Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Iran's Ahmadinejad Is Betting On A Comeback

August 26, 2016  •  The National Interest

Does anyone remember Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Until recently, the Islamic radical and former military officer who served as Iran's sixth president could be considered something of a political footnote.

During his two terms in office (2005–09 and 2009–13), Ahmadinejad's anti-Western bombast and political brinkmanship helped transform Iran into an international pariah, while his ruinous economic policies exacerbated the country's mounting fiscal woes. By the end of his tenure, Ahmadinejad was deeply unpopular at home, roundly blamed for a major decline in both domestic prosperity and global standing. He had also fallen out with his one-time protector, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, leaving him all but politically neutered.

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Turkey's Coup Attempt Has Played Straight Into Erdogan's Hands

July 20, 2016  •  National Review Online

Back in 2008, at the height of the global economic meltdown, Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Obama's designee for chief of staff, summed up his guiding political philosophy. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with." It looks like Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was listening. In the aftermath of last week's botched military coup, Erdogan has launched a far-reaching purge of political enemies, both real and imagined.

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A Bitter Birthday For The Iran Deal

July 14, 2016  •  U.S. News & World Report

Before the nuclear deal between Iran and the countries of the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) was concluded a year ago today, the true extent of the compromise struck over Iran's nuclear ambitions wasn't yet publicly known. It now is. In July of 2015, with great fanfare, the Obama administration formally unveiled the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. What we've discovered since is that the deal is not as bad as it was initially believed. It's actually much worse, for at least three reasons.

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Ukraine's New Guard

July 6, 2016  •  U.S. News & World Report

You could say that Serhiy Kvit is a man on a mission. The soft-spoken 50-year-old former journalist may no longer be Ukraine's minister of education and science, having stepped down from that post back in April as part of a governmental reshuffle that accompanied the resignation of controversial Prime Minister Arsenii Yatsenyuk. But he nonetheless remains at the forefront of the fight for the intellectual future of his country. That was obvious during Kvit's visit to Washington, D.C. in late May. In public appearances at several prominent policy institutions, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the American Foreign Policy Council, the former minister communicated a clear and unequivocal message. Ukraine, he argued, is now in the throes of a fundamental ideological reorientation away from Russia and toward the West, but it desperately needs support from the United States and Europe if it is to succeed.

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Beware Russians Bearing Gifts

June 28, 2016  •  Jerusalem Post

Slowly but surely, a strategic reorientation is underway in Israel. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a high-profile state visit to Russia. The trip, Netanyahu's fourth in the past year, was a public sign of the rapidly expanding ties between Jerusalem and Moscow. For Israel, the unfolding strategic alignment with Moscow is driven by both domestic and international considerations. At home, ethnic Russians have become an increasingly potent – and vocal – force. Now approaching a quarter of the country's total population of eight million, this constituency (and its most prominent political party, Yisrael Beytenu) has emerged as something of a kingmaker in national politics. Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent decision to elevate Yisrael Beytenu's leader, Avigdor Liberman, to the post of defense minister in a bid to strengthen his fragile political coalition was simply a sober recognition of this fact. Abroad, meanwhile, years of neglect from, and acrimonious relations with, the Obama White House has the country's leadership openly questioning the durability of US-Israeli ties. For, while there indeed remains a large, bipartisan reservoir of support for Israel in the US Congress, the chilly nature of personal ties between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama has caused unmistakable turbulence in the once "unshakable" US-Israeli relationship. Uncertainty over who the next occupant of the White House might be, meanwhile, has prevented Israeli policymakers from assuming that the current discord is simply a passing phase. At first blush, Russia seems like a viable alternative.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Iran's Deadly Ambition Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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