Ashish Kumar Sen

  • Trump’s Dangerous War [of Words] with Kim Jong-un

    US President Donald J. Trump should ratchet down his rhetoric on North Korea and instead devote his energy to working with the international community to isolate Pyongyang, according to the Atlantic Council’s Robert A. Manning.

    “There is no imminent threat of attack from North Korea; there is no crisis,” said Manning, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. “This is all in Donald Trump’s head. I don’t see how we benefit from ratcheting up tensions.”

    “It is irresponsible, dangerous, and counterproductive; and it is unfortunate because I think the actual thrust of the policy is going in the right direction,” he added.

    Trump has steadily ratcheted up his rhetoric on North Korea. On August 10, he said his earlier vow to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s efforts to build and launch a nuclear weapon
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  • Erik Prince’s ‘Reckless’ Proposal for Afghanistan

    Atlantic Council’s Sean McFate warns against plan that would rely more on military contractors

    A proposal that would have the United States rely more heavily on private military contractors instead of US troops, and install what would essentially be a US viceroy in Afghanistan, is an example of “reckless foreign policy,” according to Sean McFate, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and the brain behind the proposal, says it will reduce the cost of America’s longest war and allow the United States to shrink its troop presence in Afghanistan.

    McFate agrees that what the plan has going for it is that contractors are cheaper than US troops. Nevertheless, he added, there are serious problems with Prince’s proposal, the first being that it is “deeply un-American.”

    “Using a neocolonial model to ‘fix’ Afghanistan is...

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  • Libya’s Haftar Comes Out on Top

    Diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the chaos that has prevailed in Libya since 2011 have legitimized Khalifa Haftar, a former Libyan general whose forces have been accused of torture and executing prisoners, according to the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.

    Haftar met Fayez-al-Serraj, the prime minister in Libya’s United Nations-backed government, in Paris on July 25. The fact that this meeting occurred in the first place was a recognition of the reality that Serraj’s government—the Government of National Accord (GNA)—has been unable to unite the country and that Haftar has an indispensable role in any solution to the crisis, said Mezran, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “Haftar is the big victor,” he added.

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  • Duda’s Veto Presents Poland with an Opportunity

    Warsaw must focus on repairing ties with the European Union, said Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to veto controversial judicial reforms gives Poland—the scene of creeping authoritarianism—an opportunity to mend its relationship with the European Union (EU). It also represents a significant split between the president and Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and a man to whom Duda owes much of his political career.

    On July 24, Duda vetoed two of three controversial judicial reforms approved by parliament. These include replacing supreme court judges with government nominees.

    “[Duda’s decision] gives Poland the opportunity to walk back from the brink with the European Union,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with...

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  • OAS Chief Calls for More Sanctions on Venezuela

    Targeted US sanctions, including against Venezuela’s oil sector, would be a welcome move against a regime that has plunged this South American nation into an economic and humanitarian crisis, Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on July 21.

    US sanctions on Venezuelan officials “have been very positive, and we think that future sanctions would be very positive,” said Almagro.

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  • Qatar Crisis Gets Mired in Mixed Messages

    Mixed messages from US President Donald J. Trump’s administration and an apparent belief in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that they have the ear of the White House have exacerbated the crisis between the United States’ Arab Gulf partners, according to Richard LeBaron, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    The crisis has exposed a rift between Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. While Trump has been critical of Qatar—he initially appeared to take credit for the Saudi blockade against a country that...

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  • Is it Time to Take Sudan Off the State Sponsors of Terrorism List?

    Atlantic Council report recommends review of designation as part of an effort to energize ties

    US President Donald J. Trump’s administration should conduct a long-overdue review of the designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    The Clinton administration designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. US administrations have used the designation—not just in the case of Sudan—as a political tool.

    “The question is: is that sensible in terms of Sudan,” asked Princeton Lyman, a former US special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan who serves on the Atlantic Council’s Sudan Task Force.

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  • What in the World is Vladimir Putin Up To?

    Russia has decisively expanded its global footprint in a way that analysts say challenges the West and will force US President Donald J. Trump to rethink his “America First” strategy.

    This challenge extends well beyond Russia’s neighborhood—Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic States—to Syria, Libya, and even Afghanistan. Western governments and intelligence agencies have also accused Russia of meddling in elections in the United States and Europe.

    John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “pursuing a clear revisionist agenda designed to change the post-Cold War order in Eurasia; permit Moscow to establish a clear sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space; weaken NATO and the EU; weaken the transatlantic relationship; diminish American prestige and power; and project Russian...

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  • Entering a ‘Very Dangerous Era’ With North Korea

    North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that has the ability to strike Alaska could embolden Pyongyang to be more aggressive in the future, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “With this nuclear ICBM ‘shield,’ the DPRK [North Korea] likely will be much more aggressive in every other area of its foreign and military policies. We are entering a new and very dangerous era,” said Barry Pavel, a senior vice president, Arnold Kanter Chair, and director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

    On July 4, six months after Trump had tweeted that a North Korean test of an ICBM capable of reaching the United States “won’t happen,” North Korea said it had tested such a missile that
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  • Here’s How to Deal with Russian Propaganda

    Fighting fake news—no, not the kind US President Donald J. Trump has made it a habit of railing against—has been the subject of a weeklong series of meetings and public events co-hosted by the Atlantic Council and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung from June 26-30.

    The disinformation campaign being waged by various state and non-state actors seeks to “undermine the legitimacy of objective truth,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). “It demands a response and whether we like it or not that response has to be led by the United States,” he added.

    Murphy and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have overcome the increasingly bipartisan nature of Washington to work together in the fight on disinformation. They co-authored the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, signed by then US President Barack Obama in December of 2016. The act seeks to improve the United States’ ability to counter propaganda and disinformation...

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