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  • Author: Bill Brownell, Scott Stone
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The release of the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report on March 31, 2014, provoked the usual calls for urgent and immediate action in response to climate change, including in particular at the international level in the form of a new climate treaty built upon domestic regulatory regimes. Irrespective of whether these calls for action are overly strident or carefully measured, the law plays a central role. In almost any discussion, the breadth and stringency of national and sub-national regulations and the extent to which a treaty can make them “legally binding” assumes paramount importance. But this emphasis on law is misplaced, because it runs headlong into the hard reality that would confront any international climate agreement in the US Senate. And given the soaring use of coal around the world, it also draws attention and resources away from far more achievable opportunities to develop and deploy advanced coal technologies that would allow the world's most abundant, accessible, and affordable energy resource to meet critical energy needs in balance with each country's environmental, economic, and security priorities.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Pinar Dost-Niyego, Orhan Taner
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The recent events in Ukraine have revived the question of European dependence on Russian natural gas. The security of Europe's natural gas supply has been a consistently important issue in Russian-European Union (EU) relations. Russia provided 34 percent of EU gas in 2012, and Russian policies can have a direct impact on EU supplies. After the West-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, a lot has been said about the 'US shale gas revolution' and the possibilities of the United States becoming an energy exporter for future European energy needs. Although US energy independence seems to promise new perspectives for future European energy security, as well as for the balance of power in the Middle East, this is not for this decade. We cannot expect that the European Union would be able to cut off all of its energy relations with Russia, but we can foresee–or at least agree–that the European Union should diversify its natural gas supplies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Faysal Itani
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Jihadists are steadily capturing territory and resources and establishing a state in Syria and Iraq. The most capable jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), now controls swathes of territory, energy resources, and sophisticated military hardware in both countries. Although the extremists are currently occupied with fighting other nonregime armed groups and the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, these efforts are a means to an end: building a state from which to confront and target the United States, its allies, and its interests in the region. These jihadist groups also bring boundless suffering to the populations they control, and serve as a magnet for and inspiration to jihadists worldwide.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Barbara Slavin, Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When most people think of the "military option" against Iran, they imagine a US attack that takes out Iran's most important known nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, Arak, and Isfahan. They expect Iran to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, sending missiles into Israel, and/or supporting terrorist attacks on US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, North 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: 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: 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: 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: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Over the course of 2011, the United States government released a coordinated set of policies that represents the most energetic cyber statecraft in nearly a decade.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Kori Schake, Lord Robertson, Franklin C. Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Slightly over two years ago, NATO was embroiled in an internal controversy of its own creation which bore within it the seeds of a deep crisis within the Alliance. Several governments, impelled by a heady mix of domestic politics and a newly fashionable interest in nuclear disarmament among certain elites, actively sought the removal of US nuclear weapons from the European portion of the Alliance. In doing so, they raised serious questions about their adherence to the central core of the Alliance: the Article 5 guarantee.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Shahid Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For over thirty years (1960-90), the Indus Water Treaty has proved to be an outstanding example of conflict resolution between India and Pakistan. Due to the increase in water stress in the basin states since the early 90s, the Treaty has come under strain. It may find it difficult to survive into the next decade, even though there is no exit clause in the Treaty. Rising Pakistani demand and the continued building of hydro-power and other dams by India on the western rivers may further threaten the Treaty. What is the reality behind the emerging debates between the two basin states on water access and usage?
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Water
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Europe, South Asia, India, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Jason Healey
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: If you pull a knife on a gunslinger, don't be surprised if you get shot. This is one of the messages of the president's International Strategy for Cyberspace. Some media outlets have taken to extreme headlines, such as OBAMA RESERVES RIGHT TO NUKE HACKERS, or HACK US AND WE'LL BOMB YOU. These headlines, although perhaps intended as hyperbole, highlight the routine misunderstandings that take place when applying national security concepts to the technical domain of cyberspace. This issue brief will analyze the relevant part of the Strategy, especially focusing on whether, and how, the United States might respond to cyber attacks, and under what circumstances, if any, such responses would be nuclear.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer, John R. Lyman, Mihaela Carstei
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Energy security presents quintessential geopolitical challenges. In Central Europe, achieving energy security can be a critical element for a continent seeking to resolve vestigial Cold War complexities with Russia and toward meeting 21st century challenges including balanced economic development, energy diversity and climate change. Central Europe, utilizing both European Union support and Western European national assistance and enhanced by United States technical assistance, can take five key steps that will go far toward resolving energy security challenges and help to reframe the geopolitics of the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Jan M. Lodal, Leslie S. Lebl, Walter B. Slocombe, Frances G. Burwell
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since 1989, the security environment facing the United States and its European allies has changed beyond recognition. The Soviet Union has disintegrated, as has the division of Europe between East and West, and new threats have arisen. The disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s demonstrated that instability and war emerging from failing states could affect the peace and security of Europe. After 2001, global terrorism became the priority threat, especially when linked with the prospect of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia
  • Author: Ronald Bruce St. Jon
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On the evening of December 19, 2003, the Libyan Foreign Ministry issued a statement, the product of nine months of tough negotiations with the United Kingdom and United States, renouncing weapons of mass destruction and related missile delivery systems. The statement said Libya had “decided, with its own free will, to get rid of these substances, equipment and programmes and to be free from all internationally banned weapons.” It added Libya intended to comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime, the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and international biological and chemical weapons agreements and treaties. It pledged to “take these measures in a transparent way that could be proved, including accepting immediate international inspection.” Soon after the issuance of this statement, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi publicly endorsed the move, terming it a “wise decision and a courageous step.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Author: Albert Zaccor
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: There is widespread recognition that the struggle against international terrorism relies heavily on the cooperation of our partners and allies. The National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United States declares that the U.S. will hold partners responsible for doing their part in the struggle -- including efforts to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and trafficking of illicit drugs -- but admits that weaker nations may not be able to fulfill that responsibility. That strategy and other subordinate strategies call for U.S. assistance to those states that lack the capacity to counter effectively those threats. This places foreign assistance and building partner and allied security capabilities at the center of the struggle against terrorism and related transnational threats.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Franklin D. Kramer, C. Richard Nelson
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report provides the working group's insights about the future of overseas bases derived from U.S. experience over the last 60 years. It highlights key assumptions about the future security environment, proposes recommendations and identifies issues that need further study.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David L. Aaron, Frances G. Burwell, C. Richard Nelson, Anna M. Beauchesne, K. Jack Riley, Brian Zimmer
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On September 11, 2001, the world was introduced to a new type of terrorism, one that was truly global in its organization and its impact. In both Europe and the United States, it was immediately clear that an effective response would require new levels of cooperation across the Atlantic and around the world. The initial response was in part military, as NATO invoked its mutual defense clause for the first time ever and a military campaign began in Afghanistan. But equally important was the decision by both the European Union and the United States to boost the capacity of their domestic law enforcement agencies and judiciary to respond to global terrorism and to look for ways to cooperate with each other in doing so. Since then, U.S.-EU cooperation in combating terrorism has been one of the success stories of transatlantic relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe