How Germany and the United States Can Strengthen Cooperation

“Federal governments should no longer be viewed as the sole source for action and solutions both because of the current administration in the US and a continued power shift towards NGOs and local actors. Engagement at the subnational level is ever more critical.” This is one of the key conclusions from the first “Atlantic Expedition”. View

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit 2016

Our new policy workshop competition gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing NATO today and to shape the future of the Alliance. Five winners will receive a trip to Berlin to present the collective ideas to decision-makers. View

Bibliography on NATO: Some Guidance for Getting Started

As a think-thank comprised mainly of Political Science students, we are keenly aware of the endless activities that foment procrastination when writing an article. In order to get the proverbial mental ball rolling for the "Shaping our NATO" competition, we have compiled some recent publications regarding NATO. These articles range from introductory texts to more area-focused and technical papers. View

Iran: An Enemy to Fear or a Powerful Ally to Acquire?

The Iran nuclear deal is portrayed as weak by many Republican presidential candidates, but in reality the deal allows for the US to gain a new ally in the fight against Daesh. As previous US involvements in the Middle East have shown, there needs to be regional cooperation in order to erect change. Iran has the incentive and the means to destroy Daesh in the region and by securing the nuclear deal, the US and others have given Iran the green light to proceed. View

Another Reset? The Iran Nuclear Deal and Its Consequences for NATO

The recent nuclear agreement with Iran has consequences not only for the Middle East, but also for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The deal changes the energy landscape and offers a chance to break free from the Russian near monopoly on natural gas supplies for this region, but Russian help in shepherding the agreement may prompt President Obama to cooperate with Moscow on other security issues. However, the price for such cooperation may require sacrificing interests of America’s regional allies. View

NATO's Large Nuclear Arsenal Serves Little Purpose

The nuclear powers of NATO should reduce their nuclear arsenal to a much smaller level, but still retain enough force to retaliate against a nuclear strike. Considering that a couple hundred nuclear explosions would cause a nuclear winter and destroy civilization as we know it, why maintain such a large nuclear arsenal? NATO realistically needs to only maintain a few hundred weapons to serve the same purpose of the few thousands it maintains and upgrades today. View

No Trust, No Deal: Underneath Obama's Threat to Veto New Sanctions for Iran

In President Obama’s State of the Union address on 22 January 2015 he repeated his threat to veto new sanctions for Iran if Congress impeded the chance of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. However, despite any congressional legislation measures the deal with Iran will not be accomplished unless both countries start to invest in a trustful relationship. To build up trust Iran and the United States need to be reliable, honest and keep the promises they make to each other. View

Twitter Highlights: July 2014

With over 4,990 followers on Twitter and counting, we're very close to our summer goal of reaching 5,000 followers. continues to use its social media platforms to share stories relevant to transatlantic relations and to promote published member articles while engaging with the community on both sides of the Atlantic. Our July tweets cover a range of issues, from the foundations of the transatlantic partnership, to ISIS, to energy policy and European security. View

No Need for Germany to Rush Acquisition of Armed Drones

The German government is discussing the purchase of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones. While such systems do have advantages from a purely military point of view, the current generation of drones is not likely to be useful in the context of German missions abroad. Rather, their purchase could even be detrimental to the security of German soldiers and broader German foreign policy goals. View

Ukraine Should Not Be Dragged Into Shield Debate

Recently, after the Ukrainian crisis began there was much debate on the required security measures to reassure the NATO’s Eastern European members. Some lawmakers have called for a speeding up of the implementation of the NATO missile shield project. To link missile defense with Ukraine would be a self-defeating move however. The shield is not designed to stop Russia’s arsenal and would allow Moscow a free hand to tear up other arms control agreements. View

North Korea: Change on the Horizon?

Whether it be accusations of an ongoing political purge, or the detention of foreign nationals, the behavior of the North Korean government is, if and when it is made public, sure to capture the world's attention. Based on my visit to North Korea in late 2013, I believe that a shift in the political direction initiated by Pyongyang is likely. Kim Jung Un is attempting to restructure and modernize the country. There is also the possibility of renewed nuclear talks and there are signs of more cordial relations with Seoul. View

The Secretary General's Annual Report 2013

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Annual Report 2013 focuses on NATO's achievements in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Turkey and against piracy and the ways to ensure an efficient and capable NATO for 2014 and beyond. He concentrates on the areas of Active Engagement, Broad Partnerships and Modern Defence. His emphasis lies on fiscal constraints in Europe and how NATO can remain strong despite these conditions. View

Highlights in 2013

We would like to thank all members for your contributions and to remind you of the standout achievements of our open think tank this year. Atlantic Community has continued to debate issues that are important to the transatlantic partnership through our Q&A's, Theme Weeks, and Atlantic Memos. Your ideas are making an impact, receiving responses from prominent policy officials, and we look forward to your contributions in the months and years to come. View

Dealing with a Nuclear Iran: Focusing on 'Known Unknowns' (Still) Makes for Poor Policy

As the U.S. and Iran entered into a new round of negotiations on trade sanctions and Iran’s nuclear program, Western voters and policy elites would do well to admit that they might simply not be adequately informed to articulate well-founded political preferences on the subject. A basic policy recommendation is obvious: Do not demand or enact policies on the basis of what is not known but focus on first establishing what could be and what actually is known. View

Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

Memo 46: Atlantic Community members have come to a consensus that, due to current US drone policy, drones need to be regulated to prevent the emergence of a customary law. The latest Atlantic Memo "Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy" seeks reform on both domestic and international levels, resulting in increased transparency and restricted armed drone deployment. View

Draft Atlantic Memo: Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

Memo 46: The editorial team has written a draft Atlantic Memo, outlining policy recommendations from our Theme Week, on "Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy." The authors, as well as members who contributed insightful comments, are now working together to produce a final draft, which will be sent to experts for feedback. You can still participate in the discussion by commenting below. View

Transparency Key to Reformed US Drone Policy

In order to repair the damage to its reputation, the US needs to reform its current drone policy. Many feel that the Executive Branch of the US Government has been acting without adequate checks and balances. The US Senate should demand more transparency and oversight and move to have explicit restrictions placed on the Executive Branch. A more transparent US drone policy would ease concerns of its allies and could allow the United States to lead the debate on international drone policy. View

Alternative Drone Discourse Needed From Europe

With the counter-terrorism policies of the US Government causing so much concern globally, it is necessary that an alternative discourse is initiated in Europe. This needs to be from the bottom-up and be a true representation of modern societies’ values. Europeans need to engage in the debate about drones in order to preserve key democratic values such as transparency, accountability, and rule of law. View

Civilian Safety Crucial in World of UAVs

With UAS become more and more common place, the necessity to ensure civilian safety is increasing. Regulations are needed to prevent the encroachment of authorities into the private lives of citizens or the endangerment of civilians in conflict situations, ensuring the maintenance of the principle of proportionality. As UAS are adapted to military and law enforcement roles, it is essential that we plan accordingly for the use of autonomous systems in the near future. View

International Watchdog Needed to Monitor Drone Operations

To avoid a scenario such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, transatlantic partners need to work together to regulate the use of UAVs. In an attempt to curtail countries exploiting the new technology, UAVs should be registered with their respective national aviation authorities and an international watchdog should be set up to monitor their compliance with foreign airspace. Such regulations would prevent the misuse of drones in the future. View

Drones as a Means of a Pre-emptive Security Strategy

In his poem "Little Advice to Damocles," Erich Kästner wrote about that famous mythical sword that not the sharpness of its blade, but the tininess of the string that holds it is what is actually posing the threat. Concerning the necessity of a Western combat drone policy today, his words show their wisdom: The solution lies in strengthening the string, not in blunting the blade. If the regulations imposed on the use of drones are strong enough, then the need for an outright ban can be avoided. View

Developing Drone Norms Through Domestic Legislation

Any constructive debate on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) ought to begin with an assertion that these platforms are here to stay. As such, they are not just an international issue but will very soon become a national issue, raising concerns about privacy and law enforcement. It is therefore necessary for any norms for drones to first of all be initiated at the national level. Domestic principles and norms should then be transferred to international operations. View

The Road to Establishing Global Norms for Drone Policy

The escalation of targeted killings by the US as a prominent counter-terrorism tool has drawn the world’s attention to the use of armed drones. This week, Atlantic Community will turn its attention to drones, asking the question: How can the transatlantic community cooperate to establish global norms for drone policy? We will publish articles on this topic throughout the week and invite you to engage in the debate. View

No Place for Pausing Nuclear Arms Cuts

In June President Obama committed himself to further reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world. US-Russian relations are key to the success of this process. The escalation of the Snowden affair and the cancellation of a meeting between both leaders in August threatened the future of the talks. Despite Russia's reluctance to reduce its stockpiles, as one of the two largest nuclear powers, it is necessary for the US to work with Russia to take a leading role in nuclear disarmament. View

Delegates Seek Innovative Solutions at Y8 and Y20 Summit

Policy Innovation e.V. and Atlantic Community collaborated in May 2013 for a Theme Week on the Y8 and Y20 summits that would take place in June. Through Atlantic Community members' commentary on the policy papers of the German Delegation to the Y8 and Y20, Atlantic Community had the unique ability to help shape the positions of the delegation. Policy Innovation's Press-Delegate Matthias Kaspers presents an overview of the experience and recommendations yielded by the summits. View

Call for Articles: Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

In cooperation with the Politisch-Militärische Gesellschaft (pmg) e.V., Atlantic Community is launching its fifth Theme Week in 2013, addressing the international debate on whether we should, or how to, utilize drones for military purposes. We cordially invite you to submit your opinion on how the transatlantic partners can define globally recognizable norms for deploying drones in and outside of official war zones. View

Global Norms Needed for Drones

The United States has received a lot of criticism both at home and abroad for its use of armed drones, to conduct strikes against persons that it deems to be plotting terrorist attacks against the US. While the US uses the logic that it is in a perpetual war against Al Qaeda, most countries do not recognise this argument. The use of armed drones to carry out killings has raised many questions about the ethics, legality, and necessity of this type of operation. View

The New President Will Not Change Iran's Foreign Policy in Time

Iran’s new President Rouhani promised to improve Iran-West relations, but as Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) do not want to see the nuclear issue resolved, Rouhani’s influence is limited. Even “moderate” politicians cannot make moderate foreign policy decisions within a radical Iranian regime until the regime is in peril, so rather than negotiating with a delegitimized Iranian regime, the West should support the Iranian people in bringing it to an end. View

Thinking Beyond Intervention: A Limited Transatlantic Policy Towards Syria

Memo 45: Arming the opposition, creating a no-fly zone, and intervening in Syria are not feasible options despite currently dominating the headlines. Instead, Western governments should focus on creating political dialogue, inclusive of Assad’s government, that leads to the country’s federalization. They should also secure Syria’s chemical weapons, including through diplomacy with Russia. Lastly, the transatlantic partners should send military and technological support to Turkey’s southern border. View

Draft Atlantic Memo: Transatlantic Policy on Syria

Memo 45: Based on articles from and comments to our Theme Week, held from June 3-7, the editorial team has produced a draft Atlantic Memo, outlining policy recommendations on "Transatlantic Policy on Syria." The Theme Week authors, as well as members who contributed insightful comments, are now working together to produce a final draft. Upon completion, the memo will be sent to experts for feedback. You can still participate in the discussion by providing your comments below. View

Obama's Red Lines Hold Up; Syrian CW Claims Do Not

Evidence of chemical warfare simply does not hold up. Obama's red line is not wavering. Western democracies cannot afford another Curveball. If transatlantic leaders believe that 80,000 dead in the civil war are insufficient to justify military intervention under humanitarian law, then why would a few fatalities from (supposed) chemical weapons sway the international community? Is it perhaps that "80,000" is already a "statistic," while politicians are looking for a "tragedy"? View

Preventing The Worst in Syria

Russia and the West are both concerned with the proliferation of Syria's weapons of mass destruction to radical elements. In trying to secure these, Western governments can find a reliable partner in the face of Russia, who shares its concerns over potential WMD proliferation in the region, has a considerable political leverage over Assad's regime, and possesses logistic capabilities for removing the WMDs from Syria or securing them on the Syrian territory. View

A No-Fly Zone is Necessary

Enforcing a no-fly zone can change the military setback of the opposition. It may also be a chance to create a safe zone that will provide an opportunity for rebel groups to organize and for transatlantic partners to develop a better relationship with them. The demand for the no-fly zone should come from Arab League, but no UNSC resolution should be sought – it will be futile. The US and Turkey should assume leadership in the implementation of the no-fly zone and try to receive support from regional partners. View

Syria: Containment not Intervention

Containment is the key word for Syria. The transatlantic community must first control the influx of weapons and further fighters into the country, next it should reinforce the security of the southern border of Turkey to avoid the spread of the violence and help Turkey cope with refugees. The only scenario that justifies a NATO intervention is securing the chemical weapons stockpiles from jihadists. View

Means and Ends: Western Military Policy in Syria Must not Undermine the Political Objective

By overtly siding with the opposition, Western countries may undermine their ability to constructively influence the post-Assad political process. If the objective is to win the peace and secure a politically stable and inclusive Syria, then the means must not include alienating communities within Syria, as well as external actors, from the sought political end. Moreover, an overt military involvement might create serious backlash as it leads to hardening alliance fronts in the volatile Middle East. View

Theme Week: Transatlantic Policy on Syria

The conflict in Syria is proving to be one of the most difficult and complex foreign policy challenges for Western governments today, with over 70,000 casualties and counting. This week, we will focus on the following question: How should the transatlantic partners respond to the Syrian war? With talk of arming the opposition dominating international headlines, six members will put forth other options available to North American and European governments. View

The World Braces Itself As North Korea Flexes Its Muscles

Since the beginning of 2013, North Korea has successfully carried out three nuclear tests and has launched a satellite into orbit. Although the rogue nation has a history of threats and provocative actions, there is growing concern in the transatlantic community, especially in the United States, over what North Korea can and will do. While some suggest that Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s young new leader, is simply trying to assert control over his country, others argue that we should take the threats at face value. View

South Korea: NATO's Asian Pivot

North Korea's continuous threats and belligerent actions towards South Korea, a NATO partner and a valuable contributor to operations globally, should be a core concern to NATO as the South Korea's security is entwined with that of the United States and the global economy. As North Korea continues to assert its military might on the peninsula and beyond, NATO member states should think about providing relevant military aid to the region, including airborne intelligence. View

Reset of the Shield: North Korea and US Plans for Missile Defense

The Obama administration made it clear from day one that it does not want to antagonize Russia by fulfilling a pledge to place strategic missile defense in Eastern Europe. However, even its revisions of the Bush-era plans have provoked outrage from Russia. The recent nuclear tests and missile launches by North Korea have provided a useful and viable excuse for withdrawal. The future of European defense will thus depend not on the US but on NATO's European partners. View

The Primacy of Economic Interests

In an article for our partner IP Journal, the German Council on Foreign Relations' English language magazine, NATO's Michael Rühle argues that, as traditional security policy is superseded by economic and energy interests, we must begin to discuss the "economization of security policy." He describes what needs to be done to ensure that this commercialization of security will still allow the friendly member countries of NATO and the EU to avoid 21st century conflicts and to continue to act collectively. View

Top Ten Issues on the Transatlantic Agenda

What issues do you think will prove important in transatlantic relations this year? In this article, the editorial team presents our top ten topics for 2013. We identify what we think the big issues for 2013 might be, as well as where potential for transatlantic and global cooperation might lie. These ten topics will form the inspiration for some of our theme weeks and competitions over the coming months, so make sure to let us know what interests you. View

International Cooperation Needed to Regulate Drone Policy

Now is the time to review US drone policy. The US has over 8,000 drones in service and these aircraft dominate R&D funding. Meanwhile, discussion on the use of drones is beginning to intensify in the US, raising questions surrounding the ethics and legality of their use. As NATO and other states around the world begin to develop and acquire their own drones, the US must enter into a more comprehensive dialogue with its partners concerning their responsible use in the years to come. View

America's Drone Strikes Setting Dangerous Precedent

The Obama administration is setting a very dangerous global precedence for sending drones over borders to kill enemies (sometimes innocents). These drone strikes lack the congressional oversight of the executive branch. At the same time, employing drones qualifies as a “moral hazard.” View

Russian-US Relations Better than They Seem

During the Russian presidential elections in spring 2012, Vladimir Putin used anti-American rhetoric to strengthen his image as a great defender against the West. Yet, when political conversations were not for public viewing, Moscow’s dialogue with the Obama administration was much friendlier and more attuned to cooperation. View

Jonathan Granoff Discusses Transatlantic Security

Jonathan Granoff is currently the president of the Global Security Institute, an international organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament. As a lawyer and international advocate, he has been a vocal opponent of nuclear proliferation, serving on the advisory boards of the NGO Committee on Disarmament at the United Nations and the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy as well as being the UN Representative of the Lawyer's Alliance for World Security. View

Renewable Energy as an Incentive for Peace

The US can eliminate Iran’s incentives for developing nuclear technology without becoming militarily involved by creating an economic agreement that establishes Iran as a leader in renewable energy. Such an agreement would be less expensive than a military operation against Iran. View

At the Table with Iran: Progress Depends on Right Order of Steps

The order of steps undertaken within the West’s coercive dual-track approach has to be altered; the lifting of sanctions and recognition of Iran's right to nuclear energy is required to reach a diplomatic solution. Refusing to do this will only play into the hands of Iranian hardliners and those who argue that the West is prohibiting outsiders from joining the nuclear club. more View