Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Scrapping Iran Deal Provides A Trump Card With North Korea

May 16, 2018  •  The Hill

Obama White House, Trump's pullout was condemned as ill-advised for a host of reasons, not least because it complicates America's planned negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. After all, these critics argue, why would Pyongyang trust a Washington that doesn't honor its international obligations? That argument, however, is flat wrong. In fact, President Trump's decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal actually strengthens his bargaining position vis-à-vis Pyongyang, and it increases the pressure on the North Korean regime to make meaningful concessions regarding its strategic arsenal if the two leaders meet next month in Singapore as planned.

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The End Of The JCPOA Era

May 10, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

It's official: the Iran nuclear deal is dead. On May 8th, in a nationally televised address, President Trump announced that his administration was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). By doing so, the White House has effectively killed the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama era. To be sure, the decision was hardly unexpected. The President has long been a vocal opponent of the Obama-era agreement, which he has repeatedly called the "worst deal ever." This view was reinforced in recent weeks by the addition of fresh voices to the White House – like those of National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who similarly see the JCPOA as both fatally flawed and dangerous for U.S. national security. So, what does the President's decision mean, in terms of American policy?

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The Iran Deal Is Dead. Now What?

April 24, 2018  •  The National Interest

These days, it's increasingly clear that the Iran nuclear deal is on life support. For much of the past year, opinion within the Trump administration has been more or less evenly divided between those who support preserving the 2015 agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) with some modifications, and those—including the president himself—who advocate its outright annulment. But no longer. Recent staffing changes at the upper echelons of the administration have swung the pendulum decisively in favor of Donald Trump "nixing" the agreement at the earliest possible opportunity. That could be as early as next month, when the deal comes up for periodic renewal pursuant to the Congressionally-mandated Iran Nuclear Review Act. U.S. and European negotiators, now working feverishly in Washington and assorted European capitals, may yet find "fixes" sufficiently robust to salvage the agreement, at least temporarily. But all things being equal, it's a reasonable bet that, come this May, the president will decide not to recertify the agreement and allow the central foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration to lapse. The operative question is: what comes next?

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The Other Iranian Threat

April 17, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Whatever happened to the Iranian cyberthreat? Not all that long ago, American officials were preoccupied with the growing disruptive capabilities that the Islamic Republic had begun to demonstrate on the World-Wide Web. That, however, was before the start of negotiations over Iran's atomic program in 2013. Those talks allowed Iran's cyber activities to recede from public view, as policymakers in Washington focused their attention on nuclear diplomacy with Tehran, while Iranian hackers temporarily became more cautious in their choice of targets and the visibility of their attacks. More recently, worries about Iran's cyber capabilities have taken a back seat to concerns regarding Iran's growing conventional military might, and its mounting regional adventurism in places like Syria and Yemen. But now, Iran's movements in cyberspace are receiving some much-needed renewed attention, thanks to a new report from one of the world's leading cybersecurity firms, which warns the cyberthreat posed by Iran is growing in both sophistication and menace.

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New Sanctions Rightly Tighten The Noose On Russia

April 9, 2018  •  The Hill

The new cold war between Moscow and Washington just got a little bit colder. On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a new round of economic sanctions against 38 separate Russian personalities and businesses. The measure represents a major escalation of pressure against the Kremlin, because it singles out a number of key stakeholders as a way of ratcheting up the costs to Russia's leadership of their country's increasingly hostile international behavior.

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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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