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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.

What's New

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.

Brendan Simms, Ph.D., joins the Streit Council's Advisory Board. He is a Professor of the History of European International Relations at the University of Cambridge, and is the founder and Chairman of the Board of the think tank Project on Democratic Union, which supports a full political union of the Eurozone. He also founded and is the President of the Henry Jackson Society, a think tank dedicated to fostering a strong British and European commitment to liberty; constitutional democracy; human rights; governmental and institutional reform; a robust foreign, security, and defense policy; and the transatlantic alliance. His publications include Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire 1714-1783 (2008) and Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (2001).

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Juncker: End of EU Border-Free System Could See Euro Fail
25 November 2015 – Wall Street Journal
European Commission President warned the European Parliament Wednesday that the EU’s Schengen system of open borders is central to the area’s common currency. The Schengen agreement, which allows for passport-free travel among 26 European countries, has been under fire over the last few months as Europe has struggled to deal with a migrant and refugee crisis.
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Paris attacks: schools and metro reopen in Brussels
25 November 2015 - BBC
Schools and most public transportation reopened in Brussels Wednesday morning, following a four day security clampdown in which several people suspected of connection to the Paris attacks were arrested. Security remains tight in the Belgian capital, and "high alert" will extend until Monday, as authorities continue to search for about 10 suspects involved in planning additional attacks.
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ECB Launches New 20-Euro Note
24 November 2015 – AFP
The European Central Bank will launch a new 20-euro banknote into circulation on Wednesday. Like the newer 5- and 10-euro bills launched in May 2013 and September 2014 respectively, the new note will have enhanced security features to avoid counterfeiting. The new 50-euro bill is set to go into circulation in 2017.
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EU Proposes a Common Deposit Insurance Program for Eurozone
24 November 2015 – New York Times
European Union officials on Tuesday proposed the European Deposit Insurance Scheme, a system that would share the cost of protecting savers during a banking crisis. The program aims to bolster confidence euro by ensuring that all depositors in the Eurozone could be equally confident that their savings are safe. To fund the system, all banks in the Eurozone would contribute a total of about 6.8 billion euros each year.
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Turkey shoots down Russian plane near Syrian border
24 November 2014 - New York Times
Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey claims violated its airspace early Tuesday. Russia denies such a violation, and rhetoric grew heated between the two countries. Turkey called for an emergency NATO meeting, which is taking place today.
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EU, Russia, Ukraine to hold joint trade talks
23 November 2015 – Reuters
The European Union, Russia and Ukraine will hold joint trade talks on December 1 in an effort to address Russian opposition to an EU-Ukraine trade pact set to take effect in January. Russia has threatened to introduce trade restrictions against Ukraine if the country implements the pact before reaching an agreement on it with Moscow.
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ASEAN leaders launch EU-style regional economic bloc
22 November 2015 – Business Standard
Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have signed a declaration establishing a European Union-style regional economic bloc, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). AEC aims to integrate Southeast Asia’s diverse economies into a single market with a free flow of goods, capital, and skilled labor. The declaration charted the path for AEC building over the next ten years.
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EU’s Juncker dangles trade ties with Russia-led bloc to Putin
19 November 2015 – Reuters
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggested closer trade ties between the EU and a Russian-led economic bloc in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week. Juncker said he had asked Commission officials to study options to develop relations between the EU and Moscow once a ceasefire is implemented in Ukraine. Putin responded that the idea is unrealistic under current conditions in Ukraine.
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Finland to debate leaving the Eurozone
18 November 2015 – CNBC
Finland’s parliament will debate whether to leave the Eurozone after receiving a 50,000 strong petition. Finland has seen a rise in euroskepticism in recent years. In 2011, the anti-euro True Finns party won 19 percent of the Finnish vote making it the third largest party in parliament. The country’s economy is currently on track for its fourth straight year of contraction.
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EU backs France's "mutual defense" request
17 November 2015 - Wall Street Journal
EU ministers vowed to support France after it became the first nation in history to invoke the EU's collective defense clause. The level of assistance required from each country is unclear, and several countries including Italy have ruled out participating in military action.
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Russia says bomb downed plane in Egypt and intensifies attacks on ISIS
17 November 2015 - New York Times
The head of Russia's FSB confirmed Tuesday that a bomb caused the deadly plane crash in the Sinai at the end of October. Hours later, Russia struck targets in Raqqa, Syria, firing missiles from a submarine in the Mediterranean. Russia notified U.S. officials before the strikes in accordance with agreed-upon safety protocols.
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Ukraine says may return artillery to frontline if situation escalates
16 November 2015 - Reuters
Ukrainian military spokesman Andrey Lysenko warned Monday that Ukraine "will be forced to return artillery to frontline" if the situation escalates in eastern Ukraine. The statement follows several deadly clashes with rebels this weekend, undermining the two-month truce.
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Paris attacks: France in airstrikes on ISIS stronghold in Syria
15 November 2015 - Financial Times
French bombers with American support hammered the ISIS-controlled city of Raqqa Sunday night in retaliation for the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris days earlier. The French assault marks a "significant escalation" of France's involvement in Syria.
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EU, Australia agree to start free trade talks
15 November 2015 – Deutsche Welle
The EU and Australia have agreed to start talks on a free trade agreement. In a joint statement, officials said that the trade pact would “support sustainable growth and investment, open up new commercial opportunities and promote innovation and employment in Australia and the EU.” The deal would aim to counteract any potential negative impact on bilateral trade as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
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Paris attacks: ISIS claims responsibility for 129 dead
14 November 2015 - CNN
A coordinated terrorist attack in Paris left 129 dead and over 350 injured Friday night. Investigations are ongoing and arrests have been made in both Paris and a suburb of Brussels. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
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EU Sends Investor-Investment Plan to U.S. to Advance Trade Talks
12 November 2015 – Bloomberg
The European Union has finished its internal review of how to replace the existing system of Investor-to-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). The controversial negotiations with the U.S. for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on how to handle ISDS can now move forward after being on hold since March 2014. The EU’s proposed system involves an international court that would include an appeals process.
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Ukraine, separatists report rise in eastern fighting
11 November 2015 – Reuters
Both sides of the conflict in Ukraine accused each other of breaking a ceasefire that has mostly held since early September, with the Ukrainian military reporting their first active combat death this month. The cracks in the ceasefire cast doubt on prospects for peace just ahead of a G20 summit.
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Putin: Russia to deploy new weapons to counter U.S. missile shield
10 November 2015 – CBS News
Russia’s President promised Tuesday to deploy strike systems “capable of penetrating any missile defenses.” Russia has long felt hemmed-in by U.S. missile defense in Europe, which the U.S. has claimed is meant to deter threats from Iran and North Korea.
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EU misspent over 6 billion euros last year, watchdog says
10 November 2015 – AFP
The European Union misspent 6.3 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in 2014, according to a report by the European Court of Auditors. The report’s “error rate for spending” fell slightly from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 4.4 percent of the EU’s 142.5 billion euro budget in 2014, but was still above the target level of 2.2 percent. The report urged the EU to take a “wholly new approach” to make its budget more responsive to crises.
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David Cameron’s EU demands letter explained
10 November 2015 - The Guardian
British Prime Minister David Cameron recently submitted a six-page letter to EU President Donald Tusk outlining his EU reform demands. The demands center on “economic competitiveness, sovereignty, fairness in the single market and between those inside and outside the euro, immigration and welfare.” On immigration and welfare, Cameron called for a four-year suspension of in-work and child benefits for EU migrants working in Britain. This is likely to prove the most difficult negotiating point as many EU states would oppose the move.
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Exclusive: Investigators “90 percent sure” bomb downed Russian plane
8 November 2015 – Reuters
After examining the black box of the Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai October 31st, a member of the Egyptian investigation team said they were 90% sure a bomb was the cause. This follows what British and U.S. intelligence claimed throughout the week. Russia started flights to return 80,000 Russian tourists after the Kremlin suspended all flights to Egypt on Saturday.
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Eurozone Finance Ministers Won’t Release $2.15 billion to Greece
9 November 2015 – Wall Street Journal
Eurozone finance ministers will not release $2.15 billion in funding to Greece at their meeting in Brussels Monday. The lack of agreement follows weekend talks between the Greek government and its creditors over Greece’s implementation of around 50 promised reform milestones. The greatest outstanding disagreement involves new rules for when banks can foreclose on homeowners. Officials hope that a deal will be reached by Wednesday.
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Carter: U.S. must prepare for challenges from Russia, China
7 November 2015 – Stars and Stripes
On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the U.S. must develop new strategies and weapons to check aggression by Russia and China. The statement follows a week of travel in Asia to discuss contested waters in the South China Sea. Regarding Russia, he stated: “We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake. The United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.”
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European Regulators Provide Details on Next Bank Stress Tests
5 November 2015 – New York Times
Next year’s tests of the European banking sector will examine the financial strength of 53 of Europe’s largest banks, according to the European Banking Authority. The stress tests, which will examine numbers from the full 2015 year, aim to assess the resilience of the EU banking system to survive an economic downturn. The regulator’s most recent stress tests were conducted in 2014 and identified 14 banks falling short of capital requirements.
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Eurozone growth to gather speed despite global tensions –Commission
5 November 2015 – Reuters
The European Commission expects Eurozone growth to pick up over the next two years despite lower demand for European exports in China and other emerging markets. In the European Commission’s latest economic forecasts, the Eurozone’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2015 and accelerate to 1.8 percent in 2016 and 1.9 percent in 2017.
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EU says Greece could return to growth in 2016
4 November 2015 – Washington Post
Greece’s economy could begin growing again in the second half of 2016, according to the European Union’s top economic and financial official Pierre Moscovici. Moscovici said that the EU is “impressed” by Greece’s reforms but that they “must keep the momentum” by reforming distressed mortgages and pensions in the coming weeks. Moscovici stressed that “nothing must lead to relaxing the reforms.”
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Osborne Tells Germans it’s quid pro euro
3 November 2015 – Politico
Britain will support closer Eurozone integration as long as there are legal guarantees for British monetary and political independence within the European Union, UK finance minister George Osborne said in a visit to Germany. Osborne’s remarks come as the UK’s negotiations with other European countries over its role in the EU “enter a critical stage.” EU leaders hope to discuss Britain’s planned referendum on EU membership at a summit in December.
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ECB Urges Caution on Giving EU States Budget Leeway Over Reforms
2 November 2015 – Bloomberg
The European Central Bank urged European authorities to be cautious in giving EU member states budget leeway in exchange for structural reforms. Starting this year, the European Commission allows some budget leeway when a member state is engaged in long-term changes to their economy. In an article for its Economic Bulletin, the ECB cautioned that the clause must be “carefully applied.”
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Iran starts taking nuclear centrifuges offline
2 November 2015 – Reuters
Tehran’s atomic energy chief announced in Tokyo Monday first steps to comply with the terms of the nuclear accord reached in July, and stated the removal of extra centrifuges will be completed within two months.
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Syria conflict: world powers to intensify quest for peace
30 October 2015 – BBC
Friday’s meeting in Vienna on the Syrian conflict, which included Iran for the first time, signaled “a new willingness to co-operate” diplomatically. However, key issues such as the future of Assad’s regime remained unresolved.
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Two European countries on the frontline with Russia are starting to merge their military operations
30 October 2015 – Business Insider
The Swedish government announced Thursday a new joint naval battle group with the Finnish Defense Forces, reflecting the Nordic countries’ concerns about Russia. While neither country is a NATO member, the Swedish Finnish Naval Task Force will be interoperable with NATO forces.
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EU pushes for business without borders
28 October 2015 – Politico
The European Commission will again attempt to implement a single market strategy that aims to “equalize access and process of products and services” around the European Union, and “foster startups and boost the sharing economy.” According to the internal market strategy released Wednesday, proposals will be launched from next year through 2018.
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Bundestag president Lammert demands TTIP transparency
28 October 2015 – Deutsche Welle
President of the German parliament, Norbert Lambert, called on Wednesday for more transparency in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. Lambert said that he could “see no chance” that German parliamentarians would ratify the agreement without more information on how it was negotiated and put together. As it stands, the full text of the TTIP will not be released until after the agreement is completed.
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Angry China shadows U.S. warship near man-made islands
28 October 2015 – Reuters
A U.S. destroyer Tuesday sailed within 12 miles of Subi Reef, one of several artificial islands China has built in the Spratly archipelago to bolster its territorial claims in the South China Sea. Chinese vessels tailed the destroyer in response, issuing warnings, while U.S. officials referred to the action as a “regular operation.”
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Ukraine PM threatens non-payment of Russian debt
26 October 2015 – AFP/Reuters   
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned today that Ukraine will not pay Russia back $3 billion unless it supports a debt exchange deal by Thursday. Ukraine has negotiated a restructuring of its debt with international creditors, but Russia has rejected Ukraine’s appeal to participate in the process. This latest development makes a deal more elusive as Ukraine struggles to stave off bankruptcy.
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Russia’s “Asian pivot” seen in Kuril military expansion
26 October 2015 – Voice of America
Russia plans to build a military base on the disputed Kuril islands, which it seized from Japan at the end of World War II. The two countries were unable to sign a peace treaty because of the ongoing dispute over ownership of the islands. Offshore reserves of oil gas, and rich fishing grounds, has increased their value.
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