Ashish Kumar Sen

  • Trump Shared Secrets with Russia. Here’s Why It Matters.

    The Washington Postreported on May 15 that US President Donald J. Trump disclosed highly classified information to two Russian officials—Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak—in their White House meeting on May 10.

    “The information the president relayed had been provided by a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the US government,” the Post reported, citing unidentified current and former US officials.

    Read More
  • A Simple Security Update Could Have Prevented Ransomware Attack

    A cyberattack that has crippled 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries could have been prevented had the victims conducted a simple security update.

    “One of the lessons learned here is that people just do not patch their systems,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, a nonresident senior fellow in the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

    “The reality is: the vulnerability that was exploited was not a zero-day vulnerability,” he said.

    Read More
  • To Secure the United States' Southern Border, Look to Central America

    US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly says improvement in conditions will reduce unauthorized migration

    US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has some advice for people thinking of crossing over illegally into the United States: don’t bother coming.

    “The message is, ‘If you get here—if you pay the traffickers you will probably get here—you will be turned around within our laws relatively quickly and returned. It is not worth wasting your money,’” Kelly said at the Atlantic Council on May 4.

    People from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—make up the vast majority of migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.

    Kelly credited deportations, US government appeals to civil society in Central America, and an improvement in economic opportunities in those countries, in combination with cooperation between the US and Mexican governments, for the reduction by 70 percent in the...

    Read More
  • Erdoğan Asks US to End Support for Kurdish Militias, Hand Over Cleric

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at the Atlantic Council’s Istanbul Summit on April 28, urged the United States to end its support for Kurdish rebels in Syria and to extradite a cleric Turkey says orchestrated a failed coup attempt in July of 2016; he also accused some European countries of harboring terrorists. 

    Erdoğan’s remarks offered a preview of his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington on May 16. The Turkish leader had been unsuccessful in his efforts to convince former US President Barack Obama to drop his support for the Kurdish militias who have proven to be one of the most effective forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Syria. He was optimistic that he could open a new, and very different, chapter in the US-Turkey relationship with Trump.

    US support for the Kurds could be a sticking point in that relationship. In April, Turkey
    Read More
  • AIIB: A Platform for US-China Cooperation

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s president sees an opportunity

    The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) should be a platform for cooperation, not a point of conflict between the United States and China, the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 24.

    Former US President Barack Obama’s administration was reluctant to join the AIIB amid concern that China would use the institution to set the global economic agenda at the cost of environmental protections, human rights, anticorruption measures, and governance standards.

    Jin recalled that in his conversations with Obama administration officials he often made the point that China was eager to work with the United States to create the AIIB. “When China and the US work together, wonderful things [will] happen,” he said.

    Read More
  • Trump Sends a Clear Message in Afghanistan

    By dropping the ‘mother of all bombs’ on an Islamic State target, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    The United States sent a clear message of its commitment to fighting terrorism when it dropped the so-called mother of all bombs on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan on April 13, said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.

    “It really is a military instrument used to accomplish a military task,” said Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan, adding, “there is a political element to it as well in terms of showing our commitment and determination in this particular fight.”

    The US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an Islamic State cave and tunnel complex in Achin district in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB),...

    Read More
  • In Egypt, Watch this (Shrinking) Space

    President’s plan for state of emergency could further reduce space for dissent, said Atlantic Council’s Mirette Mabrouk

    Egyptian President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi’s decision to impose a three-month state of emergency in response to deadly church bombings will likely further shrink the space for freedom of expression and dissent in Egypt, according to Mirette Mabrouk, director of research and programs at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “The space for freedom of expression and dissent in Egypt has already shrunk considerably. I can’t imagine that this is to going help,” said Mabrouk. The state of emergency, which must first be approved by parliament, would allow security forces to monitor people's social media and communications without permission, but after the president has issued a verbal or written order.

    Sisi’s relationship with the United States grew frosty on US President Barack Obama’s watch amid...

    Read More
  • Assad Must Be Held Accountable for All Types of Terror

    US missile strikes cannot be a one-off response, said the Atlantic Council’s Frederic C. Hof

    US missile strikes on a Syrian air base from where a deadly chemical weapons attack is believed to have been launched send a clear message that the United States is now “directly engaged” in addressing the mass homicide perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, said Frederic C. Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “The president’s top priority in Syria will continue to be the defeat of the so-called Islamic State, but in the wake of the chemical attack, the president realized that the Bashar al-Assad side of this problem is closely related to his top priority,” said Hof, noting that Assad’s brutal crackdown has helped recruitment for terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

    Hof, who served as special adviser for transition in Syria in US President Barack...

    Read More
  • Trump-Xi Summit: ‘America First’ Paves the Way for the ‘Chinese Dream’

    US President Donald J. Trump’s “America First” policy—marked by a retreat from multilateralism—has paved the way for China to step into the void and for its president, Xi Jinping, to realize his “Chinese Dream,” according to two Atlantic Council analysts.

    Trump and Xi met at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 6 for a two-day summit.

    Trump’s “America First” policy is a “double-edged sword” for China, said Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and its Strategic Foresight Initiative.

    “On the one hand, Trump is handing the ‘Chinese Dream’ to Xi on a silver platter,” said Manning. Xi has described the “Chinese Dream” as “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” But on the “flip side is American nationalism… and Trump’s indictments of China,”...

    Read More
  • Putin is Not Russia

    US senators, Russian opposition activist call for calibrated pressure on Vladimir Putin

    Two US senators—one a Republican and the other a Democrat—and a Russian opposition activist who has survived two apparent attempts on his life made a call for greater international pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights. Speaking at the Atlantic Council on March 30, all three stated quite clearly that even as this pressure is applied, care must be taken not to hurt the Russian people in the process.

    Vladimir Kara-Murza, an ardent critic of Putin who has twice slipped into a coma after mysteriously falling ill—once in 2015 and more recently in February—said it was important to turn up the heat on Putin and his cronies, but noted that it is equally important not to equate Putin’s regime with the Russian people.

    ...

    Read More