What's New

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan's new book, Transatlantic Traumas, examines the connections between external and internal threats that challenge the West and its leading institutions - NATO and the EU. After discussing the meaning of “the West” and examining Russian and Islamist terrorist threats, he assesses the main internal threats: the rise of radical right populist parties, Turkey’s drift away from Western values, the Brexit shock, and the Trump presidency in the United States. He concludes by suggesting that the West can be reinvigorated if political centers in Europe and the United States reassert themselves in an approach of “radical centrist populism.” Sloan is a Visiting Scholar in Political Science at Middlebury College and a Non-resident Senior Fellow in the Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council of the United States. (Read More)

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)

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

EU to launch counter-tariffs against U.S. on Friday
20 June 2018 – BBC News

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed that the European Union will launch a raft of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports on Friday, targeting such items as blue jeans, motorbikes, and bourbon whiskey. This move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed steep duties on steel and aluminum earlier this month. She reiterated that the bloc “did not want to be in this position,” but that “the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice.”
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Brexit Bulletin: Michel Barnier dashes UK’s European Arrest Warrant hope
19 June 2018 – The Telegraph

In a speech this week, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier stated the security relationship between the UK and EU has changed since the UK has decided to leave the EU. Being a part of the European Arrest Warrant will not take place since the UK is now considered to be a third country “outside Schengen and outside the EU’s legal order.”
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Merkel and Macron agree on Eurozone budget
19 June 2018 – EU Observer
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to pursue the creation of a Eurozone budget to boost investment and increase convergence in the common currency area. Merkel said, however, that a reduction in banking risk is needed before the banking union can be deepened. The budget could be in place by 2021.

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Trump escalates China trade war, threatens tariffs on $200 billion in products
19 June 2018 – Washington Post

On Monday, President Trump threatened to levy tariffs of 10 percent on nearly all Chinese products exported to the United States. Trump is demanding that China narrow its trade deficit with the U.S. and change its industrial policies. If implemented, the tariffs would increase the cost of a wide range of consumer items in the United States. They will not take effect until the end of 60-day public comment period.
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EU executive “confident” of migration deal but many beg to differ
19 June 2018 – Reuters

The European Commission stated that it is "confident" a new deal on the handling of migrants and refugees will be reached at a summit held from June 28 to June 29. The issue has come to a head again with the election of a populist government in Italy, and with an ultimatum being issued to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by a junior coalition partner in her government. Countries on the Mediterranean, such as Italy and Greece, are requesting more assistance with the influx of refugees landing on their shores. However, countries from Central and Eastern Europe, notably Poland and Hungary, have refused to take in more refugees.
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U.S. expected to withdraw from UN human rights council
19 June 2018 – Politico
The United States is expected to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, according to rights advocates with contacts in the Trump administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley are scheduled to publicly discuss the decision. The U.S. has long accused the HRC of being biased against Israel and giving a platform to rights-abusing governments, but this announcement would come one day after the UNʼs human rights chief criticized President Donald Trumpʼs immigration policy decisions.
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Pentagon greenlights Cyber Command to go on offensive: report
18 June 2018 - The Hill
The Pentagon has quietly allowed U.S. Cyber Command to go on the offensive to defend the U.S. from cyberattacks. In the past, Cyber Command has worked defensively and focused on repelling attacks on the U.S. In the spring, the Pentagon raised the commandʼs status and gave it the ability to raid foreign networks almost daily, the New York Times reports. The Pentagon hopes such preemptive measures will allow Cyber Command to disable cyberweapons before they can be used.
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Brussels heads for showdown with Poland over rule of law
17 June 2018 – Financial Times

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans will hold talks with the Polish government ahead of an EU hearing on Poland’s observance of the rule of law. This could lead the EU to attempt to impose sanctions on Poland, including the suspension of voting rights. Such measures would require EU unanimity, and Hungary has already stated that it is ready to veto them. The outcome of this tension is likely to influence how willing other EU members are to move away from fundamental governing principles.
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UK seeks “closest possible” security pact with EU after Brexit - minister
16 June 2018 - Reuters

The British government affirmed its desire to pursue the "closest possible security agreement" with the EU after leaving the bloc in 2019. Britain has long been one of the most capable military powers in Europe, but consistently blocked EU military reform and integration. The European Commission largely welcomed the move, though the EU position is not to grant Britain special treatment in their future bilateral relationship.
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France’s Macron seeks common ground with Italy on immigration
15 June 2018 - Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron declared his intention to work with the new populist Italian government on EU immigration reform. The move comes as France seeks to paper over cracks in the relationship caused by Italy's refusal to take in a vessel of refugees earlier this week; there is a fear that the new Italian government could work with conservative central European states to form an "anti-immigration axis." Immigration has polled as the lead concern among EU voters.(Read More) 

Transatlantic rift fuels cry to make European weapons great again
14 June 2018 – Defense News

European defense industry leaders want to focus on “strengthening their domestic arms market due to the rift between the U.S. and EU over trade.” Europe has been an importer of American military weaponry for many decades and now seeks to focus on closing the export imbalance with the U.S., and to develop and manufacture weapons in Europe.
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Germany’s Merkel calls for unified European approach on migration
14 June 2018 - Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for European leaders to decide on a shared approach to immigration into the bloc – a matter that has long been serious point of contention within the Union. She emphasized that any joint approach would need to address the relevant interests of each country, highlighting as an example Italy's ongoing complaint that it is receiving insufficient support from the rest of the bloc as it takes in many refugees that cross the Mediterranean. She did however go on to warn against any member states taking unilateral actions. Her comment comes as Germany faces growing rifts within its political parties over its attitude to migration.
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EU legislature says European Army should be “complementary” to NATO
13 June 2018 – Defense News

The European Parliament released a report addressing “U.S. commitment to NATO and European security, Brexit, Russia, and defense spending.”  The report states the EU’s need to “ensure a close security and defense relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit.”  It further argued that a potential European Army should be “complementary” and not duplicate NATO’s duties.
(Read More)

Poland lays out plan for referendum to address EU relationship

12 June 2018 – Financial Times
Polish President Andrezj Duda has laid out plans for a constitutional referendum, which will include two questions on the country’s membership in the EU. One asks whether or not Poland’s membership should be guaranteed in the constitution. The other asks whether the primacy of the Polish constitution over international and European law should be guaranteed.
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What does America’s ambassador to NATO see for the alliance’s future?
12 June 2018 – Defense News
The current U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, recently discussed topics that will addressed at the forthcoming biannual NATO summit in July.  These include plans to finalize two new command structures, Russia, counterterrorism and the goal of “alliance members spending of 2 percent GDP on defense.”
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Macedonia and Greece: Deal after 27-year row over a name
12 June 2018 – BBC

Greece and Macedonia agreed on Tuesday to a historic deal that will change the official name of the latter to North Macedonia after 27 years of disagreement. The name change will also be recognized internationally. Settling the dispute with Greece, which has repeatedly vetoed NATO membership for Macedonia, will open up a new opportunity for North Macedonia to seek membership in the Alliance.
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Historic Trump-Kim summit ends with promise, light on substance
11 June 2018 – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to move toward complete denuclearization, while the U.S. promised security guarantees and agreed to stop military exercises with South Korea. Trump and Kim gave few other specifics in a joint statement signed at the end of their summit in Singapore, and analysts cast doubt on how effective the agreement would prove to be at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Trump later told a news conference he expected the denuclearization process to start “very, very quickly” and would be verified by “having a lot of people in North Korea.”
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At arm’s length:  Inside the push to keep EU-UK defense ties alive
11 June 2018 – Defense News
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, stated the “UK will no longer be involved in decision-making, nor in planning our defense and security instruments.”  The UK could get involved in the European Defense Industrial Development Program aimed at investing in military research and equipment but will be excluded from other EU-financed projects.
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U.S. sanctions Russians over military, intelligence hacking
11 June 2018 – Reuters

The U.S. Department of Treasury has imposed sanctions on three more Russian individuals and five companies, stating that these entities have conducted and collaborated with Russian agencies that performed cyberattacks against the U.S. and its allies in recent years. The sanctions block all property of the affected entities that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prevents American citizens from conducting business transactions with them.
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EU will act against U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum: Merkel
10 June 2018 - Reuters

The EU will implement counter-measures against the U.S. tariffs against Europe and Canada. U.S. President Trump's Twitter remarks, which were aimed at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, came after the U.S. pulled out of the G7 joint communique and derailed the trade consensus that was agreed upon previously. Canada will also begin prepping counter-measures and review its trade ties with the U.S.
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NATO eastern flank members pledge closer ties, citing Russia
8 June 2018 - Associated Press

On Friday, nine eastern European NATO members pledged to work more closely with each other in to counter Russian conventional forces and hybrid warfare. The countries form the Bucharest Nine, which were all countries formerly under Soviet control. Stating that geographic distances no longer offer protection from attack, the group argued it must work together to defend and deter any future Russian aggression. 
(Read More

UK's May: welcomes G7 agreeing to maintain Russia sanctions
9 June 2018 - Reuters

At the G7 Summit, the group continued to recognize the importance of maintaining sanctions on Russia for its actions in Crimea and Ukraine. The G7 agreed even after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested allowing Russia back into the group.
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Trump calls for Russia to be reinstated to G-7, threatens allies on trade
8 June 2018 – The Washington Post

On Friday, President Trump insisted that Russia should be readmitted to the G-7 leading economies, breaking with other world leaders who insist that Moscow remain ostracized following its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Trump added that although he has “been Russia’s worst nightmare,” Russia should be at the table because “we have a world to run.” These comments, made just hours before arriving in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have the potential to further upend talks with other leaders who are already fuming about the U.S. leader’s protectionist trade policies.
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Italy to ask NATO to help deal with migrant flows: Salvini
8 June 2018 – Reuters

Italy’s new government is seeking the help of NATO to protect its shores from incoming migrants. It has seen the majority of migrants and asylum seekers over the last several years, as the civil war in Syria and humanitarian crises in Africa have pushed refugees toward Europe. As a result, the government's anti-immigration agenda has resonated with Italians and it has advocated stricter border measures. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to visit Rome next week.
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Three Allies establish Special Forces Command
7 June 2018 – NATO

Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a tri-national Special Forces Command on the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministers meeting this week. The Special Forces Command will participate in NATO's Response Force as well as various multinational operations.
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Sweden approves Nordstream 2 pipeline application
7 June 2018 – Reuters

Sweden approved Nord Stream 2's application for the construction of two gas pipelines through its maritime economic zone in the Baltic Sea. The pipelines will supply Russian gas to Europe, circumnavigating the old Ukraine pipelines. The U.S., the Baltic states, and Ukraine have been protesting the agreement, arguing that it will undermine the energy security in Europe by forcing countries to rely more on Russian gas.
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Divided by Trump, NATO finds unity in deterring Russia
7 June 2018 – Reuters

NATO defense ministers met on Thursday to confirm steps to deter and defend against increased Russian military movement in Europe. The Alliance pledged to protect the North Atlantic against an expansion of Russian naval activity while increasing the readiness of NATO troops. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned recent divisions between the U.S. and Europe, but insisted that every member state is fully committed collective defense.
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Putin says Russia not planning to withdraw from Syria yet
7 June 2018 – Reuters

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was not planning to withdraw its forces from Syria for now, and will keep them there for as long as needed. He also said that Russia is not building long-term facilities in Syria, and could withdraw troops fairly quickly without material losses. In December, Putin flew to Syria and declared Russia’s mission accomplished, ordering a “significant part” of its contingent to start withdrawing. But no significant Russian withdrawal has occurred.
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NATO trumpets resolve over Russia, plays down divisions
7 June 2018 – Associated Press
At a NATO meeting of defense ministers, a U.S.-led plan was unveiled to increase military readiness in the event of a European crisis. An increase included a “deployment of 30 troops battalions, 30 squadrons of aircraft and 30 warships” as well as increasing NATO staffing level to 1,200. Topics also discussed included tariffs and burden sharing – specifically, whether or not NATO allies are meeting their target of spending two percent of GDP on defense.
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Ukraine passes corruption law in bid for more IMF aid
7 June 2018

On Thursday, Ukraine's parliament passed a law to create a special court to specifically try corruption cases. This law comes amid rising corruption concerns in Ukraine from outside observers as Finance Minister Oleksandr Kanylyuk was fired just hours after the law passed in the wake of a falling out with the Ukrainian Prime Minister. The special court is a crucial step for Kiev to secure aid from Western Europe, but the IMF must first assess whether the law actually guarantees an independent court before aid is given.
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EU “shooting itself in foot” by excluding UK from Galileo – Davis Davis
6 June 2018 – BBC.com
The UK will no longer be a part of the Galileo satellite navigation system due to the EU stating there are “legal issues sharing sensitive information with a non-member country.” The British government responded by demanding the return of one billion pounds from the EU and stating that the creation of European Defense Fund is at risk as well.
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In Europe, Mattis is in a familiar spot – calming U.S. allies

6 June 2018 – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is departing for a tour of European allies. An anonymous U.S. official said "Mattis is going to be looking to reassure allies, try to strengthen relationships and continue to press the need for them to live up to their 2 percent commitment." Though the trip is fairly routine, it comes amid the U.S. imposition of tariffs.
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Secretary General previews meeting of NATO Defense Ministers
6 June 2018 – NATO
On Thursday and Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to discuss plans for NATO military readiness, a training mission in Iraq, and progress on defense spending. The defense ministers are expected to agree to the 30-30-30-30 plan, which allows increases the military readiness of NATO. The Alliance will also discuss plans to launch a training mission in Iraq at the NATO Summit next month, and building defense capacities for Jordan. Stoltenberg stated that all NATO allies have stopped defense budget cuts and have started to increase, but emphasized that more can be done.
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EU plans to hit U.S. imports with duties from July
6 June 2018 – Reuters

The European Union announced on Wednesday that it expects to hit U.S. imports with additional duties from July, ratcheting up a transatlantic trade conflict after Washington imposed its own tariffs on incoming EU steel and aluminum. EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set 25 percent duties on up to 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of U.S. exports in response to what is sees as illegal U.S. action. The plan for duties on U.S. imports also includes duties of between 10 and 50 percent on a further 3.6 billion euros of U.S. imports in March 2021 or potentially sooner if the World Trade Organization has ruled the U.S. measures illegal.
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UK military secondments to EU to cease after Brexit
6 June 2018 – Financial Times

The EU told UK military staff that they will not have their secondments to Brussels renewed after Brexit, in the latest setback to the increasingly fraught negotiations over defense and security collaboration after Britain leaves the bloc. While both sides say they are seeking an ambitious agreement on security and defense cooperation, talks have proved much harder than expected, with only limited progress made to date. According to the UK Ministry of Defense, secondments are now being considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure no conflict of interest.
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U.S. pushes NATO to ready more forces to deter Russian threat
5 June 2018 – Reuters

Officials say that the United States is pressing its European allies to acquire more NATO battalions, ships, and planes ready for combat, in a new move to shore up NATO’s deterrence against any Russian attack. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will seek broad agreement for the plan in Brussels when alliance defense ministers meet, laying the ground for endorsement by NATO leaders at a summit in July. Known as 30-30-30-30, the plan would require NATO to have 30 land battalions, 30 air fighter squadrons and 30 ships ready to deploy within 30 days of being put on alert. One U.S. official said the initiative is primarily aimed at countering Russia and fits with the Pentagon’s 2018 National Defense Strategy.
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Putin says Russia not aiming to divide EU
5 June 2018 – BBC

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Austria's ORF television that he supports a politically and economically unified EU. While the EU targeted sanctions over Moscow's involvement in Ukraine and Crimea are hurting Russia economically, Putin insists that it is harming EU countries as well. He will visit Vienna on Tuesday, his first visit to Western Europe in almost a year.
(Read More)

 



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