Ambassador James B. Cunningham

  • Netanyahu’s Political Setback Casts a Shadow Over Kushner’s Middle East Peace Plan

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to forge a coalition government after his apparent electoral victory in April is a serious setback for him, and brings to a head the dynamic religious, political, and personal tensions that have infused Israeli politics for some time. 

    On May 29, Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government by a midnight deadline. Fresh elections will be held on September 17. This is the first time in Israel’s history that a prime minister-designate has failed to form a coalition government.

    Netanyahu now finds himself the victim of a political landscape which he himself had a large part in shaping over the past ten years, unable to build his Likud into a majority party, and beholden to far-right and ultra-orthodox religious parties on the one hand and to the secular


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  • Trump’s Support for Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights May Hurt Israel

    In a departure from longstanding US policy, US President Donald J. Trump on March 21 tweeted that it was time the United States recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

    While there is perhaps more than a touch of politics behind the timing of the tweet—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, is up for re-election on April 9—an actual shift in US policy on this sensitive issue could have serious consequences.

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  • US Consulate Closure in Jerusalem Puts Commitment to Middle East Peace in Question

    The closure of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem—the de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority—marks the end of an era.

    The maintenance of a distinct diplomatic representation to the Palestinians, symbolically and practically independent of the US ambassador and embassy to Israel, signified our commitment to dealing with the Palestinian Authority as a valid interlocutor and as the precursor to a state for the Palestinian people living in peace with Israel.  It was a crucial component for building a working relationship with Palestinians and their security forces, and for the difficult pursuit, together with Israelis, Palestinians, and the international community, of the two-state solution to which we had been committed.  

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  • Two Years of Trump: Key Moments in Foreign Policy

    January 20 marks two years since US President Donald J. Trump took office. We take a look back at some of the big foreign policy headlines made by the president and his administration over these past two years.

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  • Review of President Trump's South Asia Strategy

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    Over one year after the announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, significant opportunity remains to improve efforts to achieve peace. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Review of President Trump’s South Asia Strategy: The Way Ahead, One Year In, authors Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council; Ambassador James Cunningham, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; General David Petraeus, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Dr. Ashley J. Tellis,...

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  • Violence Erupts Between Gaza and Israel

    A new round of violence has erupted in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli military raid on November 11 that killed a local Hamas commander. The undercover military operation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took place in the Gaza Strip, a 141-square-mile territory on Israel’s southern border currently controlled by Hamas, which the United States, Israel, and the European Union categorize as a terrorist organization.

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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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  • Why Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Election Matters

    Afghans will vote in parliamentary elections on October 20 amid the familiar threat of violence.

    The fragile security situation in Afghanistan was underscored on October 18 when Gen. Austin Miller, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, escaped unharmed in an attack by a Taliban gunman in Kandahar. Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar’s police commander, and Abdul Momin, the provincial intelligence chief, were killed in the attack. The Afghan government has postponed the vote in Kandahar province by a week.

    In the rest of Afghanistan, voters will head to the polls on October 20 to elect candidates to the lower house of parliament. The election is three years overdue. Around 2,500 candidates are standing for 250 seats.

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  • UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Resigns

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s resignation on October 9 caught many, including some within US President Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet, by surprise. She will leave the post at the end of the year.

    Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and the daughter of Indian immigrants, at times struck an independent position from Trump, but was also a prominent supporter of the president.

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  • Cunningham Quoted in PassBlue on Nikki Haley Resignation

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