The Atlantic Council’s outgoing interim chairman, retired US Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., implored policymakers and citizens to embrace the need for change in a rapidly transitioning world. “You rise and fall based on your ability to change when the environment around you changes,” he said. “If you cannot change. . . you [will] fail.”

Jones was joined by John F.W. Rogers, Chairman-elect of the Atlantic Council and a Goldman Sachs executive and government service veteran, in a discussion with Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe at the Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.

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The United States needs to take a hard look at its national security policies and focus its attention on investing in defensive, as well as offensive, measures to deal with cyber threats, US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said at the Atlantic Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.

Pointing out that “we just spent $716 billion on a defense budget; Russia spends $70 billion; China spends roughly $200 billion,” Warner said: “I fear that we are buying way too much of the best 20th century military stuff in terms of tanks, planes, ships, and guns when most of the conflict in the 21st century will be in the domains of cyber, misinformation, and space.”

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“One of the biggest advantages we have is that we have a lot of allies and friends,” US Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said in a wide-ranging discussion on US foreign policy at the Atlantic Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.

Cotton, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and a US Army veteran, spoke on the need for US leadership around the world to confront serious geopolitical challenges from authoritarian rivals such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

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It was December 1, 2008. Atlantic Council president and chief executive officer Frederick Kempe gathered what was then his tiny team into a conference room to watch some breaking news unfolding on the television. US President-elect Barack Obama, fresh off his historic election victory, was introducing his national security team, among them his first national security advisor: retired US Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Jr.

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Natural gas pipeline would connect Russia to Europe

Opposition to Nord Stream 2—a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine—is building on both sides of the Atlantic.

On December 11, the US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution expressing opposition to Nord Stream 2. The nonbinding resolution calls on European governments to reject the pipeline and expresses support for US sanctions on entities involved with the project.

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With the G20 summit in the rearview mirror and a key Brexit vote delayed, you may have glossed over the start of December. We have seven questions on the most important international news this week. Were you really paying attention? Take our quiz to find out!

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‘People want clean energy, that is a major driver for us,’ says Barbara Humpton

As the pace of technological change continues to quicken, Barbara Humpton, chief executive officer of Siemens USA, believes that companies and manufactures “have to challenge ourselves to use these tools to positively impact people and society.”

Speaking at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center on December 13, Humpton outlined how her company is working to address the “key megatrends” which will impact the world throughout the 21st century, including climate change, rapid urbanization and demographic change, and the need for resilient societies and infrastructure.

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In 2018, the three largest countries in Latin America—Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil—elected new heads of state. Colombia voted in its youngest president, Iván Duque; Mexico elected left-wing populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO); and Brazil chose former army captain and right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro. As the three leaders kick off their respective mandates, and as other elections shape up in the region, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center highlights five overarching trends that warrant a closer look and that are likely to affect the region over the next five years.

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It has become an accepted line of thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing chess on the international stage while the majority of Western leaders play checkers. His high-profile appearances among other world leaders at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and the centenary of the end of World War I in Paris were noted by some as more evidence Putin had brought Russia back to superpower status. Through land grabs in neighboring Ukraine and Georgia, a major military intervention in Syria, and disinformation campaigns throughout the Western world, the ex-KGB strongman has certainly returned his country to international significance. Recent developments in the Sea of Azov seem to signify another tactical victory with major potential consequences. And yet, have these moves had their intended strategic outcomes? Is Putin really a master strategist taking advantage of hapless European and American leaders?

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May survived a December 12 attempted coup to unseat her by her own Conservative Party. But with no clear path ahead concerning Britain’s exit from the European Union, she’s only navigated the first few yards of a mile-wide minefield. 

On Brexit, her own party is split, parliament is split, and the country is split. There is no prospective outcome – whether for May’s deal to leave the EU, or for some putative new deal, or for no deal whatsoever, or for remaining within the EU – that commands a natural majority. 

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