Written by Dr. Gal Luft, Silk Road 2.0: US Strategy toward China's Belt and Road Initiative explores how the United States should engage with China's tremendous infrastructure-building project, and recommends the United States pursue a strategy of constructive participation. This strategy is built on five pillars: acknowledge, engage, adjust; articulate red lines; carve a role for the United States; integrate the BRI into the framework of overall US-China Relations; and present America's own vision for infrastructure development.

The discussion focused on two main themes: the geopolitical and strategic reasons why the United States should engage in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the United States can do so while maintaining and protecting its interests. Overall, the panelists felt the BRI provides avenues for a constructive and cooperative relationship with China, the United States should want a role in development of underdeveloped regions which also provide US companies the opportunity to compete, and, lastly, China’s accrued influence in the countries where their projects are a success will test other hegemonic powers including Russia and India. One particular area to watch is China’s large investments in long-time ally Pakistan’s development. Ambassador Gray, Dr. Oh, and Dr. Luft all described how engagement with the BRI is in the United States’ interest as it helps create the standards for infrastructure development. The BRI provides private sector businesses with transparency to the contract competition process, providing fair access to capital for proposed BRI projects. The US government should help ensure fair access and transparency to business who wish to enter BRI projects. The overall conclusion is this: the BRI is moving forward with or without the US – the strategy that is proposed in this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper provides a roadmap to supporting China’s interest and investments in international development while maintaining US interests and security by selectively choosing when to endorse and when to rebuff aspects of the BRI.

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Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk still believes deeply in the power of international norms to maintain peace.

“Today’s world is based on great principles: sovereignty, territorial integrity, and untouchable borders. And as far as I understand the situation, the United States is the guardian of these principles,” said Kravchuk at an event on November 18, in response to a question about US President-elect Donald Trump’s possible plans to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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Wednesday July 13, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a panel of human rights experts to discuss the human rights violation which often accompany international mega sports events. The panelist included: Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director, Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, David Kramer, senior director for human rights and democracy at the The McCain Institute for International Leadership, and Pedro Abramovay, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean and Director of the Latin America Program at Open Society Foundations. The event was moderated by Robert Herman, vice president of Emergency Assistance Programs and Multilateral Advocacy at Freedom House.

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On June 21, 2016 the Atlantic Council hosted a private session with James J. Townsend, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy at the US Department of Defense. DASD Townsend debriefed the latest NATO Defense Ministerial meeting held on June 14-15, just weeks ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. The event gathered senior experts, former officials, and policymakers to discuss the key deliberations and decisions of the meeting, including those concerning the Alliance's emergent "enhanced forward presence" in Central Europe, the NATO-Ukraine relationship, and NATO's role in addressing the challenges along its southern frontier.

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“People have forgotten that there’s a real humanitarian situation and a real need in a European country,” said Jock Mendoza-Wilson, director of international and investor relations at System Capital Management, during a recent Atlantic Council panel examining the crisis in Ukraine.

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Challenging Putin at the Ballot Box
By Mitch Hulse

In a climate of repression and authoritarianism institutionalized by Russian President Vladimir Putin, opposition parties “must use every opportunity to challenge” the Kremlin even if it means participating in a “flawed and truncated election process,” according to a Russian opposition leader.

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On May 23, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, along with IREX and the Free Russia Foundation, hosted a paneled event discussing the nature of modern Russian propaganda.

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Turkey will be critical to any US or NATO effort to shape Russia’s behavior in the Middle East and it should be put on the path to joining the European Union, said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).

“If we want to stabilize a volatile region with a strategic ally we are going to have to put them on the path to EU accession,” said Connolly. “It is in everyone’s interest that Turkey align itself with Europe and the EU.”

Describing the Russo-Turkish relationship as one factor in the war in Syria, Connolly said: “Turkey must be able to engage Russia from a position of strength…as a democratic and NATO ally.”

Written in the New Atlanticist Blog. To read more, click here.

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One year after the public assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, General Alexander Bastrykin, has announced that the case has been “solved.” However, the legitimacy of the investigation is questionable as the Investigative Committee has refused to qualify Nemtsov’s murder under Article 277 of the Criminal Code as “an attempt on the life of a public statesman.” Additionally, neither the organizers, nor the masterminds, of the most high-profile political assassination in Russia’s modern history have been named. As prosecutors prepare for a trial at the Moscow District Military Court, only the alleged perpetrators have been arrested, and despite the obvious links between the gunmen and Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed Chechen leader has not been formally questioned in this case. 

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On March 31, the Atlantic Council hosted a private workshop aimed at building a regional approach for Nordic-Baltic defense cooperation. The event convened a range of Nordic and Baltic experts, embassy representatives, and US government officials to develop new and actionable policy proposals to strengthen regional security and stability. Panel discussions focused on assessing Russian power in the Nordic-Baltic region and filling the capabilities gaps in the Baltic Sea.

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