International Security

Our Man in Washington

There is a fashionable line of thought that has Russia pulling the strings in major democracies on both sides of the Atlantic. FBI director James Comey recently confirmed an ongoing investigation into Russian alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Rarely does an election happen in Europe without journalists and politicians sounding the alarm on fears of Moscow’s meddling.

What Russia? What Grand Bargain?

They have already been seen together on most major news magazines’ covers but have never met. Der Spiegel’s latest issue features a creepy image that combines Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s face with the U.S. President Donald Trump’s hair and eyebrows. “How Much Putin Is in Trump?” the cover asks.

U.S.- Iran Relations: Opportunities for the New Administration

Key Quotes 

Quotes from Catherine Ashton, Baroness of Upholland:

·         “This was an incredibly technically complicated agreement that required a lot of experts to burn the midnight oil, both at the talks and at home in the different countries.”

The Russia-China Partnership Remains Strong, Despite America

Russia and China recently vetoed a draft UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution backed by the Western powers to sanction Syria over its chemical weapons use. As the first action by the Trump administration in the Security Council, this calls into question the administration’s ability to mend ties with Russia and simultaneously to sideline China. While there is a precedent for Russia and China to veto resolutions related to Syria since 2011, this resolution breaks with a plan developed by the Russians and Americans in 2013 to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

From West Africa to the Middle East, Water and the Rise of Insurgencies in the "Arc of Instability"

Water scarcity has contributed to an “arc of instability” characterized by conflict and displacement that stretches from West Africa to the Middle East, said a panel of experts at the Wilson Center on March 1. Two authors from an upcoming compilation of case studies on water security and violent conflict by World Wildlife Fund gave overviews of challenges in Nigeria and Iran and recommendations for U.S. engagement.

The Art of Being a Problem

Preparation for a U.S.-Russia summit that could happen before the G20 meeting in July is in full swing, Russia’s state-run media report. Even a venue has been discussed: Putin himself had said that his first meeting with Trump could take place in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana was the venue of the first meeting between Putin and George W. Bush in 2001. Ljubljana, incidentally, is also where First Lady Melania Trump used to live and study before moving to the U.S.

How Congress Can Help Further U.S.-India Defense Cooperation: A Conversation with Senator Dan Sullivan and Senator Mark Warner

The Takeaways

Director, President and CEO, Jane Harman began by introducing Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Raymond Vickery, the Wilson Center Global Fellow who moderated the discussion. The conversation ranged widely, with the senators talking not only about the US-India relationship, but also about how that relationship plays into larger, regional considerations.

Militias in the Fight Against ISIS: Spoilers or Stabilizers?

Three experts discussed the roles militias have played in the campaign against ISIS, and how they should be integrated into post-conflict political resolutions in Iraq and Syria.

Why Russia and Turkey Are Drifting Closer To Each Other

Something big and important must be at the heart of a relationship in which both sides are able to overcome the pain they repeatedly inflict on each other. Russia and Turkey, historically adversaries and newly active allies, are one such case.

Bridging the Gaps in Cybersecurity Policy


Major questions impacting key cybersecurity policy decisions remain unanswered.  As a new Administration takes office, how should key stakeholders think about gaps like the capabilities of non-state actors to do harm in the digital space?  Will other nations follow Russia’s lead and steal and leak information against foes? Is the future of the public-private partnership – especially in protecting America’s critical infrastructure – a promising one?  And what’s the state of play in development of international norms?  Can the U.S. provide meaningful input?