In recent years, the ambitious Russian military build-up, coupled with revanchist Russian rhetoric and increasingly aggressive behavior, has made it clear that the security environment in the Baltic Sea region has changed. This situation is likely to last for a long time, emphasizing the need for a coherent response and deeper defense cooperation. In "Enhanced Defense Cooperation: New Opportunities for US engagement in the Baltic Sea Region," the Swedish Embassy's Defense Adviser Johan Raeder argues that it is in the interests of Finland and Sweden, already strong partners, to contribute to Baltic security by facilitating NATO's efforts and promoting US engagement and presence. Whether developing NATO's Readiness Action Plan, planning for Baltic Air Policing, or supporting forces stationed in Europe, enhanced Finnish and Swedish defense cooperation would provide the United States with new opportunities and help develop standards for smart defense.
On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran had implemented key measures under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As a result, nuclear-related sanctions previously imposed by the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States were lifted. The removal of these sanctions opens up a wide range of possibilities for investment in and trade with Iran.
Following the release of a short report in December 2015, the Atlantic Council and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) have now released the full volume of research behind the report, Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal. The longer book goes in-depth on the findings and recommendations using detailed quantitative modeling and qualitative analysis.
The risk of nuclear war between NATO and Russia may be higher now than at any time since the 1980s. Over the past decade, Russia has made nuclear weapons a predominant element of its national security strategy and military doctrine, while NATO has consciously de-emphasized its nuclear posture. Moscow is currently revitalizing all three legs of its nuclear triad and may be prepared to use nuclear weapons, if necessary to avoid losing a regional war with NATO. In "The Renewed Russian Nuclear Threat and NATO Nuclear Deterrence Posture," Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow Matthew Kroenig writes that NATO needs to realign its priorities by increasing the importance of its nuclear deterrence mission and considering possible modifications to its conventional and nuclear posture in order to deter the Russian nuclear threat.
Economic Recovery and Revitalization - Executive Summary
Even as the specter of political instability weighs heavily on the region, the Middle East is quietly experiencing a technological and societal transformation that could hold the keys to a better future. The foundation of this change is based on two powerful components: the rapidly increasing access to technology in the Middle East, and the region's comparatively young population, over 30 percent of which are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine ("Middle East Youth," The Brookings Institution, http://www.brookings.edu/research/topics/middle-east-youth). The interaction of the two, combustible as it can be, is also likely to provide a historic and unparalleled opportunity.
Largely neglected after the end of the Cold War, the use of information and public diplomacy to influence audiences and help achieve national objectives is making a comeback. This comeback however is not from the United States, but from actors such as ISIS, Russia, and China, whose objectives often run counter to ours. Using graphic imagery, misinformation, and censorship, they undermine US efforts around the globe and challenge US influence.
The EU's move toward a freer energy market and a global shift toward gas by climate-conscious consumers are likely to help fuel growing demand for US liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the coming years, Senior Fellow and former leading CIA analyst Bud Coote writes in Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade, How US Exports Will Benefit European and Global Gas Supply Diversity, Competition, and Security.
In the wake of mounting violence and unrest in the Palestinian territories and Israel over the past three months, over forty thousand Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest Israel's occupation and its policies in Jerusalem. Reuters recently reported that 24 Israelis and at least 142 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since the beginning of October 2015. The uprising, led by young Palestinians, is taking place against the backdrop of stalled negotiations over a two-state solution and increasing disillusionment with the Palestinian Authority.
As oil prices fall to their lowest in decades, Nigeria's oil revenue has plummeted nearly $2 billion since the start of 2014. While Africa's most populous nation has continued to sell roughly 1 million barrels of crude oil per day, it has struggled to achieve a robust price. Brent crude—the benchmark against which Nigerian oil is priced—traded last week below $35 a barrel, the lowest price in more than a decade and considerably down from the $100 or higher that oil commanded between 2011 and 2014.