When voters in the twenty-eight European Union (EU) member states went to the polls in May to elect a new European Parliament, the second-largest democratic exercise in the world provided a “very tempting target for somebody who wanted to interfere in our democratic processes,” Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, said at the Atlantic Council’s 360 O/S conference in London on June 20. But thanks to increased measures to protect its citizens from disinformation, he added, the EU “didn’t see any kind of spectacular attack.”

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As more and more actors start to work with open source information there is an urgent need for a code of ethics to guide decision-making on what tools are used and when, speakers told an audience at the Atlantic Council’s 360/OS conference in London on June 20.


Alexa Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and Kate Starbird, director of the ecCOMP Laboratory at the University of Washington, discussed the need for ethical and methodological standards and what these would look like.

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Special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in argues that diplomatic and security assurances—not sanctions relief—are the key to achieving North Korean denuclearization

Following the failure of the February summit in Vietnam between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, “there is a huge trust gap between Washington and Pyongyang,” Chung-in Moon, special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for unification, foreign, and national security affairs, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on June 19. “In order to break that trust gap,” Moon added, “North Korea should take some proactive actions.”

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With US-North Korean diplomacy stuck in a ‘holding pattern,’ Stephen Biegun says North Korean negotiators must be empowered to discuss denuclearization

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on June 19 that “the door is wide open” for negotiations with North Korea, while admitting that US-North Korean diplomacy has been in a “holding pattern” since the summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February.

“For both countries, denuclearization sits at the center of this discussion,” Biegun said, adding: “Our expectations have been made quite clear to the North Koreans, but Chairman Kim has also signaled to us during the course of [the Hanoi summit] how important this issue is to him.”

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As Russia “seeks to weaken NATO, the European Union, and the United States,” the Western alliance of democracies must push back against Kremlin aggression “and the place to do it is Ukraine,” John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine and director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, told US senators at a hearing in Washington on June 18.

Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014 and has since supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. While “Western support for Ukraine has been substantial and essential,” Herbst testified to the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, “it has not been as agile and effective as it could be.”

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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to North Korea this week will underscore Beijing’s clout in Pyongyang and, by doing so, Xi may be looking to re-energize a US effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and gain leverage in stalled US-China trade negotiations.

“President Xi recognizes that closer relations with North Korea’s leader will give China additional leverage in its ongoing [trade] dispute with the United States,” said Jamie Metzl, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

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Over the course of four days in June, more than 8,000 world leaders, influencers, practitioners, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists gathered in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss how to accelerate progress for girls and women around the globe. The Women Deliver conference included important conversations about the future of work and women’s economic participation. Importantly, the debate demonstrated how the dialogue on the role of the private sector is shifting: from corporate responsibility to corporate interest and from social impact to bottom line impact—and increasingly both.

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Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, died after an appearance in a Cairo courtroom on June 17.

Morsi was in a hearing facing espionage charges, reportedly stemming from alleged contacts with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, when he collapsed and later died, according to a report on Egyptian state television.

“While Morsi’s death is a single event, its long-term ramifications will be numerous and far-reaching,” said Jasmine M. El-Gamal, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

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Iran’s plans to violate a central tenet of the 2015 nuclear deal by exceeding limits placed on enriched uranium “will be the final blow to an agreement that the United States mortally wounded a year ago,” according to Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative

The nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—was signed between Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and China on July 14, 2015. The deal required Tehran to freeze aspects of its nuclear weapons program. In return, the other signatories would provide sanctions relief. On May 8, 2018, US President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA over concerns that it did not do enough to stop Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon or its “malign activity” in the Middle East.

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently bought himself into an African country for a relative pittance, working through Yevgeny Prigozhin, his favorite contractor for such special projects, which have ranged from tipping US elections to saving Syria’s dictator.
 
With that partner, he won an insider’s influence over the strategically placed Central African Republic (CAR) and priority access to its oil, diamonds, gold and uranium resources. At least that’s how one US government official, with years of experience tracking such matters, explains this bargain basement price of geopolitical cunning.

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