Issue Briefs

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China’s major financial commitments to Africa, coupled with its double digit returns, have discouraged American companies from breaking into African markets. Amid growing concerns regarding China’s expanding economic influence on the continent, a reassessment of America’s business edge and overall competitiveness is past due. 

 

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For America’s consumer goods companies, the latest shifts in African consumer trends hold much promise. Africa’s population is growing at an outstanding rate and spending by consumers and businesses on the continent is forecast to grow significantly over the next decade. However, US investors often oversimplify and misunderstand African markets, which remain highly segmented, fluid, and absent of a discernible “middle.”

 

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The reality of internally displaced communities due to sea level rise, flooding, and extreme storm events in the United States has arrived, and is poised to get worse. However, the US federal government remains ill-prepared to deal with the immense and undeniable human security challenge at hand. At present, there is no dedicated funding, dedicated lead agency, or dedicated policy framework to guide communities in need of relocation. In "The United States’ Climate Change Relocation Plan," Victoria Hermann looks at private, philanthropic, and nonprofit sector engagement in the relocation of American communities displaced by climate change. She proposes a foundation-led effort to coordinate a program providing resources, expertise, support, and guidance to towns in need of managed retreat. 

 
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US energy policy is on the brink of a dramatic shift as President Donald Trump seeks to dismantle the Obama Administration’s environmentally-friendly energy initiatives, remove environmental and climate concerns from US energy policies, and reorient focus on producing low-cost energy and creating American jobs. To achieve the desired increase in domestic fossil fuel production and energy employment, President Trump, his administration, and his allies have promised to implement the America First Energy Plan, intended to reinvigorate the US coal industry, expand domestic fossil fuel production, cut regulations, open federal land for fossil fuel exploration, and reduce federal support for climate and environmental programs. 

 

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NATO currently finds itself in an increasingly competitive international environment, with potential adversaries who field, among other things, progressively capable ballistic and cruise missile capabilities. This is particularly the case with Russia, which has proven itself capable of fielding conventional long- range strike capabilities that can reach far into NATO territory. Russia’s ballistic missiles, such as the Iskander system, represent a real threat not only to NATO members in the region, but also to potential forward basing locations needed for US and NATO reinforcements in a crisis.

 

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In the Baltic Sea Region, there is an important but often overlooked and underestimated security challenge brewing. Russia is increasing its foothold in Belarus by facilitating and supporting the construction of the Ostrovets NPP, while simultaneously blocking other strategic energy projects. Issues of broader environmental and safety concerns are generally at the heart of the debate over the Ostrovets NPP project, but these are not the only issues with the Belarusian nuclear program.

 

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Ever since World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom have enjoyed a truly special relationship grounded in a shared commitment to a world order based on democracy, the rule of law, and free trade, among other commonalities. However, significant changes on both sides of the Atlantic–with Britain’s decision to exit the European Union and the election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States–have brought the partnership to a critical crossroads. Unfavorable domestic pressures faced by both leaders and diverging strategic outlooks are putting the US-UK “special relationship” to a test. In this issue brief, Dr. Foerster and Dr. Raymond outline the key elements of this unique relationship and provide their recommendations for strengthening the partnership that helps anchor the liberal international order.

 
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More than six years after Libya’s 2011 revolution against Muammar al-Qaddafi, the situation in the country is significantly more complex and dangerous. The failure of the 2011 NATO intervention to assist the country with a comprehensive stabilization process led to rapid deterioration on the ground and created an opportunity for external actors to pursue competing self-interests in the country. While in most cases the factional rivalries in Libya have real roots, they have been exacerbated by the interests of both regional and international actors, and the resulting proxy conflict in Libya has significantly weakened the UN-led negotiation process.

 

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Maximilian Gebhardt explores the implications and challenges of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for European Union infrastructure investments in the latest issue brief from the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative: "Journey to the West: Chinese Opportunities in European Infrastructure Expansion."

 

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“It is vital for American interests in Asia to have India as an economic and strategic ally,” writes Bharath Gopalaswamy and former Minister Manish Tewari in “Transforming India from a Balancing to Leading Power,” a new brief from the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.

 

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