Michael Carpenter

  • Macedonian Parliament Endorses Name Change

    Macedonian lawmakers on January 11 approved a set of constitutional amendments that will see the name of the country changed to the Republic of North Macedonia, potentially opening the way for the Balkan country to join NATO and the European Union.

    “Today, the people of Macedonia secured their future and assured their place in the heart of Europe,” Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson said. “No longer will their nation be on the transatlantic alliance’s periphery, stuck in a geopolitical limbo. With an historic parliamentary vote approving constitutional amendments to fulfill the obligations within the Prespa Agreement with Greece, Macedonians have determined their own destiny.”


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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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  • How to Put Putin in His Place

    Russia’s act of aggression against Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea on Sunday should not be dismissed as an isolated incident in its four-and-a-half year old war against Ukraine. This pre-meditated attack is part of a broader effort by Moscow to take full control of the Kerch Strait—a strategic chokepoint that connects Russia to Crimea and separates the Black and Azov Seas. Control over the Kerch Strait gives the Russian navy complete dominance over the Sea of Azov, whose only direct outlet to international waters is through the strait.

    Such maritime dominance would allow Moscow to effectively blockade the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, two major commercial gateways in eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely betting that by suffocating the fragile war-torn economy in eastern Ukraine, he can sow opposition to Ukraine’s central government and eventually blackmail Ukraine into some sort of accommodation.

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  • Carpenter Quoted in EuroNews on Azov Sea Crisis


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  • Carpenter in Politico: Foreign Dark Money Is Threatening American Democracy


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  • Q&A: Russia Attacks Ukraine Again. How Should Ukraine, NATO, and the West Respond?

    On November 25, Russia fired on the Ukrainian Navy in the Black Sea, injuring at least two Ukrainian sailors. Many experts have warned that Russia is opening a new front in its forgotten war in Ukraine on the Black and Azov Seas, illegally boarding commercial Ukrainian vessels and increasing its military presence to about 120 patrol boats and ships. The Russian MFA twitter feed is full of insinuations about a Ukrainian provocation. 

    We asked Atlantic Council experts and friends the following: How should Ukraine respond? How should NATO and the West react to this latest round of Russian aggression? What would it take to force the Kremlin to stop its menacing actions in Ukraine and around the world?

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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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  • How Will the Outcome of the Midterms Affect Trump's Policy Options?

    Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Republicans strengthened their Senate majority in the US midterm elections on November 6.

    We asked our analysts what they believe are the policy implications of this outcome. Here’s what they had to say*:

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  • Carpenter Quoted in Washington Post on Saudi Industrial Hack


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  • Macedonians Should Embrace 'an Alignment of Stars,' Says Former NATO Secretary General

    Macedonia and Greece have reached “a generational point here [where a] decision can be taken,” George Robertson, who served as NATO’s secretary general from 1999 to 2004, said at an event at the Atlantic Council on October 22. Robertson, speaking on Macedonia’s potential succession to NATO, explained that the agreement between Macedonia and Greece to change Macedonia’s name is “an alignment of stars that is unlikely to happen for another thirty or forty years.”

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