Reports

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There is more uncertainty about the future of global and regional trade systems than at any time since the current rules-based order was created in the aftermath of WW2. As trade wars loom, the world’s two largest trading powers, China and the United States, pursuing “America First” trade policies appear on different and discordant paths. China has gamed the system and is pursuing mercantilist policies in an effort to dominate the technology-driven economy now taking shape. The rules-based trade system brought unprecedented growth and prosperity over the past seven decades. If the world’s largest trading power, China, cannot accommodate itself to rules and standards sought by much of the world, this China Challenge renders inclusive regional and global trade architectures increasingly problematic.

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The Global Innovation Sweepstakes: A Quest to Win the Future examines how emerging technologies will remake the global order and explores strategies for how the United States can retain its innovative edge. Tech-based innovation—in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, green energy, and biotechnology—will reshape the future of human civilization. Those nations that can create and adapt to cutting-edge technologies will realize enormous economic and geostrategic benefits in the decades to come. It is with this realization that the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, in partnership with Qualcomm, embarked on a global tour of technology hubs to find out which ones are at the cutting edges of innovation and which are at risk of falling behind.

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In a newly released report, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Alan Riley highlights the risks that could stem from the construction of the contentious proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russia to Germany. In the report, Dr. Riley emphasizes that the proposed pipeline would have negative implications for European energy security, including undermining transit security, reducing route diversity, creating a “Straits of Hormuz” risk for Europe, and undermining the single market.

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As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement gear up for the upcoming COP24 meetings in Katowice, Poland in December 2018, Latin America has emerged as a global leader in energy modernization and climate change management. In a new report, Latin America: On Target for COP 24?, David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group and senior fellow at the Adrianne Arsht Latin America Center, and Goldwyn Global Strategies Associate Andrea Clabough examine the progress Latin America has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the key challenges that remain. The authors focus on three sub-regions within Latin America, the Southern Cone, Central America, and the Caribbean, and assess the varying levels of progress made by each region toward the goals outlined in countries’ respective commitments to reduce emissions. Larger Latin American economies, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, have been particularly successful in incentivizing renewable energy generation and accelerating the shift from diesel to natural gas, chiefly by using powerful policy tools such as net metering, modernized power purchase agreements, reduction in energy consumption subsidies, and carbon pricing.

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“Georgia should associate its own case with the transatlantic strategy of advancing the frontiers of freedom in the post-Cold War world,” write former US ambassadors to Georgia, William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz, and Atlantic Council distinguished fellow Daniel Fried in Georgia’s Path Westward, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the National Democratic Institute. In the 1990s, Georgia—beset by separatist conflicts, corruption, extreme poverty, and threats from Russia—was at risk of becoming a failed state. It has overcome many of these challenges and now stands as a striking example of a reforming and Western-oriented country transcending the limitations of decades of Soviet rule.

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In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

 

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For the first time since the global financial crisis, every major economy in the world is projected to grow, and President Trump says the US is “open for business.” As of early 2018, business leaders have been generally buoyant. The Global CFO Survey conducted for this report found CFOs to be optimistic about the economic outlook for the US; 61% of respondents indicated they are confident or extremely confident about investing in the US, and 71% expect continued improvement in the US business environment in the next one to three years.

Get beyond those exclamation points, though, and you start to see the question marks and concerns — about global shifts in power, a potential wave of protectionism, and warnings that business leaders and policymakers should be “on guard” for the next recession and that global growth may be masking systemic financial, social and geographical risks. Economic volatility and policy uncertainty in the first quarter of 2018 have only increased those concerns.

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The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution offer unprecedented avenues to improve quality of life, advance society, and contribute to global economic growth. Yet along with greater prospects for human advancement and progress, advancements in these technologies have the potential to be dramatically disruptive, threatening existing assumptions around national security, rules for international cooperation, and a thriving global commerce. This report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) addresses emerging technologies in key areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explores innovative ways by which the United States and the Republic of Korea can cooperate around advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics; biotechnology; and the Internet of Things.

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In recent years, Western analysts have become aware of the possibility that Russia may conduct limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes in a bid to escalate its way out of failed conventional aggression. The United States and its NATO allies, however, have not developed a clear strategy for deterring limited Russian nuclear strikes. Specifically, in the event of a limited Russian nuclear attack, how would the United States and its NATO allies respond?

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In the current uncertain and challenging international political environment, the US-Japan alliance has never been stronger or more important than it is now; yet it has never faced as many challenges and hurdles than it does today. Under President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the alliance is steadfast and unwavering. But global instability, renewed geopolitical competition, flashpoints like the Korean Peninsula, and China’s growing strategic footprint and uncertain role in the global order threaten the stability of the Asia-Pacific – and with it—the US-Japan alliance. This new US-Japan Joint Policy Report 2018, released in conjunction with the Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR) and the National Defense University, explores the dynamic relationship between Washington, DC and Tokyo and the future of the US-Japan alliance. Stronger than Ever but More Challenged than Ever: The US-Japan Alliance in the Trump-Abe Era examines the relationship over seven chapters focused on: The Alliance Today; The Evolving International Order; The International Order in the Asia-Pacific Region; Japan, the Alliance, and the Regional Order; Trump and the Alliance; Abe and the Alliance; and Making the Alliance Work. It offers concrete analysis and outlines policy recommendations for decision makers in the United States and Japan as both countries work to uphold the international order, ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific, and reaffirm their commitment to the alliance.

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