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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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  • 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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  • Trump’s Address to Congress: ‘A New Trajectory’

    US President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on February 28 marked “a new trajectory” for the administration by reassuring allies while ensuring continuity of US foreign policy when it comes to international alliances, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

    Trump’s speech “covered some ground that needed to be covered, NATO, commitment to allies, working with Muslim allies… and so this was a necessary and critical first step,” to address uncertainties about US commitment and reassure US allies, according to Barry Pavel, Atlantic Council senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. In light of Trump’s statements, Pavel said the new administration “will pursue a lot of continuity in US foreign policy.”

    “A lot more needs to happen,” said Pavel, “but this is a step we’ve all been waiting for, and now we can get going.” Pavel joined Alex Ward, associate director of the...

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  • Here's Why Mexico Matters

    If the current tension in the US-Mexico relationship gets out of hand it could disrupt crucial cooperation between the two countries on checking the flow of unauthorized migrants into the United States, said an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “The great danger here is that, in all of this tension, something is going to boil over,” said Peter Schechter, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

    Mexico provides essential security assistance in deterring migrants from Central America crossing into the United States. “That, too, is in danger if things boil over,” said Schechter. “I imagine all cooperation will stop and, therefore, all of these people will start flowing upward.” 

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  • Iran Tests Trump

    Iran is testing the weight of US President Donald J. Trump’s words with its latest missile tests, said an Atlantic Council analyst.

    Tensions between Iran and the United States have been ratcheted up as Trump and his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said they were putting the Islamic Republic “on notice” in response to Iran’s ballistic missile test on January 29 and an attack the next day by Iranian-backed rebels on a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen. US officials said on February 8 that Iran had tested yet another missile.

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  • Trump Must Stand Up to Putin

    US President Donald J. Trump needs to take a strong stance against Russian aggression in order to protect US national security interests, according to an Atlantic Council expert.

    “This is very dangerous for the United States to show such weakness in the face of Kremlin aggression,” said John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, on February 9.  

    “I hope that the president and those around him recognize that these policies are policies of weakness, and America cannot be great if it’s not able to defend its principles as well as its interests,” he added.

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  • German Authorities Tread Carefully After Berlin Attack

    ISIS claims responsibility; official response ‘measured’ 

    German authorities have been “careful not to jump to conclusions” following a December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin despite the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has claimed responsibility, said Jasmine El-Gamal, a senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

    “They’re being very measured,” El-Gamal said. “[T]hey’re not quick… to shift the blame to someone else because they’re still in fact-gathering mode.”

    El-Gamal joined Fran Burwell, vice president for European Union and Special Initiatives at the Atlantic Council, for a Facebook Live discussion on December 20 to examine the security situation in Europe in light of the attack, as well as the potential political implications. 

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  • A Fine Balance: Responding to Russian Cyberattacks

    Russian cyberattacks on the eve of the US presidential elections clearly benefitted one candidate—Donald Trump. How to respond to this meddling is another matter altogether.

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirmed in a secret assessment first reported by The Washington Post that Russia was involved in the cybersecurity breach of both the Democratic and Republican National Committee networks.

    The release of information connected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was “an attempt to influence, not directly the results of our election, but reframe the narrative around them that clearly benefitted one candidate over the other,” said Alina Polyakova, deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and senior fellow with...

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  • Zimbabwe: Time for Change?

    As Zimbabwe looks ahead to the 2018 presidential elections, the country is ready for an overhaul of the existing political system and deserves a positive change, a political opposition leader said in a Facebook Live interview at the Atlantic Council on December 13.

    According to Noah Manyika, the convener of the Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA), “I think it is time now for Zimbabwe to go in a different direction.” Speaking to the goals of his political party, Manyika said: “What we want is the best leadership for our country.” Manyika joined Munatsi Manyande, also with BZA, to discuss the opposition’s projects and aims ahead of the election. Chloë McGrath, a visiting fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, conducted the interview.

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  • Domestic Reforms Must Be a Priority for France

    France occupies a unique geopolitical position and can positively influence Europe’s trajectory, but first it must undertake significant domestic reforms, Jérémie Gallon, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative, said in a Facebook Live discussion on December 6.

    Gallon joined Jeffrey Lightfoot, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security, to discuss their forthcoming publication, Spotlight France: Europe’s Swing State.

    In the report, both authors argue that “what happens in France matters across Europe and it matters around the world.” Lightfoot and Gallon agreed that the future France decides to pursue, a pressing concern in light of upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in May and June of 2017, respectively, will set the tone for the rest of Europe with regard to rising populism, economic reform, and the integration of Muslim...

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