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.
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.
At the Washington D.C. Summit on Cross Continental Cooperation,held by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy from November 4-7, Streit Council President Richard Conn Henry reviewed the history of the Streit Council, starting with Clarence K. Streit's self-publication of Union Now just prior to World War II, and continuing with the passing of the Atlantic Union Resolution in 1964. Henry also expounded his idea on a possible Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that, if adopted, would lead to a federal union with the European Union. His proposal can be found here.
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
Economic imbalances risk “destabilizing” Eurozone: ECB's Draghi
27 September 2016 - Reuters
European Central Bank (ECB) officials warn that the ECB’s policy of low interest rates and money printing could have “side effects” on financial stability. ECB President Mario Draghi emphasizes the urgent need for national governments to “unleash growth, reduce unemployment and empower individuals” to mitigate the Eurozone’s economic imbalances. Without effective national policy, Draghi predicts that the monetary policy will not be enough to boost growth. Since 2015, the ECB’s negative deposit rate and aggressive asset purchases have been criticized for “eating into banks and pensions’ profits.”
Nearly all EU States “Could Follow Britain’s Lead and Leave the Union,” Senior French MP Warns
27 September 2016 - The Independent
Philip Cordery, a senior French MP, claims that the UK’s decision to exit the EU should not be regarded as an anomaly and that real dangers threaten the existence of the EU. Cordery says that pervasive conservative populist euroscepticism is circulating throughout the EU, and that the referendum to leave could have occurred virtually anywhere, but no prime minister would have been so “irresponsible” as to actually call for it. He also claims that austerity measures have crippled widespread confidence in the development of the EU, and this only exacerbates populist fervor.
Philippines' Duterte wants to “open alliances” with Russia, China
26 September 2016 – Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will seek "open alliances" with Russia and China during visits to the two countries this year. Duterte urged for an independent Philippine foreign policy, and said that the country has reached a "point of no return" in its ties with the United States.
Italy Lays out “Vision” of EU Army
26 September 2016 – EU Observer
While there have been talks spearheaded by France and Germany about integrating European military intelligence, it appears Italy intends to present a plan on September 27th which calls for the formation of a European army. The proposal would offer Europe a “powerful and usable...force that can also be employed in support to NATO or UN operations.” The “European Multinational Force” (EMF) would be highly centralized, and would fully integrate willing EU members. The proposal comes in the wake of the Brexit referendum, which, among various other crises, have struck a blow to confidence in the European Union.
Visegrad Group’s “Flexible Solidarity” Idea Gains Traction in EU
26 September 2016 - Thenews.pl
European Parliament President Martin Schulz, among others, have offered support for the concept of “flexible solidarity” proposed by the Visegrad Group. The plan attempts to address Europe’s deepening migration crisis by enabling individual EU member states to decide how, and in what ways, they could contribute to addressing the problem. If implemented, flexible solidarity would replace the current system which calls for the redistribution of refugees across the EU. It would mean that while countries could invoke the right to refuse refugees altogether, they could assist in other ways by providing financial assistance to meet the demands of the crisis. For his part, Schulz added “I’ll be glad if the four Visegrad Group countries are ready to talk at least about greater financial involvement. It would be good if we accepted this offer.”
Britain will suffer “economic shock” if there is no free trade deal with the EU after Brexit, minister suggests
26 September 2016 – Telegraph
Lord Price, a minister in Britain’s international trade department, acknowledges that a failure to secure a trade deal with the EU after Brexit would create an “economic shock” for the UK. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insists on hardline approach, urging Prime Minister Theresa May to finalize the Brexit negotiations as soon as possible. Theresa May declines to reveal any of British plans ahead of the negotiations.
Mood Hardens in Berlin over Brexit Demands
25 September 2016 - Financial Times
Against what German officials and diplomats have considered inappropriately aggressive posturing from the UK since the Brexit referendum, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble argues that Berlin will not compromise on its conviction that access to the single market is dependent on full recognition of European rights. This statement comes just days after Britain’s Brexit Minister, Boris Johnson, said that the notion of inflexibility in Europe’s stance on migration rights and single market access was “baloney.”
Netherlands Unlikely to Sign Ukraine Treaty, Prime Minister Warns
23 September 2016 – Newsweek
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the Netherlands will most likely not endorse a treaty which would “simplify” trade relations between the EU and Ukraine. Dutch voters, in a referendum last spring, voted against the signing of the treaty. Many voted against the treaty out of an interest in preserving state sovereignty, while others suggested the treaty would hinder the independent trade deals the Netherlands maintains with Russia.
Second Referendum Possible but Fundamentals are not favorable
23 September 2016 - Irish Times
Following the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum in which Scotland voted to remain, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed a second Scottish independence referendum was “highly likely.” The Scottish Nationalist Party has since initiated the independence “conversation,” and a commission will be created which will answer questions on the economic fears which plagued the last referendum in 2014. However, the current Scottish economic situation is discouraging, with depleted oil revenues and a growing spending deficit. Moreover, it is generally believed that Scots are unwilling to put themselves through the rigors of another referendum, especially when there are so many questions regarding what Scottish independence would mean, and what it would look like. Nonetheless, the SNP is expected to hold a conference in October where they will debate whether or not to carry on with holding a second independence referendum.
Seeking to protect NATO, Britain could yet thwart EU defence plans
22 September 2016 – Reuters
British officials warned that the UK would oppose "ideas that would hamper the relationship with NATO and Britain" in response to recent EU defense proposals. The comments echo an earlier statement by UK Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon who urged against a "rival" to NATO. The UK will maintain full voting rights in the EU until it completes the Brexit process, which is expected to take two years starting in 2017.
NATO’s Strategic “Six-Pack” to counter Russia’s Anti-Access/Area Denial Capability
22 September 2016 – National Interest
Between the 2016 Warsaw Summit and 2017 Brussels Summit, NATO is expected to adopt a new strategic “six-pack” of priorities: 1) NATO has to once again be at the forefront of a new transatlantic grand strategy. 2) NATO has to adopt a political-military strategy to counter the Russian “Anti-Access/Area Denial” (A2/AD) systems. 3) NATO needs renewed and more ambitious exercises and drills. 4) NATO needs additional robust intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. 5) NATO needs to review and renew its command structure in order to be able to deliver on collective defense tasks, 6) NATO needs a fully integrated approach to Euro-Atlantic strategic communications, especially in Eastern Europe.
Swiss Climbdown Over Free Movement May Deal Blow to UK Hopes
22 September 2016 - The Guardian
In 2014 the Swiss passed a referendum which would limit EU immigration, in clear contradiction of its negotiated trade deals with the EU which allows Switzerland access to the single market. On Wednesday, the Swiss Parliament yielded to EU pressure, and this has serious implications for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The parliament passed legislation that would ensure local preference in employment, which means that preference would be given to Swiss nationals and the two million foreigners and EU citizens currently residing in Switzerland. The plan, however, does not place any parameters on EU immigration in the future. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker claimed he would support the plan if an EU-Swiss Commission approved it, and, cautioning the UK, said that any deal with Switzerland is strictly between them and the EU. Other EU officials have said there will not and cannot be compromise on migration rights, and that countries need to decide if they value access in the single market more than restricting European freedoms.
Austria, France push for TTIP restart under new name
22 September 2016 - Deutsche Welle
At a recent meeting of EU trade ministers, Austria and France voiced their opposition to the current round of TTIP negotiations. With the fear that TTIP will become “a metaphor for the exuberant dealings of big corporations,” representatives from both countries called for “fresh talks” that would better address differences between the U.S. and the EU. However, Europe-wide business lobby groups are advocating for the success of TTIP.
“Flexible Solidarity” Becomes New Tool in Response to Refugee Crisis
19 September 2016 - EurActiv
Friday’s summit in Bratislava appears to have ushered in the emergence of a new approach to the EU’s intensifying migrant crisis, as it appears Western EU members have accepted the Visegrad Group’s proposed “flexible solidarity” initiative. The Visegrad Group provided a joint statement at the summit which offered solutions for a post-Brexit EU. Among these solutions were the ideas that the European Council and national parliaments needed to be strengthened, as well as improving border security to prevent the influx of refugees. The notion of “flexible solidarity,” however, would enable each EU member to decide what contribution they would like to make or what burden they would be comfortable accepting regarding the refugee crisis.
China continues to unload U.S. debt “for yuan’s SDR entry”
19 September 2016 - Global Times
A recent report shows that China’s current holdings of U.S. Treasury securities have reached their lowest level of $1.22 trillion worth since January 2013, a move that is likely due to preparations for the yuan’s inclusion in the IMF. The director of the International Monetary Institute at Renmin University of China confirms that adjustments in foreign exchange reserves are likely due to the yuan’s SDR inclusion, and that central banks will increase their yuan portfolio once the yuan officially joins in October.
Visegrad Group of EU states “could veto Brexit deal”
18 September 2016 – Deutsche Welle
The Visegrad Group warned that it will veto any UK-EU Brexit deal that would limit the rights of its citizens to work in the UK. The group, which includes Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, previously opposed the EU's mandatory national quotas for migrants.
London's core role in euros under spotlight after Brexit vote
18 September 2016 – Reuters
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlights potential risks for the British banking industry if the UK no longer gains access to EU markets after Brexit. To brace for the worst scenario, UK banks are already “making contingency plans” to transfer personnel and operations to the EU to maintain their European client base. According to the BIS, “euro-denominated positions have been a major part of the cross-border portfolios of banks located in the United Kingdom.”
NATO’s Baltic Deterrent Force to Be in Place by May 2017
18 September 2016 – The Wall Street Journal
NATO's military committee announced that a new deterrent force in Poland and the Baltics will be in place by May 2017 with some deployments occurring earlier. NATO approved the multinational force of up to 4,000 personnel during its July summit in Warsaw.
Britain will veto EU army, says Defence Secretary
17 September 2016 – The Independent
The UK "will go on resisting any attempt to set up a rival to NATO" while it is still a full member of the EU, according to UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. The comments follow a recent push by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for a common military force among the bloc's members.
Israel opens NATO office as ambassador presents credentials
16 September – i24 News
Israel's ambassador to NATO presided over the opening of the first permanent office to the Alliance. Although Israel is not a member of NATO, it has cooperated militarily through the Mediterranean dialogue program. Israel has also contributed in intelligence sharing to counterterrorism missions in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, and elsewhere. This is an important strategic achievement that happened after Israel and Turkey, a NATO member, normalized diplomatic relations in the context of disagreements in 2010 over Gaza in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
France “cannot be alone” on EU defense: Hollande
16 September 2016 – France 24
French President Francois Hollande urged broader support for European defense cooperation, stating that France "does not want to be alone" in leading the efforts. Hollande spoke during a key EU summit taking place this week in Bratislava, where the bloc's post-Brexit plans top the agenda.
Amid fears of Trump, Europe tries to make its security less dependent on the U.S.
16 September 2016 – Washington Post
In the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave, the EU has been discussing new plans for reforming itself as well as introducing a new alliance to make its security separate from the U.S. President Obama has called on NATO member countries to contribute their share of Alliance defense spending, as has presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump has said that NATO states that do not pay their share will no longer receive protection despite the terms of the treaty on collective defense.
Japan to join US in South China Sea patrols
16 September 2016 – CNN
The U.S. and Japan plan to increase military exercises in the South China Sea as maritime disputes with China continue. Japan, an advanced economy, plans to give military aid to less developed countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam in order to confront growing Chinese economic and military influence in the East Asian Pacific region.
Bratislava EU Meeting: Merkel Says Bloc in “Critical Situation”
16 September 2016 - BBC News
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, says that the European Union is in a “critical situation” as it meets in Bratislava in the wake of the Brexit vote. The EU is afflicted by various concerns including the migration crisis and the economy, and these issues are compounded by the EU’s apparent inability to reach compromise. Battle lines have seemingly been drawn across the continent, with central and eastern Europe viewing the west as tyrannical, the north viewing the south as a “Eurozone liability,” and the south claiming the north’s response to the economic crisis is too prohibitive. But the Brexit vote potentially opens the door for greater military cooperation and integration more generally.
EU Extends Sanctions on Russian Officials Over Ukraine Crisis
15 September 2016 – The Wall Street Journal
The EU has extended sanctions against Russian officials and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine for an additional six months. The series of asset freezes and travel bans affects 146 officials and 37 firms, and come amid renewed debate over broad economic sanctions scheduled to expire in January.
Italian Minister Calls for EU to have Schengen for Defense
15 September 2016 - European Online Magazine
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni argues that Europe should create a “common defense zone” and further integrate its militaries. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also supports establishing a common EU military headquarters. However, the idea of coordinating Europe’s militaries is not new and was fraught with difficulty in the past.
Ministers from 12 EU states back divisive U.S. trade deal
15 September 2016 – Reuters
Ministers from 12 EU countries petitioned the EU’s EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. In the petition letter, the 12 ministers urged the EU to pursue the deal, because this is “an opportunity to shape modern trade rules.” They also advocated for the success of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.
Visegrad Group’s Goal at EU Summit is to Help Bulgaria Keep Out Migrants: Hungary
15 September 2016 - Reuters
A top Hungarian official stated that central European countries will be making proposals at the EU summit to secure Bulgaria’s border with Turkey amid the intensifying migrant crisis. Hungarian Chief of Staff Janos Lazar went so far as to say that “Europe’s future” depends on how it manages the Bulgarian border. Lazar also stated that Hungary supports the construction of a single European army and bolstering the EU border and coast guard.
TTIP talks resume between U.S. and EU trade officials
15 September 2016 – The Guardian
EU and U.S. trade officials will meet in Brussels on Thursday in hopes of reviving the TTIP negotiations. EU negotiators contend that only trade agreements can help reinvigorate the “ailing European economy.” Nevertheless, the European Commission asserts that it is “in the EU’s interest that substance prevails over deadlines.” Meanwhile, intensifying anti-trade protests across Europe against TTIP and CETA threaten the deals.
Brussels wants EU “defense bonds”
15 September 2016 – The Financial Times
The EU plans to issue "European defense bonds" to fund greater investment in military coordination, according to the vice-president of the European Commission. The bonds would fund drones, cyber-defense, and maritime forces "in order to defend liberal democracy values" and better counter a changing threat environment.
Bulgarian president calls for EU unity, integration
15 September 2016 – Global Times
At the 12th EU meeting of the heads of state in the Arraiolos Group, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneviev who represents one of the most pro-Russian member states of NATO and the EU, called for further European unity and integration, saying "today Europe faces more problems than it ever did in the post-World War Two period.” Examples he listed of such successful projects of European integration and unity include a European energy union, the European defense initiative, the European digital union and EU enlargement to the stabilized Western Balkans.
2016 State of the Union debate
14 September 2016 – EU News
In the State of the Union speech delivered by the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, he addressed foreign and defense policy after Brexit, the migration crisis, and the rise of populism due to the unemployment caused by the Eurozone economic crisis. Concerning the recent UK vote to leave the EU, he said: “We respect and regret the UK decision, but EU as such is not at risk. We would be happy for the request for Brexit to take effect as soon as possible.” Although he stated that Britain would not have “a la carte” access to the single market.
Climate Change poses a huge risk to national security, experts say
14 September 2016 – Newsweek
At the Center for Climate and Security, a coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including former economic/environmental advisers to Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to U.S. national security and international security” and that this issue will require more attention from the U.S. government. Climate change can lead to “significant and direct risks to U.S. military readiness, operations and strategy” at U.S. defense bases across the globe.
EU Finalizes Unified Border and Coast Guard
14 September 2016 - The Maritime Executive
The European Council has approved the expansion of the current Frontex border patrol into a full-fledged European Border and Coast Guard. Their primary objective will be to effectively monitor the Schengen zone in an effort to manage the migration crisis and counterterrorism. The European Border and Coast Guard will maintain a reserve of over 1500 men, and will be expected to assist countries facing pressure from mass migration, conduct search and rescue operations, and deport illegal migrants. Its formation comes in response to the increasing migration crisis, especially as it pertains to those entering Europe via the Mediterranean Sea from Libya and Turkey.
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