Reports

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The upending of the Middle Eastern order since 2011 came about primarily because of failures of governance. We must properly understand the why and how of this Middle Eastern breakdown if we are to recognize and commit to the work that is truly necessary to build a new, secure, and durable regional order. Investing in sustainable governance is important for the world and for the rising generation of young Arabs, who can either become a force for tremendous progress or a generation lost to violence and despair.

 
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Since Putin’s return to power in 2012, the Kremlin has accelerated its efforts to resurrect the arsenal of ‘active measures’…” writes Dr. Alina Polyakova in The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses: Russian Influence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu’s Eurasia Center. Western European democracies are not immune to the Kremlin’s tactics of influence, which seeks to turn Western liberal virtues–free media, plurality of opinion, and openness–into vulnerabilities to be exploited. 

 

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The European Union (EU) is facing numerous crises, including massive migration flows, the UK’s vote to leave the EU (Brexit), and rising support for anti-EU and populist parties. In “The EU’s Capital Markets Union—Unlocking Investment Through Gradual Integration,” author Zdenek Kudrna, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Salzburg, argues that these crises all share one characteristic: They would be easier to resolve if EU economies grew faster.

To reinvigorate economic growth across Europe, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, launched the “Juncker Plan” in November 2014. Kudrna introduces the Capital Markets Union (CMU) as the core regulatory initiative of this plan. 

 

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As the Paris Agreement on Climate Change enters into force on November 4, 2016, signatories will face the challenges of transforming their energy sectors into more efficient, lower-carbon systems. Driven by economic growth, urbanization and population increases, most of future energy growth will be in the developing, non-OECD counties. The power sector will be especially critical to emissions mitigation and countries must establish the policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks for mobilizing the large investments needed to meet their NDCs in an affordable and sustainable manner. Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries: A Strategic Framework for Post-Paris Action, authored by Dr. Robert F. Ichord, Jr., offers a strategic framework to understand and address the challenges and hard choices developing countries face in moving to a cleaner energy mix while expanding access to those without electricity.  Dr. Ichord will apply this framework to other countries and regions in the non-OECD world in subsequent Atlantic Council publications in coming months. 

 
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Framing a sustainable and achievable strategy toward Iran will be a high priority for the next administration. Iran is a country of intrinsic geopolitical consequence. But four decades of estrangement between Washington and Tehran have been costly to regional security, and Iran’s revolutionary leaders still see the United States and its regional friends as adversaries. Efforts to change the fundamental dynamic in US-Iranian relations have faltered over the decades, due to mistrust and misreading of the other’s intentions. The next president has an opportunity to move the US-Iran relationship in a more positive direction, building on the Obama administration’s 2015 achievement of a nuclear agreement.

In the sixth Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, A New Strategy for US-Iran Relations in Transition, Ellen Laipson presents a new strategy to reduce prospects for a military confrontation with Iran; improve the regional security environment by working with trusted partners and with Iran; and, eventually, enable Iran and the United States to build cooperation in diverse areas of shared concern.

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Cloud computing, which relies on automatically available services, including storage, that can be shared among devices, is considered crucial to the digital transformation of industry and the economy. But fundamental questions remain on the role of cloud computing in Europe and the best strategies for fostering the conditions necessary for a barrier-free transatlantic digital economy. Is cloud computing being used to its optimum advantage across Europe, and how does that usage differ from country to country? What are the motivations behind cloud adoption—or behind the failure to adopt? And finally, what effect does the adoption of new forms of digital technology have on small and medium enterprises (SMEs)? Into the Clouds: European SMEs and the Digital Age, authored by Tyson Barker, addresses these and other questions.

 
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Europe suffers from two major handicaps: poor economic growth and high unemployment. In Europe Needs To Trim Its Excessive Fiscal Burden, Anders Åslund argues that Europe needs more structural reforms to solve these problems. Åslund addresses some fundamental questions on excessive fiscal burden: Why have public expenditures become higher in the EU than in other countries at a similar level of economic development? How have varying levels of public expenditures impacted economic growth? What level of public expenditures is desirable and how can the desired level be achieved? 

 

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On October 1, 2016, the Chinese renminbi (RMB) joined the dollar and the euro as one of five official international reserve assets. This is not just a technical development. It has the potential to reshape trade and finance across Latin America, according to a new report by the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. By being able to conduct deals directly in China's currency, the region now enters a new and uncertain financial era ripe with investment opportunities—but also with elevated risks.

 
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“The world certainly faces challenges, and Global Risks 2035, one of the most important documents about our global future written in recent years, describes this darkness in detail…Reading this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, and the following two in this series which will outline a strategy for the twenty-first century and how best to implement strategic plans, is where all leaders—including our own—should begin.” 

Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft


What will the world be like in 2035?  The forecast seems dire. In the four years since Global Trends 2030 was published, the biggest change in the world is the increased risk of major conflict. In 2012, a large-scale US/NATO conflict with Russia or China was close to unthinkable. Now, the post-Cold War security order has broken down, and the consequences are immense, potentially threatening globalization.

 

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