Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Flood Of Cash To Iran Dwarfs Marshall Plan

July 28, 2015  •  USA Today

Buried within the 150-plus pages of technical minutia and regulations that make up the recently concluded nuclear deal between the P5+1 powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran lies a stunning revelation, the full import of which has not yet been adequately appreciated by the international community. It is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the agreement is formally known, is designed to serve as nothing less than a Marshall Plan for the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.

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Rebuilding The U.S.–Israel Alliance

July 14, 2015  •  National Review Online

Even before it was formally published late last month, Michael Oren's memoir of his time as Israel's envoy to the United States had ignited a firestorm of controversy, and for very good reason. His book, Ally: My Journey across the American–Israeli Divide, provides the most damning account to date of a "special relationship" that, on President Obama's watch, has deteriorated to an almost unthinkable degree, with the White House coming to view Israel and its often-pugnacious premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, as more of a problem than Iran's nuclear ambitions, Palestinian corruption, or the Syrian civil war. White House officials were quick to condemn the book and to demand that Netanyahu formally distance himself from Oren's account. (He has refused to do so.) But there can be little doubt that Oren's anecdotes are so striking precisely because they confirm what many people have long sensed: that all is not well between Washington and Jerusalem, and might not be for some time to come.

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Moscow's Baby Bust?

July 9, 2015  •  Foreign Affairs

For decades, first the Soviet Union and then Russia languished under adverse population trends. Deaths far outpaced births, life expectancy was dismally low, and social ills, from alcoholism to unsafe abortion practices, were rampant. Over the past several years, however, this demographic picture has somewhat brightened. In 2012, live births outnumbered deaths for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. That indicator has remained marginally positive, and others have also begun to improve. By 2013, Russia's average life expectancy reached a historic high, at 71 years, and birthrates nearly matched European averages. These reversals have been modest, but they have been enough for the Kremlin to proclaim victory in its decades-long fight against demographic decline. In a December address to Kremlin officials, for instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated the "effectiveness" of Russia's demographic programs in reversing the country's trajectory. His conclusion, however, is extremely premature.

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Why Iran's Past Nuclear Actions Matter

June 23, 2015  •  The National Interest

It would be fair to say that the past year-and-a-half of nuclear talks with Iran has not been America's finest negotiating hour. But even by the comparatively low standards of U.S. diplomacy to date, the collapse of the American position in recent days has been nothing short of breathtaking. Roughly a week ago, the White House began walking back the dog on the issue of PMDs: the "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear effort that have been carried out so far by the regime in Tehran. That topic has been hotly debated for years, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, has identified nearly a dozen potential PMD activities—ranging from bomb designs to the development of nuclear detonators—that Iran needs to explain fully. So far, however, the Islamic Republic has done nothing of the sort, as the IAEA itself complained publicly back in March. Until very recently, this lapse was considered a very big deal. Just this spring, Secretary of State John Kerry was still insisting that Iran's disclosure of its past military-related atomic activities was an ironclad requirement for any sort of agreement with Tehran. Now, however, America's chief diplomat is singing a decidedly different tune.

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Iran's Various Voices

June 2015  •  AFPC Iran Strategy Brief No. 7

Is the Islamic Republic of Iran a country or a cause? For decades, the question is one that has bedeviled Western observers. Foreign politicians and diplomats long have struggled to reconcile the Iranian regime's radical rhetoric and destructive international behavior with its pragmatic participation in numerous treaty arrangements, and its prominent role in various multilateral forums. The dichotomy has become even more acute over the past two years. Since November of 2013, the Islamic Republic has engaged in extensive diplomacy with the P5+1 powers (the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) over its nuclear program - a dialogue which, as of this writing, appears likely to result in a political settlement that will be exceedingly favorable to Tehran. Yet the same period has seen a surge in destabilizing global activity instigated or abetted by the Islamic Republic. Indeed, even as it engages in diplomacy with the West regarding its nuclear ambitions, Iran is actively seeking to revise the geopolitical status quo in its favor, both in the Middle East and beyond.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising


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