What's New

The European Defense Fund: What Does it Mean for Transatlantic Security?
The European Commission launched the European Defense Fund (EDF) on June 7, 2017. It will provide €590 million through 2020, and at least €1.5 billion per year after 2020, to incentivize collaborative defense research, development and acquisition within the EU. The aims of the fund are to reduce duplication in defense spending, produce more defense capability for every euro spent, and enhance the interoperability of European forces. (Read More)

NATO, Trump, and the Return of the Burden-Sharing Debate
As North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on May 24-25, they face heightened uncertainty about the future of the Alliance. U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has voiced support for NATO while emphasizing the need for a more equitable defense spending burden within the Alliance. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has suggested that the U.S. may not aid NATO allies when attacked if they do not meet the Alliance’s non-binding pledge to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms on the Post-Brexit European Order
The challenges facing the United Kingdom over the next two years are numerous and increasing by the day. All of these issues are hugely important and they are closely interconnected. At root, however, they are a question of order, not so much of the “rules-based” global international community, significant though that is, but of the European order around which the world system was originally constructed and that remains – for the UK, at least – the primary pivot. (Read More)

The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?

As the European Union (EU) approaches the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, its leaders and institutions face a rising tide of political risk. Long-held and growing doubts about the EU’s ability to reduce unemployment, stem migration, and counter terrorism have set the stage for electoral gains by euroskeptic parties in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and – if an early election is called – in Italy. These risks are compounded by Russia’s support for euroskeptic parties; the uncertain fate of the EU-Turkey refugee deal; Brexit negotiations; and an increasingly likely economic downturn. What can be done to strengthen the Union? (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms co-authors a new book: Donald Trump: The Making of a World View
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election, to the joy of some and the shock of many across the globe. Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on Earth, Americans and non-Americans alike have been left wondering what that means for the world. It has been widely claimed that Trump's foreign policy views are impulsive, inconsistent and that they were improvised on the campaign trail. Drawing on interviews from as far back as 1980, historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman show that this assumption is dangerously false in this new book. (Read More)

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Publics worldwide unfavorable toward Putin, Russia
16 August 2017 - Pew Research Center
Globally, few people trust Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs, with a global median of roughly one-in-four (26%) say they have confidence in the Russian leader according to a new Pew Research Center survey. These doubts, however, do not coincide with perception of Russia as a security risk; across 37 countries, a median of 31% describe Russiaʼs power and influence as a major threat to their country, which is similar to the median percentage who say the same about China and the U.S.. Overall, Russiaʼs international image is more negative than positive with critical opinions being strongest in the United States and Europe. Only three countries surveyed had a majority favorable opinion of Russia, those were Vietnam (83%), Greece (64%), and the Philippines (55%).
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U.S., China military chiefs reach deal to reduce “risk of miscalculation”

16 August 2017 - CNN
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joe Dunford, and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Fang Fenghui, signed a deal on Tuesday to improve communications amid ongoing disputes in the South and East China seas. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the agreement will enable the two militaries “to communicate to reduce the risk of miscalculation,” specifically with communications being crucial now “as the region and world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea.”
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Slovakia’s future is with core EU, not euroskeptic eastern nations: PM
15 August 2017 – Reuters
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico backtracked from previous euroskeptic positions, stating that he intends to align Slovakia with core EU nations instead of the others members of the Visegrad Four – the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. Slovakia is the only member of the group that is a member of the Eurozone.
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EU dismisses Britain’s post-Brexit customs plan

15 August 2017 – Politico
On Tuesday, the EU rejected Britain’s proposal for an interim customs union arrangement with the EU and said that withdrawal terms must be settled first. It also dismissed the notion that Britain can participate in “frictionless trade” with the EU outside the single market and customs union. The next round of Brexit talks starts on August 28th.
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Angela Merkel attacks SPD rival over Germanyʼs NATO budget pledge
14 August 2017- Financial Times
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attacked Martin Schulz, her Social Democrat election rival, for questioning Germanyʼs pledge to raise defense spending to meet a U.S.-backed NATO target of 2% of GDP. Merkel accused SPD leaders of being “not reliable” for going back on a government decision they endorsed three years ago and their pledge to stick to the NATO target by 2024. Merkel said promises made in government could not be dropped in an election campaign, and that the 2014 pledge involved moving “in the direction” of the 2% target.
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U.S. debate on arming Ukraine puts pressure on Russia, Trump
13 August 2017 - Washington Post
In seeking leverage with Russia, the Trump Administration has reopened consideration of long-rejected plans to give Ukraine lethal weapons. The proposal is endorsed by both the Pentagon and the State Department, and reflects the administrationʼs growing frustrating with Russian intransigence on Ukraine as well as a broader deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations. The plan, which is said to not be dramatically different than ones rejected by Obama, is under discussion by senior national security aides. Although there is no deadline for a decision, the debate is going on as U.S. and Russian diplomats prepare to meet early this week to explore ways to pacify eastern Ukraine.
(Read More)

Tokyo does not own the Sea of Japan, China's air force chief says
11 August 2017 - Reuters

On Thursday, China’s Air Force Commander Ma Xiaotian defended Chinaʼs military maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, saying, “The Sea of Japan is not Japanʼs sea.” He went on to say, “…we must carry out drills at sea. Chinaʼs air force cannot simply guard on land and not go out,” and said that a recent Japanese defense review exaggerated the increase in Chinese military activity there. Japan worries that Chinaʼs probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extent its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific. The defense review Xiaotian referring to claimed the number of Japanʼs jet scrambles against Chinese aircraft hit a yearly record in March 2017.
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How the U.S. and Japan could shoot down North Korean missiles headed for Guam
11 August 2017 - Business Insider
North Korea again announced its intention to plan a missile test that would overfly Japan and land just short of the U.S. territory of Guam where 7,000 military personnel and 160,000 civilians live. Experts say if the U.S. and Japan wanted, they could most likely knock those missiles out of the sky. North Koreaʼs Hwasong-12 missiles, the ones it said it would use, have only been successfully tested once, and experts expect the missile to be accurate only within 6 miles. The U.S. and Japan have a number of guided missile destroyers, an Aegis radar missile defense site on Japan, and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Guam, all of which could be used to shoot the missiles down.
(Read More)

NATO criticizes Putin visit to disputed Georgia territory
8 August 2017 - Politico

On Tuesday, Putin visited the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on the ninth anniversary of a brief war over the territory and another disputed region, South Ossetia. Russia has essentially annexed the two regions, which exist only thanks to Russian economic aid and Russian military and security protection. Putin signed an agreement effectively integrating South Ossetia in 2015 and signed a similar treaty with Abkhazia in 2014. NATO spokesman, Dylan White said Putinʼs visit “is detrimental to international efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement... We regret that this visit was carried out without prior consent of the Georgian authorities.” He went onto say, “NATO is united in full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia,” and that NATO, “will not recognize any attempts to change the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
(Read More)

Turkey agrees to German lawmaker visit to troops, says Berlin
8 August 2017 – Reuters
A letter from the German foreign minister on Tuesday shows that Turkey has agreed to let German lawmakers visit soldiers serving at an air base in Turkey on September 8th, as part of a NATO trip. Under the plan, NATOʼs Deputy General-Secretary Rose Gottemoeller would lead the delegation and take up to seven members of the parliamentary committee with her. The row over access to German soldiers at Turkish bases has heightened tensions between the NATO allies, and Turkey had refused a visit to the German soldiers in July.
(Read More)

Madrid will push for a Eurozone budget and Eurobonds
8 August 2017 – Euractiv
Spain is expected to press France, Germany, and Italy to support the creation of a Eurozone budget and Eurobonds at a summit on August 28th. Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said that Brexit and the Trump presidency are pushing the Eurozone toward deeper integration, though accomplishing this will require treaty changes.
(Read More)

First joint drill with NATO to be held on Serbian soil
8 August 2017 – B92

As part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program, the REGEX18 exercises next year will be held on Serbian soil. Serbia has largely aligned itself with NATO standards, but still publicly wants to stay neutral. This is a big step forward for a country that has repeatedly called Kosovo War-era NATO Spokesman Jamie Shea “The Prince of Lies.”
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Poland warns against EU labor market overhaul
7 August 2017 – Financial Times
Poland has come out against a European Commission proposal to make it more difficult for companies to hire cheap workers in one country and then post them to a wealthier one without following all local employment rules. Other EU members in Central and Eastern Europe are also against the proposal.
(Read More)

Australia, Japan, U.S. call for South China Sea code to be legally binding
7 August 2017 – Reuters

The U.S., Japan, and Australia called for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China to make a code of conduct for the South China Sea "legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law." The three countries also expressed strong opposition "to coercive unilateral actions" that could increase tensions in the region. ASEAN and China committed to negotiating a framework for the code of conduct during the organization’s summit on Sunday.
(Read More)

ASEAN overcomes communique impasse, urges non-militarization in South China Sea
6 August 2017 – Reuters

Foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to a communique on China and the South China Sea following disagreements over whether to reference China's military buildup in the region in the statement. The communique emphasizes "the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint."
(Read More)

Germany's SPD rejects NATO 2 percent defense spending target

6 August 2017 - Reuters
On Sunday, Germanyʼs Social Democrats rejected NATOʼs target of spending 2% of GDP on defense and accused Chancellor Merkel of kowtowing to the demands of President Trump. With the Germans set to vote in a national election in September, SPD leader Martin Schulz and Thomas Oppermann, who heads the center-left party in Parliament, said “a clear no” to the 2% target, putting the SPD on a collision course with U.S. officials. Germany would have to nearly double its defense spending to meet the NATO target, which is a goal they said “no one could want” given Germanyʼs Nazi history.
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UK ready to pay £36bn Brexit bill, but only if EU talks trade
6 August 2017 – The Telegraph
Three senior British government officials say that the UK is prepared to pay up to £36 billion to the EU to settle its Brexit divorce bill. But it will only do so if the EU agrees to negotiate the financial settlement as part of a deal on future relations. The officials interviewed conclude that the offer is the only way to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations.
(Read More)

Call for “military Schengen” to get troops moving
4 August 2017 – Politico

Greater military cooperation has become a major priority for European leaders as of late, but the ability of NATO troops to operate in the region is still hindered. NATO has made significant progress in overcoming legal obstacles to cross-border initiatives, yet officials warn that bureaucracy, including document checks at borders and insufficient infrastructure, will still slow any potential response to an emerging threat. In order to quicken coordinated military action, Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert urged the EU to create a military Schengen zone at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in June.
(Read More

NATO says Russia ties most “difficult” since Cold War
4 August 2017 - AFP

On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that ties between the alliance and Moscow were at their most difficult phase since the Cold War. Speaking after Trump said relations between Washington and Moscow were at an all-time low, Stoltenberg blamed Russiaʼs “destabilization” of eastern Ukraine for lowering hopes of a diplomatic reset. He went on to say that NATO is committed to avoiding a further spike in tensions and is pursuing a twin-track approach of “defense, deterrence, and dialogue.”
(Read More


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