“What Will Be Latin America’s Biggest Hotspots in 2017?” Latin America Advisor, December 2016

TAG President Jack Devine and Senior Director Amanda Mattingly respond that the likely 2017 hotspots in Latin America will be Venezuela and Mexico in the December 23, 2016 issue of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor.

What Will Be Latin America’s Biggest Hotspots in 2017?

“If Russia Influenced Election, ‘Game Changer’,” Jack Devine on Bloomberg Markets AM, December 2016

TAG President Jack Devine gives his analysis of the Russia hack and the impact of Trump’s current anti-CIA stance in an interview on Bloomberg Markets AM with Pimm Fox and Lisa Abramowicz on December 14, 2016.

If Russia Influenced Election, ‘Game Changer’

The Outlook For Democracy, December 2016

TAG examines the outlook for democracy amid a resurgent nationalist populism in Europe and recent election results in Lebanon and Ghana.

The Outlook for Democracy

The Rise of European Nationalism?

Analysts have decried the waning of progressive Western democracies in the face of a resurgent nationalist populism, while casting nervous eyes toward Russia. However, the recent Presidential vote in Austria saw the more moderate, pro-European candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, soundly defeat the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer. In France’s conservative primaries, voters opted for a moderate technocrat in Francois Fillon whose campaign will make it significantly harder for the far right’s Marine LePen to prevail in next year’s Presidential elections. These developments buck the current populist trend and will provide some reinforcement for European institutions and alliances that are grappling with a sclerotic economy and a pressing refugee crisis. Yet the recent constitutional referendum in Italy that prompted the ouster of Italian PM Matteo Renzi, will make it harder to manage its indebted banks, which will weigh heavily on the European economy. How Europe fares economically in the next few months will be determinant for German leader Angela Merkel and for the direction for Europe in general. No one is watching these developments more closely than Vladimir Putin. Putin is seeking any opportunity to bring bordering states further into his sphere of influence and capitalize on cleavages within the European alliances to woo certain heads of states, like Mr. Fillon, into adopting a more accommodating tone toward Russia, lifting sanctions and generally weakening NATO.

Elections Results You May Have Missed

A New Balance of Power in Lebanon

The recent appointment of General Michel Aoun as Lebanon’s President and Saad Hariri as its Prime Minister is a positive auger for restoring stability in Lebanon. Without a functioning government for the past two years, and in the shadow of Syria’s civil war, Lebanon’s endless challenges have only gotten worse. Many speculate that it was Hariri’s diminished fortunes that drove him to make a deal to endorse Aoun. Others say that it was the rapprochement of Aoun with his main Christian rival that forced Hariri’s hand. An entirely different possibility is that the Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war has greatly diminished its capacity to control Aoun, leaving Hariri to draw him away from Iran’s circle of influence toward a more pro-Western and pro-Saudi position. Whatever the actual case, none of the major players are operating from a position of great strength. We may be seeing a very new balance of power emerging that leaves the key players dependent on internal alliances rather than only external influence. And this may present an opportunity for the Lebanese people: Lebanon’s ruling elite may actually have to govern.

Another Peaceful Election in Ghana

The leading opposition candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, won Ghana’s December 2016 presidential election last week. This election marks the third peaceful change in party power in Ghana – an important symbol of stability in an otherwise politically volatile region. President John D. Mahama’s government was plagued by accusations of widespread corruption and citizens have remained disenchanted with their country’s economic performance for much of his tenure. The Ghanaian economy has declined in the last four years, due to a slump in prices for exports of cocoa, gold, and oil. The incoming government supports the International Monetary Fund’s current efforts to restore fiscal stability amidst an increased budget deficit, high public debt, and inflation. Akufo-Addo has also promised to crack down on government corruption and is seeking to spur economic growth by providing each district with funds to spend on development projects.

“Does Argentina Have a Good Plan to Fight Drugs?” Latin America Advisor, September 2016

TAG Senior Director Amanda Mattingly responds to a question about Argentina’s plan to fight drugs in the September 21, 2016 issue of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor.

Does Argentina Have a Good Plan to Fight Drugs?

“The Jig Is Up, Mr. Maduro,” Amanda Mattingly, World Policy Blog, June 2016

TAG Senior Director Amanda Mattingly writes about the economic, political, and security crisis in Venezuela in an article published by the World Policy Blog on June 27, 2016.

The Jig Is Up, Mr. Maduro

Delta Air Lines Plans to Apply for Direct Flights to Cuba, Amanda Mattingly on WABE 90.1 Atlanta, February 2016

TAG Senior Director Amanda Mattingly discusses the potential for direct Delta flights between Atlanta and Havana on WABE 90.1 Atlanta on February 24, 2016.

Delta Air Lines Plans to Apply for Direct Flights to Cuba

“The Changing Face of Cuba,” Amanda Mattingly, World Policy Journal, Winter 2015/16

TAG Senior Director Amanda Mattingly writes about the changing face of Cuba following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in the Winter 2015/16 Issue of the World Policy Journal.

The Changing Face of Cuba

“Defeating ISIS Will Take Unity on the Part of the Civilized World,” Jack Devine, Houston Chronicle, December 2015

TAG President Jack Devine writes that the United States, Russia, European allies, Arab allies, China and Israel working together is the only answer to defeating ISIS in an article published in the Houston Chronicle on December 12, 2015.

Defeating ISIS Will Take Unity on the Part of the Civilized World

Putin Seeking Power in Syria, Jack Devine on Bloomberg Radio, September 2015

TAG President Jack Devine discusses Russia’s air strikes on Syria, Putin’s push for power and influence, and the disappointing results of the U.S. engagement in Syria on Taking Stock with Michael McKee and Kathleen Hays for Bloomberg Radio September 30, 2015.

Putin Seeking Power in Syria

“Fate of Iran Deal Makes for Sleepless Nights,” Jack Devine, Houston Chronicle, August 2015

TAG President Jack Devine writes that the possibility of nuclear weapons proliferation poses the greatest challenge today in an article published in the Houston Chronicle on August 4, 2015.

Fate of Iran Deal Makes for Sleepless Nights