Publications

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Bilal Saab, senior fellow and director of the Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute, cautions in a new issue brief, Iran’s Long Game in Bahrain, that analysts should not overstate the strength of Iran’s influence among the Bahraini opposition. However, he warns that Iran’s destabilizing activities in Bahrain are increasing, even as its current role in Bahrain is not very extensive. Iran is becoming more meddlesome in Bahraini politics by co-opting narratives of frustrated political reformers while simultaneously supporting aggressive militant elements with weapons and training via the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Saab concludes that Bahrain must leave as little room for Iran to operate as possible, coupled with a policy of meaningful, inclusive political reform, in order to keep Tehran’s influence at bay.

 
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Twenty years after the Asian Financial Crisis, Asian economies are buoyant, working with a smartly reformed IMF to brace for future crises, and rhetoric aside, it will a while before China’s RMB challenges the US dollar as the world’s first reserve currency. But the risk of regional financial efforts in Europe and Asia leading to a fragmentation of  the global financial system still may be only one global crisis away.

 
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The United States faces threats from outside its borders, but also from within. While domestic issues including healthcare, immigration, and tax reform occupy the media, a more sinister threat exists underfoot. The political system that once created a strong, prosperous, and united nation now sows division. Many of the country’s public institutions, most notably Congress, seem increasingly inept and dangerously dysfunctional. Permanent campaign mode is distracting the country’s institutions from their responsibilities, alienating the public from civic processes, and leaving the country vulnerable to foreign interference.

 
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Geographic proximity and shared religion, specifically Shia Islam, give Iran deep influence in Iraq, as shown in a new Atlantic Council issue brief entitled  “Iran in Iraq,” by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Kenneth M. Pollack. Despite advantages in geography and demography, Pollack argues that Iranian influence in Iraq is not insurmountable. The United States should therefore seek to implement policies that strengthen Iraq's government and unify its people in order to keep Iran at bay. 

 
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The great Asian paradox is that a region steadily becoming more economically integrated is filled with distrust, competing nationalisms, and territorial disputes in the security realm. This is epitomized by Northeast Asia and the North Pacific: the region features the world’s three largest economies; three of the largest militaries; three of the five declared nuclear weapons states, and one de facto nuclear state. It is the locus of the greatest near-term threat to regional stability and order—the North Korea nuclear problem—and it is also increasingly the nexus of the global economy. Each North Korean missile launch and nuclear test highlights the risks of a very dangerous nuclear flashpoint.

 
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No one can know the future. China and Russia—who are currently challenging, albeit in different ways, the Western liberal order—face difficulties at home and could become inward-focused and disengaged. Nonetheless, almost thirty years after the end of the Cold War, geopolitics looks like it is poised for another turn of the wheel that may not be as favorable to Western interests.

 
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Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, writes in a new issue brief entitled "Partners or Competitors? The Future of the Iran-Russia Power Tandem in the Middle East" that Russia and Iran are currently drawn into partnership over common regional interests and anti-American policies and sentiments despite centuries of historical rivalry. While their strategic partnership might not survive long-term shifts in either country’s politics, it remains inimical to US interests in the short-term.

 
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Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, "Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan."

 
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On June 18, 2017, an Indian patrol disrupted construction of a Chinese road along the disputed border of Sikkim, a remote state in northeast India, reigniting a border conflict between China and India. This incident rapidly evolved into a standoff, with the apparent threat of militarized escalation between the two countries. The tension dissipated without consensus on the substantive issues, but under an interim diplomatic arrangement whereby India withdrew troops and China halted its road building, thus ending a seventy-one-day impasse.

 
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The aviation industry is faced with a complex and critical challenge to carefully balance costs with evolving business imperatives, customer demands, and safety standards. The increasing use of new technologies in the movement towards automation has yielded efficiencies and enhanced the customer experience. Yet, it has also inadvertently created vulnerabilities for exploitation. As a central component of commerce, trade, and transportation infrastructure, the aviation industry is indispensable to the global economy. The consequences of failure would carry direct public safety and national security implications.

 


    

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