Publications

We have entered a new era in world history, a post-post-Cold War era that holds both great promise and great peril for the United States, its allies, and everyone else. We now can call this a "Westphalian-Plus" world, in which nation-states will have to engage on two distinct levels: dealing with other nation-states as before, and dealing with a vast array of important nonstate actors. This era calls for a new approach to national strategy called "dynamic stability."

Read More

About the Book:
The world is in the throes of a nearly decade-long global democratic recession. Democratic breakdowns in strategically important countries like Russia, Pakistan, Egypt, and Venezuela are cause for serious concern, as are reversals in Turkey and Hungary. Using a combination of repression and noncoercive tools, governments are shutting down space for civil society around the world. Is Authoritarianism Staging A Comeback? offers answers to why authoritarianism is gaining on democracy—and what the international community can do about it.

Read More

January 2014 became a milestone of Arab democracy when Tunisia adopted the first democratic Arab constitution drafted outside the influence of the military or a foreign power. In "Tunisia's New Constitutional Court," Duncan Pickard, a Nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, takes up the next step for the country's democracy: developing a functioning Constitutional Court. He introduces the court's structures, outlines the various challenges that the new parliament will face in drafting a law to officially establish the court, and details policy options for the United States and Europe to support Tunisia's nascent democracy.

pdfRead the Issue in Focus (PDF)

Read More

For months now, Russia has been a constructive member of the international consortium negotiating with Iran, often proposing creative fixes to technical hurdles.

But this week, just as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was taking up sensitive Iran-related legislation, Russia announced that it was going forward with an old contract to sell Iran an air defense missile system that could make it less vulnerable to foreign attack.

Read More

WHAT SEEMS lost in the furious, partisan debate about the Iran nuclear deal is just how long it took the United States to actually get back to a negotiating table with the Iranian government — nearly 35 years.

The talks have already achieved something tangible and rare: The United States and Iran are talking again, after decades of a bitter divorce and near total isolation from each other.

Read More

After four years of conflict in Syria, peace is still a distant prospect. The West insists that there is no "military solution," while Iran and Russia provide the Assad regime with a military advantage obstructing the possibility of real diplomatic negotiations. With over 220,000 Syrians dead and more than half of the Syrian population displaced, the need for peace is critical.

In Setting the Stage for Peace in Syria: The Case for a Syrian National Stabilization Force, Frederic C. Hof of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Bassma Kodmani of the Arab Reform Initiative, and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute, present a new way forward—a sort of train-and-equip on steroids—the Syrian National Stabilization Force (SNSF).

Read More

Even as Iran has applied the brakes to its nuclear program over the past 18 months and provisionally agreed last week to a deal lasting more than a decade, it has continued to advance its prowess in the field of cyber-attacks, experts say.

Read More

In this month’s Spotlight, we ask: What will be the top headlines at the VII Summit of the Americas?

The Summit of the Americas on April 10-11 is generating an unprecedented amount of attention, thanks in large part to the dramatic changes in the US-Cuba relationship. Though historic, the novelty of seeing Cuban President Raúl Castro and US President Barack Obama at the same table is sure to wear off after the first photo, and the region's attention will quickly turn to other pressing matters.

pdfRead the Spotlight (PDF)

Read More

There is much work to be done and much that can still go awry, but April 2, 2015 will go down in history as the day when the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States finally got to yes.

After 36 years of mutual demonization, proxy wars and occasional direct conflict, the two old adversaries, joined by negotiators from other major world powers, agreed in Lausanne, Switzerland on a framework for a long-term deal curbing Iran's nuclear program and potentially doing much more.

Read More

Last month when Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made his ill-advised plea to Congress to scuttle the nuclear negotiations with Iran, fringe Republican elements in Congress, along with right wing fellow travelers, called Bibi the 21st century's version of Winston Churchill. Clearly they must have been referring to Churchill's flip-flops to and from the Conservative Party as Netanyahu would do vis a vis opposing the two state solution. Possibly they may have been referring to Churchill's tenure as First Lord of the Admiralty and the disastrous Gallipoli assault he initiated in 1915 or his five years as Chancellor of the Exchequer after World War I and the monumental economic blunder he made returning the pound sterling to the gold standard.

Read More