Rachel Ansley

  • Italy Seeks a US-European Front to Face Common Challenges

    ‘Transatlantic bond remains as important as ever,’ said Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano

    Unprecedented migration, instability in the Middle East, and the growing threat of terrorism necessitate a joint US-European approach to common security challenges that stem from the Mediterranean region, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said at the Atlantic Council on March 21.

    “In the past, common security threats came from the east,” said Alfano, adding, “today, they are coming from the southern shores of the Mediterranean.” Describing the Mediterranean region as a strategically significant location that ties the European Union (EU) to NATO and then to the United States, Alfano insisted that “a common effort in the Mediterranean is a keystone to our security,” and should be a priority in NATO strategy.  

    “Europe and the United States face common challenges in the Mediterranean,” he said. “For this reason, I am convinced that our...

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  • The Importance of Values in Engagement with Russia

    In devising a strategy to counter Russian aggression, the new US administration must keep in mind the significance of fundamental values and frame a foreign policy accordingly, said Simon Palamar, a senior fellow with the Center for International Governance and Innovation.

    “Invoking values… is useful for reminding us about what we’re doing this for and why we’re pursuing this policy,” he said. While US President Donald J. Trump has expressed a desire for improved relations between the White House and the Kremlin, Palamar said, “Russia and the United States still simply have incompatible positions and interests on a lot of things.” These opposing positions cannot be bridged solely by good relations between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the values informing the US stance on the world stage must not be disregarded for the sake of expediency, according to Palamar. “That leads to discord; that leads to resentment.”

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  • Trump’s Budget Will Weaken National Security, say Lawmakers

    US President Donald J. Trump’s draft budget, which proposes to increase defense spending by slashing funding for the US Department of State and foreign aid, would imperil national security efforts and weaken the US stance on the world stage, according to two US lawmakers—one a Democrat and the other a Republican.

    “You cannot balance the budget on the back of discretionary spending,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). “If [increased defense spending] comes at the expense of the State Department, it’s not a recipe for success; it’s a recipe for making our national security weaker.”

    Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) echoed Moulton’s concern over the proposed budget, warning: “If you’re going to cut State, you’re going to have to increase the bullets. That does translate into body bags.”

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  • A Strategy for Countering Russian Revanchism

    US President Donald J. Trump’s administration should pursue a policy of “constrainment”—an attempt to hinder Russian revanchism while bolstering Western alliances—to counter Russia’s aggression on the world stage, according to a new Atlantic Council report.

    Ash Jain, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security, joined James Nixey, head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, for a Facebook Live discussion to examine the idea of constrainment and how it can help the United States oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine the West. This policy is outlined in Strategy of “Constrainment”: Countering Russia’s Challenge to the Democratic Orderof which Jain is a co-author.

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  • 'Mexico Has Options'

    Energy sector reform will continue with or without the United States, said former Mexican official

    Though recent political tensions threaten the stability of US-Mexico relations, Mexico’s ongoing energy sector reform will continue without US partnership, if necessary, according to Mexico’s former deputy secretary of energy.

    “Mexico’s energy reform does not depend on the United States,” Lourdes Melgar, who now serves at the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies, said at the Atlantic Council on March 16. “If the United States does not want to have business with Mexico,” Melgar cautioned, “I think they’re missing the picture, because Mexico has options.”

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  • When Political Realities Get in the Way of Transatlantic Growth

    Political realities on both sides of the Atlantic have a significant impact on economic opportunity, and policymakers must address this dynamic in order to begin the process of stimulating European economic growth, José Manuel Barroso, a former president of the European Commission and former prime minister of Portugal, said at the Atlantic Council on March 10.

    “There is a possibility to do things, but that depends on the politics,” said Barroso, who also serves as a co-chair of the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative.

    “The most important risks today are political and geopolitical,” said Barroso, “but I believe there are conditions for Europe to prosper.”

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  • Emigration Threatens Russia’s Stability

    The rapidly climbing numbers of Russians fleeing the country in search of political freedom and economic opportunity in the West has become the greatest threat to the stability of the Russian Federation, said an Atlantic Council analyst.

    According to Alina Polyakova, director of research for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, “the fact that you have this outward migration is a significant national security threat to the Russian Federation.” She said: “this is the number one threat to a Russian Federation that seeks to gain its foothold in the world again.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership ushered in an era where a revanchist Russia has clamped down on social freedoms at home in order to exert its aggression and influence on the global stage. However, these efforts may be impacted by instability at home. Between 2000 and 2014, approximately 1.8 million Russians left the country “under [Putin’s] watch,” said Polyakova, citing...

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  • Africa Seen as Key to Addressing Global Challenges

    An increase of investment and innovation in Africa has made the continent a rising power on the global stage and an essential partner for the United States in facing today’s myriad global challenges, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, said at the Atlantic Council on March 9.

    “The truth is we can’t meet today’s global challenges without Africa,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “When one thinks about ending poverty, fighting extremism, and boosting economic growth, Africa is central to these efforts.”

    Despite the many challenges the continent has faced, Africa “is the next frontier for global opportunities,” she said.

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  • Negotiating Peace in Libya

    In order to end the civil war in Libya, those competing for power must meet, negotiate, and establish a path to free and fair elections early in 2018, Jonathan Winer, a former US State Department special envoy for Libya, said at the Atlantic Council on March 9.

    The three factions claiming sole legitimacy and authority in Libya should “negotiate a deal… come together for the good of the country, create an interim government, and have elections in 2018,” said Winer. Of international allies and partners invested in the region, he said, “everybody pretty much sees it the same way. That’s what needs to happen.”

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  • Trump’s ‘Rhetoric of Hate’ May Sway Mexico’s Elections

    Mexican presidential candidate sees risk of an anti-American Mexican leader


    The “rhetoric of hate” that has dominated US President Donald J. Trump’s approach to Mexico could impact the outcome of Mexico’s presidential elections in 2018 and determine the future of the US-Mexican partnership, Margarita Zavala, a candidate for the Mexican presidency, said at the Atlantic Council on March 7.

    “We have a rhetoric of hate coming from the president of the United States, beginning with the campaign,” said Zavala, urging: “It’s important to take that kind of rhetoric seriously because of what it gives rise to. That’s the risk we’re seeing in Mexico.” She said Mexico is ready to take a step back from its relationship with Washington “and that’s because of what’s happening in the United States.”

    The prospect of an anti-American Mexican president “is a matter that has an impact on future relations and the future of us all,” she added.

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