What's New

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)

The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?

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

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Russia steps in to prevent domino effect in its banking sector — but confidence concerns linger
22 September 2017 – CNBC
Russia’s central bank has been forced to rescue two major lenders in less than a month, the latest being BN Bank - the country’s 12th largest lender in terms of assets. This intensifies concerns among global investors that a systemic banking crisis could be in the offing. Russia’s central bank dismissed these worries saying it had prevented a “domino effect” in the country’s ailing banking sector.
(Read More)

China’s Belt and Road: Where Does the Arctic Angle Stand?
22 September – The Diplomat

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Oceanic Administration (SOA) have started the process of unifying China’s strategic approach and policy planning with regard to critical sea routes for the “One Belt One Road” initiative. In addition to the Suez Canal and Pacific Ocean, the Artic is a notable addition to China’s “One Belt One Road” focus. In previous “One Belt One Road” literature, the Arctic was either not mentioned, or discussed tangentially. New maritime policy plans published this summer included Arctic sea lanes as a critical Chinese interest for the first time.
(Read More)

Poland and Hungary stand united, except on Russia
22 September – Politico

Poland and Hungary have continued to push back against the European Union, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Poland’s Beata Szydlo held meetings today to discuss the upcoming EU policy conference on September 25th. In a joint press briefing, both heads of state delivered terse remarks against Brussels. “What’s happening to Poland now in the EU is a lack of respect,” said Orban.
(Read More)

Theresa May Seeks to Unblock Brexit Talks in Florence Speech
22 September – The New York Times

As Brexit negotiations stalled in recent weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to accelerate the process in a speech delivered in Florence today. While the speech was significant because it confirmed that, with Brexit, the UK will no longer remain part of the EU single market or customs union, it did not contain further specifics on how Britain will ultimately design its relationship with Europe in the coming years. Her speech also reiterated past promises to honor existing financial, budgetary, and security obligations to the EU during the transition period.
(Read More)

North Korea Hits New Level of Brinkmanship in Reacting to Trump
22 September – The New York Times         

In response to the latest round of U.S. and UN sanctions against his country, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un threatened to take “the highest level of hardline countermeasure in history” against the United States. Shortly after Kim’s remarks, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said in a statement that his country would consider testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
(Read More 1, 2)

Landmark CETA trade deal between Canada and EU enters into force
21 September 2017 – France 24
The CETA trade deal entered into force today after seven years of work. The deal is touted for its economic benefits, its prospective impact on global standards, and its use as a template for future trade agreements. It eliminates 98% of customs duties between the EU and Canada, though this is provisional pending approval by the EU’s 38 national and regional parliaments.
(Read More)

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions
21 September – BBC

President Donald Trump announced a new executive order today, designed to “cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.” Economic sectors ranging from fishing, textiles, IT, and manufacturing will be targeted. The order also allows for the U.S. Department of the Treasury to “target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”
(Read More

Abe, Macron agree to pursue further security cooperation, rule of law at sea
21 September 2017 - The Japan Times

Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed Wednesday to further advance their cooperation in security and defense equipment, reiterating their commitment to maintaining the rule of law at sea, particularly the South China Sea. They also agreed to speed up negotiations toward an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, a type of bilateral defense logistics-sharing deal.
(Read More)

South Korea approves $8m aid package for North Korea
21 September – The Guardian

The South Korean government officially approved a plan for $8 million USD worth of humanitarian aid to North Korea. The government in Seoul reiterated that aid policy remains unaffected by other measures related to dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program, stating “giving support for infants and small children and pregnant women should be handled separately from politics.” Nonetheless, Japan and the United States have shown concern over the extension of assistance.
(Read More 1, 2, 3)

Ukraine's Poroshenko rejects Russia's “hybrid” peacekeeping offer
20 September 2017 – Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dismissed a Russian proposal to deploy UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine as an effort to legalize its proxies and freeze the conflict. Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Poroshenko accused Moscow of not contributing to international security, but of being its “biggest threat,” going on to say: “…the latest hybrid peacekeeping proposal from Moscow is yet another example of Russia’s real ambition to legalize its proxies and freeze the conflict forever.”
(Read More)

Exclusive: From Russia with fuel - North Korean ships may be undermining sanctions
20 September 2017 – Reuters

At least eight North Korean ships that left Russia with fuel this year headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that U.S. officials say is often used to undermine sanctions. Changing a ship’s destination once underway is not forbidden, and it is unclear whether any of the ships unloaded the fuel in North Korea. But all eight vessels registered China or South Korea as their destination, were next recorded at North Korean ports, and did not continue onto China. Most returned to Russia.
(Read More)

Japan’s Abe says time for talk is over on North Korea
20 September – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed investors at the New York Stock Exchange today, and further outlined his position on North Korea. “Now is not the time for dialogue. Now is the time to apply pressure,” Abe said. He also concluded that the “solidarity of the international community” is the key to finding a solution to the problem of North Korea’s nuclear program.
(Read More)

In UN speech, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea”
19 September – Washington Post

President Donald Trump delivered his first official address to the United Nations General Assembly today, telling heads of state from around the world that: “I will always put America first, just like you, the leaders of your countries, should put your countries first.” On the subject of North Korea’s growing nuclear program, he said, “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
(Read More)

Russia’s war game spills into NATO airspace, causing diplomatic spat
19 September 2017 – Newsweek
Two Russian military jets entered NATO ally Lithuania’s airspace over the weekend, causing the Lithuanian government to demand an “immediate explanation” from the Russian ambassador. As Russia is currently engaged in joint war games with Belarus, NATO ally’s armed forces have scrambled jets to intercept Russian military jets over the Baltic eight times.
(Read More)

Trump pushes reform in United Nations debut, calls for “changing business as usual”
18 September 2017 – Washington Post

President Trump spoke at the opening session of the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, calling for sweeping reforms, but said that his administration will remain “partners in your work.” Trump’s past criticism of multilateral institutions emerged again at the meeting, with his claim that bureaucracy and mismanagement had prevented the UN from “reaching its potential.”
(Read More)


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