Uniting democracies has been the key international political trend of the last hundred years. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.
New Book edition by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan
The latest edition of Stanley R. Sloan's book on transatlantic security relations - Defense of the West: NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain (Manchester University Press, 2016) - surveys the history of NATO, analyzes interactions between contemporary internal and external threats facing the Alliance, and offers a net assessment of its future. Click here for his summary of the book, and here for peer reviews.
The Streit Council's Statment on the Brexit Referendum Outcome
On June 23rd, the British people voted to leave the European Union in a close 52%-48% referendum outcome that few predicted. As an organization committed to deepening integration among the world’s established liberal democracies as a means to expanding individual freedom, the Streit Council views this development as a step backward. Since joining the European Community in 1973, the United Kingdom has shaped European integration in a direction consistent with its liberal values and interests, making all Europeans freer. This has been experienced in many forms, including the freedom to live in peace, greater financial freedom, and freer movement across borders. While these benefits have not accrued evenly across the Union, they nonetheless accrued. Read the full statement.
Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan on "Rebuilding Washington's Transatlantic Alliance"
In an article for the National Interest, Stanley R. Sloan argues that the next president of the United States will need to rebuild the transatlantic relationship to address threats to Western security and fundamental values. In Ukraine, NATO and the EU need to support the reform of the country's political and economic system while holding off on the provision of lethal arms. To ensure a lasting defeat of ISIS, Western allies should engage Middle Eastern states and the broader international community to stabilize and govern retaken territory. While the next president must remember that the Russian agenda often runs contrary to that of the U.S., cooperation on managing strategic arms, promoting a peaceful end to the Syria conflict, counterterrorism and other issues is in America's interest. Click here for the full article.
New Book by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Kenneth Weisbrode
In Old Diplomacy Revisited: A Study in the Modern History of Diplomatic Transformers, historian Kenneth Weisbrode asserts that Old Diplomacyis not really that old—many of its concepts and methods date to the mid-nineteenth century—while the practices of New Diplomacy emerged only a couple of generations later. Moreover, "Diplomacy 2.0" and other variants of the post-Cold War era do not depart significantly from their twentieth-century predecessor: their forms, particularly in technology, have changed, but their substance has not. In this succinct overview, Weisbrode reminds us that to understand diplomatic transformations and their relevance to international affairs is to see diplomacy as an entrepreneurial art—and that, like most arts, it is adapted and re-adapted with reference to earlier forms. Diplomatic practice is always changing, and always continuous. To read more about this book, click here.
Kenneth Weisbrode, Ph.D., joins the Streit Council's Advisory Board. He is an Assistant Professor of History at Bilkent University, Turkey and has written and edited several books, including Old Diplomacy Revisited: A Study in the Modern History of Diplomatic Transformers; Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI; and The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe. He is also the co-founder of the Toynbee Prize Foundation's Network for the New Diplomatic History, and holds a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.
New Book by Streit Council Board Member Richard Rosecrance
In The Resurgence of the West: How a Transatlantic Union Can Prevent War and Restore the United States and Europe, Richard Rosecrance calls for the United States to join forces with the European Union and create a transatlantic economic union. A U.S.-Europe community would unblock arteries of trade and investment, rejuvenate the West, and enable Western countries to deal with East Asian challenges from a position of unity and economic strength. Through this great merger the author offers a positive vision of the future in which members of a tightly knit Western alliance regain economic health and attract Eastern nations to join a new and worldwide international order. To read more about this book, click here.
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
NATO Chief Urges West to Keep Pressuring Russia Over Ukraine
7 December 2016 – ABC News
The international community must maintain economic sanctions on Russia, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who cited a "massive increase in ceasefire violations" in eastern Ukraine. Stoltenberg also stated that the conflict must be resolved through diplomacy, though a recent meeting by the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France ended without progress on the issue.
Euroskepticism on Retreat in Sweden
7 December 2016 - New Europe
Radio Sweden reports that the percentage Swedes who identify themselves as euroskeptic has dropped to its lowest total since November of 2010. It was reported on Tuesday that 20.8% of the country was “categorically against EU membership,” which would represent a decrease of about three percent from last May. However, the euro is increasingly unpopular, with 72% of respondents expressing they would vote against any referendum posing the question of whether Sweden should adopt the single currency.
UK will have Less than 18 Months to Reach Deal, says EU Brexit Broker
6 December 2016 - The Guardian
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, stated recently that because the EU will need time to formulate its strategy once Article 50 is triggered, and because any prospective deal will need to be ratified by both the UK and all 27 members of the EU, Britain may only 18 months to strike a deal. After consulting 18 of the 27 member states in the bloc, Barnier stated that Europe will approach the divorce proceedings with a conviction that Britain cannot receive a better deal than it currently has.
The United States and European Union Sign Military Logistical Assistance Agreement
6 December 2016 – U.S. Department of State
The U.S. and the EU have signed an agreement aimed at increasing cooperation in security and crisis response. The U.S.-EU Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) will "reinforce the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU" in order to strengthen European security and project stability, according to the U.S. State Department.
NATO, EU make show of unity amid uncertainty posed by Trump
6 December 2016 – The Washington Post
NATO foreign ministers have endorsed over 40 proposals for deeper cooperation with the EU in cyber security, naval operations, and defense during a meeting attended by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the move a "milestone" in the EU-NATO "effort to build cooperation."
Euroskeptics Delight as Renzi Quits
5 December 2016 - AFP
Now that his referendum aimed at passing constitutional reform is defeated, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has submitted his resignation. Renzi met with President Sergio Mattarella following the referendum to hand in his letter of resignation, and Mattarella will either be forced to appoint a new government or call new elections. The populist Italian Five Star Movement, led by Beppe Grillo, has already called for new elections and wants them “within a week.” Matteo Salvini of the populist Northern League party also offered his support, claiming “the people have won.”
Britain Seeking “Ambitious” Trade Deal to Benefit UK and EU, says PM
5 December 2016 - The Guardian
British Prime Minister Theresa May recently stated that the UK is pursuing an “ambitious” trade deal with the EU and expressed her hope that the EU will remain strong even after the Brexit. The Prime Minister also spoke on recent comments made by Brexit Minister David Davis, who suggested the government is looking into paying for access into the single market. May stated that while the government might be considering the possibility, the UK does not seek to resume many aspects of the pre-Brexit relationship.
Japan PM hopes for progress on peace treaty with Russia
5 December 2016 – Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed hope that Japan and Russia will move forward in settling a dispute over territories seized by Russia during the Second World War, but noted it is "not an issue that can be resolved in just one meeting." Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to meet to discuss the peace treaty during Putin's visit to Japan next week.
Euroskeptics Delight as Renzi Quits
5 December 2016 - The Business Times
It is expected that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will honor his promise to resign following the defeat of a referendum on measures designed to limit senatorial power. Once the results were in, Renzi stated that his “experience of government finishes here,” and after holding one last meeting with President Sergio Mattarella on Monday, Renzi will formally submit his resignation letter. Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s populist Northern League Party, stated that “the people have won,” and other right-wing euroskeptics throughout the bloc rejoiced. It is believed the Italian government will transform into a “caretaker administration” dominated by Renzi’s Democratic Party until new elections, which are not set to take place until spring 2018.
Moderate Liberal Wins Austrian Presidency, Beating Euroskeptic Rival
4 December 2016 - Christian Science Monitor
Alexander Van der Bellen was able to defeat nationalist candidate Norbert Hofer in Austria’s presidential elections, reassuring European leaders that the Union might be preserved. Though the Austrian president has very little power, many leaders throughout Europe were paying close attention to the Austrian presidential elections as a way to gauge how other right-wing populist leaders will fare. The results have been greeted with tremendous relief, and Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stated that “a load has been taken off the mind of all Europe” and that the Austrian election of Van der Bellen is a “clear victory for good sense against right-wing populism.”
Brexit: Theresa May’s Challenge to Overturn High Court Decision Begins
4 December 2016 - ABC Online
The British Supreme Court will hear the government’s arguments on Monday in Prime Minister Theresa May’s last ditch effort to ensure that she can invoke Article 50 without parliamentary consent. While May stated that she intends to trigger Article 50 and launch Brexit negotiations in March, a recent High Court decision ruled that only Parliament can decide to take the UK out of the EU. It has been suggested by some analysts that the odds are stacked heavily against the government, and it is believed that all 11 Supreme Court justices will uphold the original High Court decision.
British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020: envoy
2 December 2016 – Reuters
British fighter aircraft and aircraft carriers will be present in the South China Sea after 2020 over concerns about freedom of navigation in the contested region, according to the UK's ambassador to the U.S. Fighter planes currently deployed to Japan would fly across contested areas in assertion of international overflight rights, and aircraft carriers will follow a renewal of UK defense forces.
From wintry Lithuania, NATO sends Russia a signal of resolve
2 December 2016 – Reuters
Troops from 11 NATO members have wrapped up the Iron Sword exercises in Lithuania, with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite noting an expectation that the U.S. will remain in its role as a "guarantor of peace." The exercises, which took place near Lithuania's border with Belarus, included 4,000 troops from Canada, the U.S., Germany and other allies.
Boris Johnson: UK won't block EU defense co-operation
1 December 2016 – BBC
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated that the UK will not obstruct EU efforts toward greater defense cooperation, citing the need for "a strong relationship between a strong UK and a strong EU." The UK previously expressed concerns about EU defense efforts, claiming they would undermine or compete with NATO.
Brexit: 1m EU Citizens in Britain “Could be at Risk of Deportation”
1 December 2016 - The Guardian
After an abortive attempt by the British government to enter into preliminary discussions on reciprocal residence rights with the EU, a grassroots organization for non-British citizens informed the government that it would take nearly 50 years to process permanent residency applications from EU nationals if more effective methods are not passed. Spokespeople for the government have since stated that the UK wants to protect the rights of non-British citizens living and working in the UK, but that it would be impossible if the EU is unwilling to recognize the rights of British nationals living in Europe.
AP Interview: Lithuania: Trump Right on Europe Defense Costs
30 November 2016 – The New York Times
Senior Lithuanian officials stated that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is correct in calling for greater defense spending in Europe. Lithuania's foreign and defense ministers also expressed hope that the U.S. will continue to be a "key player in the world and also a leader of NATO," but that "Europeans must deliver more."
Scottish Independence: New Poll Finds Support for Yes Campaign Dwindling
30 November 2016 - The Independent
YouGov found that support for a second Scottish independence referendum has fallen below the percentage of those who voted for independence in 2014. Only 44% would support Scottish independence, a percentage point short of the number which was amassed two years ago. The poll results come as the SNP concludes its own survey of the Scottish people on attitudes towards Brexit, Europe, and independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been adamant since June’s Brexit decision that if Scottish demands are not met she could trigger another independence referendum.
Defense spending boost best answer to Trump - EU, NATO officials
30 November 2016 – Reuters
NATO and EU military officials called for additional military spending in Europe at the Berlin Security Conference. Officials called for the need to "prove that Europe is strong enough to defend itself" in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, with some pushing for tangible improvements in capabilities in place of two percent of GDP spending targets.
Italy’s Turn to Vote
30 November 2016 - New York Times
Italy will hold a referendum on December 4th to determine whether or not Senatorial power will be reduced in the constitution. As a wave of eurosceptic fervor spreads across the continent, the Italian people may vote against Renzi’s referendum in the hope that he would resign so they can install leaders from the anti-establishment populist Five Star Movement. While Renzi cannot revoke the referendum, some have argued it would be economically beneficial to Italy if he reneges on his promise to resign if the referendum does not pass.
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