The unification of experienced democracies has been the key international political trend of the last one hundred years, persisting despite rapid changes in international affairs. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.

What's New

NATO, Trump, and the Return of the Burden-Sharing Debate
As North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on May 24-25, they face heightened uncertainty about the future of the Alliance. U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has voiced support for NATO while emphasizing the need for a more equitable defense spending burden within the Alliance. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has suggested that the U.S. may not aid NATO allies when attacked if they do not meet the Alliance’s non-binding pledge to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms on the Post-Brexit European Order
The challenges facing the United Kingdom over the next two years are numerous and increasing by the day. All of these issues are hugely important and they are closely interconnected. At root, however, they are a question of order, not so much of the “rules-based” global international community, significant though that is, but of the European order around which the world system was originally constructed and that remains – for the UK, at least – the primary pivot. (Read More)

The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?

As the European Union (EU) approaches the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, its leaders and institutions face a rising tide of political risk. Long-held and growing doubts about the EU’s ability to reduce unemployment, stem migration, and counter terrorism have set the stage for electoral gains by euroskeptic parties in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and – if an early election is called – in Italy. These risks are compounded by Russia’s support for euroskeptic parties; the uncertain fate of the EU-Turkey refugee deal; Brexit negotiations; and an increasingly likely economic downturn. What can be done to strengthen the Union? (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms co-authors a new book: Donald Trump: The Making of a World View
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election, to the joy of some and the shock of many across the globe. Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on Earth, Americans and non-Americans alike have been left wondering what that means for the world. It has been widely claimed that Trump's foreign policy views are impulsive, inconsistent and that they were improvised on the campaign trail. Drawing on interviews from as far back as 1980, historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman show that this assumption is dangerously false in this new book. (Read More)

New Book edition by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan
The latest edition of Stanley R. Sloan's book on transatlantic security relations - Defense of the West: NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain (Manchester University Press, 2016) - surveys the history of NATO, analyzes interactions between contemporary internal and external threats facing the Alliance, and offers a net assessment of its future. Click here for his summary of the book, and here for peer reviews.

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

Trump calls Germans “bad” but agrees to EU trade plan
26 May 2017 – EU Observer
U.S. President Donald Trump called Germany “very, very bad” in reference to the U.S. trade deficit with Germany as the European Commission announced the EU and U.S. would discuss a trade plan. Few details about the plan are available as both sides need to form their delegations and define the scope of the talks.
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Britain’s May gets support from G7 on fight against terrorism
26 May 2017 – Reuters
At the G7 summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May won support from her fellow members for measures to better tackle terrorism. These include urging technology companies to impose internet controls and forming a better system to track militants.  French President Emmanuel Macron was the first leader to offer May support.
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Cohn: White House won’t roll back Russia sanctions
26 May 2017 – Politico
Top White House adviser Gary Cohn said that the U.S. will not remove sanctions on Russia and "would probably look to get tougher" on the country, clarifying remarks earlier this week that President Donald Trump did not yet have a position on the issue. Cohn said that Trump made clear what requirements Russia would have to meet to have sanctions lifted.
(Read More)

British authorities believe most involved in Manchester bombing are in custody
26 May 2017 – The Washington Post
British authorities have detained most of the network suspected of participating in planning Monday's terror attack in Manchester, according to Britain's top counterterrorism official. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd also maintained the UK's threat level at "critical" on Friday, a move that leaves in place 1,000 troops deployed to supplement police across the country.
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Brexit: Brain drain fears increase as Theresa May refuses to guarantee rights of highly-skilled EU workers
25 May 2017 – The Independent
British Prime Minister Theresa May is refusing to guarantee the rights of highly-skilled EU migrants post-Brexit, increasing fears of a brain drain once the UK leaves the EU. Many European regions like Spain’s Basque Country are hoping to capitalize on this fact to lure talent that it lost to Britain in the past. The UK became a more favored destination during the Eurozone crisis and recession, but now, in the wake of Brexit and May’s negotiating positions, that flow is reversing.
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UK police suspend intelligence sharing with U.S. over Manchester media leaks
25 May 2017 – France 24
UK police have suspended the sharing of intelligence on Monday's bombing in Manchester with the U.S., citing leaks from U.S. officials that were "undermining" the counterterrorism investigation. The National Counter Terrorism Policing warned that such unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence was a breach of trust that jeopardizes the two countries' relationship and the ongoing investigation.
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In NATO speech, Trump is vague about mutual defense pledge
25 May 2017 – The New York Times
U.S. President Donald Trump refused to explicitly endorse NATO's Article 5 clause in remarks to alliance leaders in Brussels on Thursday, instead criticizing allies for not contributing two percent of GDP to defense spending. Trump stated that he had been "very direct" with NATO leaders on the spending guideline, calling it a "bare minimum for confronting today's very real and very vicious threats." White House officials later stated that although Trump did not mention Article 5, his statements affirmed a commitment to mutual defense.
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Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit
24 May 2017 – The Washington Post
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel approached Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with complaints regarding the detention of French and German nationals in Turkey during a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday. Merkel, who met with Erdogan on the sidelines of the summit, discussed "current strains in relations" between the countries. A senior French official stated that Erdogan indicated he would look into the situation.
(Read More)

NATO will formally join anti-Islamic State coalition
24 May 2017 – Deutsche Welle
NATO will reportedly join the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, with the decision expected to be announced during a meeting of the alliance’s leaders in Brussels on Thursday. Alliance diplomats have called the decision largely symbolic, as all 28 NATO members already contribute to the coalition.
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After Brexit, EU plans “offer you cannot refuse” to expand Eurozone: Moscovici
23 May 2017 – Reuters
The European Commission’s economics minister, Pierre Moscovici, said the Eurozone will be made more attractive to non-members in the EU. The proposals aimed at doing so will be presented next week and come amid widespread skepticism in non-Eurozone EU members about the benefits of adopting the common currency.
(Read More)

Terror alert in Britain is raised to maximum as ISIS claims Manchester attack
23 May 2017 – The New York Times
The UK raised its terror alert level from severe to critical following Monday's bombing in Manchester, with Prime Minister Theresa May warning of the possibility of "a wider group of individuals" linked to the attack. May also stated that the change allows for "additional resources and support" for police, and that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, which sets the threat level, will continue to review the situation.
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NATO hit by Turkish veto on Austria partnership
23 May 2017 – BBC
Turkey has vetoed NATO cooperation with Austria that would permit Austrian involvement in alliance operations. The move is believed to be retaliation for Austria’s opposition to Turkey's bid to join the EU. Other NATO members have reportedly agreed to change procedures to allow for partnerships on a country-by-country basis in order to "reduce the risk of blockages to cooperation with partners across the board," according to an alliance official.
(Read More)

Germany’s Schaeuble wants creative ways to build stronger EU
23 May 2017 – U.S. News & World Report
In his prepared remarks for a speech at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stated that the EU should find ways to cooperate more closely on migration, security, and foreign and economic policy without waiting for a change to the foundational EU treaties. Schaeuble insisted that he shares many views with French President Emmanuel Macron on how to strengthen the bloc, but that currently there may not be enough popular support to change the treaties.
(Read More)

Security sticking points in Brexit talks
23 May 2017 – Politico
The UK’s exit from the EU will further complicate the already sensitive subject of intelligence sharing as a part of counterterrorism. Many countries still prefer to share information bilaterally, which leads to not sharing enough at the European level, according to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. Even before Monday’s attack in Manchester, this was a topic that was going to be difficult in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
(Read More)

Merkel calls for unity in climate talks before G7 as U.S. holds out
23 May 2017 – Reuters
On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the world to work together to fight climate change while arguing for the economic benefits of doing so. She insisted that tackling climate change must be a collective global effort and cited a report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development showing that growth and climate agendas together could lift economic output by as much as 2.8%.
(Read More)

Salman Abedi, 22, is identified as Manchester arena bomber
23 May 2017 – The New York Times
A 22-year-old British man has been identified by British police as the person responsible for detonating a bomb that killed 22 and injured 59 at the Manchester Arena late Monday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but the British government has not made any immediate comment on the claim.
(Read More)

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