Event Recaps

On Thursday, October 5, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted an exclusive briefing with Mr. Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo, President of the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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Following the end of the third round of NAFTA renegotiations, on October 5, 2017 the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted an event to launch a new country-by-country publication “What if NAFTA Ended? The Imperative of a Successful Renegotiation”. The authors Javier Mancera, Phil Levy, Daniel Schwanen, Jason Marczak and Katherine Pereira quantify the gains and the wide-ranging implications of successful renegotiations.

The public discussion that launched the report began with an introductory statement by Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America CenterJason Marczak, who highlighted that via NAFTA the US, Mexico and Canada have worked together, tripled their trade volume and significantly deepened their cultural, diplomatic, and security ties. He stated that despite these gains, we have failed to communicate the benefits of the agreement to the American people.

The Honorable Will Hurd (R-TX-23rd district) gave opening remarks and stated that trade is an issue that impacts every sector of the US economy emphasizing the importance of Mexican firms and their investment for border cities. Ambassador Bob Zoellick followed and focused on a global perspective and talked about the future stakes of US, Canada and Mexico at the global stage if NAFTA ended. He said, “pulling out of NAFTA would send a negative message to the rest of the world, by showing a US that is not willing to support openness and play by the rules.”

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On Thursday, October 5, 2017 the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center jointly hosted Mr. Gonzalo Aguirre, Mr. José María Castro, Mr. Giovani Machado, and Ms. Sue Saarnio for a discussion about the changing energy markets in Latin America and the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the regional energy mix. The discussion was moderated by the chairman of the Global Energy Center’s Advisory Group and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s nonresident senior fellow, Mr. David Goldwyn.

The event opened with remarks from Mr. Goldwyn, who provided context on economic and energy developments of the last decade throughout Latin America, from increasing hydropower and renewable energy production to fiscal crises that have impacted cross-border trade. Following this introduction, Mr. Aguirre, Director of National Transport and Measurement of Hydrocarbons in the Argentinian Ministry of Energy and Mining, discussed regulatory frameworks for LNG in Argentina, as well as the country’s trade relationships with Bolivia and Chile. When asked about the status of energy in Colombia, Mr. Castro, general manager at Sociedad Portuaria El Cayao (SPEC LNG), touched on the country’s opening of a new LNG import terminal, the government’s mechanisms for financing projects including thermal generators, and the country’s trade relationship with Venezuela. Mr. Castro also called for increased energy integration throughout the region, pointing to a successful trade relationship between Bolivia and Brazil.

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Written by Dr. Gal Luft, Silk Road 2.0: US Strategy toward China's Belt and Road Initiative explores how the United States should engage with China's tremendous infrastructure-building project, and recommends the United States pursue a strategy of constructive participation. This strategy is built on five pillars: acknowledge, engage, adjust; articulate red lines; carve a role for the United States; integrate the BRI into the framework of overall US-China Relations; and present America's own vision for infrastructure development.

The discussion focused on two main themes: the geopolitical and strategic reasons why the United States should engage in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the United States can do so while maintaining and protecting its interests. Overall, the panelists felt the BRI provides avenues for a constructive and cooperative relationship with China, the United States should want a role in development of underdeveloped regions which also provide US companies the opportunity to compete, and, lastly, China’s accrued influence in the countries where their projects are a success will test other hegemonic powers including Russia and India. One particular area to watch is China’s large investments in long-time ally Pakistan’s development. Ambassador Gray, Dr. Oh, and Dr. Luft all described how engagement with the BRI is in the United States’ interest as it helps create the standards for infrastructure development. The BRI provides private sector businesses with transparency to the contract competition process, providing fair access to capital for proposed BRI projects. The US government should help ensure fair access and transparency to business who wish to enter BRI projects. The overall conclusion is this: the BRI is moving forward with or without the US – the strategy that is proposed in this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper provides a roadmap to supporting China’s interest and investments in international development while maintaining US interests and security by selectively choosing when to endorse and when to rebuff aspects of the BRI.
On October 3, The Atlantic Council’s Economic Sanctions Initiative held a two-paneled public event entitled: Economic Sanctions After Brexit: What Roles Should the Public and Private Sector Play? 

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European ambassadors to the United States on September 25 defended the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is working, while warning that reopening negotiations would be a nonstarter and walking away from the deal would have serious consequences.

This joint defense comes as US President Donald J. Trump, who has to certify to the US Congress by October 15 that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, has reiterated his displeasure with the deal.

Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, said the onus is on those who seek to renegotiate the deal to prove that first, renegotiation is possible, and second, it will deliver better results. “We don’t think it will be possible to renegotiate it and we believe there is no practical, peaceful alternative to this deal,” Wittig said.

Read full article here.
On September 21, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on Nonresident Senior Fellow, Andrea Matwyshyn’s current research project: The Internet of Bodies and the game-changing security, legal, and ethical implications of Internet-connected medical implants. The Hon. Franklin D. Kramer provided opening remarks for the event.

David Forscey, a Policy Analyst for the Homeland Security and Public Safety Division of the

National Governors Association moderated a panel comprised of Dr. Andrea Matwyshyn, Nonresident Senior Fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Professor of Law at Northeastern University; Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; Janine Medina, a Biohacker and the Project Manager of the Biohacking Village at DEFCON; and Gail Slater, General Counsel of the Internet Association.
 

For years, cybersecurity has focused on physical objects that comprise the Internet of Things, but with technological advances in healthcare, this now includes medical implants. What began with external, smart objects like FitBits, has steadily grown to internet-connected pacemakers, cochlear and microchip implants, and more. With the implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 2016, we now face a new era of imperative and legal security research of consumer devices that are attached to both the Internet and the human body. This “Internet of Bodies” will inevitably expose us to unprecedented cybersecurity vulnerabilities, introduce conflict across several legal regimes, and raise fundamental ethical questions about the future of what it means to be human in an age of technology-mediated bodies and artificial intelligence.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable discussion with His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali.

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On Monday, September 18, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce, hosted a roundtable discussion with H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso.

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On September 15, the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative hosted a private roundtable discussion with H.E. Nikos Pappas, Greek Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media and Chief Strategist to Prime Minsiter Alexis Tsipras.  

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