It is now a truism among foreign and defense policy practitioners that the post Cold War nuclear buildup in the India Pacific region constitutes the drawn of the "second nuclear age." From the 1990s onward, China's decision to stir out of its strategic languor and modernize its nuclear arsenal, along with the resolve of India and Pakistan to deploy operational nuclear forces, and, more recently, North Korea's sprint to develop reliable long range nuclear capabilities that can credibly threaten the continental United States, has led many to aver that the "second nuclear age" will rival the worst aspects of the first.
“Russia’s interference in the US presidential election in 2016 sent a signal to the West: democratic societies are deeply vulnerable to foreign influence,” writes Dr. Alina Polyakova in The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 2.0: Russian Influence in Greece, Italy, and Spain, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Following a successful installment on Russian influence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, this report examines Russian political presence in Southern Europe.
Due to proximity and historical ties, no other country is as well placed as Iran to play a dominant role in Afghan society, as Middle East Institute senior fellow Alex Vatanka shows in his new paper, "Iran's Bottom Line in Afghanistan."
On June 18, 2017, an Indian patrol disrupted construction of a Chinese road along the disputed border of Sikkim, a remote state in northeast India, reigniting a border conflict between China and India. This incident rapidly evolved into a standoff, with the apparent threat of militarized escalation between the two countries. The tension dissipated without consensus on the substantive issues, but under an interim diplomatic arrangement whereby India withdrew troops and China halted its road building, thus ending a seventy-one-day impasse.
The aviation industry is faced with a complex and critical challenge to carefully balance costs with evolving business imperatives, customer demands, and safety standards. The increasing use of new technologies in the movement towards automation has yielded efficiencies and enhanced the customer experience. Yet, it has also inadvertently created vulnerabilities for exploitation. As a central component of commerce, trade, and transportation infrastructure, the aviation industry is indispensable to the global economy. The consequences of failure would carry direct public safety and national security implications.
Few security risks are becoming as serious and far-reaching as those that fall under the heading of “ecological overshoot”, i.e., the idea that humans are stretching the planet’s resources to the breaking point and even beyond. The growing scarcity of fresh water on a rapidly changing planet is an important example of this phenomenon. An insecure supply of clean water raises the dangers of economic disruption, social tension, and even conflict over water resources at both the domestic and international levels. These dangers are highest where water is scarce and governance (at the domestic or international levels) is poor.
This new issue brief argues that the United States should craft a realistic Turkey policy, given the current state of tensions over regional policy and the entrenchment of authoritarianism and illiberalism in Turkey. The piece contends that the trajectory of the relationship between the United States and Turkey suggests a need for the United States to focus on "transactionalism," wherein the majority of bilateral talks are simply aimed at managing a troubled but important relationship, rather than waiting for tensions over US actions in Syria to subside.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to hold onto power through the civil war and has the determined support of Iran to thank for his position. In “Tehran Stands Atop the Syria-Iran Alliance,” author Danielle Pletka examines ties between Syria and Iran, the power relationship that has emerged, and the legacy it leaves for the next Syrian ruler.
France played a significant role in the negotiations that led to the deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The French never believed in the “transformational” value of the JCPOA. They did not think the agreement would lead Iran to take on more of a moderate role in the region. On the contrary, they feared that in order to get the support of the security wing of the regime, the moderate elements would be forced to give up more freedom to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their epigones.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have vexed US policy makers for generations. But for American citizens, problems of stability on the peninsula, and North Korean threats to its neighbors were problems over there. Not anymore. North Korea’s dual advances in nuclear weapons and intercontinental delivery systems are edging the situation toward profound. Ever since the term proliferation of weapons of mass destruction entered the lexicon, we have dreaded the idea of a dangerous, wildly unpredictable state—seemingly impervious to sanction—acquiring the capability to hold the US homeland hostage. Yet, that time is approaching. North Korea may be a few years off, as it still needs to perfect its long-range ballistic missiles and miniaturize a nuclear warhead on its cone, but strategic thresholds have been crossed, and we appear no closer to solving the problem.