David Wemer

  • United States Will ‘Reconsider’ Information Sharing With Allies That Embrace Huawei, Says Pentagon Official

    The United States would need to “reconsider” how it shares critical information with its allies if they adopt fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) offered by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, US Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 25.

    “If our allies and partners go with a Huawei solution, we need to reconsider how we share critical information with them because we want to make sure that that is secure information,” Lord said.


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  • The Only Thing Certain About Brexit is That it Won’t Happen on March 29

    The United Kingdom will no longer leave the European Union (EU) on March 29 as originally planned. However, policy makers on both sides of the English Channel still do not know when Brexit will happen, how it will be implemented, or even if it will really come to pass. Despite more than two years of negotiations, little is known about what will be the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the EU.

    Here is a quick look at where things stand and what to watch out for in the coming weeks:


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  • US Joint Chiefs Chairman Makes the Case for Keeping US Troops in Europe

    The presence of US troops and military equipment in Europe is important, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford said on March 21, as Moscow would “be much happier if there was not a physical manifestation of our commitment to NATO because their message that we are not willing to meet our alliance [commitments] would be much easier to sell.”


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  • Behind the Din Over Defense Spending, NATO Was Hard at Work in 2018

    Despite a year of public criticism and uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hailed 2018 as a year of tremendous progress for the transatlantic Alliance. Launching his Annual Report for 2018 on March 14, Stoltenberg said allies are “doing a lot more together — in more ways and in more places — than ever before.”

    Throughout 2018, NATO allies and their partners took steps to bolster the Alliance’s capabilities, strengthen its defense, and respond to changing security threats and technologies. Here is a quick look at what the Alliance accomplished in 2018, according to Stoltenberg’s new report.


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  • Nazarbayev Begins Uncertain Transition in Kazakhstan

    Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has served as the president of Kazakhstan for nearly thirty years, on March 19 abruptly announced his decision to step down from the presidency, but also said he would retain several important posts. The resignation goes into effect on March 20.

    “Nursultan Nazarbayev has been an effective leader for Kazakhstan since before independence,” according to John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, but after resigning his position as president, the question now becomes whether Nazarbayev “and the various clans and other interest groups in the country can come to some sort of understanding on the new leadership.”  


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  • Twenty Years Later, NATO Allies Remain Strong Members of the Family

    When the foreign ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary finally signed documents completing their nations’ accession to NATO it marked the beginning of a new era for the transatlantic alliance. Twenty years ago, the ceremony held in Independence, Missouri—the hometown of US President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the creation of NATO—marked the first time former-Communist adversaries had joined the alliance of democracies.

    Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, was a junior desk officer at the US Department of State when then US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright travelled to Missouri to finalize the new enlargement. “For me, less than a year on the job, I was on a professional high,” Wilson recalled. “After watching Washington for years exude ambivalence about whether to welcome more allies into NATO, the compelling case presented by these nations’ extraordinary spokespeople won the day. The determination of Czechs, Hungarians,

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  • Algeria Protests: More of the Same or Real Change?

    The continued protests and potential leadership change in Algeria do not constitute a “big popular revolt against the regime,” according to Karim Mezran, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, but rather “a de facto demand of change of personnel.” Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced on March 11 that he would not be running for a fifth term as president, but also said that elections slated for April will be delayed.

    Bouteflika has ruled the North African country since 1999 and the eighty-two-year-old has had few public appearances since a suffering a stroke in 2013. Frustrations with Bouteflika’s rule and economic conditions have spurred mass demonstrations in Algeria since the end of February.


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  • Is Regulation of Social Media Companies the Answer to Disinformation?

    While social media companies have taken some initial steps toward tackling the problem of disinformation on their platforms, democratic governments “shouldn’t just be reliant on the fact that Facebook or Google may or may not be doing a good job” identifying or eliminating misleading or harmful content, according to UK Member of Parliament Damian Collins. Right now, Collins argued, governments “only have their word” as evidence that social media companies are adequately addressing the disinformation threat.


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  • How to Kill a Disinformation Narrative: Make it a Whodunit

    When trying to stop the spread of disinformation by malign foreign and domestic actors online, “it’s not enough to do the fact-checking,” according to Ben Nimmo, senior fellow for information defense at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. To really kill the power of the disinformation, “we have to do the story telling,” he argued.

    Speaking at the Atlantic Council’s Disinfo Week event in Brussels, Belgium, on March 8, Nimmo suggested that too many policy makers are focused on disinformation as an information warfare problem rather than “narrative warfare.” It is not access to better or new information that is making Russian and domestic extremist propaganda more successful online, Nimmo said, quite the contrary. “We have the facts,” Nimmo explained, but “they have the stories.”


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  • US Ambassador to EU Promises Transatlantic Unity in Disinformation Fight

    “Russia is trying to use a strength of our democracies – our openness, our flow of information – to destabilize us,” US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland warned on March 7. But while “the Kremlin is using the same tactics in an attempt to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe,” he continued, the United States’ “alliance with the European Union is unshaken, is strong, and is deep.”

    Sondland, addressing the Atlantic Council’s Disinfo Week event in Brussels, Belgium, stressed that the United States and Europe remain on the same page when it comes to disinformation, despite temporary disagreements on trade and defense spending. “We are determined not to allow the Kremlin to undermine our democratic institutions,” he said. “Neither will they shake America’s commitment to Europe, nor undermine transatlantic unity…we’ve weathered far worse than an onslaught of propaganda from Russian troll farms.”


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