Atlantic Council

Publications

At the onset of the Arab Spring, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the foundations of the Middle East risked "sinking into the sand" of unrest and extremism. Three years later, the region is still in a period of prolonged tumult and uncertainty. A large youth bulge, poor economic prospects, and uneven development across the region presents significant challenges to a more stable Middle East, but, more positively, the next five to ten years could see a reintroduction of Iran to the international community and a new regional dynamic if the ongoing P5+1 talks reach a lasting nuclear agreement. What is certain is that the future of the Middle East will have profound effects globally and will continue to substantially influence the global political, economic, and security environment.

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Over the past two decades, nuclear weapons have been deemphasized in NATO planning, but this should not be interpreted to mean that the Alliance has abandoned the core principle that a nuclear attack will meet a nuclear response, or that NATO will not retain the necessary means to deliver such a response.

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President Barack Obama is clearly not happy about ordering U.S. military intervention in Iraq again.

But with Islamic State militants (ISIS) terrifyingly close to the Kurdish capital, Irbil, and 40,000 members of a religious minority facing death on a mountaintop, Obama decided to deploy a limited amount of U.S. airpower in a country where U.S. combat operations supposedly ended four years ago.

Iraq has now become Obama's war, too, if to a lesser extent than his three predecessors.

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Among the casualties of the latest Gaza war were nine relatives of a journalist colleague of mine, Asmaa al-Ghoul. They died Sunday, just a day before Israel and Hamas finally accepted a three-day truce.

Two missiles fired by a U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 collapsed their one-story house in the Rafah refugee camp, killing Asmaa's uncle, Ismail, his wife, Khadra, their two sons, Wael and Mohammed, their two daughters, Hanadi and Asmaa, and Wael's three children, Ismail, Malik and Mustafa, the last only 24 days old. According to my colleague, none of them were members of Hamas or any other Palestinian political faction.

It is easy to be cynical about this latest orgy of Middle Eastern violence. Why single out nine deaths when more than 1,800 other Palestinians – and more than 60 Israelis – also died in the last month, and scores of noncombatants are still perishing every day in Syria, Iraq and Libya?

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New publication outlines lesser-known obstacles to US investment in Africa that will limit US companies’ success if left unaddressed.


Africa is no longer the home of small-time deals as companies strike billion-dollar game changers across the continent. With the buzz about “Africa Rising” having gone from the backroom to the boardroom, many multinationals are now taking a hard look at investing there. However, significant obstacles to investing in Africa remain beyond concerns of security and stability more commonly associated with Africa in the public imagination, according to “Investment and Ingenuity: Overcoming Obstacles to Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa,” a new Issue in Focus publication by the Atlantic Council.

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Morocco’s strong economy and political stability make it an attractive portal into Africa for US investors.


Morocco, a bastion of stability on the doorstep of an often-turbulent continent, is a rising economic power. With burgeoning economic and commercial links—across the continent and beyond—and expanding contributions to regional political stability and security, Morocco is an especially attractive portal for investment and a significant US partner in Africa, according to “Morocco’s Emergence as a Gateway to Business in Africa,” an Issue in Focus released today by the Atlantic Council.

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VLADIMIR PUTIN has broken all the rules of geopolitics in Ukraine over the last five months. He finally had to pay for his actions this week. The coordinated list of tougher financial, military, and energy sanctions announced by the United States and European Union is a potential turning point. But is it enough to convince Putin to turn back from his determination to split Ukraine effectively in two?

After months of hesitation, Germany's Angela Merkel and other European leaders finally awoke from their deep slumber in agreeing with President Obama to impose stronger economic sanctions on Russia. Their aim is to raise the costs of Putin's campaign to divide, destabilize, and diminish Ukraine as a free nation state in the heart of Europe. This is the first significant pushback by the West against the Kremlin since the Ukraine crisis began.

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The Africa Center hosted Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield for a public address previewing the upcoming US-Africa Leaders Summit.

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Washington has pursued a policy cooperating with Beijing where interests overlapped—but the dynamics in the Asia-Pacific are changing.


A little bit of honesty in U.S. policy toward Asia could go a long way in piercing the Chinese "victim narrative", which entails China's view that everything it dislikes in Asia is an outgrowth of a U.S. "containment" strategy." Yet loopy as the Chinese narrative is, U.S. public diplomacy inadvertently reinforces it.

How many times have we heard the mantra, "Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China," stated by President Obama during his April Asia trip, repeated and reiterated by various U.S. officials? Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel summed it up succinctly at the Shangri-la dialogue: "The rebalance to Asia-Pacific was not to contain China. President Obama has made that point very clear. Secretary Kerry has. I have."

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began in 2004 as an inter-regional effort by four countries on the Pacific Rim to liberalize trade and investment. Ten years later it has grown to twelve member countries that represent 40 percent of global GDP, 26 percent of global trade, and 40 percent of US trade. It is the first major "twenty-first-century" trade negotiation encompassing not only tariffs and quotes but also new areas like regulatory cooperation, competition policy, environment and labor, and trade in digital goods and services. Find out what's at stake for the United States, who could benefit from TPP, and key sticking points of the agreement in the Atlantic Council's infographic.

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