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.
The Streit Council's Statment on the Brexit Referendum Outcome
On June 23rd, the British people voted to leave the European Union in a close 52%-48% referendum outcome that few predicted. As an organization committed to deepening integration among the world’s established liberal democracies as a means to expanding individual freedom, the Streit Council views this development as a step backward. Since joining the European Community in 1973, the United Kingdom has shaped European integration in a direction consistent with its liberal values and interests, making all Europeans freer. This has been experienced in many forms, including the freedom to live in peace, greater financial freedom, and freer movement across borders. While these benefits have not accrued evenly across the Union, they nonetheless accrued. Read the full statement.
Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan on "Rebuilding Washington's Transatlantic Alliance"
In an article for the National Interest, Stanley R. Sloan argues that the next president of the United States will need to rebuild the transatlantic relationship to address threats to Western security and fundamental values. In Ukraine, NATO and the EU need to support the reform of the country's political and economic system while holding off on the provision of lethal arms. To ensure a lasting defeat of ISIS, Western allies should engage Middle Eastern states and the broader international community to stabilize and govern retaken territory. While the next president must remember that the Russian agenda often runs contrary to that of the U.S., cooperation on managing strategic arms, promoting a peaceful end to the Syria conflict, counterterrorism and other issues is in America's interest. Click here for the full article.
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.
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
French fighter jets land in Lithuania for NATO air policing mission
29 August 2016 – The Baltic Times
Four french fighter jets have arrived in Lithuania, marking the beginning of a four-month NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic states. French forces are to replace Portuguese troops and four of the country's fighter jets currently in the country.
Germany’s economy minister: U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed
28 August 2016 – Reuters
Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have failed. "The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands," he said.
German FM Steinmeier calls for new arms control pact with Russia
26 August 2016 – Deutsche Welle
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for an arms deal with Russia in order to build trust and decrease tensions. Steinmeier stated that a nonproliferation deal on conventional arms could avoid a "new and dangerous arms race" and increase transparency and trust-building.
European leaders push Angela Merkel for joint EU army
26 August 2016 – Independent
At a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her counterparts from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, she was pressed to pursue the creation of a European army. The meeting comes ahead of an EU summit planned next month, where EU leaders will discuss Britain’s exit from the Union.
China Plans More Island-Building in South China Sea
25 August 2016 – Voice of America
Chinese diplomats and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are attempting to reach an agreement on Chinese operations in the South China Sea, according to a Chinese state newspaper. The group has reportedly agreed on the creation of a communications system for maritime emergencies and a temporary consensus on operations in the region.
U.S., Bulgaria to Conduct Joint Air Patrols in NATO-led Mission
24 August 2016 – The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. will join the Bulgarian air force in conducting patrols next month, with Bulgaria's Defense Minister stating that the mission will take place September 9-16. It is not yet clear whether Bulgaria will continue air-policing operations with the U.S. or other allies, and NATO has said that the decision will be made by Bulgarian officials.
Duterte warns China over South China Sea dispute
24 August 2016 – Aljazeera
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that a "bloody" conflict would occur if China were to invade Philippine territories in the South China Sea. Duterte emphasized a peaceful resolution to the dispute, but said that there will eventually be a "reckoning" about an international court ruling rejecting Chinese claims to the region.
Growing protest against TTIP and CETA trade agreements in Germany
23 August 2016 – Deutsche Welle
Hundreds of thousands of protestors are set to take to the street in Germany to stop the conclusion of the TTIP and CETA trade agreements. Protestors are mainly concerned about genetically modified organisms in food and provisions for the private arbitration of trade disputes.
Finland rushes to finalize U.S. defense pact
23 August 2016 – EU Observer
Finland’s defense minister said his government aims to conclude a defense pact with the U.S. before President Barack Obama leaves office. The pact will provide a framework for defense cooperation, but will fall short of providing a mutual defense promise as is the case in NATO. The defense minister also stated that Finland is building closer defense ties with Sweden.
Nicola Sturgeon claims Brexit will cost Scotland billions every year
23 August 2016 – The Telegraph
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, claims that Brexit will cost Scotland billions of pounds per year. A recent Scottish government report found Brexit will reduce Scotland’s tax revenue by 3.7 billion pounds annually. Sturgeon has warned that another Scottish independence referendum is likely in the next two years.
Ukraine Opens Criminal Probe of Top Russian Officials
22 August 2016 – The New York Times
Ukraine has launched a criminal investigation of 20 senior Russian officials, including the Russian defense minister, for suspected involvement in crimes against Ukraine's national security. Ukraine's prosecutor general stated he plans to seek international warrants for the officials' arrests.
Italy, German, French Eye Beefed Up EU Defense After Attacks
22 August 2016 – The New York Times
French, German, and Italian leaders agreed to a boost joint security efforts following a series of extremist attacks in Europe. French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi also discussed the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, intelligence sharing, and a pan-European investment plan designed to strengthen the EU following Britain’s departure from the bloc.
Lithuania signs major German arms deal over Russia fears
21 August 2016 – The Local
Lithuania signed a €386 million ($437 million) arms deal with Germany in its largest-ever arms purchase. The country will purchase 88 Boxer armored fighting vehicles, a move that Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas called a "long-term investment into national defense" and "a signal that Lithuania takes its security and investing in it seriously." The first vehicles are scheduled to arrive in 2017.
Chinese Ships, Planes Hold War Games in Sea of Japan
21 August 2016 – ABC News
China's defense ministry said that Chinese air and maritime forces held long-range exercises in the Sea of Japan last week. The drills were intended to simulate a bomber attack on a naval task force, though an official statement did not specify the type of conflict to which the exercise was intended to respond.
Turkey Plays Down U.S. Suggestions of NATO Exit After Failed Coup
19 August 2016 – Bloomberg
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will visit Turkey this week to restore relations following Turkish concerns over a U.S. role in its recent coup attempt, and a debate by U.S. officials on whether Turkey should remain a part of NATO. Turkish officials have said leaving the alliance is not a question for Turkey, but that repairing relations depends on U.S. willingness to extradite a cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating the coup.
Japan eyes fighter drone, seeks record defense budget amid China assertiveness
19 August 2016 – Reuters
Japan's Defense Ministry seeks a record budget of 5.16 trillion yen ($51 billion) for next year, and also seeks to develop unmanned surveillance and fighter aircraft within the next two decades. The increases come amid rising tensions with China over the East China Sea, and concerns over the growing North Korean missile threat, according to Japanese officials.
Merkel sees no end to EU sanctions against Russia
19 August 2016 – Reuters
The European Union should not lift sanctions against Russia because it has failed to fully implement the Minsk ceasefire in agreement in Ukraine, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel stated that implementation of the agreement "is and remains the yardstick for the future of the sanctions."
UK Labour leader refuses to say he'd defend NATO ally from Russia
19 August 2016 – Reuters
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK opposition Labour Party, declined to say whether he would support NATO's principle of collective defense if a NATO ally is attacked by Russia. Corbyn stated that he would attempt diplomatic solutions and "build up a good dialogue with Russia" in addition to advocating for the "demilitarization of the borders between Russia, Ukraine and all the other countries down in the border between Russia and eastern Europe."
Brexit is “irrevocable” and negotiations must take place, says Angela Merkel
18 August 2016 – Independent
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists there is no way to avert a Brexit, arguing that negotiations that ultimately outline the shape of the exit will be conducted on the basis of common interest. But Michael Roth, Germany’s minister for European affairs, insisted that Britain will not retain access to the EU’s Single Market without accepting the free movement of workers.
Nord Stream 2’s Future Uncertain After Collapse of Consortium
18 August 2016 – EU Observer
Following the objections of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), the long-planned Nord Stream 2 consortium has come to an end. Gazprom, which sought to comply with the EU’s Third Energy Package by creating a consortium with several Western energy companies, is the sole remaining party to the project. Under the Third Energy Package, it is forbidden for transport and supply of energy to be owned 100% by the same source. With no partners left, and with other expensive Gazprom projects in the works in Turkey, south-east Europe, and China, it seems unlikely that Nord Stream 2 will come online, if at all, by the previous target of 2019.
Russian officials suggest use of Turkish NATO base for Syria raids
17 August 2016 – Middle East Eye
A member of the Russian parliament's defense and security committee suggested that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could allow Russia to use Turkey’s Incirlik air base in order to carry out strikes in Syria. The base is currently being used by NATO and houses several dozen U.S. nuclear warheads.
China, ASEAN aim to complete framework of South China Sea rules next year
17 August 2016 – Reuters
China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will create a framework of guidelines for conduct in the disputed South China Sea by the middle of next year, according to Chinese state media. The region has been a focus of discussion in the organization since 2010, and the new guidelines are expected to include a China-ASEAN hotline for use in the event of maritime emergencies.
Japan plans missile to test Chinese strategy in East China Sea
17 August 2016 – The Financial Times
Japan is planning the development of a surface-to-ship tactical ballistic missile as part of a military buildup in response to China's growing presence in the East China Sea, according to Japanese military experts. The new missile would have the longest range of any built by the country, and serve to "complicate enemy planning" when deployed to Japanese islands in the region.
World’s biggest banks already planning mass exodus from London after Brexit
16 August 2016 – Independent
Four of the largest investment banks in London plan to start moving jobs and operations to the continent only weeks after the government triggers the Brexit process. But moving would involve adhering to legal and regulatory requirements in new host countries, which could take years.
U.S. says transfer of Internet governance will go ahead on Oct. 1
16 August 2016 – CIO
The United States will continue transferring governance over the Internet domain name system and functions to a multistakeholder body on October 1. While this decision has been met with strong opposition, transferal from ICANN to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has only been delayed once to finalize transition plans. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration assured that it will not be accepting any plans that would affect the openness of the Internet in any way.
The UK’s Increasing Reliance on Energy Imports
16 August 2016 - Plymouth Herald
Despite the UK’s advances in renewable energy, and government studies showing the nation uses less energy in 2016 than it did in 1998, the UK’s reliance on imported energy is at its highest since the 1970s. With the majority of Britain’s coal mines now shuttered and a large decline in domestic gas and petroleum production, large amounts of imported energy are still necessary to power the nation. The majority of the UK’s coal and petroleum products come from Russia, while around 50% of crude oil comes from Norway. OPEC nations provide significant amounts of crude oil, as well as LNG and miscellaneous petroleum products.
Exclusive: Behind Closed Doors at the U.N., Russia and Turkey Are Still Battling
15 August 2016 – Foreign Policy
Russia's ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin criticized Turkey for permitting the flow of weapons and terrorists across the border to Syria, according to Security Council diplomats. Officials stated that despite a recent public rapprochement, Russia remains frustrated with Turkey for enabling extremist forces in Syria.
UK ministers try to woo Scotland after Brexit
15 August 2016 – Financial Times
In an effort to dampen renewed calls for Scottish independence, British ministers are reassuring Scotland that its interests will be represented during Brexit negotiations with the EU. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and the Scottish National party leader, argued that a rerun of the 2014 independence referendum is “highly likely” as a means to sustaining ties with the EU.
Nord Stream 2 Consortium Plans Shelved
15 August 2016 – OilPrice.com
Due to strong resistance from the Polish anti-monopoly regulator UOKiK, the planned consortium between Gazprom and other energy companies for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is shelved. European energy companies Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper, and Wintershall initially wanted to enter into a consortium with Russian Gazprom in order to satisfy EU anti-monopoly concerns about the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The companies released a statement upholding their commitment to Nord Stream 2, but will have to find a different means to fund, construct, and oversee the project.
Japan's White Paper outlines priorities for defence production
15 August 2016 – IHS Jane’s
Japan's Defense White Paper for 2016 outlines priorities for defense procurement and production, highlighting requirements to continue to improve defense project management, to ensure "technological superiority," and to enhance cooperation in defense equipment and technologies. The three areas outlined in the document reflect recent reforms by the Japanese Ministry of Defense with the goal of enhancing Japan's regional role.
Turkish Foreign Minister Offers Harsh Criticism Of NATO, EU
15 August 2016 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the EU of "humiliating" Turkey and fellow NATO members for refusing to sell equipment or share intelligence with his country. Cavusoglu also criticized the EU for failing to agree to visa-free travel in exchange for Turkey's role in managing the migrant crisis, urging that Turkey must "cooperate with other [NATO] partners on buying and selling weapons systems."
Japan Plans to Develop Missiles to Protect Islands, Yomiuri Says
13 August 2016 – Bloomberg
The Japanese government is planning the development of land-to-sea missiles for the protection of the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, among other isolated island territories. According to a Japanese newspaper, the government plans to deploy the missiles in early 2024.
Biden urges Ukraine president to avoid escalating tensions with Russia: White House
12 August 2016 – Reuters
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has urged Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to "do his part" in avoiding an escalation with Russia over Crimea, according to a White House Statement. Biden also called for Russia, which recently accused Ukraine of attempting to provoke a conflict in the region, to do the same.
Japanese troops to prepare for deployments under new law
8 August 2016 – The Asahi Shimbun
Japan's Self Defense Forces (SDF) will start training for overseas deployments, and are scheduled to arrive in South Sudan later this year as replacement peacekeeping troops. The newly structured forces will train and deploy under national security legislation passed by the Japanese government in March.
Erdogan, Putin Work to Patch Ties as Economies Flag
7 August 2016 – The Wall Street Journal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Tuesday in order to cement a recent rapprochement between the two countries. Turkish officials say the visit is intended to improve economic ties, though geopolitics are also expected to feature during discussions.
Ukraine gradually introducing NATO defense, security standards
6 August 2016 – Interfax Ukraine
Ukraine's Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council has said that Ukraine is "consistently introducing NATO standards in the defense and security sector. The official said that experts from NATO allies are involved in the development and that Ukraine is increasing its "military-technical cooperation with these countries."
Japan eyes open-ended intercept order over North Korea missiles: source
5 August 2016 – The Japan Times
The Japanese government is considering issuing its Self Defense Forces a standing order to intercept any projectile heading toward its territory over concerns regarding North Korea's missile program, according to a Japanese government source. Japan already issued orders to shoot down missiles on a case-by-case basis when signs of launch preparations by North Korea are detected.
Kishida to visit Philippines for security talks
5 August 2016 – The Japan Times
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced a visit to the Philippines this week to discuss security issues and meet with the country's president and foreign minister. The visit comes amid shared concerns over China's buildup and military presence in the South China Sea, with Kishida stating he "would like to firmly confirm friendly ties."
UK Brexit Agreement May Take Up to a Decade, Open Europe Says
4 August 2016 – Bloomberg
Due to the demands by the British people to take back control of immigration, negotiations over Britain’s relationship with the EU may take up to a decade to conclude. While a Norway-style agreement was promoted by many politicians as an ideal situation, it would still require freedom of movement. The report by think tank Open Europe also states that such an agreement would leave the UK as little more than a satellite to the EU, which is incongruous with its position as a member of the G7 and of the United Nations Security Council.
Moldova Calls Exercises Involving Russia on Its Soil Illegal
4 August 2016 – The New York Times
Moldova's defense ministry said that recent military exercises on Moldovan territory that involve Russian and separatist troops are illegal. The exercises took place in the country's separatist region of Transnistria, with Russian army officers and members of the region's army taking part in anti-terror training from July 27 to August 3.
Rosatom, the Future of Russian Energy Geostrategy
4 August 2016 — OilPrice.com
As Gazprom gradually loses influence over the EU energy market due to greater regulation and the internal energy market devised by the European Commission, another Russian threat is emerging: Rosatom. The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), is currently involved in the construction of 42 reactors, only eight of which are in Russia. Rosatom is currently constructing several reactors in Turkey under a Build-Own-Operate scheme, in which Russia will provide all of the financing with the host country monitoring the plant. Rosatom also has projects in Belarus, close to the Lithuanian border, that have been routinely criticized for haphazard safety standards.
Russia Likely to Pursue “Lite” Versions Of Turkish and South Stream
3 August 2016 – Trend
Following months of improved relations between Russia and Turkey, the previously cancelled plans for Gazprom’s Turkish Stream pipeline may soon be back on the table. Turkish Stream’s original proposal included 4 lines traversing the Black Sea from Russia through Turkey, would have had a capacity of about 63 million cubic meters per year. The updated plans envision a more streamlined version of the original idea, one with about half the capacity that will primarily serve the Turkish market rather than a long branch into Europe. As for the also tabled South Stream, a short extension from the Turkish Stream pipeline into Bulgaria, should the latter be built, is possible. Given the European Commission’s reluctance to approve the original plan, combined with deteriorating EU-Turkish and Russian relations, it is doubtful that anything other than a short spur into the Balkans is possible.
Leaders of South Korea, Russia to Discuss North Korean Nukes
3 August 2016 – The New York Times
South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit Russia next month to attend an economic forum and discuss North Korea's nuclear program with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both countries are members of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, which stalled in 2009 when North Korea walked away from negotiations.
Bavarian leader plans to visit Putin again in October
2 August 2016 – Reuters
Horst Seehofer, the premier of the state of Bavaria in Germany, is expected to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in October. A previous visit to Russia by Seehofer in February sparked criticism, with some accusing him of pursuing an alternate foreign policy. Seehofer defended the move, claiming that it was necessary to maintain political and economic ties with Russia.
Japan defence review expresses "deep concern" at Chinese coercion
2 August 2016 – Reuters
Japan's new Defense White Paper expressed "deep concern" over perceived Chinese coercion, warning that Beijing's disregard of an international tribunal ruling rejecting its claims to the South China Sea could have "unintended consequences." The Japanese government claimed that China is seeking to act unilaterally "without compromise." China's official news agency condemned the annual defense review for inflating a "China threat" theory in order to damage the country's image.
Hungarian foreign minister says Russia poses no threat to NATO members
2 August 2016 – Reuters
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said it is not "a realistic assumption" that Russia would attack a NATO member state. Szijjarto added that he does not believe Russia poses an existential threat to Hungary, while adding that each NATO ally has feelings of "different intensity" about the Russian threat.
China Holds Live-Fire Navy Drills in East China Sea
2 August 2016 – ABC News
The Chinese navy conducted exercises in the East China Sea beginning on Monday, following China's rejection of an international tribunal's ruling that invalidated the country's territorial claims in the South China Sea. The live-fire drills included the firing of dozens of missiles and torpedoes, with Beijing stating that the exercises are aimed at improving military "intensity, precision, stability, and speed."
China court warns against illegal fishing in riposte to South China Sea ruling
2 August 2016 – Reuters
China's supreme court claimed Chinese waters as the country's exclusive economic zones, warning that people caught illegally fishing in Chinese waters could be jailed for up to a year. The court did not specifically mention the South China Sea or a recent ruling rejecting Chinese territorial claims to the region, but claimed that the ruling adhered to both Chinese law and the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Japan's Abe likely to pick hawkish ally Inada as defense minister
2 August 2016 – Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to pick the ruling party's policy chief Tomomi Inada as the country's new defense minister. The move is part of a reshuffle of the Japanese cabinet, and could upset China and South Korea due to Inada's conservative views on Japanese wartime history.
OSCE: Monitors In Eastern Ukraine Threatened At Gunpoint By Separatists
1 August 2016 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that monitors from its mission in eastern Ukraine were threatened at gunpoint in Donetsk. The OSCE stated that a group was stopped by armed separatists who blocked the road and ordered them to leave the area.
Next page: About Us