Issue Briefs

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A predominantly Shia nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has a substantial Sunni population that receives little attention compared to the country's other minorities. Last year's attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the capital Tehran have raised fears that disgruntled Iranian Sunnis, who have until now largely escaped extremist influences, could become targets of radicalization by regional jihadist groups.

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For decades, the United States has been a global leader in nuclear energy, both in terms of domestic power generation and the formation of global nuclear policy. In his issue brief, US Nuclear-Power Leadership and the Chinese and Russian Challenge, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Robert F. Ichord, Jr. examines the diverging developments in US nuclear power vis-à-vis its Chinese and Russian counterparts. He concludes that it constitutes a Chinese and Russian challenge to US nuclear power leadership, with significant geopolitical and security consequences.

Nuclear energy remains an important part of the US energy mix, accounting for 20 percent of electricity and 60 percent of carbon-free electricity. However, following years of underinvestment, US nuclear power is in decline. Meanwhile, China and Russia are ramping up investment both at home and abroad, most notably in states that are key players in current geopolitical issues, such as Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

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The third paper in the new Atlantic Council Sudan Task Force series, “Sudan: Soft Power, Cultural Engagement, and National Security” examines the importance of people-to-people engagement and its relevance to broader US strategic aims in Sudan.

More than two decades of isolation have succeeded in funneling Sudan’s best and brightest to seek higher education and post-graduate employment in locations other than the West. The United States has lost valuable ground to other actors, ranging from the benign to the malicious, who are influencing Sudan’s youth and wider population in ways that almost certainly will not serve US interests.

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The second paper in the new Atlantic Council Sudan Task Force series, “Sudan: Prospects for Economic Re-engagement” examines the possibility of a new era of US economic cooperation with Sudan, including an opportunity for the United States to push for desperately needed economic reforms as part of wider US bilateral engagements efforts.

Authored by Dr. Jeffrey Herbst in collaboration with the Council’s Sudan Task Force, the issue brief describes the political economy of Sudan, which shapes Khartoum’s priorities and affects how it will respond to demands for economic reform.

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The first paper in the new Atlantic Council Sudan Task Force series, “Sudan: Politics, Engagement, and Reform” examines the political landscape in the country in the wake of renewed bilateral engagement, addressing questions of governance, inclusion, and reform.

Co-authored by Ambassador Johnnie Carson and Zach Vertin in collaboration with the Council’s Sudan Task Force, the issue brief offers recommendations for continued progress toward democratic transformation in Sudan, in both the medium and long terms.

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The maritime domain is increasingly a priority for NATO as the alliance seeks to bolster its defense and deterrence posture in Europe’s north and east. Much work remains to be done in terms of NATO’s maritime posture and the maritime capabilities and capacities of its members. The maritime domain presents a unique challenge for NATO’s Baltic members, as they are frontline states in the new contest between NATO and a revanchist Russia. This issue brief lays out the particular challenges for the Baltic States in the maritime domain in the Baltic Sea region, and how Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuanian can build more effective maritime defense in concert with NATO and the United States.

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"The West's failure to respond to Russia's breaches of international law demonstrates weakness and undermines US credibility," writes Dr. Maksym Khylko, in "Shaping Strategy for Comprehensive and Effective Western Policy in Eastern Europe," a new issue brief by the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center. In the past ten years, Russia has invaded Georgia and Ukraine, illegally annexed the peninsula of Crimea, and occupied Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Donbas. Additionally, it has developed anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities and deployed them to the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions, threatening NATO's ability to operate there. This issue brief examines the strategies that the West can employ to combat the Kremlin's challenges to regional security and the rule of law in Eastern Europe.

 

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