Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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How The United States And Europe Can Punish Russia For Ukraine Ship Attack

November 30, 2018  •  USA Today

Last weekend's maritime dust-up between Russia and Ukraine — in which the Russian navy fired on Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov — caught Western capitals by surprise. Predictably, the skirmish has elicited condemnations from a host of nations worried about the possibility of further escalation in the four-and-a-half-year-old conflict between Moscow and Kiev. But a resolute Western response to Russia's renewed aggression has been far slower to materialize. This, however, hasn't been because of a lack of policy options. To the contrary, U.S. and European policymakers currently have a broad range of ways by which they can ratchet up the costs to Russia for the recent hostilities.

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Sea Of Azov Showdown: The Reasons Behind Russia's Renewed Aggression

November 28, 2018  •  The National Interest

A flare-up of military hostilities between Russia and Ukraine—in the form of a Russian-instigated naval skirmish in the Sea of Azov over the weekend—has left Western capitals scrambling to formulate a robust response. Truth be told, however, Russia's renewed aggression should not have come as a surprise. Rather, as officials in Kyiv have consistently warned, an intensification of the on-again, off-again shooting war between the two countries was only a matter of time, for five main reasons.

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Rethinking The Russo-Iranian Entente

November 20, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Just how solid is the strategic partnership between Russia and Iran? For years, policymakers in Washington and regional capitals have speculated about whether it might be possible to sever the long-standing strategic ties between Moscow and Tehran. And, via a range of strategic issues, successive American administrations have tried to do just that. During the George W. Bush era, the United States attempted repeatedly to enlist Moscow's assistance against Tehran as part of its broad-based "war on terror." Subsequently, the Obama White House tried a different tack, seeking to rehabilitate Iran through international negotiations over its nuclear program (which, in turn, would have helped dilute Russian influence over the Islamic Republic). And in its early days, the Trump administration toyed with the notion of driving a wedge between the two countries by giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a freer hand in Syria. None of these overtures amounted to much. Initially forged during the Cold War, bilateral ties between Moscow and Tehran have flourished over the past quarter-century on the basis of arms (and nuclear) sales, shared worries about Sunni jihadism and a common, pervasive sense of anti-Americanism. These bonds have made the Russo-Iranian entente mutually beneficial for both countries – and remarkably resilient to outside pressure, especially while the Kremlin played only a limited role in the Middle East. But now, Russia is expanding its equities in the region.

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China's Investments In Israel Are A Double-Edged Sword

November 9, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

These days, the consensus among connected venture capitalists and savvy entrepreneurs is unanimous: Israel's hi-tech sector is thriving. Over the past decade, the country's unique mix of informal culture, innovation and entrepreneurship – the same qualities that have made it the quintessential "start-up nation" – have shaped the Jewish state into an incubator of technological progress, and the world has taken notice. The last several years have seen a surge in investment in Israeli hi-tech firms from foreign entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on this dynamism. In 2016, Israel's tech sector raised $4.83 billion in foreign direct investment. In 2017, that figure rose to $5.24b. And so far this year, Israel's tech sector has drawn in $3.2b., more than the total amount of capital raised between 2010 and 2013. Much of this investment comes from the United States and Europe. But a significant – and growing – share is Chinese in origin.

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Testing Trump's Iran Strategy

October 30, 2018  •  The Washington Times

On Nov. 6, Americans will go to the polls in midterm elections that are likely to reshape the complexion of national politics. But even before they do, U.S. foreign policy will face a crucial test of resolve vis-a-vis the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Back in May, President Trump formally announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and that pre-existing sanctions which had been waived by the Obama administration would begin to "snap back" into place against the Islamic Republic. The first step in this direction was the re-imposition on Aug. 7 of restrictions on Iran's ability to buy U.S. currency, its trade in precious metals, and commercial sales of aircraft and auto parts to the Islamic Republic. These steps have already begun to have a marked impact on Iran's economy, prompting a veritable exodus of foreign companies from the Islamic Republic and cratering the value of Iran's national currency, the rial. But the second tranche of sanctions, which is set to be reinstated on Nov. 4, promises to be even more serious. The new measures will include massive restrictions on Iran's global oil trade, as well as a severing of Iran's Central Bank from the global financial system. Taken in isolation, these steps have the power to deal a severe blow to Iran's fragile, energy-dependent economy. Taken together, the impact on Iran's radical regime — which is already said to be on the verge of economic collapse — could be nothing short of catastrophic. If the sanctions are fully implemented, that is.

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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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