All Content

Mon, Nov 23, 2020

FAST THINKING: Meet the picks for Biden’s national security team

Joe Biden’s selections for his incoming national security team are coming in fast. But what’s the bigger picture that’s coming into focus?

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Elections Intelligence

Tue, Nov 17, 2020

FAST THINKING: Trump’s plan to bring US troops home by Inauguration Day

First he shook up the leadership at the Pentagon. Now, as his new acting defense secretary announced on Tuesday, Donald Trump is planning to withdraw significant numbers of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. How should we weigh the noble cause of ending wars against the president’s rush to do so as his term comes to an end? And how will these moves affect the Biden administration’s options when it takes office in January?

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Defense Industry

Fri, Nov 13, 2020

Rushing for the exits in Afghanistan would leave a lasting stain on America

Withdrawing quickly would end any hope for a decent and responsible peace agreement in Afghanistan, and would also put to rest any prospect that Trump’s legacy might include taking credit for the Afghan peace process that he and his Afghanistan team took the lead in creating.

New Atlanticist by James Cunningham, John Negroponte, Ronald Neumann, Hugo Llorens, Richard Olson, and Earl Anthony Wayne

Afghanistan Conflict

Ambassador James B. Cunningham joined the Atlantic Council in May 2015 as a senior fellow in the South Asia Center. He became a nonresident senior fellow in May 2016. He served as ambassador to Afghanistan (August 2012 to December 2014), and as deputy ambassador (2011 – 2012). He was ambassador to Israel (2008 -2011), consul general for Hong Kong and Macau (2005 – 2008), ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York (1999 – 2004), and acting permanent representative to the United Nations for the first nine months of 2001, including on 9/11.

After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome, and the US Mission to NATO, NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner selected Ambassador Cunningham as his chief of staff (1988 – 1990). He advised the Secretary General on all NATO issues in the context of nuclear disarmament in Europe, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, and the impending dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Ambassador Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the US Mission to the United Nations. In 1992, he became the deputy director of the State Department Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1992 – 1993) and then director (1993 – 1995). He served as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy in Rome (1996 – 1999). 

Ambassador Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters. Ambassador Cunningham is the recipient of multiple awards from the State Department, the National Performance Review’s Hammer Award for Innovation in Management, the US President’s Meritorious Service Award (twice), and has received awards from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Secretary of Defense, the Afghan government, and Syracuse University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Asia Society. Ambassador Cunningham retired from government service in December 2014 with the rank of career minister.