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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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Over the past year, many have questioned the extent to which the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are an arm of the Lebanese state or beholden to Hezbollah. Pointing to the LAF’s complicated relationship with Hezbollah, congressional and other voices in the United States have criticized US security assistance to Lebanon and threatened to withhold assistance. Yet, over the past decade, the military capabilities of the LAF have improved significantly, and the group has effectively defended Lebanon’s borders, including against ISIS. In “The United States–Lebanese Armed Forces Partnership: Challenges, Risks, and Rewards”, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow Nicholas Blanford assesses LAF capabilities, the trajectory of the LAF over the past decade, and what leverage the United States has achieved through its investment in the LAF, in particular relative to Hezbollah, Iran, and other actors.

 

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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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In cybersecurity, it is time to go beyond sharing and ad hoc cooperation, to collaboration at scale across borders, stakeholders, and sectors. This effort should begin with a determined study of the responses to past incidents and how to improve them, then proceed to new, action-oriented Cyber Incident Collaboration Organizations (CICO) to streamline response. The goal of a CICO must be to streamline the current response process for an incident type, to provide an umbrella to make such work easier or to upscale it. In this issue brief, Jason Healey presents the next generation of innovations that will simplify agile, scalable response to incidents—across borders, stakeholders, and sectors.

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“Unlike in the legacy industries, there are no Ukrainian IT oligarchs, no IT-supported political parties in the Rada, and no IT-controlled Ukrainian media channels,” argue Andrei Kirilenko and Tetyana Tyshchuk in From Legacy to Digital: Ukraine’s Plugged-in Economy, a new issue brief by the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center. In fact, Ukraine has a long and proud history in the development of information technology (IT), both hardware and software. MESM, the first digital electronic computer in continental Europe, was completed in 1951 in Feofania on the outskirts of Kyiv. Despite the war, unfavorable investment climate, and weak institutions, Ukraine’s IT industry has been experiencing double-digit growth for several years running. This issue brief examines the rising IT sector in Ukraine and how the new digital economy is integrating into global markets and increasing the productivity and competitiveness of Ukraine’s human capital.

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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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With a May 12 deadline looming for sanctions waivers, US President Donald Trump is faced with an imminent decision whether to continue US implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Implementation (JCPOA) and remain part of the nuclear deal with Iran and the P5+1 governments (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany). In Iran Sanctions and the Fate of the JCPOA: What’s at Stake if President Trump Fails to Renew the Sanctions Waivers? author David Mortlock, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, explains that while there is still time for US diplomats to reach some kind of accord with their European counterparts before May 12, President Trump is reportedly unsatisfied with the results so far. In the absence of a sufficient agreement with Europe, the president clearly appears prepared not to renew the waivers come May 12, and to reimpose sanctions that could impact an array of activity by private companies, largely outside the United States.

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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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From cryptocurrencies to blockchain to mobile money, financial technology (“fintech”) is revolutionizing the basic structures of the global economy. Financial services delivered through fintech are becoming more accessible, efficient, and personal. In sub-Saharan Africa, where only 34 percent of adults have bank accounts, fintech companies are already providing financial products and services to millions of unbanked and underserved Africans in ways that traditional financial institutions cannot.

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Disruptive technologies—such as the Internet of Things, robotics, and three-dimensional (3D) printing—have been heralded as the future of the global manufacturing sector. However, in Africa, they could hinder industrialization and result in fewer entry points into global supply chains. While it may be possible for African nations to “leapfrog” directly to newer technologies, it is more likely that developing the relevant worker know-how, infrastructure, and corporate capabilities necessary to leverage the potential value of these technologies will be a very gradual process. African policy makers must therefore pursue multipronged strategies to ensure relevance as 3D printing and other disruptive technologies move into the mainstream.

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