Atlantic Council

Publications

Among the arguments marshaled by those wary of a nuclear agreement with Iran is that past efforts to negotiate away North Korea's nuclear weapons program failed.

Iran's regime, they argue, is just as untrustworthy as North Korea's and what's more, Wendy Sherman, the chief U.S. negotiator with Iran, was also involved in talks with the North Koreans under the Bill Clinton administration and thus is somehow inherently suspect.

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It was the sort of vote that's still hard to imagine taking place in the U.S. Congress: an overwhelming if non-binding endorsement of an independent Palestinian state by the British House of Commons.

The 274-12 vote on Monday was another indication that much of the world is losing patience with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and wants a resolution that obliges Israel to cede territory to the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas.

Another signal came a day earlier in Cairo when 50 nations and international organizations pledged $5 billion to rebuild Gaza. Several donors, including Norway, said this had to be the last time they paid to reconstruct a tiny enclave that has repeatedly been pummeled by Israel as punishment for shooting rockets onto Israeli territory.

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LIKE THE majority of his modern predecessors, President Obama has looked to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia as the regions where America's vital interests are most often engaged. This year is no different as the United States copes with a lethal combination of challenges from the metastasizing Iraq-Syria civil war to Russian aggression in Ukraine, Chinese adventurism in Asia, and the climate and Ebola crises.

While these threats won't go away anytime soon, there is better news for Americans closer to home in the form of a strategic opportunity right in our own backyard. In an unusually far-sighted report issued last week, two of our country's most impressive global strategists — David Petraeus, former CIA director and head of US Central Command, and former World Bank President Bob Zoellick — make a compelling case that Americans should work with Mexico and Canada to build a new North American partnership for the future. Issued by the Council on Foreign Relations (where I serve on the board of directors), the report suggests we have the opportunity to realize a new era of growth and prosperity for the nearly 500 million people who live in our three countries.

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Does the sixty-five-year-old alliance still matter today? We asked a select group of future transatlantic leaders from NATO member and partner Nations to weigh in.

In advance of the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, United Kingdom, the Atlantic Council asked a select group of future leaders (ages twenty-five to thirty-five) in NATO member and partner countries about the role of the Alliance today. CEOs, elected officials, civil society leaders, PhD researchers, legislative staff, veterans, and active duty military officers were among the respondents.

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A new Atlantic Council issue brief argues that current US counterterrorism efforts in Yemen fail to address deeper structural issues that foment extremism and destabilize Yemen's central government.

In “A Blueprint for a Comprehensive US Counterterrorism Strategy in Yemen,” former US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara K. Bodine and Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Deputy Director Danya Greenfield contend that any US counterterrorism strategy to stem the growth of extremist groups and potential state failure in Yemen must address underlying economic and political issues. The authors outline a long-term and comprehensive approach that provides increased and consistent level of financial and technical assistance to address the pervasive lack of economic opportunity, structural unemployment, cronyism, and inequitable distribution of state resources.

pdfRead the Issue Brief (PDF)
Vice President Joe Biden got into hot water over the weekend when he accused Turkey and other U.S. allies of complicity in the rise of the group calling itself the Islamic State (IS).

Biden, who was forced to apologize to President Recep Tayib Erdogan, was factually accurate – if diplomatically gauche – when he noted Turkey's less-than-scrupulous vetting of aspiring jihadis crossing its territory into Syria and the provision of arms to Syrian radicals by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Despite President Obama’s assertion that the United States’ counterterrorism strategy targeting militants in Yemen and Somalia provide a “successful” model to be emulated in its fight against ISIS, a new Atlantic Council issue brief assesess the use of drones and the US strategy in Yemen, and argues this approach is shortsighted and threatens US national security objectives.

In “Do Drone Strikes in Yemen Undermine US Security Objectives?” Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Deputy Director Danya Greenfield and Assistant Director Stefanie A. Hausheer argue that the US drone program in Yemen undermines long-term US national security objectives, citing the negative impact of civilian casualties, intelligence and targeting mistakes, and the rise of anti-American sentiment that can increase safe havens for extremist groups.

pdfRead the Issue Brief (PDF)

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Bottom Line Up Front:
• Like its putative Islamic State counterparts in Iraq and Syria, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has in recent weeks accomplished an alarming expansion of its territorial control

• The downing of a Nigerian fighter jet—and the videotaped beheading of its pilot—also suggest a quantum leap in the group’s offensive and propaganda capabilities

• The Nigerian state’s attempts to counter the Boko Haram narrative through positive public relations have yet to yield positive results

• The government’s latest claim of killing the militants’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, remains unsubstantiated, thus creating another public relations challenge for Nigerian security officials

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When it comes to elections, the vast majority of the world still votes on paper. Yet given the universal connectivity of services where almost every task can be completed online or electronically, this illustrates a curious anomaly. Why are those technologies that have revolutionized our daily lives not being used to bring the electoral process into the twenty-first century?

Online voting and  e-voting could become a larger part of the political process in the United States and in other participatory democracies with the right security to back it up, according to Online Voting: Rewards and Risks, a new Atlantic Council study by Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Nonresident Senior Fellow Peter Haynes conducted in collaboration with McAfee, part of Intel Secutity.

pdfRead the Report (PDF)

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US leadership, undergirded by the US military, has played a central role in ensuring the stability necessary to produce remarkable economic and political transformations in Northeast Asia. More specifically, American commitments to defend its allies in Northeast Asia, with nuclear weapons if necessary, have deterred major power war, prevented regional conflict, stemmed nuclear proliferation, and limited the use of coercion. Over time, however, US security commitments to the region have become increasingly interwoven within a more comprehensive and multifaceted fabric, with US conventional and nuclear forces still at their foundation, but supplemented by allied capabilities, commercial interdependence, and evolving regional institutions.

But US extended deterrence in East Asia—an essential ingredient to sustain regional peace and prosperity—is increasingly under strain. Revitalizing the strength of US security commitments is therefore a first-order task in Washington’s Asia policy. Two new publications by the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security explore how the United States can adapt its military posture and prepare for future challenges to deterrence in Asia:

The Future of US Extended Deterrence in Asia to 2025, by Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning, examines the past, present, and future of US extended deterrence in Asia and outlines how the United States, along with its allies and partners in the region, can counter China's growing military and economic power. The report covers a number of future concerns for the US-South Korea alliance, the US-Japan alliance, and new threats to deterrence in the cyber and space domains.

pdfRead the Report (PDF)

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