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  • Author: Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Six years ago, Bill Gates created a buzz in the high tech community when he published an article in Scientific American suggesting robotics was becoming the next "new thing." Entitled "A Robot in Every Home," the Microsoft cofounder's essay argued presciently that the state of robotics paralleled that of the computer industry in the 1970s when it approached a tipping point, launching the PC revolution.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Celeste Wallander
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Obama administration's goals for arms control and security cooperation with Russia are the right ones, but they cannot be achieved as long as US-Russian strategic stability is in question. Unless leaders in both capitals confront the new requirements for strategic stability in the twenty-first century, they will fail to seize the opportunity for further arms reductions and enhanced national security.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Cities are shaping our collective fate in nearly every respect. As the predominant locus of human settlement, cities already wield considerable power and will continue to increase their influence in the decades to come. Cities generate most of the world's wealth. They are the places where citizenship and political participation are defined, redefined, and contested. They are the sites where global challenges ranging from climate change and natural resource depletion to international security problems are felt. In other words, we have seen the future, and it is urban. If humankind's most pressing challenges are to be solved during this century, the world's foreign and security policy establishments must not only become more cognizant of mass urbanization, but begin creating the processes that will productively integrate cities within global governance structures. These policy establishments are already behind the curve, for cities have been going about building parallel global governance structures on their own for some time now. They have become important actors in shaping global politics, helping to forge new patterns of transnational relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Security, Governance, Urbanization
  • Author: Danya Greenfield
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While Jordanians are focused on the conflict raging in neighboring Syria and the prospect of violence spilling over onto Jordanian soil, below the surface the same kind of political, economic, and social grievances that launched a wave of uprisings in the Arab world are present and intensifying in Jordan with each passing day. As calls for political change swept through Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, and Sanaa in the spring of 2011, periodic protests emerged throughout Jordan as well, where a diverse mix of people came out in calls for greater freedoms and economic opportunity. Many of the anti-government demonstrations were led by youth, representing a broad spectrum from conservative East Bank tribes to the urban Palestinian-Jordanian elite, and the normally politically apathetic youth population seemed engaged in unprecedented ways. Young Jordanians struggle to land decent jobs, find affordable housing, and save enough money to get married; with 55 percent of the population under the age of twenty-five, and a 26 percent unemployment rate among males between fifteen and twenty-five years old, there is reason to be cognizant about youth discontent emerging in unexpected or critical moments of pressure.
  • Topic: Economics, Youth Culture, Social Movement, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Guillaume Lasconjarias, Jean-loup Samaan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In recent years, the issue of missile defense has become one of the most prominent features of Israel's military debate. During Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip on November 2012, air defense systems such as Iron Dome proved crucial against rockets targeting Israeli territory. As a result, they have attracted increasing political attention. Against this backdrop, international media and policy circles now focus on Israel as the most advanced case to test the validity of missile defense. NATO, in particular, has dedicated a lot of attention to the Israeli experience in missile defense and the lessons to be drawn from it.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Libyan economy collapsed in the wake of the popular uprising in February 2011 that led to the overthrow of the Muammar Qaddafi regime later that year. As the war raged, virtually all economic activity, especially oil production (the mainstay of the Libyan economy) witnessed a dramatic decline. While there was some recovery in 2012 when the war ended and oil production came back faster than expected, the economy has not yet reached a point of sustained, longer term economic growth. In fact, by 2013, the economy has only just got back to what it was prior to the uprising.
  • Topic: Economics, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Patrick O'Reilly
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: As the proliferation of more capable missiles that threaten regional populations, governments, and commerce continues over the twenty-first century, so does the need to counter and disincentivize this proliferation with effective and affordable regional missile defenses. Missile defense systems are among the most expensive military capabilities, but their costs can be dramatically reduced, their performance improved, and geopolitical pressure increased if the United States, Russia, and NATO deployed systems cooperatively.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: While the withdrawal of all combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 will be welcomed in most NATO capitals, it raises stark questions for the future of the Atlantic Alliance. Can it justify its existence without a direct threat to the security of its members? Is it enough for NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to state that the Alliance has to evolve from “deployed NATO to prepared NATO,” without answering the question: prepared for what? Or will NATO have to accept that it is now less relevant, placing itself in standby mode to hibernate until it is reawakened by a new mission inside or outside Europe?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, North America
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Although it appears Jordan has survived the Arab uprisings thus far, all is not well in the Hashemite Kingdom. Over the past twenty years, its political economy has changed profoundly, putting pressure on the foundations of regime stability. The state in Jordan has been retreating from many citizens' economic lives, shrinking its circle of privilege and patronage, and leaving the population to fend for itself in a dysfunctional economy. Worryingly, the segment of the population most affected is the monarchy's base, which sees the Palestinian-Jordanian population as benefiting from the new status quo. Today, Jordan is also coping with hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom may remain in the country long term. Yet the real danger to the monarchy's stability is not the immediate cost of refugee care but the alienation of its traditional power base.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Richard LeBaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tension between the United States and its partners in the Gulf flared up visibly in the last several months, notably with Saudi Arabia's public displays of displeasure with the US approach to the Syria conflict, nervousness about an interim nuclear deal with Iran, and sharp differences over Egypt. Gulf distrust of US intentions and actions is nothing new, and is in no small part rooted in the Gulf states' deep frustration with how the United States executed the war in Iraq, which they perceive as placing Iraq under Iran's sphere of influence. But these latest tensions also point to a fundamental gap in expectations about the US role in the region and its commitment to security for the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: J. Peter Pham
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The links between the United States and Morocco are among the oldest of the US' diplomatic bonds. In 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III was the first foreign sovereign to recognize the independence of the thirteen former British colonies. Subsequently, the 1786 Treaty of Peace and Friendship—negotiated by Thomas Barclay and signed by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—established diplomatic relations between the two countries. Modified in 1836 with the addition of various security and commercial protocols, the accord is still in force, making it the United States' longest unbroken treaty relationship. But as venerable as this history is, the strategic importance of Morocco to pursuing the Atlantic community's interests in the security and development of northwestern Africa has only recently become fully apparent to US policymakers and analysts. President Barack Obama's invitation to King Mohammed VI to make an official visit to the United States this year indicates the importance that both countries attach to this significant strategic relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, North America, Morocco, Northwest Africa
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Fatemah Aman
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When compared to its often rocky relations with Arab countries to the west, the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to retain largely cordial ties with its neighbors to the east. Historic linguistic, religious, and cultural connections have helped Iran keep its influence in South Asia and become a key trading partner despite US-led sanctions. Because of its strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, Iran provides India with access to Afghanistan and Central Asia that does not require transit through Pakistan. However, Iran and its neighbors, including Pakistan, face acute challenges such as scarce and poorly managed water resources, ethnic insurgencies, energy imbalances, and drug trafficking that require regional solutions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Arabia, North America, Persia
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current turbulent global landscape recalls past key transition points in history such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, when the path forward was not so clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of very different global futures. As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the transatlantic community is entering a new era in history that will pose a very different set of challenges and offer unprecedented opportunities. If it is to survive, the NATO Alliance must navigate this crucial period by fundamentally reconsidering its place in the global landscape as well as its future roles, missions, and functions from a strategic, long-term perspective. The world is changing rapidly, and if NATO does not adapt with foresight for this new era, then it will very likely disintegrate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fundamentals of the natural gas sectors of the United States and European Union (EU) are on divergent paths. While the US prepares for gas exports on the back of the unconventional gas revolution, Europe is facing declining indigenous production and growing dependence on imports. The Central and Southeastern Europe (CSEE) region has moved closer to integrate into the EU's internal energy market, but it remains in a vulnerable position in the short-term compared to the rest of the EU and especially the US due to the region's historic exposure to Gazprom's monopolistic abuse. A concerted US, EU, and regional effort is needed to implement a diversification strategy, where US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports could make a real difference. In the medium and long run, the region can benefit from and play a crucial role in Europe's gas supply diversification strategy and may even succeed in adapting the US unconventional experience, contributing to a healthier energy import balance on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Banning Garrett
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: “This is some of the best driving I've ever done,” Steve Mahan joked at the end of a ride in the Google self-driving car. Mahan's 2012 drive—to buy tacos for lunch and pick up his laundry—was especially remarkable since he is 95 percent blind. His hands-free test drive (accompanied by Morgan Hill Police Department Sergeant Troy Hoefling and recorded in a YouTube video) would have been impossible not only without advanced sensors, computers, and software, but also without big data, which both enabled development of the driverless car and inform its movement along the streets and freeways of California. The Google car itself gathers nearly 1 gigabyte of data per second as it scans and analyzes its environment. Think of the potential data gathering of 100 million self-driving cars on the roads of the United States. How will that data—100 million gigabytes per second—be transmitted, stored, and analyzed?
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Intelligence, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff, Müjge Küçükkeleş
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey's handling of its Kurdish population and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. US policy toward the Kurds remains subordinate to wider regional security interests. Officially, the United States does not support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. In practice, however, US policy is often inconsistent: the United States backs Kurdish groups in some states while opposing them in others.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan
  • Author: Sean R. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In looking at twenty years of independence in the former Soviet region of Central Asia, Kazakhstan stands out in most respects as a stable oasis in a desert of uncertainty. It is the wealthiest country in Central Asia. It has not suffered any serious conflict since gaining independence, and the development of its economy, financial sector, and private sector has been steadily moving forward as has its engagement with the global economy. It is little wonder, therefore, that the most stable and fruitful bilateral partnership for the United States in the region over the past twenty years has been with the Republic of Kazakhstan. US-Kazakhstan relations have never experienced a significant crisis, and there has been ongoing cooperation between the two countries in a variety of areas, including nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, and energy extraction.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Katherine Hardin
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has tripled its oil production, taking its place among the top twenty oil producers globally. The country currently produces more than 1.7 million barrels per day (mbd), an amount roughly equal to Libya's 2010 production. Over the past decade, Kazakhstan's oil reserves estimates have nearly doubled, placing it among the top five countries that will account for more than half of the global liquids capacity growth to 2020. Kazakhstan's considerable resource base has been a critical factor in this success, but the government of Kazakhstan under President Nursultan Nazarbayev has also made strategic choices to attract investment into the energy sector and has successfully crafted a "multivectoral" energy policy with its neighbors, particularly in the case of energy transportation. This paper highlights key stages in Kazakhstan's emergence as a major energy producer, but points to challenges that lie ahead as the country continues to increase oil and gas production and exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Libya
  • Author: Douglas Townsend
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Upon its conclusion in December 2011, the main part of the sixty-sixth United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 66) session adopted forty-seven resolutions and five decisions in its continuing effort to encourage a more flexible approach to revitalizing the multilateral disarmament process.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For more than two decades, cyber defenders, intelligence analysts, and policymakers have struggled to determine the source of the most damaging attacks. This "attribution problem" will only become more critical as we move into a new era of cyber conflict with even more attacks ignored, encouraged, supported, or conducted by national governments.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, International Security, Reform
  • Political Geography: China