While Iran and North Korea nuclear challenges capture the news, another nuclear front is unfolding – in nuclear energy. President Donald Trump, speaking last Thursday at the Department of Energy, called for several initiatives to propel “American energy dominance,” and heading his list was the revival and expansion of the ...

The shrinking ice cap in the Arctic has opened up new opportunities and security challenges for the nations surrounding the region.  Arctic policy debates in Washington usually revolve around three issues: a race for Arctic resources, the need for new icebreakers, and a resurgent and aggressive Russia. In Moscow, policy ...

At a time when the U.S. is propping up its coal industry, China is expanding its support for clean energy. After years of targeted policy and investment, it has emerged as a global leader in the clean energy industry. Chinese firms continue to expand their share of the global market ...

The southeast African country Mozambique presents an investment opportunity for American energy companies. But with this opportunity comes security challenges, including domestic political disputes that often turn violent, an increase in organized crime and kidnappings across the country, and potential signs of imported extremism. In recent years, large natural gas ...

Focusing on threats and short-term planning often leads to missed opportunities by governments. Insight is expected to be provided for immediate decision needs, while foresight becomes sidelined by more pressing current affairs. American positioning sometimes drifts away from building the conditions to project stable and enduring power, in favor of ...

Mozambique is a big investment opportunity for energy companies, but concerns over organized crime, corruption, and targeted kidnapping remain, along with a somewhat shaky political situation. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Alex Vines, Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, about prospects for Mozambique. The Cipher Brief: ...

Russia can influence politics in Central and Eastern Europe via the energy sector. Most of the Visegrad Group countries in Central Europe, for example, are dependent on Russia for natural gas. Some of those countries – like Hungary – recently attempted to diversify supply, only to pivot back toward Russia ...

Russia has historically used its dominance in the energy sector to influence Central and Eastern European governments. But since the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute in 2009, when Russia cut supplies to all of southeastern Europe, the region has been pouring resources into creating energy independence. In addition, the Paris Agreement on ...

Russia undeniably wields some degree of influence over Central and Eastern Europe due to the high volume of energy exports it sends their way. However, that leverage may be overplayed. The Cipher Brief spoke with Balázs Jarábik, a nonresident scholar in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment ...

Mexico has made historic progress in the two and a half short years since it amended its constitution to allow private investment in its energy sector. During the worst oil price crash in decades, Mexico has managed to hold three bid rounds, welcome 16 new private oil companies into its ...

Tensions between Russia and NATO have escalated to near Cold War levels since Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea and ongoing support of separatists in the Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies have imposed stiff sanctions, and NATO plans to deploy four combat battalions to front line countries bordering Russia. In ...

Latin American countries have a long history of swift regime change, either by coup or by legitimate institutional processes. The impetus is typically economic decline. That’s what is happening now in Brazil with President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment proceedings. And in Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro is getting dangerously close to a ...

The Caucuses region is simmering with tension, and, due to its strategic geographic location and Caspian energy markets, the international community cannot afford to let the situation boil over. Lying in between Russia, Turkey, and Iran, the Caucasus is a politically and ethnically diverse region.  In the North are the ...

For two decades, hundreds of Russian citizens have become victims of terrorism rooted in the turbulent North Caucasus region of Russia. This area has also been a major source of fighters for different radical Islamic groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and beyond.    Several developments contributed to the radicalization of ...

The situation in the Russian North Caucasus has been complex for over 25 years now. A host of economic and social reasons, as well as the relations between this region and the federal authorities, and the mistakes made by both federal and regional politicians, have all contributed to the problem. ...

Saudi Arabia is showing a bolder side. The Kingdom has taken a new direction, undergoing changes in dynastic succession, foreign policy, and economic strategy. 1. The recent changes in Saudi royal succession are unprecedented. For the first time, the crown will transfer to the third generation of the al-Saud family. In ...

Saudi Arabia, blessed with political stability and deep pockets, presents one of the most attractive business and investment environments in the vast region between central Africa and China. The kingdom offers a stable currency that is freely convertible to dollars and Euros, a well-managed and respected central bank, membership in ...

In the wake of the nuclear agreement with Iran, US-Saudi relations appeared on the rocks. But when it comes to defense spending, business has rarely looked better. While Iran’s nuclear program may be a US and regional concern, Iran’s asymmetric and unconventional operations have long posed a more immediate threat ...

It is difficult to imagine the turmoil that the House of Saud must have been enduring since the price of oil began its precipitous and deep decline in the latter half of 2014.  Since then, not only has the value of the Kingdom’s precious and only significant natural resource declined ...