Atlantic Council


Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, much progress has been made toward fulfilling the vision of a Europe whole and free. However, much work remains to complete a critical element of this vision, the creation of a single European market. That will require the development of infrastructure networks that bind together the economies of Central Europe with the rest of European Union.

This week the Atlantic Council and Central Europe Energy Partners (CEEP) rolled out its report, Completing Europe – From the North-South Corridor to Energy, Transportation, and Telecommunications Union. This study, led by former US National Security Advisor Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.) and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of CEEP Pawel Olechnowicz, calls for the accelerated construction of a North-South Corridor of energy, transportation, and communications links stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic and Black Seas.

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Deal or no deal, Iran will still pose a destabilizing nuclear security threat, writes Senior Fellow Matthew Kroenig.

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As worldwide attention focuses on the international negotiators rushing to finish a nuclear deal with Iran before a self-imposed November 24 deadline, we are in danger of overlooking the fact that Iran's extant nuclear capability already presents several serious threats to international security at present and will continue to do so even if the negotiations are extended or we successfully conclude a comprehensive nuclear deal. Regardless of the outcome on November 24, Iran will remain a nuclear weapon threshold state and this capability threatens to increase the risk of nuclear proliferation around the globe, destabilize regional security dynamics, and weaken political freedom and human rights inside Iran.

Mitigating the Security Risks Posed by a Near-Nuclear Iran, the latest Issue in Focus by Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Nonresident Senior Fellow Matthew Kroenig, identifies the potential threats posed by a near-nuclear Iran and provides concrete policy recommendations for mitigating them even as we continue coordinated efforts to keep Tehran from the bomb.
With only one week to go before a self-imposed deadline, the nail-biting is accelerating over whether Iran will reach an agreement with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) that curbs its nuclear program for years to come in return for sanctions relief.

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With the Middle East in flux and sectarianism on the rise, the Lebanese group finds itself overtaxed and on the defensive.

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The Syrian conflict is transforming the Lebanese Hezbollah. A movement that long claimed to transcend sectarianism is now the longest pole in the Syrian regime’s tent, and has become a bogeyman to the region’s Sunni community. At the same time, Hezbollah’s deep involvement in the Syrian civil war has damaged its position in Lebanon and even led to questions within its Shi’ite base. The conflict with Israel, while still a focus of rhetoric, has faded to the background. 

Hezbollah in a Time of Transition, by Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab and Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, examines Hezbollah’s uncertain future and its impact on regional stability. Civil war in Lebanon could reignite if sectarianism continues to grow and the Syrian war spills over in greater intensity. Hezbollah’s role has proven vital for the survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and has also changed the nature of the Syrian opposition, empowering jihadists who champion sectarianism and see Hezbollah as their primary enemy. Israel has long viewed Hezbollah as its most dangerous neighbor, and diminishing Hezbollah’s desire and ability to make war is imperative to the Jewish state’s security. Ironically, the United States finds itself uneasily aligned with Hezbollah in the struggle against the Islamic State, but this de facto convergence could easily change.

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Jon Stewart’s new movie, “Rosewater,” was conceived out of guilt and is being born at a potentially pivotal time for U.S.-Iran relations.

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New study highlights benefits of transatlantic trade agreement for small businesses in Europe and the United States

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both the United States and European Union stand to gain significantly from the implementation of an ambitious Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP). Using data from a targeted survey and interviews conducted with SME executives on both sides of the Atlantic, The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Big Opportunities for Small Business cites three core challenges for SMEs as they begin exporting: a lack of clarity on how to get started, problems finding the right clients, and a confusing mix of regulatory differences and contradictory registration requirements between the United States and the European Union.

SMEs represent the vast majority of all firms on both sides of the Atlantic and are responsible for over two-thirds of net new job creation over the last decade in both the United States and the European Union. Yet, they face significant barriers when attempting to export their goods and services.

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FOR 91-year-old Henry Kissinger, establishing a stable, balanced world order has been the overarching goal of his extraordinary life and career. "World Order" is also the title, not coincidentally, of his important new book, further affirmation of his place as one of the most distinguished foreign policy thinkers and diplomats in American history.

Kissinger returns to Harvard University this week, where he first made his mark as a brilliant young student and professor, following his service in World War II. He will talk with students about his most challenging negotiations with China's Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev and the leaders of Israel, Syria, and Egypt after the October War of 1973.

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Foreign policy – apart from scaremongering about Ebola and terrorism – was not a major issue in U.S. midterm elections. But the imminent Republican takeover of the Senate could impact whether the international community and Iran agree to a landmark deal in talks that are nearing a November 24 deadline.

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Bottom Line Up Front:

• After almost eight years on the ground, African Union troops have nearly beaten the Qaeda-linked militia al-Shabab—at least militarily

• Since 2011, Shabab has steadily lost territory, and on October 5 was pushed out of its last coastal stronghold, the port city of Barawe

• The loss of Barawe, and the successful airstrike on al-Shabab’s leader, Ahmed Godane, on September 1, has dampened the radicals’ morale and precipitated a rash of defections

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Confidence-building measures (CBMs) are an instrument of interstate relations aimed to strengthen international peace and security by reducing and eliminating the causes of mistrust, fear, misunderstanding, and miscalculations that states have about the military activities of other states.

The anonymous and complex nature of the Internet and the potency, low cost, and deniability of cyber operations make them potentially counterproductive to building trust. CBMs, as confidence and trust-building concepts, are particularly suitable for cyberspace. However, the application of these measures have yet to be extensively applied in cyberspace. Because cyberspace is predominantly dominated not by the actions of states but nonstate actors, CBMs for cyberspace must thus be inclusive of all stakeholders active in cyberspace. They must reduce risk and support trust by either building on preexisting concepts and mechanisms from other domains of international relations or by creating unique bottom-up approaches.

Confidence-Building Measures in Cyberspace: A Multistakeholder Approach for Stability and Security, a new Cyber Statecraft Initiative report from the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, analyzes different ways to involve private-sector actors and build confidence without extensive legal or political action by states. Authors Jason Healey, John C. Mallery, Klara Tothova Jordan, and Nathaniel V. Youd recommend four types of CBMs--collaboration, crisis management, restraint, and engagement measures--which can be established to mitigate potentially escalatory effects of activities in cyberspace. The measures proposed in this report suggest a multistakeholder-centric approach to leverage all possible stakeholders to improve overall Internet resilience and decrease the chances of miscalculation, mistrust, and misunderstanding.

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