Event Recaps

Even by its own standards, Venezuela is experiencing a period of crisis. Daily clashes occur between government and opposition forces as thousands take to the street to protest the government’s consolidation of power. Recently, twelve nations met in Lima to condone the rupture of democratic order in Venezuela. Mexico, Panama, Colombia, and the United States have placed additional economic restrictions on current and former government officials. Yet, despite these efforts, Venezuela’s government has moved ahead with a constitutional overhaul, prompting the United States to threaten stronger economic measures.  

On August 9, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center held a public conference call on with Francisco Monaldi, Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, and David Mortlock, Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, to discuss the Arsht Center’s latest publication, Venezuela: What Are The Most Effective US Sanctions?. The authors provided an in-depth discussion, moderated by center director Jason Marczak, about five US sanctions options and laid out principles to be applied, stressing the need for joint action with the international community.

Read More

On August 2, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on the week-long round of cybersecurity conferences known as “Hacker Summer Camp” – DEF CON, Black Hat, and BSides Las Vegas. Ariel Robinson, Analyst and Reporter for ITSP Magazine and Host of The Tech Effect podcast, moderated a conversation with Nick Leiserson, Legislative Director for the Office of U.S. Representative Jim Langevin; Cris Thomas (also known as Space Rogue), Global Strategy Lead for IBM X-Force Red; Jessica Wilkerson, Professional Staff Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Beau Woods, Deputy Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security on the three cybersecurity conferences that welcomed top hackers, academics, journalists, professionals, and government representatives. 

Read More

A new poll of Iranian public opinion shows rising support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) coupled with a willingness by Iranians to support restarting suspended aspects of the country’s nuclear program if the United States walks away from the JCPOA.

These findings were among those revealed on July 28, 2017, when the South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a discussion of the ramifications of Hassan Rouhani’s re-election as Iranian president.

Ebrahim Mohseni, a research scholar at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, spoke extensively about the new report, which reflected data collected by telephone in May and June 2017 and followed on two years of prior polls.

Read More

On July 24, 2017, the South Asia Center hosted a discussion on the role of media in fostering relations between India and Pakistan. Senator Mushahid Hussain, Member of the Pakistani Senate and Former Minister of Information and Media Broadcasting, and India’s Former Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari discussed the role of journalists and social media in both fueling and addressing tensions between the two nations.

The speakers spoke extensively about the role of news media in shaping public perceptions of the opposing country. They agreed that while some elements of the media encourage national narratives predicated on distrust and hostility, it is important to maintain a free and open media which allows the exchange of all ideas. They suggested that the states should construct factual counter-narratives to encourage informed popular opinion.

Read More

Since the beginning of 2017, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to protest the government’s repressive policies and worsening economic and humanitarian crisis. Following a massive referendum on July 16 in which millions of Venezuelans voted against a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution, the international community is again considering its next move.

To discuss the path ahead for the crisis-stricken country, on Friday, July 21, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted a panel discussion, ‘Venezuela on the Edge: The Time for New International Action’ with Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro. The event also launched the Atlantic Council’s new Venezuela Tracker, which for the first time aggregates a wide range of indicators like inflation and external debt in real time. The beta version is set to be updated over the next few weeks with additional indicators on health and poverty.

Read More

Corruption scandals continue to shake Latin America´s political landscape, but several institutions and anti-corruption movements have risen to the challenge. Across the region, vigorous investigations have implicated elite circles of business and politics –deemed untouchable– in major graft cases. Unprecedented in scale and impact, Brazil´s Lava Jato probe stands as the centerpiece of this new anti-corruption wave. As the fight against corruption gains momentum, the Brazilian experience leaves key lessons to share regarding Latin America´s judicial institutions and cooperation. 

Read More

On Wednesday, July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosted Daniel Yergin, Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Ambassador Daniel Fried, Jeffrey Turner, and David Mortlock for a discussion about the Russia sanctions bill making its way through Congress. The discussion was moderated by Global Energy Center Associate Director Ellen Scholl.

The event opened with remarks from Vice Chairman of IHS Markit Daniel Yergin, who also joined the panel discussion, which covered European concerns, the intent of the bill, Office of Foreign Asset Control licensing authority, Congress’ ability to make changes to the bill, precedent for carve-outs, Nord Stream 2, Russia’s potential reaction to the bill, what part of the US government will manage the sanctions, and potential fixes for the bill.

Read More

Fostering prosperity and security in Central Asia should be a priority for the Trump administration as the region’s economic and democratic potential increases, former assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal remarked at the Atlantic Council on July 18.

In previous years, the five Central Asian countries—Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—were only seen through the lens of US needs in Afghanistan. This recently began to change, as “we saw in the last three years a great deal of attention being focused on Central Asia by… Russia, China, [and] certainly Iran,” said Biswal. She urged the current US administration to follow the lead of the other world powers and to focus more on Central Asia, encouraging increased engagement with Kazakhstan in particular.

Read More

On Monday July 17th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft initiative, part of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, held a moderated discussion where panelists Laura Galante, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and former director of Global Intelligence at FireEye; Alexander Klimburg, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and program director at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies; Jane Holl Lute, Atlantic Council board director and CEO of SICPA; and  moderator Tal Kopan, political reporter at CNN, discussed the chilling consequences of cyberspace as a new field of conflict.

Read More

On July 14, 2017, the Atlantic Council’s Sudan Task Force launched its latest report, Sudan: A Strategy for Re-Engagement by Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates with Kelsey Lilley.

Read More