As the Venezuelan economy continues to deteriorate, the international community needs to work towards “a situation in which conditions can improve in the country and Venezuelans will no longer have to leave their homeland,” according to Jason Marczak, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. But, Marczak warned, “That is not going to be possible under a Maduro regime.”

Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated as president of Venezuela for a second term on January 10, after elections that more than 50 countries around the world condemned as illegitimate. The United States, Canada, the European Union, and most of Latin America’s major economies have refused to recognize Maduro’s election and are undertaking a sustained external pressure campaign against the regime.

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US lawmakers must not allow understandable concerns about US President Donald J. Trump’s views of Russia to overshadow the technical merits of the administration’s divestiture plan to remove sanctions on aluminum giant Rusal and two other companies—EN+ and EuroSibEnergo, or ESE—sanctioned for their ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. After months of negotiations, Treasury officials have arrived at a delisting arrangement worthy of careful consideration and approval.


US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s January 10 congressional briefing on the details of the administration’s divestiture plan,  and the ongoing attention to this issue, sharpens the debate on whether the Rusal delisting is the appropriate action and whether Congress ought to exercise its authority under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to prohibit the delisting.

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EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström says task at hand is ‘quite urgent’

A multilateral effort needs to be made to save the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on January 10, noting that the twenty-four-year-old intergovernmental body to regulate international trade is “under increasing pressure.”

“So we need to save it,” Malmström said, warning “it is quite urgent.”

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un all hit the road this week. Do you remember where they went? Start the new year off right with seven questions on the world's top headlines as we fly into 2019.

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British members of Parliament will finally get a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated deal with the European Union setting the terms for Brexit. British government officials announced on January 7 that a vote on the deal would occur on January 15, after a similar vote was cancelled on December 11 as the government feared it did not have the votes to pass the deal.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 10 repudiated former US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies while seeking to reassure allies of the United States’ commitment to the region. Ironically, allies have been rattled of late by US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. This decision, Pompeo insisted, is not a change of mission.

“Let me be clear, America will not retreat until the terror fight is over,” Pompeo said in a speech at the American University in Cairo, adding that the United States “will labor tirelessly alongside you to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists that threaten our security and yours.”

Describing the United States as a “force for good,” the secretary said: “For those who fret about the use of American power, remember: America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East. We’ve never dreamed of domination. Can you say the same of the Iranian regime?”

We reached out to Atlantic Council analysts for their reactions to the speech. This is what they had to say:

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Rivalry between the United States and China is deepening in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. While China is actively promoting its Belt and Road Initiative, the United States, together with its allies and partners, has put forward a Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Both the United States and China are asking countries in the region to make a strategic choice between the two competing conceptions, making it difficult for partner countries to live in both worlds.

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Transatlantic trade negotiators are kicking off 2019 with positive momentum toward avoiding a trade war and implementing last year’s joint statement between the White House and the European Commission. On January 7, the European Commission made key announcements on agricultural trade and steel tariffs that set the stage for ministerial-level talks held in Washington on January 8.

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NATO leaders spent much of the last year trying to improve the mobility of Alliance forces across the European continent. While the elimination of logistical barriers between allies is an important first step, arguably too little attention was paid toward the cyber resilience of the transport infrastructure itself. A single cyberattack against the central power grid of a NATO country would seriously impair the Alliance’s capacity to respond to a crisis—undoing all the hard work NATO leaders have put into mobility.

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As has been our practice, at the end of each year, the Atlantic Council staff and leadership select our colleagues’ work undertaken in the past year that has had the most impact. The result of this assessment is below, the "Atlantic Council Top Ten of 2018," which captures ten of our many significant achievements. We produce this list both to galvanize ourselves around the results-oriented body of work we do during these historic times and to inform the most important individuals in our worldwide community about our most exciting projects.
 

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