably linked to tackling shared threats, according to recommendations made in two recent State Department reports.

The reports, published by the State Department on May 31, come in response to US President Donald J. Trump’s May 2017 Executive Order 13800 on “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.”

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Set against the odd frame of US President Donald J. Trump wanting to invite Russia to govern the world as part of a reconstituted G8, the actions taken by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on June 11 to sanction Russian cyber actors were a welcome reminder that actions can speak louder than words and that credible, sustainable actions like these are (hopefully) what advance actual policy goals. Taken by itself, this set of sanctions is the important, if routine, work that dismantles networks of bad actors doing bad things. It was not escalatory, but it serves as a reminder of the threats posed by Russia and raises some interesting questions. 

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In the midst of a news cycle dominated by the historic summit between the United States and North Korea, one might be forgiven for overlooking the news of another diplomatic triumph. On June 12, the prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia announced that the two countries had reached agreement on a deal to end their twenty-seven-year name dispute. Make no mistake, this is a significant milestone for both countries that will not only resolve a contentious issue, but could also set a precedent for a more stable region embedded in Euro-Atlantic institutions.

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The summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12 was not itself a bad idea. But signing an empty paper is questionable.  Adding a unilateral concession—suspending US-South Korean exercises without even consulting with our allies—smacks of careless frivolity.  Tactical unpredictability can be a tool. Strategic unreliability is a liability.

China and Kim are winners.  We are now operating within their policy framework:  de facto nuclear status quo (which favors North Korea), suspension of US military exercises (ditto) , and de facto gradual weakening of sanctions, the leverage which the US administration deployed, developed, and now risks squandering.

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US President Donald J. Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12 is a diplomatic win for the United States, but whether it is a strategic victory will depend on the implementation of the joint agreement signed by the two leaders, according to Michael Morell, an Atlantic Council board member and former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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In terms of personal rapport between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Singapore summit on June 12 looks like a success, but on the substantive issues—not so much.

As the United States’ ambassador to South Korea from 2005 to 2008, I witnessed first-hand the tense military standoff at the demilitarized zone (DMZ).  So I cannot help but be hopeful that this could be the beginning of a fundamental change for the better in US relations with North Korea and the first step toward peace on the peninsula. 

But peace is not going to be possible if the main threat to peace—in the region and beyond— is not eliminated in a verifiable and irreversible way.

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There were many outcomes of the historic first Trump-Kim Singapore summit on June 12; overall, it is clear that most of the hard diplomatic work remains ahead, yet the summit was helpful in establishing a top-down process that still could lead to real breakthroughs for peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization.

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US President Donald J. Trump made history when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12. This was the first time that a sitting US president has met the leader of North Korea.

Atlantic Council analysts shared their thoughts on the outcome of the summit. This is what they had to say.

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Trump administration should provide details of Russian meddling ahead of midterms

On June 8, Dan Coats, US President Donald J. Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, gave an important speech that went largely unnoticed. 

Speaking at an event in Normandy, France—co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council, Le Figaro, and the Tocqueville Foundation—Coats essentially said that the Russians are already meddling in this year’s midterm elections

He noted: “In 2016, Russia conducted an unprecedented influence campaign to interfere in the US electoral and political process. It is 2018, and we continue to see Russian targeting of American society in ways that could affect our midterm elections.”

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Even if US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fail to achieve a breakthrough in their highly-anticipated summit in Singapore on June 12—Trump administration officials have been privately ratcheting down expectations—the summit in and of itself will be historic. It will be the first time that a sitting US president has met the leader of North Korea. The meeting provides an important opportunity to make headway on a protracted nonproliferation challenge.

Trump has held out the possibility of a White House invitation for Kim if the summit goes well.

However, given the unpredictability of both Trump and Kim, expect the unexpected.

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