Rachel Ansley

  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • What is the Future of US-Turkey Relations?


    Read More
  • Asia Trip Seen as Opportunity for Trump to Articulate Policy

    US President Donald J. Trump’s upcoming trip to Asia presents him with an opportunity to articulate his policy toward the region and “dispel the uncertainty about US engagement that has haunted the region since January,” according to a former US official.

    “It is about time,” said David Shear, who served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs in the Obama administration, while noting that formulating such a policy will allow Trump to solidify ties with allies in the region and promote US interests on a range of political, security, and economic issues.

    Trump leaves for Asia on November 3 on a trip that will include stops in China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

    Read More
  • The Xi Dynasty?

    China’s president re-elected with no clear successor in sight

    Xi Jinping’s re-election to a second five-year term as China’s president, without a clear successor, cements his grip on the Asian nation and raises questions about the future of economic, political, and social reforms in the country, according to Atlantic Council analysts.  

    Xi was re-elected at the end of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on October 25. His re-election coincided with the unveiling of a new Politburo Standing Committee, the six men who will join Xi in governing China for the next five years. None of the individuals could be considered political rivals to Xi, or potential successors.

    His re-election with no successor in sight allows Xi to posit himself as “the undisputed leader of China well beyond his second five-year term,” according to Jamie...

    Read More
  • Financial Pressure Needed to Prevent Financial Crimes in the DRC

    The United States should apply sanctions on illicit financial networks and crack down on money laundering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where a "violent kleptocracy" has fueled an ongoing and deadly conflict, John Prendergast, co-founder of The Sentry and founding director of the Enough Project, said at the Atlantic Council.

    Increased consequences for government corruption and humanitarian atrocities are brought to bear “through the tools of financial pressure that are used when the United States is serious about a policy issue,” said Prendergast. Such measures can be seen in Washington’s dealings with Iran and North Korea. In regions such as the DRC, “by far the deadliest warzone in the world since World War II,” according to Prendergast, “conventional tools of diplomacy and crisis response are simply inadequate.”

    Read More
  • Xi Seeks to Solidify Grip on China

    The National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opened in Beijing on October 18, will solidify Chinese President Xi Jinping’s grip on Chinese politics and society, part of a plan to guide the Asian nation toward dominance on the world stage, potentially at the expense of the United States, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

    During a three-and-a-half-hour speech which opened the Congress, Xi lauded the economic, social, and political gains made during his first five-year term. He also laid out his vision for further progress.

    Hardline reforms and a political crackdown from Beijing have brought China to the cusp of what Xi deems “new era.”

    Read More
  • In Somalia, Bombings Highlight Limits of US Military Assistance

    The deadly bombings in Mogadishu, attributed to, yet not claimed by al-Shabaab, highlight the need for a new strategy from both US forces and the Somali government to counter violent extremism as militant groups adapt to increased US military action, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

    “The weekend’s attacks highlight the limits of the military assistance [that the Somali government] has received,” said J. Peter Pham, vice president and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “As the enemy has shifted, so too must the emphasis now move to building up police and intelligence capacities.”

    However, this is not a call for an increased US role in Somali state-building. “We need to recognize that what we can realistically do is minimize the threat that al-Shabaab and other militants can pose to regional security,” said Pham, adding: “What we cannot do is make Somalia ‘work’—only Somalis can do that.”

    Read More
  • Trump and the Art of the [Iran Nuclear] Deal

    As expected, US President Donald J. Trump on October 13 announced that he will not certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of a multilateral nuclear deal, accusing the Islamic Republic of “not living up to the spirit” of the agreement.

    While Trump did not take the United States out of the deal, he asserted the right to do so and warned that he would if the US Congress does not make amendments to the agreement.

    At the top of the list of amendments Trump would like is for Congress to address the issue of the “sunset clauses” in the deal. These clauses lift certain restrictions placed on Iran ten to fifteen years after the agreement took effect in January of 2016. However, even at that...

    Read More
  • Voting Machines: A National Security Vulnerability?

    The political instability that has resulted from Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections has put the focus on voting machines as a national security vulnerability, Douglas Lute, a former US permanent representative to NATO, said at the Atlantic Council on October 10.

    “I don’t think I’ve seen a more severe threat to American national security than the election hacking experience of 2016,” said Lute. There is a “fundamental democratic connection between the individual voter and the democratic outcome” of an election, he said, adding: “If you can undermine that, you don’t need to attack America with planes and ships. You can attack democracy from the inside.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin “added to the political gridlock in Washington today, all at very low cost to him,” said Lute. “In military terms, this is the classic definition of a threat.”

    Read More