The unification of experienced democracies has been the key international political trend of the last one hundred years, persisting despite rapid changes in international affairs. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.

What's New

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)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms co-authors a new book: Donald Trump: The Making of a World View
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election, to the joy of some and the shock of many across the globe. Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on Earth, Americans and non-Americans alike have been left wondering what that means for the world. It has been widely claimed that Trump's foreign policy views are impulsive, inconsistent and that they were improvised on the campaign trail. Drawing on interviews from as far back as 1980, historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman show that this assumption is dangerously false in this new book. (Read More)

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.

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Salman Abedi, 22, is identified as Manchester arena bomber
23 May 2017 – The New York Times
A 22-year-old British man has been identified by British police as the person responsible for detonating a bomb that killed 22 and injured 59 at the Manchester Arena late Monday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but the British government has not made any immediate comment on the claim.
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U.S., Japanese firms collaborating on new missile defense radars
23 May 2017 – Reuters
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have started work on rival projects for the development of new radars to enhance Japan's missile shield amid reports that the country is likely to fund a ground version of the ship-based Aegis missile defense system. A spokesman for Japan's defense ministry stated that Tokyo does not currently have any plans for collaborating with the U.S. on Aegis radars.
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EU underlines Portugal’s recovery from debt crisis
22 May 2017 – Financial Times
On Monday, the EU said that Portugal is no longer in breach of the Union’s budget rules. The move underlines Portugal’s recovery after the Eurozone crisis, when it was bailed out by the Eurozone and the IMF. Three Eurozone members – France, Spain and Greece – have not yet met the EU’s stability and growth pact targets: budget deficits of no more than 3% of GDP and total debt of no more than 60% of GDP. 
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Germany and France pledge to accelerate Eurozone reforms
22 May 2017 – Financial Times
On Monday, German and French finance ministers agreed to boost cooperation between companies, improve economic policy coordination, and reform the Eurozone to achieve “real economic convergence.” Other ideas discussed include completing the Eurozone banking and reviving proposals for corporate tax harmonization in the EU. 
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Brexit barriers “would harm science,” say universities
22 May 2017 – BBC News
The Russell Group of leading UK universities stated that scientific progress could be hindered by barriers to research collaboration after Brexit. Thus, research and science should be a top priority in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The acting director of the Russell Group, Dr. Tim Bradshaw, insisted that any barriers would be bad for both negotiating parties. Bradshaw stated that the group hopes to maintain closest possible cooperation with colleagues on the European continent.
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Brexit “opportunity” for Eurozone financial sector says French minister
22 May 2017 – The Independent
The new French finance minister, Bruno La Maire, asserted that Brexit could create an opportunity for the Eurozone’s financial system. The departure of the UK from the European market could benefit the Paris-based Euronext exchange. Euronext predicts that the EU will eventually force clearing out of London, which could, according to the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, increase Eurozone systemic financial risks and costs for European firms.
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Theresa May moves to postpone second independence referendum indefinitely
19 May 2017 – The Telegraph
UK Prime Minister Theresa May refuses to determine the specific criteria Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would need to meet to justify another independence referendum. As a result, May has postponed the second vote indefinitely. In May’s election manifesto, she stated there would not be another vote until there is evidence of “public consent,” but did not specifically explain what that meant. Additionally, the manifesto refused another referendum “until the Brexit process has played out,” which is an uncertain amount of time.
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Brexit negotiations set to start on June 19th
19 May 2017 – The Guardian
June 19th has been tentatively determined by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier as the formal start date to the highly anticipated Brexit negotiations. The European Commission’s Brexit taskforce, which is led by Barnier, shared the proposed date with other key officials in Brussels last week. The EU cancelled its plans for “pre-talk talks,” which would have discussed how to handle the negotiations, due to Britain’s veto of shifting the EU budget to high priority areas. The bloc would like the negotiations to be divided into four-week cycles with each cycle focusing on an important issue.
(Read More)