Ashish Kumar Sen

  • Trump’s ‘Pretty Serious Mistake’ in the Middle East

    Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital does not advance the interests of the United States or the region, said James Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Israel

    US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to reverse almost seven decades of US policy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “potentially, a pretty serious mistake,” said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    If you’re going to upend decades of US policy, it ought to be for a good reason and for a significant political and diplomatic gain. I don’t see that either of those two are attained here,” said Cunningham, who served as the United States' ambassador to Israel from 2008-2011.

    Trump’s announcement will boost the Israeli position, “but it doesn’t change the reality...

    Read More
  • International Olympic Committee Knocks Russia Out of Winter Games

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s historic decision to ban Russia’s Olympic team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is a welcome action on the part of the committee, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

    “Whether it’s violating arms control treaties, breaching peace agreements, or cheating in sports competitions, Russia’s leadership must start facing the consequences of its systematic abuse of international norms,” said Michael Carpenter, a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

    “Such behavior cannot be tolerated in any arena, and this decision sends a clear message in that regard,” he added.

    Read More
  • Iranian-Backed Houthis Just Caused a Self-Inflicted Wound by Killing Yemen’s Former President

    The death of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, at the hands of his former Houthi allies will weaken the Iranian-backed rebels, according to Nabeel Khoury, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “The demise of Saleh now actually weakens the Houthis' military and makes them less acceptable politically inside Yemen,” said Khoury, adding, “it was not a very wise move on [the Houthis’] part.” Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Yemen from 2004 to 2007.

    Read More
  • Balkan Officials Have a Message for the EU and the United States: Stay Engaged

    Balkan officials on November 29 made a pitch for deeper US and European Union (EU) engagement with the region, noting that its stability is critical for a peaceful Europe.

    “Without a stable Balkans, there is no stable Europe,” said Srdjan Darmanović, Montenegro’s foreign minister.

    Albania’s foreign minister, Ditmir Bushati, highlighted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent remark that Europe should write the next chapter of its history in its own words. He said: “I hope this is instigating more solidarity within the European Union, but what we learned from the last twenty-five years is that American presence in our neighborhood, in Europe, is indispensable.”

    Read More
  • Here’s Why US Commitment to the Western Balkans Matters

    The United States and the European Union (EU) must deepen their engagement with the Western Balkans, a region where Russia, Turkey, and wealthy Arab Gulf states have extended their influence and that is considered integral to realizing the idea of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace, speakers and panelists said at the Atlantic Council on November 29.

    One European official described the United States as an invaluable partner in realizing the vision of a whole and free Europe, while a US official affirmed the commitment of US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to the Western Balkans.

    Read More
  • Dialogue Seen as Crucial to Defusing North Korea Nuclear Crisis

    As US President Donald J. Trump grapples with the North Korean nuclear crisis, two former US officials have some words of advice: attempt dialogue before pre-emptive military strikes, and broaden the scope of that discussion to include the security needs of the region, including North Korea's.

    Ernest Moniz, who served as energy secretary in Barack Obama’s administration, said heaping sanctions on North Korea alone cannot produce results and that this approach will only “spin wheels.”

    R. Nicholas Burns, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in George W. Bush’s administration, said exhausting the diplomatic option before considering the military one is the “wisdom” gleaned from the first nuclear age. “Kim Jong-un is not a more deadly rival of the United States than Stalin was or Khrushchev was in the 50s and 60s,” he said.

    Read More
  • Mugabe’s Exit Opens the Door to Hope in Zimbabwe

    Robert Mugabe’s decision to resign in the face of pressure from the military, his party, and the Zimbabwean people paves the way for a new chapter in Zimbabwe’s history, said the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.

    Mugabe, a liberation struggle hero who led Zimbabwe since 1980, saw his star eventually tarnished by corruption, cronyism, and misrule. He abruptly resigned on November 21 as impeachment proceedings against him began in parliament in Harare.

    “Mugabe’s resignation clears the way not only for the resolution of the political impasse on a constitutional basis, but also for the beginning of a new chapter in Zimbabwe’s history,” said Pham, who is director of the Atlantic Council’s...

    Read More
  • The Importance of Being Angela Merkel

    Chancellor is vital for European solidarity on Russia sanctions, says Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    If German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to step down from her role it would create uncertainty over the fate of sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, according to Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “There is one area where her absence would make a great deal of difference potentially and that is on the sanctions on Russia,” said Burwell.

    “With the British leaving [the European Union] and her leaving—if she should leave—that makes the continued adherence to these sanctions less certain. Depending on what happens in the Italian elections, those sanctions could be vulnerable indeed,” she added.  

    Moreover, Burwell noted, instability in Germany would be a blow for the European Union (EU), which is grappling with the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the Union and the...

    Read More
  • With Mugabe’s Exit, Zimbabwe Will Need All the Help It Can Get

    In light of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s resignation, the United States should be prepared to work with his likely successor, a man who is subject to US sanctions, said the Atlantic Council’s J. Peter Pham.

    Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose ouster from the vice presidency by Mugabe early in November triggered the current political crisis in the first place, will likely be the next leader of Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa is the subject of US Treasury sanctions imposed in the early 2000s for his role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in the country.

    Noting that a prominent opposition leader and longtime Mugabe foe, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has embraced Mnangagwa,...

    Read More
  • The End of the Mugabe Era

    The ongoing military intervention in Zimbabwe effectively marks the end of Robert Mugabe’s thirty-seven-year hold on power, according to J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    “In whatever way the developments of the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours play out, it is quite clear that the near-absolute grip that he had on power for almost four decades, that era has come to an end,” said Pham. 

    The military said it has put Mugabe, who has led the country since 1980, under house arrest.

    “The military seems to be taking a very careful approach in not formally declaring this a coup, but it is quite clear that, at least for now, they are in charge,” said Pham.

    J. Peter Pham spoke in an interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. 

    ...

    Read More