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Iranian Devolution: Tehran Fights The Digital Future
By Ilan Berman, World Affairs Journal, November 23, 2015

As we contemplate the complex diplomacy that created the recent agreement between the international community and Iran regarding the Islamic Republic's nuclear future, it is worth remembering Thomas Friedman's momentarily famous remark of a few years ago that, whatever else it may be, Iran is also a country ripe for catalytic political change. In passing this judgment, the New York Times columnist took special note of Iran's youthful and vibrant population, the deep knowledge base of Iranian society as a whole, and its interconnectedness with the outside world.


A Role For China To Rein In Iran
By Robert C. McFarlane and Ilan Berman, Wall Street Journal Asia, November 18, 2015

Beijing is bullish on Iran. In meetings there earlier this month, we heard senior government and party officials express uniform support and optimism in their assessment of the nuclear agreement struck this summer between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 powers, terming it "good for Iran and good for the world." 

The first part is certainly true. Iran has emerged as the undisputed winner of the long-running negotiations with the West over its nuclear ambitions. 

Obama's Iran Gamble Flops
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News and World Report, November 5, 2015

Like the optimistic boy in Ronald Reagan's charming quip who searches through pile-high manure in hopes of finding a pony, the Obama administration continues trying to entice the cooperation of Iran on regional issues even in the face of its growing hostility toward the United States.

It's your country, not mine: China's new language of discontent
By Joshua Eisenman, South China Morning Post, November 4, 2015

Over the past few months, a new and divisive word has begun provoking debate across China. That word is niguo, translated as "your country", and it is the most prominent of a new lexicon of words that both mainland and overseas Chinese are using online to distance themselves from the injustice, bigotry and bad behaviour that have become commonplace in China. Lacking an open arena within which to freely express their opinions on important matters that affect their lives, a new generation of tech-savvy Chinese is using niguo to rhetorically opt out of the system and distance themselves from the Communist Party.

Needed: A Strategy For Containing Iran
By Ilan Berman, Jack David, Matthew Kroenig, Samantha Ravich, Michael Rubin, Jonathan Schanzer and David Wurmser, National Review Online, October 27, 2015

Last Sunday, Iran and the P5+1 countries (the U.S., U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany) formally adopted the new nuclear agreement concluded this summer. In coming days, under the terms of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Islamic Republic is obliged to begin implementing a series of curbs on its nuclear program. 

Latest In-House Bulletins

China Reform Monitor - No. 1193
November 25, 2015

Historic Xi-Ma meeting;
China to sell Russia S-400s, Su-35s 

China Reform Monitor - No. 1192
November 24, 2015

Europeans compete to woo China
Crackdown on human rights lawyers, activists continues

Eurasia Security Watch - No. 352
November 24, 2015

Kurds retake Sinjar;
Saudi coalition advances on Taez, Yemen;
UAE takes 5 Yemenis from Guantanamo;
Turkey says it warned France of Paris attackers


Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2017
November 23, 2015

Runaway inflation... and positive thinking;
Moscow eyes the Americas 

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2016
November 20, 2015


A throwback to Soviet oversight of science;
Terror attempts, counterterrorism operations on the upswing



Latest Policy Papers

A Nuclear Deal with Iran: Managing the Consequences
By AFPC Iran Task Force , October 7, 2015

The announcement of a nuclear deal in July 2015 brought to a close nearly two years of intensive negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany). It also ushered in a new — and arguably more challenging — phase of American policy in the Middle East...

Internet Security Governance - Building Security Without Piling On
By Trey Herr and Heather West , October 2, 2015

Internet Security Governance covers the policy challenges that arise from building and governing security in the Internet’s architecture and key protocols. It is not a description of security for computers and networks (Information Assurance),  how to man- age the negotiated structure and key functions of the Internet (Internet Governance), or the pursuit of crim- inal groups and other threat actors (Cyber Crime).2 Internet Security Governance is the discussion of de- fensively oriented technical and legal topics that cross national boundaries and/or involve security of the un- derlying protocols and hardware which make up the Internet...

Strategic Primer - Missile Defense
By Rich Harrison , October 1, 2015

The goal of the new Strategic Primer initiative is to provide a concise, comprehensive overview of specific defense technology issues presented in a clear, direct, and graphical manner that serves as an accessible reference to policymakers. Volume 1 of the series focuses on Missile Defense.

The War Against ISIS Through Social Media
By Dr. Abraham Wagner, Dr. Rand Waltzman, and Amb. Alberto Fernandez , July 7, 2015

On July 7, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) held the fourth installment of its Defense Technology Program’s Understanding Cybersecurity lunch briefing series for Congressional Staffers. This event, entitled, “How the Caliphate is Communicating:” Understanding and Countering the Islamic State’s Messaging outlined how and why the Islamic State has been winning the “war of ideas” through the use of social media, and how the group is using social media to further its operations...


Cyber Crime: Security Under Scarce Resources
By Trey Herr and Sasha Romanosky , June 30, 2015

Cyber crime covers a wide range of activities that includes theft, fraud and harassment; stealing valuable intellectual property as part of industrial espionage; committing financial fraud and credit card theft; and disrupting internet services for ideological goals (“hacktivism”). The crimes target both firms and consumers, and while they rarely result in physical harm or property damage, there can still be severe consequences...