Rachel Ansley

  • Tillerson's Takes on US Foreign Policy: A Year in Review

    Diplomatic negotiations with "no preconditions" will be the US approach to solving the problem of North Korea, while working in concert with friends and allies, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council on December 12.

    “We’re ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk,” said Tillerson, “and we’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions.”

    “Let’s just meet and let’s – we can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face?” he added.

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  • Attack on Peacekeepers in DRC Indicates Increasing Extremist Activity

    The attack on United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by lesser-known violent extremists called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) indicates that the group poses a more serious threat than previously believed as it continues to ratchet up its activity in region, capitalizing on the persistent political instability in the DRC, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “If this attack was indeed carried out by the so-called Allied Democratic Forces, it is signals an escalation in the group’s violence that is not surprising given that it has, over the course of the last year or two, been ratcheting up its activity, fueled not only by possible links with other jihadist organizations, but also the failure of governance in the Congo,” said J. Peter Pham, vice president for regional initiatives and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

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  • Reconstruction Funds Will Not Change Assad’s Behavior in Syria

    The promise of foreign reconstruction aid will not induce cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is why international efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged country should focus on local solutions, removed from the regime’s sphere of influence, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “A regime that would rather have gone through what it had to go through over the past six years… than [share] political power… is not going to do so if we offer them money,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    Among others, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, has deemed reconstruction funding the last bit of leverage Western nations still hold over the Assad regime. However, Itani said: “I don’t see it.” He said Assad would...

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  • Sparking Entrepreneurship in the Balkans

    The solution to persistent problems in the Balkans lies with the region’s people, particularly the youth who can catalyze economic reforms and drive the countries of Southeastern Europe toward a vibrant, entrepreneurial economy.

    The key, according to US Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), is rolling back government regulations in order to “spark entrepreneurial zeal.” That spark, said Johnson, is essential for the Balkans—a region with “so many opportunities.”

    Speaking at the Atlantic Council’s conference—“A Coming Storm? Shaping a Balkan Future in an Era of Uncertainty”—on November 29, Johnson said: “You need a government regulation system to set the rules of the road… but you don’t need much more than that.” The real source of economic dynamism lies with the entrepreneurs and owner-operated businesses, who, according to Johnson, have the ability to change the region for the better and begin to induce more foreign direct investment (FDI).

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  • Could North Korea Hit the United States with a Missile? Perhaps. Or, Maybe Not?

    While it does not confirm any specifics regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s latest test of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) indicates it may be able to strike the continental United States.

    According to the Pentagon’s initial assessment, the missile travelled approximately 1,000 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan. It flew higher and for a longer duration than two previous ICBM launches.

    “North Korea's missile launch is yet another step forward in the country's march toward fully deliverable nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and any other potential targets,” said Jamie Metzl, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

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  • Debt Default Pushes Venezuela Further into Russian Orbit

    Venezuela’s default on a massive international debt and Russia’s ongoing financial assistance to the South American country that is under both US and European Union (EU) sanctions, will push Caracas further into Moscow’s sphere of influence, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “The Russians are throwing lifelines to the criminal Venezuelan regime with the intention of further pushing Caracas into Moscow’s orbit. With Venezuela both under US and EU sanctions and being shunned by the major countries of the hemisphere, the Russians see an opportunity to swoop in and use the situation to their advantage,” said Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. He described how a country that is diplomatically isolated and run by an anti-US regime “provides a huge opportunity for Russia to establish a further footprint in a country that is within the geostrategic, geographical orbit of the United States.”

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  • Will North Korea Lash Out Over State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation?

    The decision by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, while of questionable efficacy, marks a justified increase of pressure from Washington on Pyongyang, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

    In the latest move in an ongoing diplomatic crisis between the United States and North Korea over the latter’s growing nuclear arsenal, North Korea was placed back on the US Department of State’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list on November 20. North Korea joins Iran, Sudan, and Syria on the list.

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  • Here’s Why NATO’s Cyber Operations Center is a Big Deal

    NATO’s newly announced cyber operations center will allow the Alliance to “respond more effectively” to cyber attacks by integrating cyber measures with conventional military capabilities, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    The Alliance has “always had significant conventional capabilities—land, air, and sea—now cyber can be included,” said Franklin D. Kramer, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and an Atlantic Council board member.

    “The value of the cyber operations center is that it will integrate the cyber capabilities with all of the rest of NATO’s military capabilities,” he said.

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  • Addressing Africa’s Rampant Unemployment

    Africa’s rising levels of unemployment, which threaten further instability on a continent already susceptible to unrest and violent extremism, must be addressed by building capacity within the sectors of government able to instigate positive change, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “The jobs issue has really concerned most companies, policy makers, stakeholders across the board because we know that without jobs you have a greater potential for unease, unrest, instability,” said Aubrey Hruby, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    “The scale at which we need to create jobs in Africa is unprecedented,” she added.

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  • What is the Future of US-Turkey Relations?

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