Publications

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The Trump administration should not take up its work under the assumption that the United States, with only 5 percent of the world’s population and around a quarter of the world’s economy, can continue to be an indispensable presence on the world stage. America’s relative decline since 1945 seems to be a byproduct of the post-World War II system it created along with its allies and partners, in which the United States worked to bring millions out of poverty, give other nations incentives to strengthen their governance structures and institutions, and establish global norms of behavior. That effort sought to ensure no worldwide conflicts recurred. However, fostering an environment where states, groups, and individuals could be further empowered naturally eroded America’s once-monopolistic strength; the United States has brought humanity to a new era where many are powerful and many can potentially lead.

 
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America’s future, and that of other nations and peoples, will be most secure in the long term with an emphasis on future prosperity unlocked by the Internet.
The problem is that there is no guarantee that the future of the Internet, and the larger entirety of cyberspace, will be as rosy as its past. It is possible, even likely, that the Internet will not remain as resilient, free, secure, and awesome for future generations as it has been for current ones. 

 
Africa’s story is increasingly one of economic dynamism that is driven, in part, by political reform and improvements in governance. But, there are also very real security, humanitarian, and developmental challenges that remain to be confronted. The United States has a stake in helping to tackle these challenges, not least because it is in its own national interest to do so.
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Over the past several decades, the United States has led globally on expansion of a rules-based trade agenda. However, the United States has not had a development agenda of comparable priority. The Bretton Woods economic institutions and the leading regional multilateral development banks (MDBs), which have formed the core multilateral financial architecture since World War II, today face skepticism as to their long-term relevance, particularly in the face of declining US support. This report, A Path to US Leadership in the Asia-Pacific: Revitalizing the Multilateral Financial Institutions, authored by Olin Wethington and Robert A. Manning, focuses on the challenge of revitalizing these institutions on behalf of an economic order aligned with the strategic interests of the United States and its closest Asian allies.

 
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The pace with which Iran’s conventional missile program has been developing in recent years suggests that the country’s missiles could become much more accurate, and thus deadly, within a few years, potentially providing Tehran with a new set of military options and a higher degree of operational flexibility. This would force (and most probably already has forced) the Pentagon to strategize and plan for a range of Iran-related military contingencies in the region like never before. As the utility of Iranian missiles expands beyond deterrence and possibly enters the realm of offense, the likelihood of military crises and kinetic flare ups in the Gulf rises.

 
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While numerous American public, private, philanthropic, scientific, and academic organizations are addressing water challenges the world over, there is no explicit strategy binding their diverse activities together into a coherent whole. This is an unfortunate situation, as the United States has considerable strengths, expertise and influence in the water space.

 
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The Warsaw Summit was a watershed moment for the NATO Alliance. The twenty-eight member states had a unique opportunity to demonstrate NATO’s enduring relevance and ability to defend Europe and the transatlantic area by laying down a marker to build strong and effective conventional and nuclear deterrence. Poland, in particular, should play an important role in NATO’s adaptation to a new and challenging security environment.  

 
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Bahrain has been in the political doghouse in Washington ever since its government crushed Arab Spring-inspired popular protests in February 2011, leading to a political crisis between the government and the opposition that has deepened over the past few weeks. So, it was not surprising when the Bahraini government justified its latest crackdown against Al Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition faction in the country, its explanations fell mostly on closed American ears.

 
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“During the Cold War, we were facing nuclear war if we screwed up. That was an incentive to get it right, to stay ahead of developments. Today, we have no strategy that covers the entire world – the changes that are coming. And there’s a lot of change going. For 500 years, we lived under Westphalian nation-state systems. But globalization has eroded borders. For the first time this world’s people are politicized, interconnected by technology. The nature of power is changing. The nature of international cooperation is changing. The nature of conflict is changing. We’re not evolving well to adapt. This world is not as dangerous as that during the Cold War, but it is much more complicated.”

—Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.)
9th and 17th United States Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

 
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“As technologies further improve the world’s ability to access and operate in space, the new administration will need to rethink how the United States wants to act alongside its fellow nations...This Atlantic Council Strategy Paper does a great job initiating this important conversation at a very important time.”
– James E. Cartwright, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


There are growing risks and threats to US satellites, civilian and military alike, and challenges to stated US goals in space. The question for the new administration, however, is whether hegemonic means to address those challenges are likely to achieve US goals. It is this paper’s assertion that they are not. Instead, a rebalancing of means used to address US goals in space is now necessary, based on a comprehensive assessment of the strategic space environment through the next ten to twenty years, toward ensuring that the ways and means being pursued to address those goals are in alignment. This assessment must extend beyond the Pentagon as well, to include the rapidly expanding cast of governmental and nongovernmental space actors. In particular, industry representatives should be brought into a process of dialogue with the national space security community to discuss priorities and concerns.

 


    

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