What's New

What Does a Nuclear North Korea Really Mean for the International System? 
In the last four months, North Korea has transformed the strategic landscape of East Asia, achieving both its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and first thermonuclear weapon. This new reality for the United States, Japan, South Korea – and the wider liberal international order – must be confronted. For decades, like-minded free democracies have invested heavily in collective defense, extended deterrence, and non-proliferation; but now those fundamental pillars of the global system are at risk. If they buckle, it may trigger events that would effectively end the post-Cold War status quo – all without North Korea firing a shot. (Read More)

John Davenport joins the Streit Council's Advisory Board
John Davenport is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Fordham University. Professor Davenport has published and instructed widely on topics in free will and responsibility, existential conceptions of practical identity, virtue ethics, motivation and autonomy, theories of justice, and philosophy of religion. He has published and spoken about the need for a federation of democracies, and is currently working on a book titled A Federation of Democracies: Towards Universal Basic Rights and the End of Tyranny. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University.

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)


Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Ukrainian parliament passes bill on “occupied” territories
18 January 2018 - Associated Press

On Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill on the “re-integration” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the country’s east, which are controlled by Russia-backed separatists. The bill describes those two regions as “temporarily occupied” by “aggressor country” Russia and envisages the use of military force to get them back under Ukraine’s control. The bill contains no reference to the Minsk peace deal brokered by France and Germany that obliged Ukraine to pass legislation offering broad autonomy to the separatist regions and a sweeping amnesty to the rebels.
(Read More

United States wins WTO chicken ruling against China
18 January 2018 - Reuters

The United States defeated China in a World Trade Organization arbitration ruling related to Beijing's illegal use of punitive tariffs against U.S. poultry producers. The WTO instructed China to lower tariffs immediately, and concluded that American companies like Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. lost more than $1 billion in sales as a consequence of the measures. Beijing is allowed a limited period to make an appeal, but it remains unclear if it will choose to do so. The U.S. has a long history of WTO complaints against China, including major anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases in recent years. Washington and Brussels have also formally opposed Beijing's campaign for "market-economy status" within the organization, which would considerably loosen international regulatory restrictions on China.
(Read More

Mexico-EU free trade deal should be finished in a few weeks: official
17 January 2018 – Reuters

The EU and Mexico should be concluding talks over an updated trade deal “within the next few weeks,” according to a senior Mexican official. The new accord will update the EU-Mexico trade deal on industrial products, in force since 2000, adding to it farm produce, government procurement, and investment. The conclusion of the deal comes as part of a recent strategy by Mexico to reduce its dependence on the U.S., who has antagonized its southern neighbor by demanding an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
(Read More

Exclusive: Trump says terminating NAFTA would yield “best deal” in renegotiations
18 January 2018 – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday argued that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would result in the best deal for the U.S. in future trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico. Despite warnings from lawmakers, foreign leaders, and industrial and agricultural groups, Trump argued that "the way you're going to make the best deal is to terminate NAFTA." The comments come less than a week before the next round of NAFTA negotiations, due to be held in Montreal, where negotiators will be faced with the prospect of attempting to reconcile aggressive American demands on a range of topics. An American withdrawal from the 24 year-old trade agreement would likely cause it to collapse entirely, with significant implications for the economies of North America.
(Read more)

Exclusive: Trump accuses Russia of helping North Korea evade sanctions; says U.S. needs more missile defense
17 January 2018 - Reuters

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump complained that Russia is helping North Korea evade international sanctions, signaling frustration with a country he had hoped to forge friendly relations with after his 2016 win. Speaking to Reuters in an Oval Office interview, Trump said “Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea. What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.” Both China and Russia signed onto the latest rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea imposed last year.
(Read More)

U.S. puts Russia and China at top of defense agenda
17 January 2018 - Financial Times

The Pentagon's first National Defense Strategy (NDS) under the Trump Administration will be published in an unclassified format on January 19, and will feature newly aggressive military stances against both China and Russia. Defense officials have commented that the revamped strategy "tries to put U.S. defenses on a more competitive basis given the investments that China and Russia have made," especially in missile technology, cyber-warfare, and modernized air and naval forces. Like the White House's 2017 National Security Strategy, the Pentagon's latest NDS will reaffirm that America currently exists "in an era of great power competition, and the two countries that most challenge the U.S. are Russia and China." 
(Read More

EU still open to Britain changing mind on Brexit
16 January 2018 - Reuters

EU leaders stated on Tuesday that, should it wish, the United Kingdom would be able to remain in the EU despite already triggering the withdrawal process. In a debate unexpectedly catalyzed by comments from prominent euroskeptic Nigel Farage, both pro and anti EU campaigners in Britain have for the last week been discussing the prospect of a second referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU. This new statement from European leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Junker seemingly quashes the argument that Britain's activation of Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which initiated its two-year withdrawal period, was an irreversible move. The prospect of a second referendum is unlikely, as the heads of the two main parties in Britain have both refused to support such a move.
(Read more)

Erdogan: NATO must take stance against U.S.
16 January 2018 - Voice of America

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on NATO allies to take a stance against an American plan for a Kurdish-led border security force in Syria, saying that members of NATO should oppose such a force. On Monday, Erdogan accused the United States of creating a “terror army” in Syria, along the border with Turkey. He said Turkey would destroy this army “before it’s even born.” During a speech to his ruling AKP party on Tuesday he said: “Hey NATO! You are obliged to make a stance against those who harass and violate the borders of your members.” NATO has called Turkey “a highly valued ally” and said the alliance is committed to Turkey’s defense, but that the matter is an issue for the anti-IS coalition led by the U.S.
(Read More

Denmark will increase defense spending to counter Russia: PM
15 January 2018 - Reuters

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis on Monday that the Danish government expects to win backing for a substantial increase in defense spending next month, to counter Russia’s intensified military activity in eastern and northern Europe. In 2016, Russia moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and deployed its S-400 air missile defense system there, and in 2016 Denmark said Russia hacked its defense computer network.
(Read More)

Turkey condemns U.S.’ YPG army plan in Syria
15 January 2018 – Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey responded strong to the U.S.-led coalition in Syria statement on Sunday that it is working with the mainly Kurdish YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong border force in Syria. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Jan. 14 saying Turkey had reiterated on numerous occasions that it was “wrong and objectionable” to cooperate with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party  “terrorist organization” on the ground in Syria in order to fight ISIL and stabilize the areas liberated from it. Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the YPG, which is sees as an offshoot of the outlawed PKK.
(Read More

Japan announces three-way pact with Baltic countries as Abe tours Eastern Europe
14 January 2015 - The Japan Times / Washington Post

Japan has entered a cooperation agreement with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to improve their political and economic ties. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been touring Europe over the past week, during which he finalized the deal alongside his Baltic counterparts. Sectors ranging from medicine, to travel, to information technology are all expected to benefit. Abe and Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis also called for the EU's own newly concluded economic partnership treaty with Japan to be ratified as soon as possible, as it would help make smaller partnerships like their Baltic agreement benefit all sides. 
(Read More 1, 2)

French president to advocate closer military ties with Britain

14 January 2018 – Financial Times
At an upcoming Anglo-French summit, French President Emmanuel Macron will encourage the UK to join a new European defense initiative to more closely integrate the armed forces of participating European states. The European Intervention Initiative (EII) would in theory result in cost reductions for Britain and other participating members, while also allowing British arms manufacturers to retain important access to European markets should it leave the EU. Some critics have however questioned whether Britain would agree to such proposals, given its historic unwillingness to commit to integration into European military structures. Other have argued that Mr. Macron’s proposals could lead to duplication with NATO and the recent EU PESCO Treaty, leading to confusion and inefficiency in times of crisis. Nevertheless, such overtures do show that France envisions close military cooperation with Britain, even if the latter does leave the EU.
(Read more)

Incumbent Czech president looks set to win first round of election
13 January 2018 - The Guardian

Incumbent president of Czechia (Czech Republic), Milos Zeman, is leading the first round of the election, with 42.9% of the vote, after 30.6% of votes have been counted. With the second most popular candidate coming in at 24.7% of the vote, Zerman looks set to win the first round. However, the opposition field is split between eight contenders, which will be narrowed down to one for the second round of elections at the end of the month. Zeman is a decisive figure, whose anti-Muslim and pro-Russian rhetoric has split opinion in the country.
(Read more)

Canada files trade complaints against the USA
13 January 2018 - The Guardian

In a complaint filed to the World Trade Organization, which was made public on Wednesday, Canadian authorities criticized anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties imposed by the American government. The cases cited range across two decades, and relate to American actions toward Canada and dozens of other countries. This action comes amid heating trade rhetoric between Canada and the USA, as both countries head toward the renegotiation of the crucial NAFTA Treaty in the near future. Thus, though such actions may simply be seen by some as posturing, it nevertheless marks a sharp divergence from the amicable overtures that have conventionally defined Canadian-American relations in recent years. 
(Read more

Germany coalition talks: Merkel welcomes breakthrough
12 January 2018 – BBC

German politicians have achieved a breakthrough in talks aimed at forming a new coalition government after talks lasting more than 24 hours led to a blueprint agreed upon. The talks were between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) Party and its former coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), and produced a 28-page document that agreed on key sticking points suck as migration and Eurozone reform.
(Read More

Spain, UK hold first talks on Brexit's fallout in Gibraltar
12 January 2018 - Associated Press

The UK and Spain have launched negotiations late this week in Madrid to determine how Brexit will impact the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. The EU issued post-Brexit guidelines that Spain will gain veto powers over the future of London's centuries-old claim to the Iberian coastline, calling into question how UK citizens living there will be affected. The UK's Foreign Office called the preliminary meetings both "informal" and "productive," but reiterated its defense of the status quo. 
(Read More)

Key EU states stand by Iran nuclear deal
11 January 2018 - The Guardian 
In a meeting between the foreign ministers of Iran, Britain, France, Germany, and top EU diplomats, a strong message of support for the Iranian nuclear deal was issued. In what was seen by many as a response to American President Donald Trump's threats to renege on the deal, all parties voiced their support for the Joint Comprehensive Frame of Action (JCPOA). The support was not unconditional, however, with both France and Britain advocating for supplementary deals on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and Middle Eastern policy – both matters which are not covered under the JCPOA. The timing of this statement is significant, with the American President deciding on Friday whether or not to reimpose sanctions lifted as part of the JCPOA, despite Iranian compliance. Should this happen, Iran has stated that the deal will likely collapse.
(Read more)

Southern EU states unite on populism and migration
11 January 2018 – EU Observer

Southern EU members Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain have issued a joint statement calling for EU citizens to have more say on policies related to populism and migration. This initiative was first proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron during his election campaign. The group also expressed support for creating transnational lists of members of the European Parliament for EU elections in 2019 – to help address the Union’s democratic deficit.
(Read More)

U.S. and EU face "common" China challenge, says U.S. official
10 January 2018 - EU Observer

Speaking at a meeting with EU officials, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass told policymakers and reporters that China's "very aggressive" global trade policies are a "common challenge" for both the United States and European Union. Malpass added that China, under Xi Jinping's leadership, "has moved away from the liberalization path that been a strong theme in earlier years," and now emphasizes "state-owned enterprises...[and] the involvement of the Communist party into the business sectors." According to the USTR, America's goods and services trade deficit with China totaled $309.6 billion in 2016, and data for 2017 is due to be released next month.
(Read More)

U.S. becomes a net gas exporter for the first time in 60 years
10 January 2018 – Bloomberg

The U.S. is now a net gas exporter for the first time since at least 1957. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, net exports averaged 0.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2017 – an increase from a net inflow of 1.8 billion in 2016. This trend is expected to continue.
(Read More) 

“Southern Seven” EU nations meet for biannual summit
10 January 2018 – Euronews
The leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain met in Paris this week to discuss pressing matters and find common ground ahead of March’s full EU summit. Their most urgent discussions revolved around ongoing migration from across the Mediterranean, and led to a common call for more EU support for border controls. There were also calls for a more active EU foreign policy in the form of combating poverty in Africa, so that migration from the continent might be discouraged through the stabilization of nations from which migrants originate. In a sign of ongoing support for regional integration, there was also a call for a common budget for Eurozone members.
(Read More) 

U.S. must act now to ward off more Russian election meddling, report says
10 January 2018 – CNN

According to a new report, related Wednesday by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. will not be prepared to defend against possible Russian meddling in the 2018 midterms or the 2020 presidential contest unless it takes action now. The report details the extent to which Moscow has tried to shape elections across Europe, detailing Russia’s arsenal of military invasions, disinformation campaigns and corruption, and its weaponization of energy resources, among other tools.
(Read More

AP: Trump to extend sanctions relief for Iran
10 January 2018 - Associated Press
U.S. President Donald Trump will extend relief from economic sanctions to the Iranian government as stipulated under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known the Iran nuclear deal. The White House argued today that amendments to U.S. laws regarding that agreement, combined with an increased focus on targeting Iranian private sector entities and individuals, made the relief possible. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that U.S. officials are "in the process of trying to...fix [the Iran deal]," rather than cancelling it outright.
(Read More

European powers to reaffirm support for Iran nuclear deal
10 January 2018 - The Hill, Reuters
The EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will convene a meeting tomorrow with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, alongside the foreign ministers of Germany, the UK, and France in order to reiterate their commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. A representative involved with the meeting told reporters the goal of the session is to "send a message to Washington that Iran is complying, and that it is better to have the nuclear agreement than to isolate Tehran." President Donald Trump has until Friday to make another decision on recertification of the Iran deal.
(Read More 1, 2

Trump tells Seoul he's open to talks with North Korea
10 January 2018 - CNN
A day after representatives from North and South Korea held day-long negotiations in Panmunjom, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that he would "absolutely" consider direct negotiations with Kim Jong-Un's government, adding that "if something can happen, and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity." White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated later that any bilateral negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington would have to occur "at the appropriate time, and under the right circumstances." South Korea's Moon Jae-in thanked the U.S. for helping to make talks possible, and said that Trump assured him that "no military action" would occur as long as an inter-Korean dialogue proceeds.
(Read More)

Russia presses EU to pay up for rebuilding Syria
9 January 2018 – Financial Times

Russia’s representative to the EU is urging European states to financially support the reconstruction of Syria – a program that could cost “dozens of billions” of euros. Big EU states are refusing to do so without a peace agreement that contains provisions for a political transition. Tensions over the issue have been rising in Moscow.
(Read More

Juncker rejects cutting EU funds to Poland
9 January 2018 – Politico
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he rejects the idea of cutting EU funds to Poland because of disagreements over the rule of law and refugees. Poland is the largest beneficiary of EU funding, receiving 100 billion euros in structural, agricultural and other funds in the current seven-year budget cycle. Last month, the Commission triggered the Article 7 process against Poland because of judicial reforms. This could lead to the suspension of Poland’s voting rights in the EU.
(Read More

Italy’s 5-Star says it is no longer time to leave the euro
9 January 2018 – Reuters

The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, stated that pulling Italy out of the Eurozone is no longer a goal of his party. The 5-Star Movement previously committed to holding a referendum on Italy’s Eurozone membership if it fails to win concessions on the common currency area’s fiscal rules.
(Read More) 

Trump officials debate targeted N. Korea strike in “bloody nose” strategy: report
9 January 2018 - The Hill

According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, U.S. officials have discussed conducting a targeted strike against sites in North Korea in a “bloody nose” strategy. This strategy involves striking a North Korean facility in response to a nuclear missile test, with the aim of showing North Korea the consequences of its actions without leading to an all-out war.
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Trump admin approves $133 million anti-ballistic missile sale to Japan
9 January 2018 - CNN

On Tuesday, the Trump Administration notified Congress that it approved the potential sale of SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles to Japan in a deal estimated to be worth $133.3 million. Included in the sale are four Standard Misile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, which are anti-ballistic missiles that can be deployed on Aegis-class destroyers or on land, via the Aegis Ashore program. If concluded, the sale would “follow through on President (Donald) Trump’s commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies” threatened by North Korea’s “provocative behavior,” said a State Department official.
(Read More)  

American oil drillers' output could top Saudi Arabia and rival Russia by 2019, U.S. forecast shows
9 January 2018 – CNBC

According to a forecast from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, American drills will pump enough oil in 2019 to potentially surpass Saudi Arabia’s output and rival the world’s current top producer – Russia. The forecast predicts that U.S. oil production will average 10.8 million barrels a day in 2019, and expects American output to top 11 million barrels a day for the first time ever in November 2019.
(Read More)

U.S. hails Korea talks, despite North's rejection of denuclearization
9 January 2018 - Reuters

Rare high-level bilateral negotiations between North and South Korea, which carried on for nearly 12 straight hours, have yielded an agreement which allows Pyongyang to send a delegation of politicians and athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Despite previous statements casting doubt on the efficacy of bilateral talks, U.S. President Donald Trump said he supports the agreement "100 per cent" and added that he would "love to see them take it beyond the Olympics." State Department spokesman Steven Goldstein echoed Trump's remarks, calling the talks a "positive development" and a "good first step" toward eventually discussing denuclearization - which North Korea refused to make any immediate concessions on in Panmunjom. China and Russia also expressed support for the North-South negotiations.
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U.S. Navy destroyer arrives in Ukraine amid rift with Russia
9 January 2018 - Newsweek

A U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer arrived in Ukrainian waters on Monday in the third visit by a vessel of its kind to the tense Black Sea region since August. The U.S.S. Carney docked in Odessa as part of an ongoing commitment by the U.S. military to show support for Ukraine, particularly in the face of Russian aggression. Since the fallout with Moscow, the U.S. has sailed warships to visit the area on nearly bi-monthly basis.
(Read More

Hungary and Poland defend larger European budget
9 January 2018 – Euractiv

The Hungarian and Polish governments expressed a willingness to become net contributors to the EU’s budget after Brexit, and they support the Commission’s call to increase contributions above one percent of EU GDP. The Commission expects member states to reach an agreement on the next budget by spring 2019, before the European elections.
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Juncker calls for EU budget boost after Brexit
8 January 2018 – Financial Times

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is urging EU member states to contribute more to the Union’s post-Brexit budget. The new budget, which will run from 2020-2025, will be left with a Brexit gap of up to 13 billion euros after 2021. The Commission seeks the funding to cope with migration, protect the Eurozone against economic crises, and combat climate change.
(Read More)

Russia says 13 drones used in attack on its air base, naval facility in Syria
8 January 2018 – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The Russian Defense Ministry said on January 8 that 13 armed drones were used in an attack on its Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility in western Syria. There were no casualties or damage as a result of the attacks as Russian forces were able to overpower radio signals for some of the drones and gain control of them during the attacks overnight on January 5-6. "Engineering solutions used by the terrorists in the attack...could have been obtained only from a country possessing high-tech capabilities for providing satellite navigation and remote control," a Russian representative said.
(Read More)

NATO, Russia to hold high-level meeting later this month: report
7 January 2018 – The Hill

NATO is set to hold talks with top Russian military commanders later this month, the first such high-level meeting since 2013. According to BuzzFeed News, which broke the story, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti will meet with the chief of general staff for Russia's Armed Forces Gen. Valery Gerasimov in Baku, Azerbaijan later in January. The meeting will be the first of its kind since 2013, after the U.S. cut various channels to Russia following the conflict in Ukraine.
(Read More

Russia meddling in Mexican election: White House aide McMaster
7 January 2018 – Reuters

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the Russian government has launched a sophisticated campaign to influence Mexico’s 2018 presidential election and stir up division, in a clip from a December 2017 video just reported on Saturday. He did not elaborate on how Russia is seeking to influence the election, but did say that the U.S. government is concerned by Russia’s use of advanced cyber tools to push propaganda and disinformation.
(Read More)

U.S. to start South Korean trade talks amid rising tensions   
5 January 2018 – New York Times

U.S. and South Korean officials will meet on Friday to formally start renegotiating the free trade pact between the two countries. President Trump has called six-year old agreement a “horrible deal” and vowed to rework it. The negotiations risk seriously dividing the two allies as North Korea attempts to drive a wedge between them and continues to improve its nuclear capabilities.
(Read More)

North Korea accepts South's offer to meet for talks
5 January 2018 – CNN

North Korea has accepted South Korea's recent offer to hold high-level diplomatic talks on January 9 to discuss Pyongyang joining the 2018 Winter Olympics, among other topics relevant to the "inter-Korean relationship." The negotiations will be held along the de-militarized zone in Panmunjom. The last major diplomatic meetings between the DPRK and South Korea were more than 4 years ago, and both countries offered statements expressing hope for a thaw in tensions and an opportunity for "reconciliation." 
(Read More)

Trump admin suspends security assistance to Pakistan
4 January 2018 – The Hill

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced Thursday that the Trump Administration is suspending security assistance to Pakistan amid frustration with Islamabad’s failure to combat terrorist networks operating in the country. The U.S. will freeze military equipment deliveries and transfers of security-related funds to Pakistan, in addition to freezing reimbursements to the Pakistani government for money spent on conducting counterterrorism operations. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, and the administration is still working out the dollar amounts of the cuts.
(Read More)

Treasury sanctions Iranian entities
4 January 2018 – U.S. Department of the Treasury
The U.S. Department of Treasury issued new sanctions against five Iranian entities associated with the country’s ballistic missile program today, amid growing calls for Washington to support last week’s anti-government protests concentrated in Mashhad, Hamadan, and Isfahan. The Office of Foreign Assets Control stated that it targeted businesses and research centers tied to the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, which had not previously been subject to sanctions.
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Germany calls for setting up UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine before Russian election
4 January 2018 – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is calling for the establishment of an armed UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine before Russia’s March presidential election, saying that such a force would be “essential” for ensuring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Gabriel added that both Germany and France will propose such a peacekeeping force to the UN Security Council in the hope that it will bring about a “lasting cease-fire” in eastern Ukraine.
(Read More

Hungary and Poland to the EU: Don’t shut us out
3 January 2018 – Politico

On Wednesday, the Hungarian and Polish prime ministers expressed their desire to weigh in on the future direction of the EU. Both the Hungarian and Polish governments have clashed with the European Commission over issues ranging from migration to the rule of law, and they are concerned about recent moves by France and Germany to pursue deeper integration.
(Read More)



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