Ashish Kumar Sen

  • A View From Congress

    Two US lawmakers—one serving and another incoming—listed their top national security concerns at the Atlantic Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.

    US Rep. John Delaney, a Maryland Democratic and 2020 presidential candidate, said he worries about nuclear proliferation, especially in the context of a future leadership transition in Russia and efforts by nonstate and state actors to obtain nuclear weapons; China’s ability to repel the United States militarily from the Asia-Pacific region; and cyber security.

    US Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), a former CIA operative, said the US Congress first needs to put an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in place. Second, she said, Congress must take action to ensure that the United States is “doing the right thing” in terms of trade policy and specifically when it comes to tariffs, on which she said the United States is “antagonizing our friends and allies throughout the world with our


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  • Why it Will Be Hard to Kill NAFTA if Congress Does Not Approve Trump’s Trade Deal With Mexico and Canada

    Despite US President Donald J. Trump’s threat to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it will be much harder to kill NAFTA if the US Congress does not approve a revised trade deal, said Jesús Seade, who served as then Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s chief NAFTA negotiator in recently concluded, and often contentious, negotiations.

    Trump has threatened action as a way to force members of Congress—Democrats as well as Republicans—to ratify the recently concluded US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

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  • US Sen. Mark Warner and Adm. Michael Rogers Make the Case for Cyber Security

    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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  • Trump, Xi Reach Trade War Truce… For Now

    US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 1 agreed to a truce in their trade war in order to allow time for negotiations. In what is a significant de-escalation of a conflict that has been marked by tit-for-tat tariffs, Trump and Xi put on hold threatened tariff increases for ninety days.

    The agreement was reached during a dinner meeting between the two leaders after the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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  • With AMLO, an Opportunity to Reset the US-Mexico Relationship

    Andrés Manuel López Obrador to be sworn in as Mexico’s president on December 1

    Andrés Manuel López Obrador has his work cut out.

    The populist leader, who is more popularly known as AMLO, will be sworn in as the president of Mexico on December 1. This may be good news for the US-Mexico relationship.

    “After an erratic relationship between [US President Donald J.] Trump and [outgoing Mexican President Enrique] Peña Nieto, López Obrador’s inauguration opens the door for a reset in US-Mexico relations,” said Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

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  • Trump Cancels Meeting With Putin

    ‘Better no meeting than a bad one,’ says the Atlantic Council’s Daniel Fried

    Hours after the Kremlin confirmed a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald J. Trump on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the US president cancelled the appointment with his Russian counterpart citing the continued detention of Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russia.

    “Better no meeting than a bad one,” said Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center.

    Fried was referring to the last Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July.

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  • Trump-Xi Meeting at the G20: An Opportunity to Calm a Trade War

    US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to have a highly anticipated meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Buenos Aires later this week.

    The meeting will take place against a backdrop of sharp trade acrimony that has been marked by tit-for-tat trade tariffs. The Trump administration, for now, plans to raise existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1, 2019.  Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods.

    G20 leaders will meet in Argentina on November 30 and December 1.

    Robert A. Manning, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, will be keeping an eye on the Trump-Xi meeting. Here’s what he expects.

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  • Is Another Trump-Putin Meeting a Good Idea?

    US President Donald J. Trump is expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Buenos Aires later this week. Is that a good idea in light of Russia’s latest aggression toward Ukraine and the somewhat stymied success of past meetings between the two leaders? In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump left open the possibility that he might, after all, cancel the meeting over the incident in the Kerch Strait. “Maybe I won’t even have the meeting,” he said.

    Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the Eurasia Center, said: “A meeting...

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  • Russia-Ukraine Conflict Heats Up the Sea of Azov: Echoes of Russia’s War with Georgia?

    Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov bear eerie echoes of Russian provocations that led to the war with Georgia in the summer of 2008.

    “For months, Russian forces have been working to make the Azov Sea an internal Russian body of water in order to both cut off Ukraine’s eastern ports and cement Moscow’s hold on Crimea,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council.

    “Moscow’s incrementalist approach is like the ‘creeping annexation’ we witnessed in Georgia in 2008—any single move tends not to be dramatic, but in the aggregate Russia makes strategic gains. Today, the Russians escalated with the aim of intimidating Ukraine into backing off its own effort to assert its access to its own territorial waters and its own ports,” he added.

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  • United States Sanctions Seventeen Saudi Officials Over Khashoggi Murder

    The US Treasury Department on November 15 slapped sanctions on seventeen Saudi officials in response to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    The sanctioned Saudis include Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s trusted adviser, Saud al-Qahtani; senior aide Maher Mutreb; and Saudi counsel general in Istanbul, Mohammed al-Ootaibi.

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