Reports

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The relationship between France and the United States is heading into a new and uncertain era reflecting the leadership of US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. With Macron’s April 24-25 state visit to the White House and address to a joint session of Congress as backdrop, The French-American Alliance in an America-First Era explores the contrasting personalities and worldviews of these two presidents to consider whether they will overturn a generation of strengthening bilateral relations or if their unexpected bond will usher in new opportunities.

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Oil and fuel theft is a significant global phenomenon, accounting for tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars annually. It typically takes place in the maritime domain, as oil tankers account for a fourth of global trade and law enforcement control over maritime spaces is often lacking. In their report, Oil on the Water: Illicit Hydrocarbons Activity in the Maritime Domain, GEC Senior Fellow Dr. Ian Ralby and I.R. Consilium Head of Research and Analysis Dr. David Soud examine the modalities of maritime hydrocarbons crime around the world.

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In recent years, China’s regional ambitions in the Indo-Pacific have become a serious security concern for both India and the United States. Chinese infrastructure projects in the region’s smaller and poorer countries—under China’s Belt and Road Initiative—have raised concerns about the susceptibility of these economies to the predatory economics that have recently characterized the Chinese regional approach. China’s economic ascension has been accompanied by the tendency of Chinese leaders to pay little heed to established international protocols—evident in Japan, the Philippines, and, most recently, in India. The country’s bellicose incursions in the Indo-Pacific are challenging US geostrategic supremacy in the region. Working in tandem with India to improve its capacity to play a stronger role in the region and uphold the existing liberal order, would be a critical stride for US grand strategy. 

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“Since the annexation, Russia has carried out extensive confiscation of public and private property, which it has referred to as ‘nationalization’ under Russian Federation legislation,” writes Dr. Anders Åslund, in Kremlin Aggression in Ukraine: The Price Tag, a new report by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. If Kyiv loses the occupied Crimea and Donbas forever, the total asset value lost would be an estimated $98.4 billion for Ukraine. These two cases of military aggression were quite different, and their differences have persisted in relation to both the damage caused and how the territories have been governed. While conditions are bad in both territories, they are far worse in the Donbas.

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Since 2000, the United States has taken steps toward developing strategic stocks of emergency oil product reserves to safeguard supply from international crises and local events such as natural disasters. In recent decades, many International Energy Agency member states, including the United States, have emphasized product stockholding to facilitate rapid local emergency supply distribution. In his report, Strategic Oil Product Stockholding: International Experience and American Prospects, Global Energy Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Phillip Cornell provides in-depth analysis of the US case and identifies strategic product stockholding practices of countries around the world, from the Netherlands to India and China.

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Venezuela is in a state of desperation as its oil industry – for years the foundation of the country’s economy – spirals out of control. With elections on the horizon, the United States speeding up its drumbeat of sanctions, and Russia and China’s influence increasing in the country, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center today releases The Collapse of the Venezuelan Oil Industry and its Global Consequences, a new policy brief detailing what’s ahead for the crisis-ridden country and its oil industry.

Written by Atlantic Council author Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute and founding director of the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Management Studies Institute in Venezuela, the brief lays out the factors leading to the oil collapse, details sanctions options and their impact, measures Russia’s and China’s increasing presence, and presents various short and long-term scenarios for the industry against a potential default.

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“The Russians and other purveyors of disinformation will constantly improve their tactics; our counter-tactics therefore cannot be static,” write Ambassador Daniel Fried and Dr. Alina Polyakova in Democratic Defense Against Disinformation, a new publication by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. This report is part of the broader transatlantic effort to identify democratic solutions for countering disinformation in the short term and building societal resistance to it in the long term.

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Over the past ten years, Chinese companies and policy banks have steadily invested and lent hundreds of billions of dollars in Latin America's oil and gas sector. China's leaders have been pressured to secure energy resources because of stagnating domestic oil production coupled with rapid growth in consumption. Latin America's growing proven oil reserves have made it an attractive partner for China. The rise in capital flowing from China to the energy sector in Latin America, plus the lack of transparency around the deals however, has led to a rise in myths about the true motivation behind China's intentions. This report seeks to uncover the facts of Chinese investment and lending deals in the Latin American energy sector, explains what is reality and what are myths, and provides pointed recommendations of how all parties can help shape a better energy cooperation.

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New US sanctions on Russia now being implemented by the administration were imposed in August 2017and included additional sanctions on the energy sector. This new legislation both tightens earlier sanctions and includes sanctions against entities supporting or investing in Russia's oil and gas pipeline networks. The sanctions were intended to delay and hamper Russia's ability to develop various energy projects, but Russia recently reached noteworthy levels of oil production and gas exports. In his new report, "Impact of Sanctions on Russia's Energy Sector," Global Energy Center Non-Resident Senior Fellow Bud Coote addresses the impact of US and European Union sanctions on Russia's energy sector, Moscow's strategy and actions to deal with energy-related sanctions, and some of the geopolitical and other implications of Russia's ability to cope with these sanctions. Coote's analysis highlights how Moscow has managed to successfully pursue its energy goals, despite the broader negative impact of sanctions on other areas of the Russian economy.

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The buildup and threatening exercise of Russian conventional forces has been an important component of Russia’s multifaceted anti-Western campaign. NATO has the inherent capacity to deter, or if necessary prevail in, a conventional conflict. Its forces, however, while large, are currently neither adequately ready nor oriented to ensure that such deterrence is fully credible or that a warfighting campaign could be promptly successful. This report proposes that NATO should enhance its deterrent and warfighting posture in Europe by adopting at the 2018 NATO Summit the strategy of “Effective Deterrence by Prompt Reinforcement,” specifically in reference to Russian activities that have increased the conventional challenge to the Alliance. Key components of the strategy include a readiness initiative, enhanced intelligence, rapid decision-making, prompt reinforcement by United States and European ground and air forces, expanded maritime capabilities, integration of highly capable cyber nations’ capacities, and establishment of an integrated plan for the multi-domain defense of Europe.

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