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  • Issue Brief posted September 13, 2016 by Luke Coffey Caspian Sea Ownership: Not an Issue the U.S. Should Ignore

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there has been a debate over the legal status of the Caspian Sea: Is it a sea, or is it a lake? And to whom does it belong? The outcome of this debate will have a major impact on the way energy resources are extracted and transported, and by whom—which could have a major impact on U.S. economic and security interests in the region.…

  • Issue Brief posted September 7, 2016 by Luke Coffey, James Phillips U.S. Must Plan Now for the Day Mosul Is Liberated

    The long-delayed military campaign to liberate Mosul from ISIS occupation is in its early stages. However, as the central government in Baghdad and policymakers in the U.S. will soon find out, the military operation will be the easy part. Washington must encourage Baghdad to prepare a post-liberation political framework for Mosul now in order to cement a lasting…

  • Issue Brief posted July 7, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis, Lisa Curtis Eight Essential Issues for the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw

    The 2016 NATO Summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw. This is a critical time for the Alliance. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, forcefully changing the borders of Europe for the first time since 1945. This invasion jarred many in Western Europe and the U.S. who had viewed Russia through rose-colored glasses even after the invasion of Georgia in 2008. Today,…

  • Issue Brief posted July 5, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: The Alliance Must Deepen the NATO–Ukraine Partnership

    The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw is an opportunity for the alliance to provide realistic and meaningful support to Ukraine. It has been over 28 months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Since that time, Russia has annexed Crimea, consolidated its position in the Black Sea, and created a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has cost 10,000 lives and…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2016 by Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Why the Alliance Cannot Afford to Ignore Turkey

    With a focus on Russia’s actions in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, the July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for NATO to re-focus on another area of recent Russian saber rattling, along Turkey’s borders. NATO needs to agree to a strategy that ensures that its southeastern flank remains secure and recognizes the vital role that Turkey plays for…

  • Issue Brief posted June 22, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: The Alliance Must Defend the Baltic States

    The July NATO summit in Warsaw offers an opportunity to focus on one of the most complex regions the alliance is obligated to defend: the Baltic States. NATO should think strategically and take long-term measures that include the eventual permanent basing of troops in the region, the establishment of a Baltic Air Defense mission, and a commitment to regular training…

  • Issue Brief posted June 20, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis The President Should Announce U.S. Troop Extension in Afghanistan Before the 2016 NATO Summit

    The 2016 NATO summit will be held on July 8 and 9 in Warsaw, Poland. It will be the first summit since NATO ended its combat operations in Afghanistan in December 2014 and started its Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). President Barack Obama should announce—before the summit—that he will leave in…

  • Issue Brief posted June 17, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: NATO Must Reaffirm Its “Open Door” Policy

    NATO has underpinned Europe and North America’s security for more than 67 years, so it is no surprise that many countries in the transatlantic region that are not already members want to join the alliance. NATO’s “open door” policy is critical to mobilizing Europe and its allies around a collective transatlantic defense. The U.S. should use the 2016 Warsaw summit in early…

  • Issue Brief posted June 16, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis NATO Summit 2016: Time for an Arctic Strategy

    The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to finally focus on a region it has long ignored: the Arctic. Economic, oil and gas, and shipping opportunities are increasing in the region—as are Russian military capabilities. Even so, NATO does not have an agreed Arctic strategy. The U.S. should use the July summit to place the Arctic…

  • Issue Brief posted June 15, 2016 by Daniel Kochis, Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Alliance Members Must Commit to Increased Defense Spending

    The July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to build on commitments of the 2014 summit in Wales regarding defense spending and increased military capability. As an ally that has prioritized defense spending, Poland is a fitting host for the 2016 NATO summit. The U.S. should reverse its own defense cuts and find creative ways to press its…

  • Issue Brief posted June 14, 2016 by Luke Coffey NATO Summit 2016: Keeping Georgia on the Membership Track

    The early July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to thank Georgia for its contribution in Afghanistan, congratulate Georgia on its military reforms, and lay the groundwork for deeper cooperation paving the way to eventual membership. The U.S. should continue to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations and ensure that the summit delivers a…

  • Issue Brief posted May 5, 2016 by Luke Coffey Four New Reasons Why the U.S. Must Stay Engaged in the South Caucasus

    Four developments in the South Caucasus merit close attention: Increasing fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno–Karabakh; The upcoming referendum in and possible Russian annexation of the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia; The rise of Iranian meddling in the region; and An…

  • Issue Brief posted April 29, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis The 1997 NATO–Russia Founding Act Does Not Prohibit Permanent NATO Bases in Eastern Europe

    It is widely believed that in 1997, NATO promised Russia that it would not establish permanent military bases in any former Warsaw Pact countries that might someday become NATO members. This is in fact a myth that has been perpetuated by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, as well as by the lack of diligent research and basic knowledge among commentators, politicians, and…

  • Issue Brief posted April 28, 2016 by Luke Coffey, Daniel Kochis The Role of Sweden and Finland in NATO’s Defense of the Baltic States

    Militarily speaking, the three Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are isolated from other NATO members. It would be extremely difficult, but not impossible, for NATO to respond to an incident in the Baltic region without the acquiescence of non-NATO Finland and Sweden. Russia knows this—and exploits this weakness to its advantage. The U.S. must plan for any…

  • Commentary posted April 27, 2016 by Luke Coffey An Ally Reels in the Balkans

    Macedonia is one of the few success stories emerging from the chaos that enveloped the Balkans during the 1990s. Now, however, the country’s political situation is becoming dangerously tense. The political class has been embroiled in a wire-tapping scandal. The main opposition party, led by Zoran Zaev, is exploiting the situation for political gain. At the same time, a…