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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'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.

 
Russia Is Poised To Surprise The US In Battlefield Robotics
By Samuel Bendett, DefenseOne, January 25, 2018
 

No one would call Russia's government and budgetary bureaucracy particularly nimble, nor its defense industry particularly advanced. Certainly, it trails Western economies in such key areas as communication equipment, microelectronics, high-tech control systems, and other key technologies. But in certain aspects of the field of unmanned military systems, Russia may be inching ahead of its competition in designing and testing a wide variety of systems and conceptualizing their future use.

 
Freedom On The Wane
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, January 23, 2018
 

When Great Britain told the United States in February of 1947 that it could no longer protect Greece and Turkey, President Harry Truman and his top aides realized that America would have to step up to protect freedom or cede the Mediterranean and maybe Europe and other regions to the Soviets.

 
A New Approach To Iran
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, January 17, 2018
 

The recent protests in Iran may be petering out, but the White House is ramping up its response to them. Last week, in tandem with his most recent decision to prolong the controversial 2015 Iran nuclear deal for another three months, President Trump opened a new front against the Islamic Republic by levying fresh human rights sanctions on a number of key regime figures and institutions.

 
What Trump Needs To Know To Reform US Broadcasting
By Robert Bole, The Hill, January 16, 2018
 

The announcement last week by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that he plans to resign at the end of his current term in office will unquestionably have enormous ramifications for the shape of U.S. foreign policy toward Syria, Ukraine, North Korea and Iran, as well as a host of other topics on which the congressman has distinguished himself during his eleven terms in office. But Royce's impending retirement will be felt in another area as well: that of U.S. public diplomacy.

 
Unconventional Wisdom in the Middle East
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, January 9, 2018
 

Recent events across the Middle East put the lie to one of the foreign policy establishment's most enduring tenets of conventional nonsense: that Israeli-Palestinian peace is key to greater regional peace and stability.

 
What To Watch For In Iran's Turmoil
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, January 8, 2018
 

Will Iran's pro-democracy protests last? As the uprisings that have unexpectedly swept across the Islamic Republic approach their second full week, that's the question on the mind of policymakers in Washington.

 
Trump's foreign policy pattern is all bark and no bite
By Stephen Blank, The Hill, January 8, 2018
 

Recent foreign policy moves by the Trump administration disclose a pattern of thought and action that merits being seen in its totality. Towards the end of 2017 the administration released a vigorous national security strategy that not only labeled China and Russia as adversaries but also “took no prisoners” in asserting that the U.S. would act vigorously against challenges.

 
How Washington Can Influence The Outcome Of Protests In Iran
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, January 4, 2018
 

These are heady days in Iran. For more than a week now, thousands of Iranians have rallied publicly against their government, demanding accountability, transparency and an end to the repressive clerical status quo. In the process, they have presented Iran's radical theocratic regime with one of the most profound challenges to its authority since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

 
How To Support The Second 'Persian Spring'
By Ilan Berman, USA Today, January 2, 2018
 

Could we see a new Iranian revolution in 2018? For nearly a week now, tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in various cities throughout the Islamic Republic in the largest mass demonstrations of their kind in nearly a decade. In the process, they have raised the tantalizing possibility that we might in fact be witnessing a second "Persian Spring."

 
Expect 2018 to be a year of living dangerously as global tensions rise
By Stephen Blank, The Hill, January 2, 2018
 

Anyone hoping to leave the turbulence of 2017 in the past will be in for a rude awakening. While we can’t know for certain what will unfold in the year to come, observable trends in several countries, including the U.S., give us a glimpse of what to expect in 2018.

 
The National Security Strategy Will Work
By James S. Robbins, The National Interest, December 28, 2017
 

President Donald Trump's new National Security Strategy codifies what has already been a noteworthy shift from his predecessor's worldview. It is the difference between "leading from behind" and actually leading.

 
NATO Next Steps: Upgrade The Role Of Finance Ministers
By James Jay Carafano and Herman Pirchner, Jr., The National Interest, December 27, 2017
 

Next year's NATO summit, slated to take place July 11-12 in Brussels, will clarify just how serious the member states are about recommitting to collective defense. The assembled heads of state will also be in a position to assess how effectively and swiftly the alliance and its individual members are implementing key decisions taken last year at the 2016 Warsaw summit and the Brussels "mini-summit."

 
New Security Strategy Could Signal The Beginning Of A 'Trump' Doctrine
By Lamont Colucci, The Hill, December 24, 2017
 

This week, President Trump formally unveiled his National Security Strategy. Much has been made of the Trump administration's ability to introduce this document (something required by Congress since the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act) in the first year of its first term, and for good reason. Trump's predecessors often struggled to articulate a coherent path forward on national security, and none have done so so quickly.