Issue Briefs

Rob de Wijk, member of the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG), highlights the need for NATO to address three new challenges as it drafts the 2010 Strategic Concept in "The Challenge: NATO in the Realm of New Geopolitical Realities."

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Kurt Volker, Atlantic Council senior advisor and member of the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG), describes the challenges facing NATO and calls for unity to the divergent goals and ambitions of member states in the SAG issue brief "A New Transatlantic Compact."

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Because of their significant contribution to global demand for improved living standards, meaningful actions by the United States and China on transportation and energy will be important in any effort to reduce global consumption of traditional energy sources. Together the United States and China consume 40% of the world’s energy and are responsible for 50% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Given their economic size and impact on global markets, it is imperative that the U.S. and China join in a mutually beneficial process.

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China Energy

The 2007 U.S.-China Energy Security Cooperation Dialogue was held in a period when a broad range of activities and policy recommendations have been proposed to address global energy security and environmental issues. The Dialogue identified a number of further steps that China and the United States could cooperatively undertake to accelerate developments.
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Make no mistake, the international community is not winning in Afghanistan. Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak, with regional and global impact. The purpose of this paper is to sound the alarm and to propose specific actions that must be taken now if Afghanistan is to succeed in becoming a secure, safe, and functioning state.

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The U.S. government has sought to advance democratic and free-market change in Cuba for 47 years. Those efforts have failed. Indeed, the transfer of power from Fidel Castro has produced little change in Cuba’s politics and took place with no manifestations of broad popular demands for an end to one-party Communist rule. Instead, the Cuban people appear to be resigned to peaceful and gradual change on the island. Most observers judge that any transition to democracy, rule of law, and capitalism is years away. Thus, the time has come to chart a new course for U.S. policy towards Cuba.

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During the second half of 2006 and in early 2007, the German economic eng­ine seemed to gain speed, moving into recovery after several years of stagnation. Whether this recovery is sustainable is still unclear, however. With its­ reliance on exports, Germany remains vulnerable to any downturn in the global economy. Nor is it yet clear that the recent upswing will result in long term job growth and increased consumer spending.
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President Bush and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

The September 11th terrorist attacks and their aftermath have not altered Saudi Arabia’s fundamental importance in the international arena nor its importance to the United States. Saudi Arabia remains the source of much of the world’s oil reserves, the site of the holiest places in Islam, and the crossroad of strategic lines of communication between Europe and Asia.

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In late November, the leaders of the NATO nations will gather in Riga for “a transformation summit.” Yet, if the agenda develops as currently planned, the Alliance will not even consider a fundamental element of transformation — building a new partnership with the European Union. The failure to establish a strong relationship with the EU has contributed greatly to the intra-Alliance tensions concerning NATO’s purpose and future tasks. As the EU accelerates the development of its security and military component, the potential for overlap with NATO has grown, giving rise to confusion over the relative roles of these two institutions in the transatlantic security architecture. By failing to address this reality, NATO will leave the door open to further tension and rivalry.

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Following the publication of his most recent book, China’s Rise in Asia: Promises and Perils, Dr. Robert Sutter embarked on a research trip in spring-summer 2006 which involved dozens of workshops to explore China’s rise and U.S. leadership in Asia. These workshops were attended by several hundred non-government specialists and elites in 21 cities of eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region; the trip also involved in-depth interviews with 75 government representatives in those countries. The findings of Dr. Sutter’s research are:

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