Recent Events

Supply teachers are not to be envied. While they may be highly qualified in a particular subject, they re often sent in to teach classes they are not familiar with and doing so without the necessary training.

Over the past several years, similar scenes have been repeating themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Western troops have been training local armed forces. While competent in combat, the military instructors have essentially been functioning like supply teachers: teaching without the necessary educational background, and only for a limited period of time.

Now the United States and the United Kingdom are addressing the issue: both countries are pioneering Teacher Corps. Other countries should follow their example.
North Korean Gen. Kim Yong-chol is believed to have orchestrated a deadly attack on a South Korean warship, the bombardment of a South Korean island, and, possibly, the cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

Now, the former North Korean spy chief is on a different mission. Kim Yong-chol will lead his country’s delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on February 25. There he is expected to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in to pave the way for a peace summit proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea follows several months of missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang and is playing out in the high-wattage arena afforded by the Winter Olympics.

The order is holding for now, but the trends are worrisome

The state of the global order one year into Donald Trump’s presidency will be at the top of the agenda when global security experts meet in Munich from February 16-18.

The  outlook was bleak even before the 2016 US election. The rules-based, democratic order, led by the United States and its allies for the past seven decades, seemed daunted by hard challenges. The great power autocracies—China and Russia—were pushing back against its core principles, and US allies were losing confidence in America’s willingness to lead.  With his populist, anti-globalist campaign, Trump’s election magnified these concerns. While the democratic order appears to be holding—for now—the trend lines suggest a  difficult road ahead. 
February 16 marks the start of the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC)—the “Davos of international security”—in Germany. A Rolodex of top defense and foreign affairs leaders from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and elsewhere will convene to take on a wide array of pressing global security issues.

While the issues on the 2018 agenda are varied, a few prominent themes stand out: the rise of great-power competition between the United States, China, and Russia; the looming geopolitical and societal impacts of new technologies and emerging threats; and the future of the liberal international order.
Last Tuesday, January 31, the Atlantic Council joined the US chapter of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA-US) and George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs' Graduate Student Forum (GSF), and young professionals in DC’s transatlantic community to watch President Trump’s first State of the Union address to Congress.

On December 6, 2017 the Atlantic Council hosted a day of expert panels that explored different approaches to envisioning and understanding the future and their application to preparing the US Army for tomorrow’s challenges. 
On December 11 the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security launched the thirteenth volume in the Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series.

Even as it supports the Olympic thaw between North and South Korea, US President Donald J. Trump’s administration is keeping up pressure on Pyongyang, evidenced by US Vice President Mike Pence’s promise that the “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions on North Korea are imminent.

On February 7, two days ahead of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Pence described North Korea as having the “most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.” He insisted that the United States will continue to intensify the heat of sanctions until North Korea takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
Touted as a speech of unity, US President Donald J. Trump’s first State of the Union address is likely to do little to mend the divisions and gridlock in Washington.

The speech on January 30 did reflect the maturation of Trump in the role of president along with that of his administration. It was a more even, sophisticated, and coherent speech than the one he gave as a political rookie to a joint session of Congress last year. This was a reflection of the firm hand of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as well as the departure of some of the polarizing and divisive personalities that had previously occupied the White House. But it also contained a fierce and combative restatement by the president of many campaign themes that sets clear battle lines for the year ahead.


    

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