Publications

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In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

 

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The relationship between France and the United States is heading into a new and uncertain era reflecting the leadership of US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. With Macron’s April 24-25 state visit to the White House and address to a joint session of Congress as backdrop, The French-American Alliance in an America-First Era explores the contrasting personalities and worldviews of these two presidents to consider whether they will overturn a generation of strengthening bilateral relations or if their unexpected bond will usher in new opportunities.
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The Western Balkans were supposed to be a solved problem. The United States has mostly watched from afar in recent years, thinking that the Europeans had these matters mostly in hand. US diplomats have played crucial roles in key moments; yet, the region continued to slide down the US political agenda.

 
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In “The New Russia Sanctions Law–What It Does and How to Make It Work,” authors Ambassador Daniel Fried, distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and former coordinator for sanctions policy at the US State Department, and Brian O’Toole, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, explain that Congress primarily adopted the law to block a unilateral lifting of sanctions, which was under consideration in the early days of the Trump administration. Fried and O’Toole add that, by passing the act, Congress was able to demonstrate its determination to resist Russian aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere and to penalize Russia for hacking the 2016 US presidential election. This paper includes an analysis of the law’s key sanctions provisions, suggestions to the administration about how to implement them, and key areas for the business community to watch, from two former US government officials who helped design and run US sanctions on Russia until earlier this year.

 
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As German Chancellor Angela Merkel enters her fourth term in office, the US-German relationship will need to overcome trade and policy disagreements in order to thrive in today’s uncertain political climate. The administrations in Berlin and Washington, DC should seek new opportunities for closer cooperation, particularly related to security around NATO, policy toward Russia, bilateral trade, and the energy sector. The shared interests of the United States and Germany should drive both administrations to pursue these areas of cooperation in order to strengthen the alliance on which they will continue to depend as the world grows more insecure and the challenges more complex.

 
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Maximilian Gebhardt explores the implications and challenges of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for European Union infrastructure investments in the latest issue brief from the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative: "Journey to the West: Chinese Opportunities in European Infrastructure Expansion."

 
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Turkey, a NATO ally, bridges a region spanning from Central Asia to Central Europe and the Levant that is marred by centuries of division and conflict, but whose nations and people are also bound together. Following an attempted military coup in 2016 and widespread government crackdowns across Turkish society, where Turkey is headed is uncertain. In Turkey’s European Journey, Sir Peter Westmacott, who recently retired as one of the United Kingdom’s most revered diplomats, provides his first-hand account of Turkey’s recent history—helping us understand how Turkey got to where it is today, and providing clues about where the country might be headed. 

 
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Once again, authoritarians are challenging the world’s leading democracies, using twenty-first century versions of aggression, propaganda, and subversion.  The very notion of a rules-based, democratic-leaning international order—the Free World—seems in doubt, questioned also by newly-emboldened nationalists on both sides of the Atlantic.  In “The Free World,” Ambassador Dan Fried, who retired this year as the United States’ longest-serving diplomat, reminds us what the Free World achieved, where it has gone wrong, and what democratic forces can do to restore the momentum of ideas that still represent the best hope for American interests, democratic values, and the world.

 
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France’s geopolitical power in Europe is unique. It combines a positive legacy of global leadership, a rich diplomatic network, universal aspirations, global military reach, cultural influence, and economic heft. The authors, Atlantic Council Senior Fellows Jérémie Gallon and Jeff Lightfoot, of this paper, “France: Europe’s Swing State: Foreign Policy Begins at Home,” argue that France is the pivotal swing state in shaping the contours of a stronger European Union (EU) and a reinforced transatlantic alliance at a crucial moment in the history of the West. 

 
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Throughout much of the 1990s, progress was the order of the day. NATO enlargement under the Clinton administration was part of a broader global strategy, presenting democratic and entrepreneurial opportunity. This process was coupled with the prospect of new cooperation with Russia to create an undivided, free, and prosperous Europe. A decade and a half later, Central Europe faces severe challenges and signs of particular vulnerability to backlash against the very ideals this period set out to establish and the values expected to endure. 

 


    

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