Key Points

Monday’s official meeting between the Turkish and Syrian spy chiefs indicates that Erdogan is coming close to recognizing the Assad regime in return for Moscow’s further cooperation in Libya and Syria. Putin’s remarkable ability to reverse Erdogan’s Syria ambitions and force an official meeting between Turkish and Syrian intelligence officials is yet another reminder that Russia is keen and able to fill the vacuum left by the partial U.S. withdrawal from Syria and the Middle East.

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Likewise, in coordination with Brussels, Washington should push for aggressive application of the Third Energy Package and deploy expeditiously the $1 billion recently appropriated for strategic energy projects in Europe and Eurasia. Finally, Washington should facilitate U.S. LNG exports by easing burdensome licensing requirements, potentially by expanding existing exemptions to cover larger quantities.

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The time is ripe to dispense with the narrative that Trump is undermining NATO and the global democratic alliance. France and Germany, two international powerhouses, are the ones emboldening NATO’s enemies.

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It is imperative that the United States build on today’s sanctions to remind the Kim regime of the risks and costs of its unrelenting desire for nuclear weapons. Although ramping up pressure will likely yield an increase in regional tensions, it is the only way to break the diplomatic deadlock between Washington and Pyongyang without conceding to Kim’s demands.

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The Moscow talks show that 2020 will continue the trend of deepened cooperation between Erdogan and Putin. Turkey purchased the S-400 missile defense system from Russia last summer, much to the chagrin of the international community, as well as negotiated a ceasefire following Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria this past October. Their partnership in this new arena demonstrates that despite being on opposite sides of the fighting in Syria and Libya, the Turkish and Russian presidents have an uncanny ability to cut deals. However, it is unclear whether these bargains can hold, and thereby remedy Erdogan’s troubles at home and abroad.

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Events

EVENT: Instruments of American Power: Implementing Foreign Policies and Protecting Against Global Threats

October 10, 2019 | 12:00

EVENT: DASD Mulroy on Israel and Great Power Competition

July 31, 2019 | 12:00

Projects