Recent Events

On Wednesday, July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosted Daniel Yergin, Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Ambassador Daniel Fried, Jeffrey Turner, and David Mortlock for a discussion about the Russia sanctions bill making its way through Congress. The discussion was moderated by Global Energy Center Associate Director Ellen Scholl.

The event opened with remarks from Vice Chairman of IHS Markit Daniel Yergin, who also joined the panel discussion, which covered European concerns, the intent of the bill, Office of Foreign Asset Control licensing authority, Congress’ ability to make changes to the bill, precedent for carve-outs, Nord Stream 2, Russia’s potential reaction to the bill, what part of the US government will manage the sanctions, and potential fixes for the bill.

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Fostering prosperity and security in Central Asia should be a priority for the Trump administration as the region’s economic and democratic potential increases, former assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal remarked at the Atlantic Council on July 18.

In previous years, the five Central Asian countries—Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—were only seen through the lens of US needs in Afghanistan. This recently began to change, as “we saw in the last three years a great deal of attention being focused on Central Asia by… Russia, China, [and] certainly Iran,” said Biswal. She urged the current US administration to follow the lead of the other world powers and to focus more on Central Asia, encouraging increased engagement with Kazakhstan in particular.

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In light of reports of Russian interference in the US elections, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to address the cyber threats facing the United States. The hearing, which took place on January 5, included testimony from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel J. Lettre II, and Commander of the United States Cyber Command Admiral Michael S. Rogers, who also currently serves as a Director of National Security Agency and a Chief of Central Security Services.

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Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk still believes deeply in the power of international norms to maintain peace.

“Today’s world is based on great principles: sovereignty, territorial integrity, and untouchable borders. And as far as I understand the situation, the United States is the guardian of these principles,” said Kravchuk at an event on November 18, in response to a question about US President-elect Donald Trump’s possible plans to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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On October 13, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a public conference “The Illiberal Turn?: Reasserting Democratic Values in Central and Eastern Europe.” This conference was organized in partnership with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). This event addressed the political, economic, and social currents that challenge the region's path toward greater cooperation, prosperity, and freedom.

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On September, 2016, the Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative hosted a panel on the book The Future of Natural Gas: Markets and Geopolitics. Nicolò Sartori, Senior Fellow at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, and co-editor of the book, provided an overwiew and discussed the development of LNG as a future reliable resource, diversification of energy supplies in Europe and Asia, and market forces driving the natural gas industry. Jane Nakano, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, highlighted Japan’s strategic importance for the LNG market, as well as Japan’s geopolitical issues with China, citing that two-thirds of LNG shipments pass through the contested South China Sea.

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On September 21, 2016, the Global Energy Center hosted a panel on whether the Southern Gas Corridor is on track, as it is facing geopolitical and financial issues.

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Wednesday July 13, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a panel of human rights experts to discuss the human rights violation which often accompany international mega sports events. The panelist included: Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director, Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, David Kramer, senior director for human rights and democracy at the The McCain Institute for International Leadership, and Pedro Abramovay, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean and Director of the Latin America Program at Open Society Foundations. The event was moderated by Robert Herman, vice president of Emergency Assistance Programs and Multilateral Advocacy at Freedom House.

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“People have forgotten that there’s a real humanitarian situation and a real need in a European country,” said Jock Mendoza-Wilson, director of international and investor relations at System Capital Management, during a recent Atlantic Council panel examining the crisis in Ukraine.

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“The Black Sea is increasingly becoming a fault line between Russia and the US,” said Romanian ambassador to the US, George Christian Maior. Wednesday June 15, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a two-panel conference to discuss security and energy in the region. The first panel, The Changing Military Balance in the Black Sea, focused on the militarization of the Black Sea, and the reasons major Black Sea regional players have for pursuing policies which avoid escalating tensions.

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