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.
Middle East economies as a whole are ill-prepared for the twenty-first century. States with vast human and natural resources remain mired in poverty and unemployment, reliant upon state-centric rentier systems that simply cannot keep pace with their demographic demands. Increased state spending will not pull the region out of this hole—particularly in an age of $30-per-barrel oil. Instead, the Economic Recovery and Revitalization Working Group report, co-convened by Sherif Kamel and Christopher M. Schroeder, reveals that two factors seem to be key in achieving economic momentum: reformed education with a focus on critical thinking skills and the complete opening of legal and regulatory frameworks to nurture small business entrepreneurs and encourage the successful movement of ideas, people, goods, and capital. The latter is critical not because everyone in the region can or should start their own business, but because economic ecosystems in which startups can thrive are also positive environments for industry as the whole.
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.
As World Trade Organization members meet in Nairobi, Kenya, for their 2015 Ministerial, the potential economic impact of African trade—for Africa, but also the rest of the world—has never been more relevant. Home to thirty-three of the world's least developed countries and only responsible for 3 percent of global trade, Africa stands to reap enormous benefit from investing in trade as a vehicle for economic development and growth.