Publications

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Petrocaribe, Caracas’ eleven-year-old energy and diplomatic alliance, is weakening. As Venezuela spirals closer to economic demise, the United States and the international community have an unprecedented opportunity to support Central America and the Caribbean’s transition away from Petrocaribe. A report released today by the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center proposes new strategies for the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean to advance together toward a more sustainable energy future. As regional leaders prepare to meet in Washington, DC on May 4 to discuss energy security, now is the time to take immediate steps to prepare against the inevitable destabilization that will result from Venezuela’s collapse.

 

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Turkey has been the most engaged regional player in northern Syria and is the external actor most responsible for the emergence of the opposition to the Syrian regime. In “Turkey’s Syria Predicament,” authors Faysal Itani and Aaron Stein of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East examine Turkey’s involvement, its implications for Turkish domestic politics, its impact on the Syrian insurgency and course of the war, and the implications for US foreign policy.

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Political mistrust in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is high and this, in turn, has historically led to shortsighted economic policies and disjointed coordination. As India asserts itself as a global economic player, its leadership, specifically in SAARC, may lead to the political successes necessary to ensure broader connectivity and cooperation in the region. In this new issue brief, “Cooperation in South Asia: The Case for Redefining Alliances,” Dr. Manjari Chatterjee Miller and Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy re-examine SAARC and point to realignments within SAARC that may boost the effectiveness of the often-times ineffective body.


 

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The United States and the European Union (EU) share the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, with more than $5.5 trillion in commerce every year and up to fifteen million jobs generated on both sides of the Atlantic. Currently under negotiations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will bolster this key partnership, increasing efficiency, spurring job creation, and generating opportunities for innovation and small and medium enterprises. At a time of slow recovery from the 2009 recession, a comprehensive agreement that protects high quality standards can send a powerful signal to the rest of the world, highlighting the United States’ and Europe’s dynamism.

 

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The era of Pax Americana in the Gulf, and perhaps in the broader Middle East, is changing. Regional transformation and chaos resulting from the Arab uprisings, the rise of ISIS and its global terrorist reach, shifting US priorities around the world, and the rise of other outside powers in the Gulf have contributed to an acceleration of the transition from a Gulf security architecture with almost exclusive US access and control to a more penetrated system in which the United States is still militarily dominant. However, major powers like Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France are more confidently stepping in, pursuing their self-interests, and assuming more expansive political, economic, and security roles that either compete with or complement US policies and interests.


 


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In January 2016, oil prices fell to their lowest levels in more than a decade. Meanwhile, China, the world’s second-largest economy, is experiencing its most sluggish growth in a quarter-century—dragging down commodity prices and dampening the global economic outlook. The effects of this broad slowdown will hurt African economies more than most, because China and other emerging markets are not only primary consumers of African commodities, but also are the primary source of financing for the major infrastructure and other development projects that are essential to Africa’s future growth.

 


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The forced displacement of unprecedented numbers of people within and beyond national borders has become an enduring yet fluid phenomenon across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade. The Middle East Strategy Task Force's Rebuilding Societies: Strategies for Resilience and Recovery in Times of Conflict report, published in cooperation with the United States Institute of Peace, discusses what can be done now to plant the seeds for a full recovery and social cohesion in societies that are in the midst of protracted violent conflicts, and provides more sustainable, coherent, and substantive answers to the ongoing refugee crisis.

The increased risks being taken by refugees and asylum-seekers, including those who are crossing the Mediterranean in very dangerous conditions, and the sharp increased flow through the Balkans and Europe illustrate their level of desperation. They are also a reflection of the failure of both national leaders and the international community to address the violent conflicts as well as the elements of fragility that lead to them in a sustainable way.

 


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Innovation will be a crucial requirement for US leadership and national security in the twenty-first century. The United States faces an era of global competition across all elements of national power. In the economic arena, American domination has necessarily been comparatively receding as the world continues to develop. Militarily, challenges have expanded geographically and qualitatively as multi-polarity and diffusion of power increases the number of capable state and nonstate actors. Diplomacy has become more complex as information capabilities are available throughout the world, populaces are more engaged, and there are strong ideological challenges to the Western, liberal rules-based model. The United States is still the most powerful nation, but maintaining successful leadership and strong national security will require the United States to build on and enhance its existing strengths. A crucial element of that requirement will be the capacity to innovate regularly and effectively. Innovation will be a prerequisite to leadership across all elements of national power.


 


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Russia’s increasingly hostile actions and the emerging Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) challenge in Europe’s northeast have demonstrated that bolstering defense and deterrence on NATO’s eastern flank is a strategic imperative for the Alliance–especially for the Baltic states. An effective maritime framework would be a critical element in an integrated NATO deterrence and reassurance strategy for the Baltic Sea region. 


 


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The United States and the European Union (EU) have a historic opportunity—perhaps their last—to be leaders in building the digital market of the future. To do so, they must seize the opportunity to create a transatlantic digital single market stretching from Silicon Valley to Tallinn, Estonia. Together, they can give a new burst of energy to a global Internet economy centered on thriving digital commerce, innovation, creativity, online security, and citizens’ rights. The newest report of the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative, “Building a Transatlantic Digital Marketplace: Twenty Steps Toward 2020,” evaluates the state of play on the most pressing digital policy issues across five interlocking areas, and identifies twenty steps that the United States and the EU can begin to take between now and 2020 to build a transatlantic marketplace, encourage trust, and preserve the Internet as a global commercial commons and a public good.


 


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