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Waking The Beast: India's Defense Reforms Under Modi
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, December 16, 2016

“India has done enough to simplify its defense procurement and other norms,” opined Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar at a speech in Washington last December. “It is time for U.S. Government and Industry to reciprocate. It is easy to blame Indian bureaucracy but in some cases, U.S. bureaucracy is much worse.’’

The End Of The Iran Deal?
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, December 7, 2016

President Barack Obama believed that reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons program would be a historic diplomatic breakthrough that could lead to a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Iranian relations and, more importantly, to significant changes in Iran's international behavior. But, nearly a year after the deal's implementation, there are no signs of change in Iran, and good reason to believe that the deal is in its final days. 

China And Sri Lanka: Between A Dream And A Nightmare
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, November 18, 2016
My previous article for The Diplomat examined Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte's trip to Beijing and the security and economic implications of the deals he sealed with China to construct ports and artificial islands in the Philippines. 
In Foreign Affairs this May, I wrote about the implications of China's investments in the Sri Lankan ports of Colombo and Hambantota, which had not only plunged Sri Lanka into debt, but raised questions about the security and defense consequences of Beijing's use of economic statecraft, including in rekindling Sino-Indian rivalry. 
The emergence of new details about China's endeavors in Sri Lanka merit revisiting what is quickly becoming a case study for China's emerging One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. 
Trump And Iran: What The Next Administration Can Do
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, November 16, 2016

The United States’ relationship with Iran tops the list of foreign policy issues that will confront President-elect Donald Trump when he takes office in January. Like many of the other Republican presidential candidates, Trump was an early and staunch opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the controversial nuclear deal concluded last summer between six world powers and Iran. But Trump took up contradictory positions on the deal over the course of his campaign, at times promising to tear it up and at others suggesting he would simply amend it.

When Modi Met Abe: Asia's Strongest Democracies Are Joining Forces
By Jeff Smith, The National Interest, November 16, 2016

Like every news event that shared last week with the U.S. presidential elections, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan was swallowed up by American electoral headlines. What attention his summit with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe did attract centered on the consummation of a long-pending nuclear cooperation deal. For a host of reasons covered extensively elsewhere, the deal is symbolically and practically significant for both countries. 

Lead From Behind No Longer
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, November 11, 2016

The United States faces critical challenges in the Middle East. Whether instability in Syria fomenting a refugee crisis, the spread of the Islamic State group and its extremist ideology, or the rising power of Iran, conditions in the region are more threatening than they were when President Barack Obama took office. The new Trump administration will have its work cut out for it. 

Why Dutertes Deals With China May Be Security Concerns
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, November 2, 2016

When Roridgo Duterte, the impish and combustible president of the Philippines, paid a state visit to China last month the press contextualized the trip as part of his jarring U-turn away from the U.S. alliance and toward China’s lucrative embrace. That narrative, and Duterte’s apparent determination to restructure the regional order, have received no shortage of coverage and analysis in The Diplomat and beyond.

Russia's Road To Economic Ruin
By Ilan Berman and Amanda Azinheira,, November 2, 2016

You might not know it, but Russia is losing. The official narrative, promulgated by the Kremlin via its extensive propaganda machine, is that Russia is resurgent on the world stage, and that its status as a global power is increasingly unassailable. Over time, this take has become embraced in official Washington, to the point where it is now more or less conventional wisdom, at least on the presidential campaign trail. 

Iran And China Get Cozy
By Ilan Berman and Jonathan Schanzer, Foreign Affairs, October 28, 2016

Scattered among the hundreds of kiosks that made up the massive China-Eurasia Expo held in the western Chinese city of Urumqi in late September were a handful of Iranian rug merchants plying their wares. They didn't seem to sell much, but they weren't worried. The merchants, like the Iranian government itself, were looking ahead - and there are plenty of opportunities these days, particularly in China. 

Getting Serious On The Information Battlefield
By Robert Bole, U.S. News & World Report, October 25, 2016

Today, the power of the United States to communicate with global audiences is being directly challenged by the Islamic State group. Over the past year, political and policy leaders have been amazed at how what was once described by President Barack Obama as a "JV" league terrorist organization could produce a polished magazine and high quality recruiting videos, modify online games and generate a handful of mobile apps, including one targeting children. Moreover, much of this media activity continues to take place, despite recent battlefield setbacks suffered by the group in both Iraq and Syria. 

Our Predictable Faceoff With Iran
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 18, 2016

We now face the ironic, yet all-too-predictable, result of years of U.S. appeasement of Iran in order to secure a global nuclear deal: U.S. military involvement in a proxy war with the Islamic Republic in Yemen. 

A Strategic Muddle In Syria
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, October 12, 2016

In October 2015, Russia intervened directly in the conflict in Syria, seeking to prop up its beleaguered ally in Damascus and push back rebel groups that had plunged the country into civil war. The United States, which was backing several insurgent groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, was not impressed. 

Assessing US-India Defense Relations: The Technological Handshake
By Jeff Smith and Alex Werman, The Diplomat, October 6, 2016

In the words of U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, two “handshakes” now define the increasingly intimate Indo-U.S. defense partnership. The “strategic handshake” was examined in detail in my last article for The Diplomat. We will now turn our attention to the “technological handshake,” shorthand for the growth in arms sales, technical cooperation, and defense co-production and co-development.

Morocco's Liberal Challengers
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, October 5, 2016

Ilyas El Omari is on the offensive. The bespectacled 49-year-old activist who heads Morocco's Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) has spent years honing PAM's political message and worldview. Now, with the Kingdom heading into what is shaping up to be a decisive general election on October 7, Omari senses a political opening. 

Collapse Over Iran's Missiles
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 4, 2016

The revelation of recent days that, back in January, President Obama agreed that the United Nations should lift its sanctions against two Iranian state banks which financed Iran's ballistic missile development puts the lie to Washington's claims - stubbornly maintained for more than a year - that it was determined to rein in the Islamic Republic's expanding missile program. 

Mother Russia Is Still Struggling With Demography
By Ilan Berman, The Moscow Times, October 3, 2016

How healthy is Russia, really? Over the past several years, the official narrative of Vladimir Putin's government has been clear and consistent: thanks to firm leadership, the demographic problems that once plagued Russia and the Soviet Union are now effectively a thing of the past. 

A Better Plan for Internet Governance
By Richard Harrison and Liam Bobyak, U.S. News & World Report, September 29, 2016

The problem with high technology is that it can be difficult to understand, leading to what are often confused policy prescriptions. A perfect example is the proposed upcoming transition of the internet-naming function from U.S. to private control - an event that's scheduled to take place just a few days from now, on Sept. 30. While the transition itself isn't necessarily a bad idea, the Obama administration's current plan has definite flaws. 

Egypt's Economy Is In Big Trouble
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, September 29, 2016

Three years ago this summer, Egyptians took to the streets en masse to vent their frustration at the government of then president Mohamed Morsi. The source of their discontent was the widespread economic stagnation and ideologically driven policies that came to punctuate Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government. The result was nothing short of a counterrevolution, as Morsi was ousted by the country's powerful military in an almost-coup led by his then minister of defense, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

Assessing US-India Relations: The Strategic Handshake
By Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, September 16, 2016

Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reflected on the remarkable progress he and his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, have overseen in bilateral defense ties over the last two years. With his gift for memorable analogies, Carter insisted the budding Indo-U.S. defense partnership was built atop two “important handshakes.” One was a “technological handshake,” a reference to the rapid growth in arms sales, co-development, and technology-sharing. A companion piece to follow this article will explore the technological handshake in greater detail, and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Accepting The Unacceptable
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, September 14, 2016

The nuclear threat from North Korea continues to grow, despite numerous strong statements of concern from the United States. But Pyongyang knows that talk is cheap. The more powerful message from American inaction is: keep building.