Print this page


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

Threat by British to quit EU could prove beneficial for Ireland
21 July 2014 – The Irish Independent
While a British exit from the EU would be a fiasco for Ireland and could destabilize the union by boosting anti-EU forces, reforms aimed to keep the UK in the union could be useful for Ireland, according to Colm McCarthy of the Irish Independent. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would hold a referendum on British membership of the European Union following a renegotiation of Britain’s status if his party obtains a majority in the next elections in May 2015. However, Labour, which is unlikely to hold such a plebiscite, is slightly ahead in the polls, and most observers predict another hung parliament. Cameron hopes to persuade Europe to introduce a number of reforms, some of which could require difficult treaty changes, after a Tory election victory to sway the UK’s voters to stay in the EU. 
(Read More)

MH17 Bodies to go to Netherlands
21 July 2014 – Yahoo News and Agencies
Four days after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, Dutch forensic experts were able to reach the rebel-controlled crash site along with a team of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The bodies of the victims were loaded into Soviet-era refrigerator railcars by separatists. An emergency command center has been set up in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is out of the conflict area. Specialists from several countries have flown to Kharkiv to assist with the inspection process. From Kharkiv, the bodies are set to be transported to the Netherlands - the flight's country of origin - where they will be identified. Russia still denies involvement despite accusations from the United States and various European states. The European Union is likely to increase its sanctions on Russia, having imposed relatively light penalties only one day before flight MH17 was shot down.
(Read More)

EU meeting set to speed, not deepen, sanctions on Russia
21 July 2014 – Reuters
In the wake of the downing of flight MH17 and the supposed expansion of its sanctions on Russia, the EU “is not likely to punish Russia…beyond [merely] speeding up the imposition of already agreed [upon] sanctions” at today’s ministerial meeting. The U.S., as well Britain, France and Germany, have said they are “willing to suffer the economic consequences” of issuing “a more forceful response” to Russia, but there are several factors which confound this possibility. First, “[several] diplomats [have] said [that] more sweeping economic sanctions [can] only be [imposed] by heads of government.” Second, the only country with a “moral mandate to demand a resolute, firm reaction” is the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the crash, but it has yet to take a strong stance in one direction or the other.  And finally, in the words of one European diplomat, “[energy] sanctions would most likely derail the fragile European recovery…and could even lead to a complete economic collapse in certain member states.”
(Read More)

If Europe has a future, is it to the East or the West?
20 July 2014 – The Irish Times
Despite the failure of European leaders to come to a consensus on a number of senior EU posts this month including the High Representative, many are still discussing the future direction of the European Union amid the crisis with Russia and fears of an economic downturn in China. Europe is currently trying to deepen its economic relations with the U.S. through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a bilateral free trade agreement. While the agreement may help Europe’s recovery, it also could lower regulations in both entities. The U.S. Senate would likely have to relinquish its power to amend the treaty and simply agree to vote on the treaty’s entirety if the current negotiations are to intensify. Revelations of NSA spying could hinder growing transatlantic ties in the short term, while the growth of American energy resources is attractive for those Europeans who hope to reduce the continent’s reliance on Russia.
(Read More)

Ankara proposes free trade plans to Russia
20 July 2014 – Hurriyet Daily News
Turkish Economics Minister Nihat Zeybekci suggested a free trade agreement to his Russian counterpart Alexei Ulyukayev at a meeting of the G20 in Sydney. Turkey reportedly wants to establish a free trade area with Russia’s custom union. Russia is Turkey’s largest trade partner after the European Union. In 2013, bilateral trade accounted for $32.7 billion. Turkey is increasingly frustrated with the European Union over its refusal to allow the country to join the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) before negotiations are concluded. Turkey concluded a customs union with the EU in 1995 that prevents it from placing trade restrictions on products coming from countries that have free trade agreements with the EU. Turkey also does not gain greater access to these markets through these deals. The NATO member’s proposed trade deal with Russia is a message to the West, which has seen its relations with Russia deteriorate since the start of the Ukraine crisis.
(Read More)

Topic: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
18 July 2014 – Multiple sources
The international community acted quickly in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over a rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine. At the urging of Britain, the United Nations Security Council met in an emergency session today and called for a "full, thorough, and independent international investigation" into the jet's downing. Meanwhile the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe negotiated with Russian and Ukrainian officials to gain the permission of pro-Russian separatists for OSCE monitors to visit the crash site. According to American officials, the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Rebel forces are not believed to have the capability on their own to carry out such an attack and it is suspected that Russian forces were involved. For their part, Russian officials accuse the Ukrainians of carrying out the attack. So far, all three parties deny responsibility.
(Read More 1, 2, 3)

Israel ready to widen Gaza offensive
18 July 2014 – BBC
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now calling for “the [significant] widening the ground operation” in the Gaza Strip to enable its “forces…to hit the terror tunnels [which cross] from Gaza into Israel's territory.” The expansion of this operation is due to the “[impossibility of dealing] with the tunnels only from the air” as well as the fact that, during both the Egyptian and the UN ceasefires, “Hamas continued to fire.” On the periphery, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in Cairo, furiously negotiating toward a full truce. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is on his way to Egypt as well, and showed his support for “a lasting truce,” arguing that both “Israel's security needs and Palestinian economic needs” must be preserved. 
(Read More)

U.S. plans more Osprey training flights in mainland Japan
17 July 2014 – Stars and Stripes
Marine Corps Ospreys will be flying more over mainland Japan due to the U.S. military trying to reduce training hours on Okinawa. The Japanese government is in the course of constructing facilities at U.S. bases on the mainland so the majority of the training can be done outside Okinawa, according to Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. The 2012 stationing of the MV-22 Ospreys at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma encountered with resistance by many citizens in Okinawa who were afraid of the aircraft’s safety record. On Tuesday, Ospreys restocked at Naval Air Station Atsugi, near Tokyo, before dropping off personnel at Camp Fuji, officials said. Two Ospreys are scheduled to refuel at Yokota Air Base on Saturday on their way to the July 20 Sapporo Air Show. The Ospreys are allowed to operate at all U.S. bases in Japan, according to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The mainland flights follow selected routes that are already used by other Japanese and U.S. military aircraft.
(Read More)

Euro zone periphery on recovery track but deflation a worry: Reuters poll
17 July 2014 – Reuters
According to a recent Reuters survey, economists think the Eurozone’s periphery economies will have steady, anemic growth over the coming year. They also see deflation as a major risk. Portugal’s growth forecast was slightly downgraded, as the country is now expected to grow at 1% this year and 1.5% in 2015. However, Ireland and Spain’s forecasts were revised upwards, albeit marginally. Ireland, which exited its bailout program last December, is projected to grow above the Eurozone average at 1.8%. Greece is suffering from deflation, while almost no inflation was recorded in Italy and Spain. Intesa Sanpaolo economist Paolo Mameli wrote, “Spain is not immune from the risk of deflation, but this risk should be reduced as growth picks up.” Ireland and Portugal are anticipated to reach their budget deficit goals of 4.8% and 4% respectively. Greece has a debt to GDP ratio of 175%, the largest in the Eurozone. The euro’s strength has been an obstacle for exporters. The single currency is expected to depreciate slightly from $1.353 to $1.33 and then stay about $1.33 for the rest of the year. Any improvement in Eurozone unemployment is anticipated to be slight.
(Read More)

Topic: Geographical Indicators and the TTIP
17 July 2014 – Multiple sources
The European Union protects the names of many of its food products. Parmesan and feta are among the EU’s many geographical indicators (GIs), and their use is restricted to cheese producers in Italy and Greece respectively. The U.S. considers parmesan and feta among others to be generic, referring to the type of cheese and not the specific locale in which it was made. Geographical indicators were designed to give customers information on where products were made. However, they are also used to protect producers in specific countries at the expense of others. U.S. producers cannot sell their products in the EU under registered GIs, and many in the EU want the TTIP to extend these GI protections to the U.S. American cheese producers will be at a disadvantage if they are not allowed to label their products as parmesan or feta. Another EU free trade agreement prevents producers in Central America from labeling their products names the U.S. considers to be generic. GIs, however, only benefit a few EU countries. While 95% of GIs are not a concern, the U.S. Dairy Export Council refuses to accept anything that would prevent American producers from selling their products under generic names such as feta.
(Read More 1, 2)

Euro number-2 reserve currency despite smaller share
17 July 2014 – Deutsche Welle
The euro remains the world’s second most preeminent reserve currency after the United States dollar. The euro’s share of global currency reserves fell by 0.9% in 2013 to 24.4%. 61% of the world’s currency reserves are in U.S. dollars. The Japanese Yen and British Pound accounted for 3.9% and 4% respectively of the world’s currency reserves. Use of the single currency in eastern and southeastern Europe as a reserve currency remained unaffected by the sovereign debt crisis, the European Central Bank said. The ECB also highlighted the necessity of a banking union and “genuine Economic and Monetary Union” to secure the common currency’s future steadiness.
(Read More)

New U.S. sanctions hit top Russian firms; Kiev says Russia shoots down its jet
17 July 2014 – Reuters
Amid accusations that Russia has been directly attacking Ukrainian forces, the U.S. and the EU have levied powerful new sanctions against the nation’s energy sector. Stepping up its previous efforts, which had “only [targeted] individuals and smaller firms, Washington imposed sanctions on Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft [and] its second largest gas producer Novatek.” Share prices for the two companies fell by 4.5 and 7.5 percent, respectively, as did the value of the rouble. The EU has vowed that it will “[impose] new sanctions” and its representatives say that a “list of targets [will be drawn up] by the end of the month.” Despite the lack of defined targets, indications are that the EU will move to “block new loans to Russia through [the Union’s] two development banks.”
(Read More)

For U.S. and Europe, Divisions Over Russia Penalties
17 July 2014 – AP
Acting separately, the United States and the European Union both announced new sanctions against Russia yesterday. U.S. sanctions were directed against two energy companies, two financial institutions, eight weapons makers, and four individuals. The EU sanctions ordered development and investment banks to suspend financial relationships with Russia. Europe is dependent on the Russian economy - especially for its energy needs - hence the lesser degree of their sanctions. The U.S. is pushing Europe to increase the penalties on Russia so that Western powers can present a united face against Russian aggression and intervention in Ukraine. Both the U.S. and EU threaten further sanctions if Russia continues to support separatists in east Ukraine.
(Read More)

U.S. senators commend Abe's new collective self-defense decision
16 July 2014 – Kyodo News International
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has applauded Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for approving a new policy on the use of collective self-defense rights, according to a letter released Wednesday. In the letter to Abe dated Tuesday, four members of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee counting Chairman Robert Menendez praise Abe's labors to "revitalize Japan's security, diplomacy and economy, specifically on the issue of collective self-defense." The letter was signed by two Democrats and two Republicans, including Ranking Member Bob Corker. Corker encouraged development in Japan's relations with South Korea with an obvious reference to the enduring differences. The relaxing of Japan's restrictions on the right to help allies has been condemned by China and South Korea.
(Read More)

OSCE Calls Out Ukraine Rebels for Lack of Engagement in Peace Process
16 July 2014 – DW
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issued a statement criticizing pro-Russian separatists for delaying the progress of peace talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE. As one aspect of the settlement, OSCE observers were invited by Russia to begin monitoring the Russian-Ukrainian border today. However, another precondition for negotiations - a release of all hostages held by the rebels - has not yet been met. European leaders are meeting today in Brussels to decide whether to impose further sanctions on Russia, and the United States has declared that it intends to impose sanctions even if the EU does not.
(Read More)

Belarus, Pakistan Seek Closer Defense Industry Cooperation
16 July 2014 – DefenseNews
Belarus and Pakistan have expressed an interest in pursuing closer defense industrial relations, but the likely path forward is uncertain at this early stage of talks. A press release by Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production outlined how Tanveer Hussain, federal minister for defense production, led a delegation of Pakistani defense officials to the seventh International Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery MILEX-2014 held in Minsk, Belarus, July 9-12. Hussain was to have met various Belarus officials, including Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin, Chairman of the State Military & Industrial Committee Sergei Gurulev, Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Makei, and defense industry officials. An invitation was also extended to the Belarusians to attend Pakistan’s biannual defense exhibition, which was accepted. The International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS2014) will be held in Karachi in December.
(Read More)

Euro-Zone Trade With Russia Down Sharply
16 July 2014 – The Wall Street Journal
The Eurozone increased its global trade surplus from €14.6 billion in May last year to €15.4 billion this year despite a significant decline in trade with Russia, reported Eurostat—the EU’s statistics agency. European exports and imports to and from the country over the first four months of this year are down 13% and 9% respectively in comparison to the same period in 2013. With the Eurozone’s consumer demand kept low as a result of high unemployment, austerity, and sluggish income growth, European companies have been forced to expand their business in markets outside the EU. However, the EU’s trade with Russia began to decrease before the imposition of sanctions or even the beginning of the crisis. Instead, exports fell because the Russian economy slackened significantly throughout 2013 and into 2014. Nonetheless, the Ukraine crisis has negatively affected some European countries, including Germany, which saw its second quarter GDP growth rate decline. The euro’s high value is an obstacle for exports; however, the single currency should weaken over time due to rising interest rates in the U.S. and UK, said ECB Executive Board member Benoit Couere.
(Read More)

Here’s Another Way to Look at Youth Unemployment in Europe
16 July 2014 – The Wall Street Journal
Youth unemployment in the Eurozone has skyrocketed since the beginning of the financial crisis. Greece, Spain, and Italy currently suffer from youth unemployment rates of 27.3%, 26.1%, and 12.2% respectively. However, since the mid-1990s the ratio of 15 to 24 year olds unemployed to those 25 and older has been on the decline. Out of Spain’s unemployed, the percentage aged 15 to 24 has declined since the beginning of the crisis, while the percentage out of work for longer than a year has increased. Those out of work for longer than a year made up 62% of those unemployed in Spain, while 15 to 24 year olds made up about 15%. While European policymakers are focusing on and establishing initiatives to tackle youth unemployment, a more serious problem are adults who have been unemployed for a year or more, argues Jon Sindreu of the Wall Street Journal. Professor Marcel Jansen of the Autonomous University of Madrid thinks “…older workers who have been out of a job for a long time will pose a much greater challenge.”
(Read More)

TTIP will not include financial services, says U.S. ambassador
16 July 2014 – EurActiv
U.S. Ambassador to the EU Anthony L. Gardner said the U.S. would not agree to the inclusion of financial services regulation in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The ambassador described the EU-U.S. free trade deal as “an economic equivalent to NATO” and said it was imperative that the U.S. and EU “set the rules of world trade before others do it for us.” Consolidated texts have been drawn up for five subjects, he said. Gardner also told EurActiv that the TTIP “would render quasi-automatic any request to export LNG from the US.” He said a lot of information on the free trade agreement was available online and that charges of a lack of transparency over the negotiations are unfounded. He believed the public discourse should focus on the EU’s unwillingness to adopt the scientific findings of its own food safety and health agencies and not U.S. practices such as chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-injected beef.
(Read More)

Russia to Reclaim Spying Outpost in Cuba, Kommersant Says
16 July 2014 – Bloomberg
Russia is set to repossess a Cold War-era spying station in Cuba – Russia’s only center of its kind in the Western Hemisphere before it was shut down. Russia and Cuba came to an “agreement in principle” while President Vladimir Putin visited Havana five days ago. The compound, about 250 kilometers off the Florida coast, was closed in 2002 due to lack of funds for the $200 million annual rental fee. The agreement was reached as Russia settled on writing off 90 percent of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt. Russia ended military ties with Cuba in 2002 after closing the base. The base was established in 1964 following the Cuban Missile Crisis. After meeting with Raul and Fidel Castro on July 11, Putin said Russia plans to mount a ground station for its Glonass satellite navigation system in Cuba.
(Read More)

North Korea Fumes as U.S.-South Korea Joint Naval Drills Begin In the Sea of Japan
16 July 2014 – International Business Times
The U.S. and South Korea started a five-day joint naval drill in the Sea of Japan, causing objections from North Korea. South Korean military officers stated that naval maneuvers had begun the same time as U.S. aircraft carrier USS Washington holds its drills. North Korea’s National Defense Commission had previously disapproved of the choice to hold naval exercises in the Sea of Japan. The existence of USS Washington in the South Korean Busan port was also condemned by the North. The U.S., which has about 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea, regularly conducts several army and naval drills annually. Pyongyang has condemned these joint exercises as a “rehearsal for invasion.” The joint naval exercises come during a time when North Korea is escalating rocket and missile testing. On Tuesday, KCNA released photos of Kim Jong Un overseeing rocket launches near the southern border.
(Read More)

Putin Seeks Brics Alliance to Combat US Economic Sanctions
15 July 2014 – International Business Times
Russia wants to promote greater cooperation and ties between the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). Russian President Vladimir Putin said the West had launched a “sanction attack” against his country and that the BRICS should devise “…a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States…” However, he provided no concrete steps to achieve greater collaboration. BRICS leaders met in Fortaleza, Brazil on Tuesday for a two day summit to discuss their new development bank, which will probably be located in Shanghai.
(Read More)

Russia, Ukraine Beef up Accusations
15 July 2014 – Wall Street Journal
Russia and Ukraine decided on Tuesday to step up allegations of cross-border attacks. Russia's Ministry of Defense took 11 foreign military attachés, including one from the U.S., to a neighborhood on the Russian side of the border where Moscow accused Kiev's forces of bombing a house on Sunday. The delegation examined the neighborhood in the Rostov region that Russian officials said was hit by six 120-mm artillery shells from Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has denied all accusations. Kiev has focused its attention on the downing of an AN-26 Ukrainian military cargo plane with eight people on board over the skies of the Luhansk region on Monday. The Ukrainians are stepping up their operation to offer evidence of Russian participation in the conflict. Right after Monday's aviation incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office said the military cargo plane had been flying at an altitude of 6,500 meters and the rebels' portable antiaircraft missiles would not have been able to shoot it down. Ukrainian security services chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko on Tuesday said Ukraine had accumulated "indisputable evidence" associating Russia with the attack.
(Read More)

S. Korean FM to have talks with counterparts from 4 central European nations
15 July 2014 – Yonhap News Agency
South Korea's foreign minister will visit Slovakia this week to hold the first meeting with his counterparts from four central European countries on ways to promote collaboration, officials said Tuesday. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will meet with his counterparts from the so-called "Visegrad Group" on Thursday, Seoul's foreign ministry stated. Seoul's labors to increase discussion with the group come as South Korea has been able to gain support in confronting North Korea's nuclear issues. Yun also plans to hold a personal meeting with Slovakian foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak. Before flying to Slovakia, he will go to the Czech Republic to meet with his counterpart, Lubomir Zaoralek, on Wednesday. Yun is anticipated to sign an opening deal which calls for Korea to help finance the International Visegrad Fund.
(Read More)

U.S. Says it Will Work with Phillip Hammond Despite Euroskeptic Views
15 July 2014 – The Telegraph
The most momentous move of British Prime Minister David Cameron's major reshuffling of his cabinet this week was the promotion of Phillip Hammond from defense secretary to foreign secretary. Mr. Hammond declared publicly last year that he would welcome a withdrawal of the UK from the European Union if it could not satisfactorily renegotiate Britain's position with the EU. The United States has been increasingly vocal in recent months about its desire for Britain to remain in the EU as an integral partner, and there is some concern that Hammond's appointment may cause some friction in the Anglo-American relationship. Mr. Hammond has declared that he is confident that he will be able to negotiate for the desired settlements for the UK that will keep his country in the EU.
(Read More)

Juncker is Elected EU Commission President
15 July 2014 – DW
The European Parliament voted 422 to 250 to elect the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, as the next president of the European Union Commission. On November 1st, Juncker will take over from Jose Manual Barroso, who has been president since 2004. Juncker has pledged to loosen the eurozone's debt rules, restructure the Troika (EU, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank) supervision of austerity, and appoint more women to commissioner posts. Juncker's candidacy was strongly opposed by the British, and it is expected that the new Commission president will appoint a Briton to a high commission post as a peace offering. 
(Read More)

Rousseff: Brazil Interested In Russian Air Defenses
14 July 2014 – AFP
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday that Brasilia was keen on obtaining air defenses from Moscow and cooperating on nuclear energy. Putin’s ongoing Latin American tour seeks to shore up support for his policies amid icy relations with the West. Brazil reiterated its interest in acquiring Russian air defenses and cooperating in areas such as the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Putin hailed Brazil as Russia’s “greatest partner” in Latin America, saying they were united on “key international issues.” The two leaders signed military, economic, technology and health agreements.
(Read More)

NATO intercepts more Russian aircraft near Baltic borders
14 July 2014 – The Baltic Times
A Russian reconnaissance aircraft flying near Latvian waters was interrupted this week by NATO fighters. Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis said that the growing occurrence of Russian military aircraft flying near Baltic borders shows that NATO must have a permanent existence in the area. Baltic leaders have continually called for stable NATO presence in the Baltic States during the Ukraine crisis. Flights above neutral waters are not harmful, but Russian planes have not been observing many of the international criteria. NATO fighter jets had to take off to make visual contact and confirm they were not, for instance, hijacked planes. At this time, there are 12 NATO fighter jets guarding Baltic skies including four from Poland, four from Great Britain and four from Denmark.
(Read More)

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht Confirms NHS Exemption from TTIP
14 July 2014 – International Business Times
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has assured Britons that the UK’s National Health Service will be exempt from the EU-U.S. free trade deal. De Gucht said: “There will be an exemption for public services, we’ve made that very clear in our discussions with the US. That would cover the NHS, because that’s the most sensitive issue in Great Britain. That will be covered by the public services exemption.” De Gucht also said the European Elections in May gave anti-EU parties the opportunity to campaign against the trade deal. The U.S. has continually opposed the EU’s call for financial services regulation to be included in treaty. De Gucht said the responses to the public consultation over the controversial investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision will be reviewed by the Commission. The negotiations, which began in 2013, were expected to be concluded by the end of 2014. It is now hoped that the deal can be concluded by the end of 2015 before the start of the U.S. presidential race.
(Read More)

NATO estimates Russia has 10,000-12,000 troops near Ukraine border
14 July 2014 – Reuters
A NATO military officer said on Monday that Russia has been increasing its forces near the Ukrainian border and now has an estimated 10,000-12,000 troops there. Earlier this year, Russia removed most of the 40,000 troops it had close to the border, leaving fewer than 1,000 there by mid-June. Since then, it has been strengthening its forces again, the officer said. "Our current assessment is that between 10,000 and 12,000 troops are now in the area ... In the last week alone, we have seen several units moving into the border region," the officer stated.
(Read More)

Russia says has invited OSCE monitors to Ukraine border crossings
14 July 2014 – Reuters
Russia has asked monitors from the European security and rights group Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to come to two border crossings with Ukraine as a sign of friendliness, the Foreign Ministry stated on Monday. Ukraine has commanded that independent monitoring be created to make sure Russia has control of its border. Kiev is blaming Moscow for encouraging violence in eastern Ukraine by allowing fighters and weapons to cross the border. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has sent a letter to Didier Burkhalter, the leader of OSCE, inviting viewers to the border points at Donetsk and Gukovo. The Russian Donetsk border crossing was the site of the bombing that killed a man and injured a woman. Moscow said the shelling had been done by troops from Ukraine, a charge Kiev denies. The OSCE, which is working with Kiev and Moscow to end the violence, said in June it had reduced monitoring operations in eastern Ukraine and stopped further deployments after eight of its observers were held hostage for a month by pro-Russian separatists.
(Read More)

U.S. troops to deploy to Poland as NATO expands
14 July 2014 – Washington Post
Poland and the U.S. are getting ready to announce the placement of U.S. ground forces in Poland as part of an expansion of NATO's existence in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland's defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, stated the choice has been made on a political level and that military planners are hammering out details. There also will be increased collaboration in air defense, special forces, cyber-defense, etc. A Western official told The Associated Press on Saturday that the U.S. is considering sending about 150 soldiers to military exercises that begin in Poland and Estonia in the upcoming weeks. Ground exercises in Poland and Estonia would last for a couple of weeks, but these exercises will continue to rotate off and on over time. Siemoniak said any NATO response to Russian hostility in Ukraine matters less than a long-term American and European shift in defense postures. The strongest motivation is the lies about Russian actions near the border and Putin’s explanation of a new doctrine allowing Russia to intervene in any country where Russian-speaking populations are threatened.
(Read More)

Japan, U.S. Admirals Say Naval Cooperation Deepening
14 July 2014 – AP
Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, head of Japan's navy, told reporters before a meeting with U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Harry Harris on Monday that the two navies have been sharing more information and having more exchanges. The two navies have increased their capability to work together by participating in drills. A July 1 decision by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet to pursue a new law that would allow Japan to help protect its allies is an instance of their improved relationship, Harris stated. Kawano said Japan's parliament needs to pass a law on the policy before his forces will put it into effect. The policy reinterprets Japan's war-renouncing constitution to say Japan may help defend countries they have close ties with.
(Read More)

Germany's fear of “chlorine chicken” complicates U.S. trade talks
14 July 2014 – Chicago Tribune
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been one of the foremost European proponents of the EU-U.S. free trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). However, the German public has become increasingly concerned about the treaty’s possible ramifications on food safety standards in Europe. Europeans are concerned the deal could lower food safety standards despite EU assertions that lowering food standards are non-negotiable. While the EU uses antibiotics to kill bacteria, the U.S. washes chickens in chlorine. A poll by Forsa found that a plurality of Germans believed chlorine-washed chicken was harmful. The sixth round of negotiations is taking place in Brussels this week. Proponents of the agreement are having difficulty raising the public’s awareness and gaining support. Much of the response to the TTIP has been negative and has come from labor and consumer interest groups.
(Read More)

Swiss face tough U.S.-EU trade deal decisions
14 July 2014 – Swiss Info
Switzerland’s economy could suffer substantially if it is not given access to a free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the U.S. and EU. Swiss Economic Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has voiced his concern on not being included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, saying, “…the US is Switzerland’s second most important trading partner behind the EU. It is therefore of paramount importance to us to be on a level playing field.” Swiss economic output could drop by half a percentage point or $3.4 billion if the transatlantic deal was particularly comprehensive and discriminatory according to a government-backed study by Bern University’s World Trade Institute. Thomas Cottier, the World Trade Institute’s Managing Director, said: “If Switzerland does not get on board then we could see Swiss firms being forced to leave Switzerland and relocate to EU countries.”
(Read More)

IMF Touts Quantitative Easing Benefits for ECB
14 July 2014 – The Wall Street Journal
The International Monetary Fund has again hinted that the European Central Bank should introduce quantitative easing. The IMF wrote that asset purchases “can push up inflation by raising consumption and investment across the euro area, and support that trend by reviving the supply and demand for bank credit.” The Eurozone has suffered from long-term low inflation; inflation has remained at 0.05% over the past two months. The ECB introduced a number of stimulus measures last month to boost inflation and is still waiting to see their effects before taking further actions such as quantitative easing. Sabine Lautenschlaeger, a member of the bank’s executive board, said it was unlikely that the bank would purchase assets unless it observed “imminent deflation.” She said the possibility of deflation was “…neither discernible nor expected.” The IMF said asset purchases should be widespread and not just focused on the periphery, as low inflation is a serious problem across the entire Eurozone.
(Read More)

Ukraine forces end rebel airport blockade
14 July 2014 – Reuters
The Ukrainian military has continued its renewed assault on the pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country today, as its “forces, backed by warplanes, [broke] through [the] rebel lines surrounding Luhansk airport, ending [the] separatist blockade.” The military’s attack “inflicted heavy losses on the…separatists,” but also repelled “an armoured [sic] convoy which [may have] crossed the border from Russia.” Ukrainian President Poroshenko has contacted the EU’s Herman Van Rompuy about this incursion, arguing that it should “take further sanctions against Moscow” and Valery Chaly, a Ukrainian presidential aide said that “Kiev-based diplomats would be called in…informed of [the] facts documenting the passage across the border from Russia of military equipment ‘used in attacks on our serving forces.’” 
(Read More)

France Ends Mali Offensive, Redeploys Troops To Restive Sahel
13 July 2014 – AFP
France said Sunday its military offensive that freed northern Mali from the grip of Islamists would be replaced by an operation spanning the wider, largely lawless Sahel region to combat extremist violence. France had initially planned to put an end to Serval and redeploy troops to the Sahel region in May but a fresh bout of clashes between rebels and the army in the flashpoint northern town of Kidal forced Paris to delay the pull-out. The French-led Serval operation has widely been deemed a success by the international community.  The new counter-terrorism operation, codenamed Barkhan, will kick off in the coming days and is being implemented in partnership with five countries — Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad — in the Sahel-Sahara region.
(Read More)


Next page: About Us