Publications By Category

Publications By Type
Articles

Books

In-House Bulletins

Monographs

Policy Papers


Archive

Iran's New Revolutionary Moment
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, August 9, 2018
 

Thirteen years ago, as the Bush administration and its "freedom agenda" entered its second term in office, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took the pulse of popular sentiment in Iran, and came away with some surprising conclusions. Iran, Friedman heard from Iranian expatriates and regime insiders, was the ultimate "red state," where the population did not share the ruling regime's hatred of the West and where people craved greater freedom and democracy.

 
Can Iran Wait Out Trump's Pressure Campaign?
By Lawrence J. Haas, The National Interest, August 8, 2018
 

U.S. foreign policy toward Iran is approaching a "back to the future" moment, with the Trump White House resurrecting the strategy pursued by President George W. Bush (and, for a while, President Barack Obama) of pressuring Iran economically into abandoning its nuclear pursuits.

 
U.S.-Turkish Relations In A Tailspin
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, August 8, 2018
 

It's official: U.S.-Turkish relations are in a tailspin.

The once-robust ties between Washington and Ankara have frayed considerably in recent years, riven by strategic issues like Turkey's growing strategic proximity to Russia and its cozy relationship with Islamist actors, as well as its increasingly conspiratorial, anti-American political discourse. But what may end up causing a lasting rupture between the two Cold War-era allies is an altogether different — and unexpected — issue: The fate of an American pastor named Andrew Brunson.

 
Russia's Patriotic Cinema
By Alexander Rojavin, The National Interest, August 6, 2018
 

It would be "cultural masochism" to support art critical of Russia. So says none other than Vladimir Medinsky, the Russian minister of culture. A trusted Putin loyalist and the author of a book series remarkable for its revisionist take on Russian history, Medinsky has spent his six years as Minister of Culture expanding the Ministry's control over all things artistic in the country.

 
Chinese and Russian Defense Innovation, with American Characteristics? Military Innovation, Commercial Technologies, and Great Power Competition
By Samuel Bendett and Elsa B. Kania, The Strategy Bridge, August 2, 2018
 

As great power rivalries intensify, China, Russia, and the United States are redoubling their pursuit of defense innovation in emerging technologies that could change the character, perhaps even the nature, of warfare. At present, U.S. primacy in innovation remains a critical, though contested, advantage. China is emerging as a scientific and technological powerhouse, while Russia is creatively pursuing asymmetric advantages. Since advances in these dual-use technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), are emerging increasingly from the private sector, the capacity to integrate and leverage commercial technologies will be critical in this race for advantage.

 
Fight Against Terror Entering A New Phase, Still Just As Vital
By Ilan Berman and Chloe Thompson, USA Today, July 26, 2018
 

The war on terror now ranks as America's longest-running war. Yet, increasingly, the fight against terrorism has receded from the headlines, supplanted by acrimonious domestic politics and flashpoints like North Korea's nuclear program and trade disputes with China. Yet the war on terror still rages on — and the battlefield in that fight is changing significantly.

 
Here is How the Russian Military Is Organizing to Develop AI
By Samuel Bendett, Defense One, July 20, 2018
 

The Russian Ministry of Defense is pursuing artificial intelligence with an urgency that has only grown since Vladimir Putin’s “rule the world” speech in September. But after several years of watching American and Chinese researchers accumulate breakthroughs and funding, while Russia continues to lack a relevant high-tech culture, Ministry leaders have decided that if they can’t outspend their global competitors, perhaps they can out-organize them.

 
Lessons From A More Inspired Helsinki
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, July 20, 2018
 
 
Syria And The Trump-Putin Parlay
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, July 13, 2018
 

On July 16th, President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what is shaping up to be a highly anticipated – and highly controversial – bilateral summit. The meeting agenda is full of strategically vital topics, ranging from Russia's interference in the 2016 elections (and its anticipated meddling in the upcoming U.S. midterms this Fall) to the Kremlin's ongoing campaign of aggression against Ukraine. But as concerns the Middle East, the most important subject to be discussed by the two leaders is undoubtedly Syria.

 
The Economic Roots Of Iran's Unrest
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, July 6, 2018
 

The fresh outbreaks of street protests in Tehran that have taken place in recent days raise the question of whether this will be just a temporary disturbance or a sign of more significant changes to come.

Last Monday, police in Tehran attacked protesters in front of Iran's parliament, and clashes were reported in other cities. These were reportedly the largest street protests since the ones in 2009 and 2012, and follow similar disturbances in late December and early January.

 
Optimizing America's Outreach Toward Iran
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, June 28, 2018
 

America's Iran policy is at a crossroads. In the wake of President Trump's recent decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, his administration has unveiled a new, more muscular approach toward the Islamic Republic. That plan, announced publicly by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 21, has garnered extensive scrutiny for its pledge to reimpose economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic for its nuclear and ballistic missile work, and its vow to roll back Iran's extensive influence in Syria.

 
Russian Ground Battlefield Robots: A Candid Evaluation and Ways Forward
By Samuel Bendett, Mad Scientist Laboratory, June 25, 2018
 

Russia, like many other nations, is investing in the development of various unmanned military systems. The Russian defense establishment sees such systems as mission multipliers, highlighting two major advantages: saving soldiers’ lives and making military missions more effective. In this context, Russian developments are similar to those taking place around the world. Various militaries are fielding unmanned systems for surveillance, intelligence, logistics, or attack missions to make their forces or campaigns more effective. In fact, the Russian military has been successfully using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in training and combat since 2013. It has used them with great effect in Syria, where these UAVs flew more mission hours than manned aircraft in various Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles.

 
This Is Trump's Opportunity To Uncover The Iran-North Korea Connection
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, June 8, 2018
 

Does the road to Tehran lead through Singapore? Hopes are high that next week's summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will begin a process leading to the total, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But North Korea can also play a major role in the broader global effort against nuclear proliferation.

 
When It Comes To Iran, America Is Still Running The Show
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, June 6, 2018
 

When President Trump announced last month that America would leave the global nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose U.S. sanctions, Europe's leaders vowed to create financial mechanisms that would enable their firms to do business with Tehran and protect them from U.S. financial retaliation.

 
New Report: Iran
By Ilan Berman, Tablet, May 31, 2018
 

Global outrage over last month’s peak to the so-called Great March of Return on the Gaza-Israel border was instant and understandable. Over 50 people died and hundreds more were injured on a single day. What happened was as viscerally unpleasant as civil strife gets. It was brutal.

 
New Report: Iran's Influence In Syria Far Broader Than Commonly Understood
By Ilan Berman, Tablet, May 31, 2018
 

Just how deep does Iran's influence run in Syria? After a half decade of overt and covert Iranian military assistance to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian regime is widely understood to be playing a key role in the Syrian theater. But, according to a new study from the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, an Istanbul-based think tank focused on the Syrian conflict, this backing is far broader than commonly understood, and encompasses not just military assistance but also an extensive web of economic and political contacts that are designed to give the Iranian regime a lasting presence on the territory of its top regional ally.

 
The Islamic State Attacks Indonesia - And Its 'Middle Way'
By Ilan Berman and James Clad, The Weekly Standard, May 30, 2018
 

Earlier this month, after experiencing a long hiatus from violent extremism, Indonesia succumbed anew to Islamist terrorism when a family of suicide bombers struck three different churches in the country's second-largest city, Surabaya. The coordinated attacks during Sunday services on May 13 killed at least 12. The following day, another family of extremists attacked Surabaya's police headquarters, wounding 10. The Islamic State immediately claimed responsibility for both attacks.

 
Uzbekistan's President Goes To Washington
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, May 24, 2018
 

In official Washington, which is routinely awash in foreign dignitaries, it's all too easy to miss the comings and goings of world leaders. But even by the rather selective standards of the Beltway, last week's state visit of Uzbekistan's president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, was noteworthy because it provided policymakers with an authoritative glimpse into the momentous changes now taking place in Central Asia.

 
Scrapping Iran Deal Provides A Trump Card With North Korea
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, May 16, 2018
 

The political left is aghast over President Donald Trump's decision last week to abrogate the Iran nuclear deal. Among proponents of the 2015 agreement with Iran's ayatollahs engineered by the Obama White House, Trump's pullout was condemned as ill-advised for a host of reasons, not least because it complicates America's planned negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. After all, these critics argue, why would Pyongyang trust a Washington that doesn't honor its international obligations?

 
The End Of The JCPOA Era
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, May 10, 2018
 

It's official: the Iran nuclear deal is dead.

On May 8th, in a nationally televised address, President Trump announced that his administration was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). By doing so, the White House has effectively killed the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama era.

 
Mahmoud Abbas' Exit From The Palestinian Authority Is Long Overdue
By Lawrence Haas, The Hill, May 9, 2018
 

What's more pathetic: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' latest blast of ugly anti-Semitism, or the hopes that the global community has long invested in him as a true Israeli partner for peace?

If, as Albert Einstein reportedly said, insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," than U.S. and Western investments in Abbas over the years seem to fit the bill.

 
Meet The Uber Of Ambulances
By Avi Jorisch, The Washington Times, May 7, 2018
 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has the highest motor vehicle crash death rate among high-income countries, with nearly 37,000 deaths annually, or about 100 per day. Though responders often have just minutes to save a person's life, average ambulance response time is 15 minutes, 19 seconds.

 
America Needs A New Iran Deal
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, May 3, 2018
 

On Monday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu dramatically unveiled records detailing "Project Amad," Iran's "comprehensive program to design, build, and test nuclear weapons." The information was taken from 100,000 pages of documents Israel had secretly obtained in January from a warehouse in Tehran. The records do not deal with ongoing aspects of Iran's nuclear program - Project Amad was suspended in 2003 - but they do show that Tehran had been lying about the program's peaceful intent. They also reveal how far Iran has gotten in planning and development of nuclear weapons, and how quickly such a program could be reconstituted - assuming work is not already continuing under the weak verification regime of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 
North Korean Summit Calls For A Hard Line From Trump
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, April 25, 2018
 

With more freedom to maneuver on foreign than domestic affairs, and with their eyes focused squarely on their legacies, all modern U.S. presidents have sought to craft the elusive deal that will solve a protracted global conflict. So, with dismal prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace, we shouldn't be surprised that President Trump is now pursuing a deal to end North Korea's nuclear program.

 
The Iran Deal Is Dead. Now What?
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, April 24, 2018
 

These days, it's increasingly clear that the Iran nuclear deal is on life support.

For much of the past year, opinion within the Trump administration has been more or less evenly divided between those who support preserving the 2015 agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) with some modifications, and those - including the president himself - who advocate its outright annulment. But no longer. Recent staffing changes at the upper echelons of the administration have swung the pendulum decisively in favor of Donald Trump "nixing" the agreement at the earliest possible opportunity.

 
Democrats have good reason to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of State
By Herman Pirchner, Jr., The Hill, April 19, 2018
 

Mike Pompeo should be promptly confirmed as secretary of State because he is well qualified, but also because this is an extraordinarily dangerous time for the United States to be without an effective secretary of State.

American diplomacy is tasked with advancing the interests of the United States while avoiding war. Any such success depends upon American diplomats credibly issuing threats, guarantees, and offers of help. This essential credibility, in turn, depends upon the relationship of America’s secretary of State with the president. And this is perhaps the most serious reason why Pompeo is an excellent choice to be our next secretary of State.

 
The Other Iranian Threat
By Ilan Berman, Alhurra, April 17, 2018
 

Whatever happened to the Iranian cyberthreat? Not all that long ago, American officials were preoccupied with the growing disruptive capabilities that the Islamic Republic had begun to demonstrate on the World-Wide Web. That, however, was before the start of negotiations over Iran's atomic program in 2013. Those talks allowed Iran's cyber activities to recede from public view, as policymakers in Washington focused their attention on nuclear diplomacy with Tehran, while Iranian hackers temporarily became more cautious in their choice of targets and the visibility of their attacks. More recently, worries about Iran's cyber capabilities have taken a back seat to concerns regarding Iran's growing conventional military might, and its mounting regional adventurism in places like Syria and Yemen.

 
Colombia's Political Problems Are An Opportunity For America
By Christine Balling, The National Interest, April 12, 2018
 

In order to better coordinate his response to the latest developments in Syria, President Trump has cancelled what would have been his first trip to South America. Vice President Pence will now go in his stead to attend the Eighth Summit of the Americas.

 
Hamas Attacks Israel - And The World Condemns Israel
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, April 11, 2018
 

The world "should wait for our great move," said a top Hamas leader, speaking to Palestinian protestors during violent clashes with Israeli forces along the Gaza border, "when we breach the borders and pray at al Aqsa."

With hundreds around him chanting, "We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs," and with 20,000 Palestinians protesting along the border - some burning tires, others throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks - Yahya Sinwar declared during April protests that Hamas was "following in the path of martyr Yasser Arafat in resisting the enemy" and "if we explode we will explode in [Israel's] face."

 
New Sanctions Rightly Tighten The Noose On Russia
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, April 9, 2018
 

The new cold war between Moscow and Washington just got a little bit colder.

On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a
new round of economic sanctions against 38 separate Russian personalities and businesses. The measure represents a major escalation of pressure against the Kremlin, because it singles out a number of key stakeholders as a way of ratcheting up the costs to Russia's leadership of their country's increasingly hostile international behavior.

 
In AI, Russia Is Hustling To Catch Up
By Samuel Bendett, Defense One, April 4, 2018
 

When Vladimir Putin said last fall that artificial intelligence is "humanity's future" and that the country that masters it will "get to rule the world," some observers guessed that the Russian president was hinting at unrevealed progress and breakthroughs in the field. But a glance at publicly available statistics indicates otherwise. Russia's annual domestic investment in AI is probably around 700 million rubles ($12.5 million) - a paltry sum next to the billions being spent by American and Chinese companies. Even if private-sector investment rises as expected to 28 billion rubles ($500 million) by 2020, that will still be just a fraction of the global total.

 
An Emerging Arab-Israeli Thaw
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, April 4, 2018
 

A tectonic shift is taking place in Middle East politics. We may be on the verge of seeing a historic normalization of relations between Israel and several major Arab states. And it is all thanks to Iran.

 
Russia Wants to Build a Whole City for Developing Weapons
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 29, 2018
 

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union organized its vast academic and industrial resources to achieve scientific and industrial breakthroughs for the nation’s military forces. Locked in the global struggle against Washington’s massive military-industrial complex, Moscow needed its best and brightest citizens working on a vast array of technologies and principles to match and potentially “overtake” its rival.

 
America Has A Plan To Dismantle The Iran Deal; Now It Needs One For The Aftermath
By Lawrence J. Haas, The Hill, March 27, 2018
 

With President Trump's pick of John Bolton as National Security Advisor raising the chances of a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington must be ready in its aftermath to pursue a bold, broad, and effective strategy to restrain Tehran's nuclear dreams and hegemonic ambitions.

 
Is This The End Of EU History?
By Rachel Millsap, The Hill, March 21, 2018
 

Remember Francis Fukayama? The American political scientist and author briefly became the darling of the political science set in the early 1990s with his theory, encapsulated in his bestselling book "The End of History and the Last Man," that the end of the Cold War marked the final evolution of mankind's search for a system of governance, and that Western-style liberal democracy had emerged as the clear winner.

 
The End Of The Petrodollar?
By James Grant, The National Interest, March 21, 2018
 

In a move that could portend massive shifts in the global oil game, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange will soon unveil an oil-futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars (product symbol: SC). Experts warn that the growing clout of Chinese currency in international financial markets could erode the primacy of the U.S. dollar, a long-term economic trend that should greatly trouble Washington.

 
What Moscow Thinks About When It Thinks About War Robots
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 17, 2018
 

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu made a significant announcement in mid-March 2018 at a domestic technology forum. "The serial production of combat robots for the Russian armed forces may start already this year," he stated.

Shoigu also implied, in response a question about whether remote-controlled unmanned systems would be utilized in the future, that the concept of a combat unmanned system remotely operated by a human has already been implemented in the Russian armed forces.

 
The Limits Of Saudi Reform
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, March 14, 2018
 

Just how far-reaching are Saudi Arabia's reforms? These days, there is unbridled optimism in official Washington over what are widely seen as sweeping social and economic changes taking place in the historically-stagnant Kingdom.

At first glance, Saudi Arabia does indeed appear to be on the march. Since 2016, when he formally unveiled his
National Transformation Plan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman - better known as MbS - has presided over an ambitious initiative to overhaul the national economy and Saudi society.

 
What Iran Can Teach Us About North Korea Summit
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2018
 

You could call it the Iranian negotiating model.

After months of escalating tensions with the United States, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has offered to meet directly with President Trump, engendering cautious optimism from many who see this as a necessary first step to de-escalation in Asia. The White House has tentatively agreed to the meeting. And yet, without deft handling, this dialogue could allow one of the world's worst rogue states to reap enormous dividends as a result of its irresponsible conduct - much as happened with Iran in the not-so-distant past.

 
The Russian Military Wants Students to Design Its New Underwater Drone
By Samuel Bendett, War is Boring, March 7, 2018
 

In recent years, Russian Federation borrowed one great idea from the United States — creating a federally funded center for breakthrough and innovating technologies. The Foundation of Advanced Studies — basically the Russian DARPA — launched in 2013.

 
Do Merkel And Germany Have A Future?
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, March 6, 2018
 

Germany has a new grand-coalition government (GROKO) in sight thanks to the decision by Social Democratic Party (SPD) rank and file to agree to another link-up with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU). SPD dues-paying members voted by two-thirds in a postal referendum to play second fiddle once again under Merkel at the national level. Both parties are motivated by palpable fear that failure to agree would provoke new elections in which they could both lose even more votes to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) than they did in the shocking general election last September.

 
Nervous In North Africa
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, February 22, 2018
 

Officials in Morocco are apprehensive. "Africa is approaching a dangerous moment," one of the Kingdom's most senior political figures told me recently in Rabat. His bleak assessment, which I heard in virtually every meeting during my recent visit to the country, stems from what are essentially two factors.

 
Rocketing Toward War?
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 20, 2018
 

Military skirmishes and escalating threats between Iran and Israel of late are raising the risks of a catastrophic regional war, prompting questions about what the United States should do to prevent it.

To date, President Donald Trump has focused more attention on defeating the Islamic State group in Syria than on preventing Iran from filling the resulting void with its own military and proxy forces and, in the process, further implanting itself in Syria as part of its quest for a land corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

 
North Korea Wins The Propaganda Gold
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2018
 

Whatever other awards North Korean athletes earn at the Winter Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, their country has made a championship level effort at manipulating the international press.

This week, the American media went on overload in praise of North Korean Minister of Propaganda and Agitation Kim Yo Jong, sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The minister was praised for her poise, her smile, her fashion sense and her handwriting. The Washington Post compared her to Ivanka Trump, (which even the New York Times found a bit much). There hadn't been this kind of gushing over a dictator's handmaiden since Leni Reifenstahl was hailed as a genius for her Nazi propaganda film about the 1936 Munich Olympics. And North Korea's propaganda minister can return to her brother claiming a gold medal performance.

 
Germany's Social Democrats Meet Their Day of Reckoning
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, February 10, 2018
 

Government formation in Germany is approaching a crunch point. The main center-right (CDU/CSU) and center-left (SPD) parties have reached an agreement on a new grand-coalition government, similar to that which preceded inconclusive national elections last September. The crunch point will be a referendum on that agreement by the dues-paying, card-carrying membership of the Social Democratic Party.

 
Iran's Uprising Pits The Country's Old Rulers Against Its Young Citizens
By Ilan Berman and Rachel Millsap, The National Interest, February 9, 2018
 

Last month, with mass protests underway on the streets of Tehran and other cities, one of Iran's most senior clerics inadvertently sparked an altogether different sort of international incident.

On January 8, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, one of the country's most powerful officials and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, traveled to Germany to receive medical treatment amid rumors of failing health. The visit prompted outrage from human-rights activists, and German authorities — under growing pressure from watchdog groups — contemplated bringing charges against Shahroudi for "crimes against humanity" for his role in directing the imprisonment and torture of numerous opponents of the Iranian regime. The sixty-nine-year-old jurist ultimately decided to flee the Federal Republic in order to avoid the fallout.

 
How Poland Is Stoking Anti-Semitism
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, February 6, 2018
 

After Israel's ambassador to Poland criticized that nation's bill to outlaw words that suggest Polish complicity in the Holocaust, a spokesperson for Poland's ruling party retweeted the comment that the ambassador's action "makes it difficult for me to look at Jews with kindness and sympathy."

 
A Turkish-American Divorce?
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, February 5, 2018
 

The United States "is an enemy country. It is a serious threat to our country's existence, its unity, integrity, present and the future. It is carrying out an open attack, and an undeclared war..."

Those aren't the words of the radicals of the Islamic State, whose "caliphate" has been dismembered by America and its international partners over the past year. Nor are they the views of Iran's ayatollahs, now facing a White House that appears committed to curbing their regime's global menace.

 
The U.S. And Turkey: Past The Point Of No Return?
By Svante E. Cornell, The National Interest, February 1, 2018
 

U.S.-Turkish relations have deteriorated for some time. But until recently, no one would have thought that the American and Turkish militaries, closely allied since the 1950s, could end up confronting each other directly. Yet in northern Syria today, that is no longer unthinkable.

 
Trump Believes In U.S. Power
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, January 31, 2018
 

In the national security section of Tuesday's State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump had a single, unifying message: The administration will confront America's international challenges with a realistic appreciation for the importance of U.S. power and leadership.