David Wemer

  • US Withdrawal from Nuclear Arms Control Treaty Could Give Russia 'Free Rein'

    In congressional testimony, Atlantic Council’s Alexander Vershbow says US allies concerned ‘we  may have given a gift to President Putin’

    Although the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from a Cold War era nuclear arms control treaty with Russia was “legally justified,” the decision could “give Russia free rein to rapidly deploy ground-launched versions of its newest cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons,” Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, warned Congress on February 26.

    Vershbow, who is a former NATO deputy secretary general, testified to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces that Washington’s “allies are concerned that, politically, we may have given a gift to [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin, who has long sought to escape the INF Treaty’s limitations.”


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  • Now is the Time to Fight for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace, Global Democratic Leaders Say

    Global democracy has seen better days. Disruptive new technologies, demographic change, stagnant wages, and uneven economic growth are leading many citizens to question the effectiveness of democratic institutions and the usefulness of global cooperation. At the same time, authoritarian regimes around the world have become emboldened in recent years, directly challenging global rules, regional stability, and attempting to undermine democratic electoral processes. Former leaders from democracies around the globe now say it is time to fight for the principles of freedom, prosperity, and peace.

    “There has been much hand-wringing about the state of democracy and the world in general,” Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center, said. “The point now is to take action.”


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  • More and More Russians Are Fleeing Oppression in Russia

    An oppressive political climate marked by a lack of rights and freedoms is now a key factor driving emigration from Russia, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. This is in stark comparison to emigration before 2012 when economic factors were the primary driver.

    Emigres who left Russia  after 2000 “are notably more critical of the Kremlin’s authoritarian policies” than those who left in the 1990s, but the newest batch—those who left after 2012—are unique in that they seem to have left primarily because of this oppression, write Eurasia Center Director John Herbst and Rutgers University professor, Sergei Erofeev, authors of The Putin Exodus: The New Russian Brain Drain


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  • What to Expect from the US-Polish Summit on the Middle East

    US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be in Warsaw on February 13 and 14 for a summit on the Middle East co-hosted by the United States and Poland. The summit, named a “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” will reportedly “address a range of critical issues including terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region,” according to a joint US-Polish statement.


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  • The US-Iranian Relationship: Let’s Try Engagement

    Rather than spend time contemplating regime change, the United States should attempt engagement with Iran, panelists said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on February 12.

    Roundly criticizing any thoughts from Washington that it could pressure Iran enough to achieve regime change, Mohsen Milani, executive director of the University of South Florida’s Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, said: “I simply do not see the conditions for another revolution.” He saw “no evidence that there is a social base in Iran that wants to see a radical change.”


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  • The Three Seas Initiative Explained

    On February 11, US ambassadors from twelve EU member states met in Warsaw to discuss the ways in which the United States can help the Three Seas Initiative, a project that seeks to facilitate interconnectivity on energy, infrastructure, and digitalization projects in Central and Eastern Europe. The meeting, led by the Atlantic Council and its Executive Chairman Emeritus retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., comes on the heels of US Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s visit to the Three Seas Initiative summit in Bucharest in September 2018, and a little over a year after US President Donald J. Trump endorsed the project while taking part in a 2017 summit in Warsaw.


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  • Name Deal with Greece Gives Macedonia a ‘Second Chance’

    Macedonia’s entry into NATO can help revitalize the Alliance, the country’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on February 5.

    “NATO is a family that is about security, stability, predictability, and a better and more peaceful world,” Dimitrov said, adding that “for you on the inside it is probably easy to forget how cold it is on the outside.”


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  • Exit Interview: EU’s Envoy to Washington on Navigating Challenges in the Transatlantic Relationship

    David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the United States, wraps up his time in Washington at the end of February. The last two years of his tenure have been challenging ones for the transatlantic relationship. That challenge mainly comes from US President Donald J. Trump who once described the EU as a “foe.”

    In an interview with the New Atlanticist, O’Sullivan discusses the challenges in the relationship as well as areas for optimism. Here are excerpts from the interview.


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  • As Trump Addresses the Nation, What Will He Say About the World?

    US President Donald J. Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on February 5. US presidents often use State of the Unions to make their case for new legislative agendas and justify previous decisions.

    While domestic issues such as immigration and a potential deal to avert another government shutdown will likely dominate the speech, foreign policy issues will also be addressed extensively, especially as Trump navigates new global crises and tries to position the United States in a new era of geopolitical competition. Here are the issue areas to watch as Trump addresses the nation:


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  • United States Suspends INF Treaty With Russia

    Decision could spark "unpredictable and unconstrained US-Russian arms race," Atlantic Council's Alexander Vershbow says.

    The US decision to suspend participation in a decades-old nuclear arms control treaty with Russia has raised the probability of a US-Russian arms race, according to Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a former US ambassador to Russia.

    “Although the US withdrawal will not take effect for another six months, today marks the effective end of the INF Treaty, the only nuclear arms agreement to ban an entire class of missiles,” Vershbow said. “The loss of the treaty creates a real possibility of an unpredictable and unconstrained US-Russian arms race in Europe and, potentially, in Northeast Asia as well.”


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