January - June 2008

U.S.-EU May Align on Private Data
28 June 2008 - New York Times
The United States and the European Union may soon complete an agreement permitting law enforcement and security agencies on both sides of the Atlantic to transfer and share private information, such as credit card transactions, travel history and internet habits. European laws are generally stricter about what sort of personal information governments are allowed to gather, and certain portions of the pact are still under negotiation. Talks for the agreement resulted after conflict regarding information sharing arose following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Some experts predict the law could be revolutionary, stating "such a blanket agreement could transform international privacy law by eliminating a problem that has led to negotiations of 'staggering' complexity between Europe and the United States." (Read More)

New Pact Would Give EU Citizens' Date to US
30 June 2008 - The Guardian, Ian Traynor
In an effort to fight the War on Terror, European and US officials are working on an agreement to allow US authorities to have "access to the credit card histories, banking details and travel habits of Europeans." The talks have occurred for the past year and a half under the supervision of "Stewart Baker on the US side and Jonathan Faull, a Briton responsible for justice and home affairs in the [European] Commission" Other proposals in the works are introducing "armed guards on flights from Europe to the US," and a "electronic travel authorisation system where travellers to the US would need to apply online for permission to fly before buying a ticket."
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"Bush Leaves A Robust Alliance, After All"
10 June 2008 - Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski
As President Bush leaves office, relations between the United States and Europe are as "robust and healthy as at any time in the post-Cold War period". Currently, pro-American governments are in power across Europe including London, Rome, and Berlin. According to a senior European Union foreign policy adviser "trans-Atlantic relations are rather good at the moment". This is clearly evident in France where its president has pushed for increased relations between France, NATO, and the United States.
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"In Defense Policy, France Turns to U.S. and Europe"
17 June 2008 - New York Times
Recently, France has publicly announced the abandonment of its longstanding tradition of "moral and military self sufficiency". Instead, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has chosen to play a more active role with NATO and the United States. Such behavior continues a shift of French military attitude, from a traditional army to a more mobile military equipped to combat the War on Terrorism. However, the French president stated that such a move would only occur if the EU would operate more independently of the United States. One official stated, "We see the trans-Atlantic relationship as a key to European security and French security."
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"U.S. Welcoms French Re-Integration into NATO"
17 June 2008 - Earth Times
The United States has commended France's recent decision to reintegrate into NATO's command structure after withdrawing over 40 years ago. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey stated, "We very much have always appreciated France's role in the alliance, but full reintegration of France into the NATO military command structure has been a goal for many for a long time, and (we are) certainly pleased to see it happen." (Read More)

European Leaders Back Bush on Iran
11 June 2008 - New York Times, Steven Lee Myers and Nazila Fathi
The European Union decided to join President Bush in considering additional punitive sanctions against Iran if Iran rejects an incentive package aimed at suspending its uranium enrichment program. The potential sanctions include restrictions on its banks. Iran was a key topic during the EU-US summit meeting held in Slovenia. In a joint statement, the United States and the EU urged Iran to "comply with its international obligations concerning its nuclear activities," and reaffirmed their commitment to a "dual-track strategy." Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, will travel to Tehran this weekend to introduce the new incentive package.
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The Need for European-American Unity is Clear
July/August 2008 - Foreign Affairs - James Rubin "Building a New Atlantic Alliance: Restoring America's Partnerships with Europe"
In an article for Foreign Affairs, Rubin, an adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, outlines how the next U.S. Administration should go about rebuilding relations with Europe, and why such unity is necessary. In order to overcome the loss of U.S. prestige, the next American President should first end the unpopular practices towards terror detainees. Second, he should renew America's approach to climate change, principally by enacting stronger domestic legislation in place of harder-to-negotiate international treaties. Second, the U.S. should rebuild NATO relations by bringing France fully back into the alliance and by giving other member-states greater say in the political side of the mission in Afghanistan. In following these steps, Rubin says, the United States will better be able to handle difficult relations with Russia and Iran. It will be a difficult and lengthy process, but Rubin is optimistic: "[A] new partnership with Europe should be launched right away. The path to such a partnership is straightforward, and the benefits would be substantial."  (Read More)

France Hoping to Broker EU Deal with Russia
29 May 2008 - Financial Times
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Thursday after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he hopes the European Union can reach a deal with Russia on a new strategic partnership by the end of 2008. "During the French presidency we would like to move forward and why not even conclude the strategic partnership agreement between Russia and the European Union," Mr. Fillon told reporters. France takes over the rotating EU presidency in July.
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NATO Summit Splits on New Members
4 April 2008 - Times (UK)
The NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania split its decision on how far the NATO alliance would expand into Eastern Europe. On the one hand, Croatia and Albania are on a firm track to becoming NATO members. The question of Macedonia, which had been expected to join NATO was delayed after a veto from the Greeks, who want Macedonia to change its official name to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom). On the other hand, membership for Ukraine the former Soviet republic of Georgia was severely delayed after Russia warned that their inclusion in NATO would destabilize European security. U.S. President George W. Bush, as well as the leaders of Ukraine and Georgia have said they still expect eventual NATO membership for the two countries.
(Read More)

United States Upbeat on Results of NATO Summit
7 April 2008 - Foreign Press Center Briefing, U.S. State Department
At a press conference, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Daniel Fried expressed how last week's NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania was one of the most open and sometimes dramatic and yet productive summits in the history of the alliance. The Assistant Secretary described the four major issues in which the Alliance had made significant progress: The first was a renewed commitment to transatlantic unity on Afghanistan: "NATO's leaders adopted a statement of our commitment to see that Afghanistan is a success and that we support the Afghan Government." Secretary Fried further expressed satisfaction with the progress being made on missile defense and how the Alliance recognized the threat that ballistic missiles can pose. Mr. Fried was optimistic in regard to a more general architecture involving NATO and how he hoped the United States would be able to work with Russia on this.
In addition to this, there were other advances made during the NATO summit: a strong statement on NATO's commitment to Kosovo and keeping the peace there; work on issues like cybersecurity; NATO taking on a role in energy security; and NATO's overall transformation as a kind of underlying theme of the summit.
And finally, France announced its intention to reintegrate with NATO.
Secretary Fried expressed cautious optimism regarding Georgia and Ukraine's Membership Action Plan. Mr. Fried also stated how "Greece has made clear that it wants a solution to the name issue, and the Macedonian Government has made clear that it wants a solution to the name issue. Both sides want to move ahead."

Georgetown Professor and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Charles A. Kupchan: NATO Summit Shows Growing Difficulties in Reaching Solidarity in Western Alliance
7 April 2008 - Council on Foreign Relations
In an interview with Bernard Gwertzman, the Council's Consulting Editor, professor Kupchan outlines the the major issues discussed at the immediately past NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. Early on, it became clear how difficult it would be to reach a general consensus among the alliance since France, Germany and Italy refused to support President Bush on starting the membership process for Georgia and Ukraine. In addition to this, although a consensus was reached regarding supporting a missile defense system in Poland and Czech Republic, professor Kupchan states: "We're all going to all have to get used to a NATO that's going to be more unwieldy. It's going to take more to reach a consensus than in the past."
(Read More)

Op-Ed: All in a Name
1 April 2008 - Wall Street Journal, Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greece
The Greek Foreign Minister supports NATO's expansion to two members of the so-called "Adriatic Three," Croatia and Albania. As Southeastern Europe's oldest NATO and EU member, Greece feels a profound obligation to be constructive, supportive and practical regarding its neighbors. However, the Greek Foreign Minister falls short of supporting Macedonia's (Fyrom) NATO membership.
(Read More)

NATO Secretary General Wants New Strategic Concept
15 March 2008 - Bloomberg.com
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO's Secretary General, stated in a lecture to the German Marshall Fund that NATO needs an Atlantic Charter to guide the Alliance's actions. Scheffer said that by the 2009 summit meeting, NATO should adopt a Strategic Concept which increases NATO's budget outlays and cooperation with bodies such as the EU and the UN. By doing so, Scheffer hopes that reforms can make NATO a strong 21st century institution: "Challenges are multifaceted, interlinked and can arise from anywhere. We need to do a better job of scanning the strategic horizon. We can't just be reactive."
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Editorial Links NATO to Overall European Security
11 March 2008 - The Financial Times - Benjamin Schreer and Alse Toje, "If NATO Fails, So Too Does Europe on Security"
If the NATO alliance does not survive arguments over Afghanistan and Balkan expansion, it will spell further trouble for the European Union foreign and security policy. The lack of European consensus on issues like assistance to NATO's force in Afghanistan, the independence of Kosovo, and peacekeeping in Chad and Darfur, is emblematic of the EU's misplaced faith in the altruism of its individual members. The authors recommend that the EU adopt more measures to allow its member states to act without requiring the unanimous consent of all other nations. The EU must further recognize that NATO must succeed in its current operations if a common European security policy is to survive.
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Finland Joins NATO's Rapid Reaction Force
7 March 2008 - YLE News
Finland approved a measure Friday to participate in NATO's Rapid Reaction Force. The decision was reached by President Tarja Halonen and Finland's Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy and authorizes the country, which is not a full-fledged NATO member, to decide on a case-by-case basis when to participate in NATO operations. Perti Salolainen, Chairman of the Cabinet Committee, stated that the decision is fully in line with Finland's defense posture: "It seems that the costs are not overwhelming. Two percent of our entire defense force budget is devoted to international operations, and this would also benefit our national defenses."
(Read More)

U.S. Ambassador Presses the European Union to Spend Money and Cooperate on Defense Issues with NATO
22 February 2008 - IHT.com
Victoria Nuland, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, argued that the European Union and the NATO Alliance need to cooperate more closely on defense issues and that the EU does not spend enough on its military capabilities. Nuland dismisses the argument that the U.S. focuses on NATO to the detriment of the EU, saying that it is in the U.S.'s interests for both NATO and the EU to become stronger and work together. She is confident that France's tenure as EU President, beginning on July 1, will accelerate this process: "We hope France will lead an effort to strengthen European defense spending and to upgrade European military capabilities with badly needed investment in helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, special forces, interoperable communications and counterinsurgency trained soldiers and civilians".

"Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World:" Top Former Generals Recommend Major Changes to NATO
In "Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World", the authors argue the following changes need to be made for the NATO Alliance:
In the short term, a re-dedication to Afghanistan, together with a new funding structure to better distribute obligations, a majority voting rule to allow for quicker decision-making and giving full operational command to military leaders in the field. In the medium term, a redrawn Strategic Concept stressing non-military capabilities and continuation of its out-of-area strategic partnerships. In the long term, a security directorate encompassing the U.S., the EU, and NATO to coordinate security issues.
(Read More)

NATO Foreign Ministers to Confer in Brussels ahead of Summit
20 February 2008 - NewsAhead World News Forecast
Ahead of a summit of heads of government in April, NATO's Foreign Ministers will hold a meeting of their own March 6-7 2008 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. It is expected that the foreign ministers will set the agenda for the April summit then. Among the issues at the forefront of NATO's responsibilities are enlargement, Afghanistan, Kosovar independence, and relations with Russia. Enlargement discussions center around the Balkans especially, with Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia having joined NATO's membership action plan, the penultimate stage before full membership.

NATO Secretary General Delivers Speech to Munich Security Conference
9 February 2008 - NATO Website
NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer delivered a speech to the 44th annual Munich Security Conference, highlighting four points which he feels are important as the April Bucharest summit approaches. First, he says NATO must continue its mission in Afghanistan. Second, it must integrate more of the Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic security structure. Third, NATO must be willing to work with other international organizations, specifically the UN, the EU, the World Bank, and private non-governmental organizations. Lastly, NATO must strengthen its collective response to new threats - proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, terrorism (including cyber-based attacks), and threats to energy infrastructure. He also reiterated the need for a revision of NATO's Strategic Concept: "A year ago; from this platform, I called for thinking to begin on a new Strategic Concept for NATO. I still feel that we need soon to start work to prepare the ground. There are some important questions that need to be debated. How should we see Article 5 in the 21st century? What is the right balance between expeditionary missions and protecting our populations at home? What is the future of NATO's partnerships?"
(Read More)

NATO launches website for 2008 Summit in Bucharest
In anticipation of the April 2008 Summit meeting of NATO member-states in Bucharest, Romania, a website has been launched detailing information. The website provides updated news, press releases, a list of planned events, and information about traveling to Romania. To visit the website, click here.

Manley Report Cites Discussion of Links Between NATO and the UN in Afghanistan
28 January 2008 - Star.com, Olivia War
The Manley Report, an analysis of Canada's role within NATO in Afghanistan, has caused much discussion about the links between NATO and the United Nations within that country. Both organizations fill vital roles, but lack coordination between them. NATO is responsible for security, and tracking down remnants of al-Qaida and the Taliban. The United Nations has a much broader mandate, including humanitarian aid, reconstruction and development, and political restructuring. It remains to be seen whether this report will spur action towards the appointment of a coordinator, what the report calls a "high-level representative to lead and co-ordinate both the UN and NATO commitments" between the two leading international organizations.
(Read More)

Ex-Service Chiefs Recommend Security Directorate for U.S., EU, and NATO
14 January 2008 - Reuters, Mark John
Five former service chiefs from the UK, the US, France, and the Netherlands have recommended in a jointly-authored report that the United States, the European Union, and NATO should set-up a common security directorate. The new body would help coordinate security planning to fight terrorism and respond to emerging threats from Russia and Iran. The authors feel that such a body could keep the U.S. closely involved in European defense policy.
(Read More)
The full-text of the report can be found here:


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