Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

  • Iranian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Is a Plea for Basic Rights

    This week, two well-known political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison went on a three-day hunger strike to protest their inability to get urgent medical treatment. 

    Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender serving a ten-year sentence for her peaceful activism, suffers from a serious neurological disease that causes muscular paralysis. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian dual national serving a five-year prison term on vague national security charges in connection with her past work at the BBC Media Action. She urgently needs an examination for “lumps in her breast” and neurological care for her recurring neck pain and numbness in her arms and legs. 

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  • Pompeo: The United States is a ‘Force for Good’ in the Middle East

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 10 repudiated former US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies while seeking to reassure allies of the United States’ commitment to the region. Ironically, allies have been rattled of late by US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. This decision, Pompeo insisted, is not a change of mission.

    “Let me be clear, America will not retreat until the terror fight is over,” Pompeo said in a speech at the American University in Cairo, adding that the United States “will labor tirelessly alongside you to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists that threaten our security and yours.”

    Describing the United States as a “force for good,” the secretary said: “For those who fret about the use of American power, remember: America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East. We’ve never dreamed of domination. Can you say the same of the Iranian

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  • South Korea is a Hesitant, But Friendly, US Ally in the Indo-Pacific

    Rivalry between the United States and China is deepening in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. While China is actively promoting its Belt and Road Initiative, the United States, together with its allies and partners, has put forward a Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Both the United States and China are asking countries in the region to make a strategic choice between the two competing conceptions, making it difficult for partner countries to live in both worlds.


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  • Atlantic Council Announces Cyber Conference in Warsaw

    Conference part of Council’s “100 Years Together” initiative aimed at forging the next century of Polish-American partnership

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Atlantic Council and PKO Bank Polski announced today a major cyber conference “A New Initiative for Poland: A Future Global Leader in Securing the 4th Industrial Revolution” to take place in Warsaw on January 16-17, 2019. The high-level pubic conference, which comes on the 100th anniversary of US-Poland relations, will convene key decisionmakers and policymakers to deepen US-Polish transatlantic ties by developing cybersecurity as a key pillar of the relationship.

    We are excited to launch this important cyber conference that will explore Poland’s significant potential to become a global leader in cybersecurity,” said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe. This conference is part of a

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  • Vershbow quoted in Axios on Russia-Ukraine tensions


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  • Mattis Out. What Now?

    US Defense Secretary James Mattis’ departure removes the strongest Cabinet voice against dismantling the US-led post-World War II international order. Mattis’ stunning resignation letter is a historic rebuke of the policies and person who chose him two-plus years ago to lead the US armed forces.  There were disquieting trends in the Mattis Department of Defense, but there is little doubt that the outgoing secretary served the nation with distinction and was able to thwart some of US President Donald J. Trump’s worst impulses. 
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  • Prospects for US-South Korean-Japanese Trilateral Security Cooperation

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    What are the contours, challenges, and opportunities in the all-important US-South Korean-Japanese trilateral security relationship during a period of rapidly evolving geopolitics in and around the Korean Peninsula? The trilateral relationship is more salient than ever in the aftermath of the accelerated nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Although assessing the intensity and depth of trilateral security cooperation or a lack thereof is hardly a new issue, the stakes...

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  • Top 10 Risks of 2019

    Many of the “risks” we highlighted a year ago were suggestive of the serious structural problems at the heart of the global system. We wrote last year of a United States in crisis; if anything, it could be worse if US President Donald J. Trump is impeached in 2019. We correctly predicted then that populism would not be on its way out in Europe. The recent eruption in France of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement is testament to the nagging torments in Europe and in the United States of a middle class that feels ignored and its plight underappreciated by the political system. The tension between the United States and China is more acute than ever, fueled partly by a growing realization that China is more technologically advanced and savvy than was assumed. The current trade truce may hold up and an eventual agreement reached, but the fear is that we are growing ever further apart. China...
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  • Here’s How Protests and Strikes Are Leading Change in Iran

    What do farmers in Esfahan, unemployed youth in Rafsanjan, teachers and students in Hamadan, and fraud victims in Kerman all have in common? On the face of it, not much other than being Iranian. But there is another commonality: They all staged protests on the same day, December 12.  

    Reporting on Iran tends to focus on the country’s nuclear program or squabbling of its leaders, while the diverse array of protests that regularly erupt across the country go underreported. 

    In the last twelve months, hardly a single day has passed without protests about the government, corruption, and the dwindling state of the economy. US-reimposed sanctions have hit the Iranian economy hard and the economic policies of President Hassan Rouhani have done little to take care of the poor— though this is no surprise since his government is dominated by ministers who support policies...

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  • Vershbow for Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review: European Defense: Time for a Higher Level of Ambition


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