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 United Kingdom has assumed the presidency of the G8, which will meet in Northern Ireland from June 17-18, 2013. Two thematic challenges that the G8 must address are: economic difficulties in developed and developing countries, and violent conflicts that demand the attention of the international community. For more information on this year’s agenda, click here.
Get to know the Irish Presidency of the EU. Ireland will host the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January 1, 2013 until June 30, 2013, the first to hold the presidency in the 2013-2014 trio. Including its current term, Ireland has held the presidency seven times since becoming a Member State in 1973. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of its membership, Ireland hopes its seventh term is as successful in brokering difficult agreements and pushing legislation forward. For background information on its agenda and priorities, click here.
Streit Council Board Member Steve Hanke receives third doctorate, Honoris Causa, at Istanbul Kultur University on April 16, 2012. He served as a Senior Economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, engineered more major currency reforms than any living economist, and has written over 20 books and hundreds of articles on currency reform and currency boards. Hanke currently holds numerous positions, including that of Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. For additional information on Hanke's achievements, click here.
Streit Council Board Member Steve Hanke’s new article “The U.S.A. and Europe: A Graphical Status Report” has been published in the March 2012 issue of GlobeAsia. In this article, Hanke argues that important economic indices are not providing a rosy picture of America’s immediate economic future. He also notes that “what happens in the U.S. and elsewhere will be conditioned by what occurs in Europe” and provides evidence that shows that Europe is headed toward a deflationary slump due to events in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Hanke does note, however, that President Obama’s reelection chances have improved by about 10% since September 2011. To read this article in full, click here.
Streit Council Board Members Steve Hanke and Richard Conn Henry Propose a NEW CALENDAR in an article published in the January 2012 issue of GlobeAsia. In "Changing Times" the authors explore the adoption of a new modern calendar and the use of Universal Time rather than time zones to realize economic benefits such as banks and businesses (if desired) being open at the same time around the world and unambiguous scheduling of conference calls. In addition, the adoption of a modern calendar would allow school, sports and business schedules to be the same every year. To view the proposed Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, click here. To read this article in full, please click here.
The Streit Council is now publishing the Washington Watch, a weekly round-up of events hosted by members of the Washington DC policy and academic community that focus on issues related to transatlantic relations and inter-democracy cooperation. Updated weekly, the Washington Watch provides a listing of local events of interest to the Council and likeminded thinkers.
G20 Summit 2011 - Major Issues and Our Perspective
The next G20 summit will be held in Cannes, France, on November 3rd and 4th, 2011. The Eurozone crisis, unemployment and social unrest, the international monetary system, fluctuating commodity prices, financial regulation, and development are set to rank high on the agenda. Additional details can be found here. For the Streit Council's position on the summit, click here.
Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan’s new article “The War on Terror and Transatlantic Relations” has been published in the September 2011 issue of Atlantisch Perspectief (Atlantic Perspective). In this article, Sloan explores both the unifying and divisive pressures that the War on Terror has placed on transatlantic relations. On balance, he argues that the divisive pressures which the War on Terror has placed on the transatlantic relationship have overshadowed the unifying pressures. This might begin to change, however, now that American public opinion has shifted away from support for the war in Afghanistan and closer to European opinion. To read this article in full, click here.
Paul Findley's new book on U.S. foreign policy - Speaking Out: A Congressman's Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War
In his twenty-two years as an Illinois congressman and in the years since he left office, Paul Findley has fought to eradicate famine, end wars, and eliminate bigotry in U.S. foreign policy. This sweeping political memoir opens with Findley’s early days in rural Pittsfield, Illinois, and chronicles his service during six administrations in Washington. His many accomplishments in Congress include authoring the Famine Prevention Act, coauthoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution, leading agricultural trade missions to the Soviet Union and China, and strongly opposing the Vietnam War. This autobiography is also a no-holds-barred critique of Israel’s lobby and its toll on the national interests of the United States. Few politicians are so openly critical of their government, and Findley’s opinions on what he believes to be disastrous foreign policy provide a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the shaping of these policies in the latter half of the twentieth century. For a preview, click here. Additional information about this book can be found here.
On December 10, 2010, the Free University of Tbilisi awarded Steve H. Hanke, a Professor of Applied Economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a Doctorate of Economics, Honoris Causa for his pioneering work on currency boards and economic reforms in emerging-market countries. On the occasion of this award, Prof. Hanke’s new book, A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari, which he co-authored with his long-time collaborator and former Hopkins post-doctoral fellow Dr. Kurt Schuler, was released. For more information on Steve Hanke’s accolades, click here.
Streit Council Launches New Blog, Streit Talk
The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies is pleased to announce the launch of its new weblog, Streit Talk. This new site is designed to keep you informed on the latest transatlantic news, while offering expert opinion on our core areas of transatlantic study, including economy, energy and environment, security and global governance. Also feel free to interact with our staff and other transatlantic policy watchers in the comments section. You can head over to our new blog by clicking here.
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
Fearing Afghanistan instability, Russia mulls border troops
17 May 2013 – Reuters
The Russian government is considering deploying guards on the Tajik-Afghan border because of growing instability, according to the Russian envoy in Kabul. He noted, however, that consent would have to be obtained from Tajikistan as well. Russian troops previously patrolled the border but left in 2005 after handing over power to local authorities. At the same time, the Russian envoy expressed concern over U.S. plans to maintain troops in Afghanistan after 2014, calling instead for an international legal arrangement.
EU trade chief urges no exclusions in EU/U.S. trade talks
16 May, 2013 – Reuters
EU trade chief Karel de Gucht urged EU members on Thursday to not exclude the audio-visual sector from the free trade agreement negotiations with the U.S., a proposal promoted by France which threatened in April to block the start of talks. De Gucht, who found support from the U.S. ambassador to the EU William Kennard, said that removing sectors from talks could induce similar actions from Americans and undermine the agreement. Ireland, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, will attempt to secure an agreement on a common negotiating stance at the EU trade ministers meeting on June 14th.
No Time for Mercantilist Posturing In Transatlantic Trade Talks
16 May, 2013 – Forbes
Even if the credibility of 2014 as a year to conclude a free trade agreement between U.S and EU is low, the expectations are high for its negotiations, as it is believed to be a cure for Europe and the best chance to prevent a Chinese export hegemony. A survey of American and European trade policy experts shows that more than half think the negotiations would produce a “moderate agreement,” and that it would take effect by the end of 2015 or 2016. Even in this globalized economy with transnational production and supply chains, trade negotiations are still seen from a mercantilist perspective of a double-edge weapon: with the cost of allowing import market access, and the benefit of improving foreign market access.
Intel, missiles top U.S.-Russian issues
16 May 2013 – UPI.com
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a letter that he received last month from his American counterpart, in which the White House proposed further nuclear arsenal reductions and discussed missile defense in Europe. According to Yuri Ushakov, a Putin adviser, the Kremlin is exploring intelligence sharing with the U.S. and would also like to debate the U.S. anti-missile shield. On the subject of American missile defense, the U.S. has stated that it needs to strengthen its defenses against Iran and North Korea while the Kremlin continues to ask for security assurances.
Obama “Seeks Missile Defense Deal” With Putin
15 May 2013 - The Moscow Times (Issue 5126)
A secret message delivered on April 15th from U.S. President Barack Obama to his Russian counterpart included an offer to share information on the anti-missile shield and an outline for an accord on further nuclear reductions. According to the State Department, such an agreement would not have to be approved by Congress but due to this, would be rejected by the next administration. The current administration hopes to start negotiations later this year and the presidents of both countries will likely begin discussions in the Russian capital at the beginning of September.
David Cameron survives humbling EU revolt in parliament
16 May 2013 - Reuters
More than a third of the lawmakers belonging to the Conservative party in the UK voted against Prime Minister David Cameron in protest of his stance on Britain’s membership in the EU. A total of 130 lawmakers supported an amendment expressing regret that the EU referendum was left out of the government's agenda, and 114 of the 305 Conservative members of Parliament voted against Cameron. His offer on Tuesday of draft legislation that would make his promise legally binding received a weak reception and it will be blocked by the Conservatives' coalition partner, the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.
U.S. Missile Defense Plan Changes Linked to “Economic Issues”
15 May 2013 - RIA Novosti
Although the Obama administration canceled the fourth phase of its anti-missile shield in Europe and decided to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska instead, the American plans are still a cause for concern for the Kremlin. This U.S. decision was driven by economic and technological problems, commented Col. Gen. Alexander Postnikov-Streltsov, deputy chief of the General Staff. Moscow waits for more details on this decision and continues to ask for legally binding assurances that the U.S. missile defense system will not undermine Russian security, Postnikov-Streltsov added. The U.S. explains its decision by citing a nuclear threat from North Korea.
Industry Chief Says EU’s Gas Sector Is In a “Disastrous” State
15 May 2013 – EurActiv
Jean-Francois Cirelli, president of association that represents European gas companies, said that European gas sector lacks the necessary investment for the industry to provide stable power supply in some EU countries. The gas sector has been negatively impacted by low electricity demand, the promotion of renewables, and competition from coal-fired power plants. Cirelli called on European leaders to encourage investments in gas-based power production capacities during the energy summit on the May 22nd by adopting a positive stance toward fracking.
Commission Probes Big Oil Firms for Possible Price Manipulation
15 May 2013 – EurActiv
The European Commission has started an investigation into major energy companies over suspected anti-competitive agreements related to submission of data to Platts, a leading oil pricing agency. The inspections took place at offices of BP, Statoil, and Shell, but an official list of companies under investigation has not been released. The Commission has concerns that companies collaborated in reporting distorted prices to Platts to manipulate the published prices for oil. The investigation is expected to last several years before the Commission draws its final conclusions.
Beijing, New Delhi must shake hands: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
15 May 2013 - Times of India
India and China must shake hands to make Asia an engine of the world economy, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. Li made his remarks ahead of his visit to New Delhi on May 19th, his first overseas. He described India as an important neighbor, expressing hope that the two countries could provide strong impetus for global economic growth, but avoided making references to a recent border standoff near Ladakh, which was resolved after 20 days. Li had first visited India 27 years ago as leader of a youth delegation.
Economy to make mark in PM Erdoğan’s U.S. visit
14 May 2013 – Hurriyet Daily News
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between EU-U.S. is expected to be harmful for the Turkish economy, an issue that will be discussed during the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. It has been estimated that Turkey would face a 2.5 % decline in growth, as it will not be able to compete with cheap EU products, unless Turkey and the U.S. sign another trade agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in March stated that economic cooperation could not take place without Turkey, adding that Turkey needs to have a “strong position in the structure”.
France secures support to limit scope of EU-U.S. trade talks
14 May 2013- Reuters
France threatened in April to block the start of EU-U.S. negotiations unless the audio-visual sector is excluded from talks, fearing that the powerful U.S. movie business could drown out European culture. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said that the "cultural exception" is not up for negotiation and that member states would still be able to subsidize the industry and set quotas. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday during his visit to Washington that the talks on the proposed pact should cover everything, including ”difficult" issues. The meeting of trade ministers will be held on June 14th in Ireland.
Obama to announce Afghanistan troop plans shortly: Kerry
14 May 2013 – Reuters
President Obama will announce in a few weeks how many U.S. combat troops will remain in Afghanistan in 2014, according to Secretary of State John Kerry. U.S. lawmakers have been pressing both commanders and the administration to release troop size recommendations. In March, General James Mattis, who leads U.S. Central Command, recommended keeping 13,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2013.
After buoyant debut, U.S.-EU trade talks face a growing list of issues
14 May 2013 – The Washington Post
After the initial excitement about a Free Trade Agreement between U.S. and EU, the benefits are starting to be eclipsed by emerging issues. The disputes, which are not necessarily deal-breakers, are over financial services regulation, the openness of the U.S. to foreign businesses, EU prohibitions on GM foods, and the audio-visual sector. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that talks on the proposed U.S.-EU free trade area could be launched by next month's G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, and he hopes they would start without preconditions by either side.
14 EU culture ministers seek exemptions from a U.S. trade deal
14 May 2013 – AFP
Culture Ministers of 14 EU member nations want the audio-visual sector to be excluded from negotiations for the EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, an initiative started by the French government after the meeting between UK Prime Minister Cameron and U.S. President Obama, who want the agreement to cover all subjects. French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti is ready to discuss this at Friday's meeting with his counterparts from the 27-nation European Union.
U.S.-EU Trade Talks Risk Damaging Turkey Ties
13 May 2013 – Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Europe next month to start formal negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe. U.S. and EU officials will take into account the position of Turkey, one of the most important EU trading partners which, according to some estimates, may lose 2.5% of GDP with the creation of the FTA. The two countries could also create a “Track Two” consultative role in their negotiations for third countries that are deeply integrated into the transatlantic economy, such as Turkey, Canada and Mexico.
G7 smoothes U.S.-EU divisions, agrees on joint currency policy
13 May 2013 – Hurriyet Daily News
At the G7 meeting last weekend, finance ministers and central bank governors passed over U.S. -EU differences over their fiscal policies, pledging to tackle tax evasion and not weaken currencies, said British finance minister George Osborne. The U.S. asked the EU to reduce its spending cuts, believed to be harmful for growth, while the IMF generally welcomed government efforts to cut spending and urged Britain to decrease the pace of its austerity programme to support the country's fragile economic recovery.
U.S. must take Pakistan drone concerns seriously: Sharif
13 May 2013 – Express Tribune
Incoming Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged cooperation as the U.S. withdraws forces from Afghanistan but has warned Washington to take concerns about drone strikes seriously. Although Washington views the strikes as an important weapon against extremism, they are unpopular in Pakistan. Speaking to foreign journalists, Sharif described them as a challenge to Pakistan’s sovereignty but has promised to discuss the issue with the U.S. Relations between the two countries have suffered significantly in the past few years but have warmed again in recent months, with Sharif promising to see that this continues.
European Energy Chief Puts Forward Case for Funding Coal
12 May 2013 – The Guardian
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is reviewing its energy investment policy and it hinted it may expand funding for high-carbon coal projects. EBRD’s energy chief, Ricardo Puliti, said that a low-carbon economy is very important, but concerns about affordability and stable supplies also have to be addressed. Puliti argues against a one-size-fits-all policy, stressing that every country’s circumstances are different and that coal has to be considered a viable option when ensuring the security of energy supplies. While Puliti said that out of 200 projects funded in the last six years only two were related to coal, CEE Bankwatch claims that half of the EBRD’s energy investments went to fossil fuel projects during the same period. The bank’s new energy policy is to be decided by the shareholders in December 2013.
Belarus-Russia joint air defense base no threat to NATO – Lavrov
10 May 2013 – RT
Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, denies that the envisaged Russian air defense facility in Belarus is the answer to the U.S. anti-missile shield in Europe, claiming that its purpose is to protect Russia and Belarus against the Baltic States’ and Poland’s air forces. According to Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister, by 2015 Russia plans to deploy around 60 airplanes and 4 battalions of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Belarus. Russia’s ultimate goal is to build an integrated anti-air and anti-missile system to protect the member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Lavrov and his American counterpart, John Kerry, talked about U.S. missile defense in Europe and its implication for strategic stability a few days ago in Moscow, but they have yet to find a middle ground on this issue.
EU-U.S. free trade area can be driving force for development: Italian FM
10 May 2013 – Shanghai Daily
After talks with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that the EU-U.S. free trade agreement will be a driving force to development. John Kerry expressed his appreciation for the structural measures of the new government implemented to face the economic crisis, and his willingness to work in areas of security and economic issues with the new Italian government led by Prime Minister Enrico Letta, which he describes as a trusted friend of the U.S.
Shale Gas Could Curb Gazprom Prices: Guenther Oettinger, EU Commissioner
10 May 2013 – The Economic Times
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said that shale gas in Europe could help the continent get better prices from Gazprom. The shale gas supply could act as leverage for the EU’s long-term negotiations with Russia in order to equalize gas prices across the EU. As a result of Gazprom’s individualized pricing mechanisms, Lithuania pays 40 percent more for its gas than the market price in Germany. EU energy policy is a hotly discussed topic and the Lithuanian presidency in 2013 will emphasize a strengthening the internal energy market and enhancing the EU’s external energy policies.
Pakistan campaigning ends ahead of election
10 May 2013 – BBC News
Campaigning in Pakistan has ended ahead of Saturday’s general election, which will mark the first successful transition from one civilian government to another. Violence that has killed more than 100 people has marred the election, however. The Taliban have singled the governing Pakistan People’s Party and two other parties and threatened to carry out suicide attacks. In response, tens of thousands of troops will be deployed at polling stations. The current front-runner for the next prime minister is opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.
Afghan president says U.S. wants to keep 9 bases in the country after 2014 pullout
9 May 2013 – Washington Post
The U.S. wants to keep nine bases in Afghanistan after withdrawing combat troops in 2014, according to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. In exchange, Afghanistan wants a U.S. commitment to boost security, strengthen its armed forces, and promise long-term economic development. Both sides have been at odds over Karzai’s request that the U.S. guarantee that it would side with Afghanistan if Pakistan poses a threat. Talks stalled earlier in March when Karzai suggested that the U.S. and Taliban were colluding.
U.S.-EU pact will be trade “game changer”: EU envoy
9 May 9 2013 – Reuters
EU officials pointed out on Thursday that the economic potential of the EU-U.S. free trade agreement is huge, defined by EU Ambassador to the United States João Vale de Almeida as a “game changer” and “the mother of all trade areas.” The negotiations, which are supposed to start in July and finish in two years, are expected to be tough as EU lawmakers are already supporting French demands to exempt cultural and audiovisual services, as well as European countries’ refusal to import genetically modified crops from the U.S.
EU officials press for trade pact
9 May 2013 - The Hill
EU officials said on Wednesday that the FTA between U.S. and EU must be comprehensive and far-reaching to boost economies on both sides of the Atlantic, and they urged key U.S. business leaders to persuade the Congress and the White House to include all the sectors of the economy in the FTA negotiations. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed worries about the possibility that firms will seek weaker financial regulation because of the massive increase in trade.
U.S. officials discussing release of classified missile defense data to Russia
8 May 2013 – The Washington Post / Associated Press
Vice Admiral James Syring, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director, stated that the Obama administration has considered providing the Kremlin with important details that pertain to the U.S. anti-missile shield in order to reduce Russian opposition to the system. This in turn may persuade Moscow to negotiate further nuclear arms cuts. However, Republicans are hostile to the idea of compromising national security by declassifying critical data about missile defense.
U.S. EU, welcome choice of next WTO chief Azevedo Eds
8 May 2013 – Europe Online Magazine
The U.S. and EU Chief Trade Officials announced Wednesday that they will support the new Brazilian head of WTO Roberto Azevedo, even if it is not a secret that they would have preferred his rival, the Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco. U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said about Azevedo and Blanco that both are strong leaders, and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht expressed his belief that Azevedo will help to revive the stalled Doha Round of international trade talks at the WTO meeting in December.
EU Leaders to Square the Circle of Cheap Energy
8 May 2013 – EurActiv
EU leaders are expected to reach conclusions on shale gas, climate change policies, and their impacts on the competitiveness of the European industrial sector at an energy summit on the May 22nd. One of the objectives of the summit is to reshape the EU’s energy policy to boost growth, productivity, and employment to alleviate Europe’s economic woes. The draft conclusions of the summit state that “the EU’s goal is to ensure a level playing field for businesses and industry so they can compete in the global marketplace.”
As Pakistan votes, military watches from barracks
8 May 2013 – Express Tribune
Although Pakistan will transition from one civilian government to another for the first time in its history this Saturday, the military will remain in charge, say experts. However, the coming year will still be challenging for the military, particularly as NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan, which will have implications across the region. In addition, the current front-runner for prime minister is Nawaz Sharif, who has had historically bad relations with the military. The recent arrest of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf and the increasing independence of both the judiciary and the media have also made the political situation of the military more uncertain.
Draft EU-Canada Trade Treaty Threatens Europe's Fracking Bans
8 May 2013 – EurActiv
An investment clause in the proposed Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA) could allow Canadian companies to challenge European fracking bans based on fair and equitable treatment obligation within the treaty. The adoption of the trade agreement with its current language could cause multi-million investor-state lawsuits, which could compromise the democratic decision-making process involving fracking. Both parties are reportedly close to signing the deal thought to be worth over $21 billion.
“Political science fiction” to become reality, Barroso says
7 May 2013 – EU Observer
President Jose Manuel Barroso announced that the European Commission will suggest new ideas for treaty change before the European elections, adding that what is now considered “political science fiction,” will be reality soon. Barroso underlined the importance of involving EU citizens in the renewal process, and the need for political parties to not let Euroscepticism and Europhobia prevail. Statistics for youth unemployment (58% in Greece and 55% in Spain), have led politicians to speak of a "lost generation" of Europeans, an issue that will be faced at the summit of EU leaders in June.
China worries about EU-U.S. plans for free trade pact
7 May 2013 – Reuters
A senior EU official said on Tuesday that China expressed its worries about the EU-U.S. FTA, seeing it as a protectionist move for the transatlantic economy from the rest of the world. The EU argues that this FTA, and the consequent expansion of trade and investment across the Atlantic, would also benefit other countries.
EFA support ARP petition
7 May 2013 – Screen Daily
The Board of European Film Academy (EFA), and its president Wim Wenders, support the French association of Film Directors and Producers’ petition to preserve Europe’s cultural exception in the EU-U.S. FTA negotiations. EFA claimed that a Europe which neglects the importance of its culture would reduce the EU to a purely economic and political body, reminding European and national institutions that the audio-visual industry is one of the most promising job generating sectors in Europe.
U.S. and Russia Plan Conference Aimed at Ending Syrian War
7 May 2013 – New York Times
Russia and the United States announced Tuesday that they will hold a conference in upcoming weeks that will aim to end the ongoing civil war in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov said that the U.S. and Russia will endeavor to levy diplomatic pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as the Syrian opposition, in a joint effort to bring peace to a conflict that has caused more than 70,000 deaths. The meeting was held in response to continued escalation of violence in Syria, the probable use of chemical weapons, and the burden of increasing Syrian refugees on Syria’s neighbor states. Additionally, Israeli air strikes over the weekend and heightened calls for the Obama administration to take more direct action are driving this conference.
Cut agricultural subsidies to boost production, U.S., EU told
7 May 2013 - The New Indian Express
Indian Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Daggubati Purandeswari, informed the Lok Sabha on Monday that India and other WTO members want a cut of U.S and EU agriculture trade-distorting domestic subsidies under the Doha round of trade negotiations under the WTO. The next WTO ministerial meeting will take place in December in Bali.
Pakistan Warns Afghanistan to Show Restraint
7 May 2013 – AP
Pakistan warned Afghanistan today of consequences if a border spat between the two countries escalate further. Afghanistan had yesterday lodged a similar protest with Pakistan, blaming the latter for a spate of shootouts near the boundary. Relations have deteriorated sharply in recent months because of the building of a military gate by Pakistan in what Afghanistan claims is Afghan territory. Afghanistan also does not recognize the Durand Line border, while both countries blame each other for providing shelter to insurgents fighting on the other side of the border.
Bears Buzz Alaska Again
6 May, 2013 – The Washington Free Beacon
Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers have been harassing U.S. military installations on U.S. and Japanese soil, including missile defense sites, since June last year. Because the White House is pursuing “reset” in relations with Russia, some of these incidents have not been announced. However, a declaration of cooperation and plans for joint U.S.-Russian exercises have been released instead. U.S. officials perceive the increased bomber activity as an attempt by the Kremlin to influence American plans for its anti-missile shield. While, as the officials suggest, the Obama Administration seems to be arranging another concession on U.S. missile defense in Europe in order to start new nuclear reduction negotiations, some defense analysts and officials including Trey Obering, a former chief of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), question current U.S. policy toward Russia.
Canadian Trade Negotiators in Brussels as EU-U.S. Trade Talks Loom
6 May, 2013 – The wall Street Journal
Canadian trade negotiators will meet their EU counterparts in Brussels this week to finalize the negotiations of a trade deal that started four years ago, and that was supposed to reach the finish line by the end of last year. This need comes from the worry that Europeans will turn their attention to the more advantageous trade agreement with the U.S. Talks will mainly focus on non-agricultural issues, leaving beef and pork access – the thorniest matter – for another day.
NATO chief: EU soft power is “no power at all”
6 May 2013 - euobserver.com
The Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stated during a meeting with members of the European Parliament that in order to be effective, European soft power must be supported by military power and there must be a political willingness to use this power. If Europeans are serious about the idea of strengthened European defense, they should allocate more resources to procure defense assets including air-refueling, intelligence, and air transport, the Secretary added. He saw the possibility of cooperation between NATO and EU as a combination of NATO’s military prowess and the EU’s diplomacy and civilian aid. When asked about the situation in Syria, Rasmussen answered that since there is no UN authorization and the situation is complicated, NATO is not planning to get involved.
Next page: About Us