Original pieces written by Atlantic Council staff or affiliates.
  • The Populist Challenge to the Liberal International Order

    Right-wing populism constitutes a sustained challenge to the seventy-year-old so-called liberal international order, a postwar construction of a body of ideas, laws, and cross-border security arrangements that have allowed the Western world to prosper while promoting general values of democracy, openness, and the rule of law.

    A deep backlash to the liberal order has already entangled the British referendum on European Union (EU) membership and the US presidential election, both in 2016.

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  • Democracy in Tunisia: Façade or Reality?

    Disappointment surrounding Tunisia’s democratic transition abounds in the country, and the volatile economy adds a degree of difficulty to politicians’ agendas. Economic development is always a long and arduous process, but the current strategy is clearly inadequate. Tunisians call on the government to do more to pull the economy out of stagnation by increasing public investment, providing jobs, and undertaking infrastructure projects. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) insist the Tunisian government pull back government subsidies and increase taxes. Tunisia must balance the need to provide economic opportunity and governmental services against the demands of the IMF. The solution is not in pursuing economic reforms alone, but also political reforms that supplement and support a healthy economy. Increased transparency, accountability, and good governance are essential in improving the economy and satisfying the population’s desire for jobs, technology, and opportunities.

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  • Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch Threatens to Worsen Arab-Kurdish Relations

    Turkey and Syrian opposition factions took control of Afrin and its countryside after a two-month assault that caused high civilian casualties and the displacement of tens of thousands. In light of an emerging Kurdish-Arab conflict in Syria, some see a Russian-Turkish deal on Afrin and Ghouta as a dangerous indicator at a critical stage in the crisis.

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  • On the Issues: Bolton vs. McMaster

    US President Donald J. Trump announced on March 22 that John R. Bolton will take over as the next US national security advisor on April 9. Here's a look at some of Bolton's positions on key foreign policy issues over the years, contrasted with those of his predecessor, Lt. Gen. H.R. Mcmaster.

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  • McMaster Out. Bolton In.

    John R. Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations known for his hawkish foreign policy views, will replace Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as US President Donald J. Trump’s new National Security Advisor.

    Trump made the personnel announcement in a tweet on the evening of March 22.

    The decision to replace McMaster comes nine days after Trump fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—also in a tweet. He nominated central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson.

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  • Shots Fired In A Trade War?

    A global trade war is not out of the question anymore. US President Donald J. Trump has set the first domino in motion, and it will be hard to stop.

    Specifically, Trump has in March alone imposed two tariffs—one targeting Chinese imports and the other the steel and aluminum imports. The latter go into effect on March 23.

    Taken together, these tariffs will have far-reaching, global implications that could escalate into a trade war.

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  • Ukraine's Foreign Minister Says Salisbury Attack Proves Putin Has ‘No Red Lines’

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin came to Brussels this week to meet European Union (EU) foreign ministers. He had a dual mission.

    Klimkin made his usual appeal to his European counterparts for more help for Ukraine, but also asked them to do more to protect themselves from a Kremlin he says has no limits after Vladimir Putin’s effortless reinstallation as president on March 18.

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  • Brexit Talks Sadly Lack Vision

    The British government and the European Union (EU) are celebrating the latest “milestone” in negotiations to end Britain’s EU membership—agreement on a transition period of twenty-one months after the United Kingdom leaves the EU in just over a year’s time. EU leaders endorsed the agreement at a European Council meeting in Brussels on March 23.

    But there should be little joy in the celebration. It is a marker reached by plodding steps in a bureaucratic process characterized by lack of vision and statesmanship on both sides. The deal could have been reached many months ago with greater political determination, and there are much harder negotiations ahead.

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  • Sarkozy’s Gadhafi Connection

    Former French president faces probe over campaign funds

    Commentators and analysts have long wondered about the speed with which France acted to support rebels that rose up against Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s longtime leader, in the spring of 2011.

    The official narrative sees Henry Bernard-Levy, the French philosopher and opinion maker, as playing a pivotal role in pushing then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to assume a proactive position on intervention to protect the citizens of Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi.

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  • Trump in a China Shop

    Attention Walmart shoppers: Those cheap electronics and apparel with “Made in China” tags on them will soon cost more.

    US President Donald J. Trump on March 22 slapped $60 billion in tariffs on China, retaliating against its theft of technology and trade secrets.

    The tariffs come at a particularly delicate time as the Trump administration requires China’s support for dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis.

    While most analysts agree with Trump’s assessment of the China problem, they also say that tariffs are unlikely to change Chinese business practices. The United States had a $375 billion trade deficit with China in 2017, nearly two-thirds of the total US global trade deficit. What would get China’s attention is reciprocity in terms of business practices.

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