Publications

After the first round of voting in Colombia’s presidential election on May 27, citizens took to social media to share claims of ballot tampering in favor of leading candidate Iván Duque.

The conservative Duque won the first round with 39 percent of the vote, comfortably ahead of progressive rival Gustavo Petro, who garnered 25 percent. The two rivals are to face one another in a runoff on June 17.

Read the rest on Medium
pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

As the energy sector has become more globalized and increasingly complex in its reliance on software components, the supply-chain risk has evolved and expanded. One such risk that stands out is unintended taint, namely flaws in software components unintentionally built into products in design or implementation. Unintended taint may lead to unintended supply-chain subversion, and represents a significant and credible threat to the uninterrupted functionality of critical infrastructure within the energy sector. In this issue brief, we outline a taxonomy for understanding certain energy sector risks and provide concrete recommendations for policy makers and the private sector.

Read More

In the buildup to Mexico’s presidential election on July 1, reports have been circulating of “Russian bots” amplifying political messaging in Mexico, raising fears of Russian state-backed interference, such as was seen in the United States in 2016.

@DFRLab has investigated these reports. We have been unable to verify claims of large-scale bot activity emanating from Russia. We have found one apparently Russian botnet boosting Mexican political messages, but this botnet appears to be commercially-run, boosting posts from a wide range of countries and on a wide range of subjects.

Read the rest on Medium
pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

Economic sanctions have proven to be an important foreign policy tool for the Trump Administration. In less than a year, it has expanded existing economic sanctions in response to disputes with North Korea, Russia, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela. In Secondary Economic Sanctions: Effective Policy or Risky Business, author John Forrer, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics Program, explains that one specific strategy used to increase the effects of US sanctions is referred to as “secondary sanctions.” This type of sanction is adopted in addition to the “primary sanctions” imposed on a sanctioned individual or entity. The author adds that globalization has lessened many countries’ vulnerability to traditional sanctions, and poses severe challenges to designing and implementing economic sanctions. Mr. Forrer argues that secondary sanctions can bolster the effectiveness of primary sanctions. At the same time, he cautions that secondary sanctions can be controversial, and their effectiveness is highly contested. The author stresses the importance of fully understanding secondary sanctions’ promise and pitfalls, before embracing a strategy of expanded use of this foreign policy tool.

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement gear up for the upcoming COP24 meetings in Katowice, Poland in December 2018, Latin America has emerged as a global leader in energy modernization and climate change management. In a new report, Latin America: On Target for COP 24?, David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group and senior fellow at the Adrianne Arsht Latin America Center, and Goldwyn Global Strategies Associate Andrea Clabough examine the progress Latin America has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the key challenges that remain. The authors focus on three sub-regions within Latin America, the Southern Cone, Central America, and the Caribbean, and assess the varying levels of progress made by each region toward the goals outlined in countries’ respective commitments to reduce emissions. Larger Latin American economies, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, have been particularly successful in incentivizing renewable energy generation and accelerating the shift from diesel to natural gas, chiefly by using powerful policy tools such as net metering, modernized power purchase agreements, reduction in energy consumption subsidies, and carbon pricing.

Read More

pdfDownload Infographics (PDF)

Over the past decade, Latin America has vastly expanded its exports to China, which are now approximately $100 billion annually. These exports are primarily focused on raw goods and unprocessed goods, mainly: soybeans, iron ore, crude oil, and copper. Many natural resource-rich countries aim to move from exporting raw goods to higher value-added goods, but factors on both sides are preventing some Latin America countries from doing so. For example, export taxes in Brazil on processed soybeans, or tariff escalation in China, which increases tariffs for higher value-added goods. China’s exports to Latin America, on the other hand, are increasingly higher value-added goods like electronic consumer goods and capital goods like machines.

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

“Georgia should associate its own case with the transatlantic strategy of advancing the frontiers of freedom in the post-Cold War world,” write former US ambassadors to Georgia, William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz, and Atlantic Council distinguished fellow Daniel Fried in Georgia’s Path Westward, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the National Democratic Institute. In the 1990s, Georgia—beset by separatist conflicts, corruption, extreme poverty, and threats from Russia—was at risk of becoming a failed state. It has overcome many of these challenges and now stands as a striking example of a reforming and Western-oriented country transcending the limitations of decades of Soviet rule.

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

 

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

Over the past year, many have questioned the extent to which the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are an arm of the Lebanese state or beholden to Hezbollah. Pointing to the LAF’s complicated relationship with Hezbollah, congressional and other voices in the United States have criticized US security assistance to Lebanon and threatened to withhold assistance. Yet, over the past decade, the military capabilities of the LAF have improved significantly, and the group has effectively defended Lebanon’s borders, including against ISIS. In “The United States–Lebanese Armed Forces Partnership: Challenges, Risks, and Rewards”, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow Nicholas Blanford assesses LAF capabilities, the trajectory of the LAF over the past decade, and what leverage the United States has achieved through its investment in the LAF, in particular relative to Hezbollah, Iran, and other actors.

 

Read More

pdfRead the Executive Summary

pdfRead the Full Report

For the first time since the global financial crisis, every major economy in the world is projected to grow, and President Trump says the US is “open for business.” As of early 2018, business leaders have been generally buoyant. The Global CFO Survey conducted for this report found CFOs to be optimistic about the economic outlook for the US; 61% of respondents indicated they are confident or extremely confident about investing in the US, and 71% expect continued improvement in the US business environment in the next one to three years.

Get beyond those exclamation points, though, and you start to see the question marks and concerns — about global shifts in power, a potential wave of protectionism, and warnings that business leaders and policymakers should be “on guard” for the next recession and that global growth may be masking systemic financial, social and geographical risks. Economic volatility and policy uncertainty in the first quarter of 2018 have only increased those concerns.

Read More