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

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)

Brexit: UK reveals details of proposed new EU security deal
18 September 2017 - BBC News

The British government has revealed details of its proposed new security treaty between the UK and the EU after Brexit. Ministers hope the treaty will provide a legal basis for cooperating on law enforcement, security, and criminal justice, but the document does not outline any costs.
(Read More)

Spain’s prosecutor warns over Catalonia referendum as leaflets seized
17 September 2017 – Reuters
On Sunday, the Spanish government attempted to block a planned independence vote in the Catalonia region by seizing campaign materials. The referendum is planned for October 1st, but Madrid declared the step illegal and its chief prosecutor stated that the arrest of the regional government’s head could occur. Polls show that less than half of Catalonia’s voters want independence.
(Read More)

South Korean and Japan disagree over aid to North Korea
15 September 2017 – New York Times
Despite warnings from Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, South Korean PM Moon Jae-In suggested resuming humanitarian aid to North Korea, which was suspended last year. The government in Seoul plans to renew the aid program, providing $8 million per year to infants and pregnant women in the DPRK via the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund and the World Food Program.
(Read More)

EU Commission changes gear on trade

14 September 2017 – EU Observer
On Thursday, the European Commission proposed starting free trade talks with Australia and New Zealand, and to install a new EU investment screening framework. At the same time, the Commission published its proposed negotiating mandate and sent it to national parliaments. The move is intended to increase transparency and avoid last-minute opposition to negotiated trade deals.
(Read More) 

Ukraine gives cautious welcome to Putin's peacekeepers offer
14 September 2017 – Reuters

Ukraine welcomed Russian President Putin’s declared openness to deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, but noted that Russian troops must not join such an operation. German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said Monday that European sanctions imposed on Russia should be gradually phased out if an internationally agreed ceasefire deal is implemented.
(Read More

NATO on alert as Russia begins mass war games
14 September 2017 – Financial Times

Russia and Belarus have officially commenced their annual “Zapad” military exercises. NATO has deployed additional troops and equipment to Eastern Europe in response, while the United States has launched new patrols over Baltic airspace. Moscow and Minsk stated that 12,700 troops and 250 armored united will participate in the joint exercise.
(Read More)

Juncker’s EU plan is largely in line with Germany’s vision: Schaeuble
13 September 2017 – Reuters

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stated that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call for a closer-knit EU is largely in line with Germany’s vision for the union. Juncker proposed appointing an EU finance minister with budgets to assist member states in distress, and expanding Eurozone membership.
(Read More)

European Parliament approves new rules on natural gas security
13 September 2017 – European Commission

The European Union took official steps today to improve natural gas security. These new rules and regulations will attempt to introduce a “solidarity principle” – a sort of collective security arrangement for energy, in which EU and neighboring states will help supply natural gas to each other in the event of a supply crisis. Other measures in the agreement focus on joint risk assessments, emergency management, and reforming contract laws.
(Read More)

DHS bars government from using Russia-based Kaspersky software
13 September 2017 – Politico

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ordered all federal agencies to stop using software made by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, citing concerns that it could give the Kremlin a foothold in the U.S. government. Russia indicated in June that it might retaliate if the U.S. took such a step. Kaspersky vehemently denies possible links to the Kremlin, though rumors have long swirled as the company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, and several other top employees are former Russian intelligence officers.
(Read More)

Jean-Claude Juncker outlines vision to win back “hearts and minds” of EU citizens
13 September 2017 – Deutsche Welle

In his annual State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outlined bold proposals for reforming the EU. He advocated the creation of a Eurozone finance minister and a European monetary fund, the approval of future EU tax policy by a qualified majority of states instead of unanimity, new trade agreements, and improved EU border security.  He also took issue with developments in Poland, Hungary, and Turkey, stating that “[t]hose states who are not capable of democracy, are not worthy of Europe.”
(Read More)

North Korea threat highlights NATO missile shield’s “weak link”
12 September 2017 – Reuters

NATO has supported efforts to stop North Korea’s missile program, but its own missile defense systems for Europe are insufficient. “The NATO shield in its current state lacks the reach and early warning radars to shoot down North Korean rockets. It’s a weak link,” said Michael Elleman, a missile defense analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
(Read More)

Turkey signs Russian missile deal, pivoting from NATO
12 September 2017 - New York Times
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced on Tuesday that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system. The deal cements a rapprochement with Russia and comes as Turkey’s ties with the United States and European Union are strained. Erdogan’s announcement was the first confirmation that Turkey had transferred money to pay for the missile system, known as the S-400.
(Read More)

NATO in Europe needs “military Schengen” to rival Russian mobility
12 September 2017 – Deutsche Welle
NATO General Ben Hodges called for Alliance states to move toward the formation of a “military Schengen” zone, which would allow NATO forces to pass more easily across member states’ borders. Hodges argues that red tape at national borders seriously impacts the readiness of NATO forces, and he seeks to reduce approval times to 48 hours.
(Read More)

UK will offer troops to support EU operations after Brexit
12 September 2017 – Bloomberg

The UK has agreed to continue offering troops to EU military operations, even after the Brexit process is completed. The British government has also agreed to continue supporting the EU’s foreign policy agenda, writ large. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon reiterated that “security cooperation” remains a key facet of UK foreign policy with Europe, and highlighted the government’s new position paper on Brexit, which argues, “The UK and EU partners share a common goal of a safe and secure world. This will continue after the UK’s exit.”
(Read More)

After U.S. Compromise, Security Council strengthens North Korea sanctions
12 September 2017 – The New York Times

The UN authorized new sanctions on North Korea, following a U.S. proposal to take away Kim Jong Un’s economic lifelines. The new resolution does not impose an asset freeze or travel ban on Kim Jong Un, but it does “ban textile exports from North Korea, and prohibits the sale of natural gas to North Korea.”
(Read More)

Emmanuel Macron vows to lead the “rebuilding” of the EU
7 September 2017 – Independent
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Athens, vowed to lead the “rebuilding” of the EU as “sovereignty, democracy and trust” are at risk. He reiterated his argument that the Eurozone needs its own parliament, finance minister and budget to fend off future crises. Macron stated that he plans to release a roadmap for the EU in the next few weeks.
(Read More) 

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