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.
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
“If the Brits want to leave, let them leave,” say EU leaders
5 February 2016 – Telegraph
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz revealed that there was quiet exasperation from EU leaders regarding the UK’s threat to leave. Schulz added that while many EU leaders were saying to “let them leave,” he did not support this sentiment. With the UK’s leading internal financial market and the security the EU provides, Schulz stated that, “the UK and the EU both stand to win by remaining together.”
India, China talk maritime security
5 February 2016 – The Asian Age
On Thursday, India and China held the first round of talks on maritime cooperation, discussing issues such as security perspectives and future prospects. International institutions such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the International Maritime Organization also added to the discussions. These talks are occurring amid tensions over the South China Sea.
U.S. panel says yuan will erode, not challenge, dollar dominance
5 February 2016 – Bloomberg News
According to a U.S. congressional panel, the dollar’s role in trade may decrease over time due to the yuan’s new status as a currency reserve. While this may have an effect on the dollar, former chief of the IMF’s China Division Eswar Prasad reassured that, “[the yuan] will erode but not seriously challenge the dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency.” Prasad continued that while the yuan will see a greater increase in use for cross-border transactions, China’s financial markets will likely be a source of constraint for this otherwise forward momentum.
German judges slap TTIP down
4 February 2016 – Deutsche Welle
Judges in the German Magistrates Association oppose the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’s (TTIP) investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision that would allow investors and corporations to sue national governments, on the grounds that it has no legal basis. The association also opposes the European Commission’s proposal to replace ISDS with an Investment Court System (ICS) to protect investors as a threat to the sovereignty of European legal systems.
Obama seeks $10-per-barrel oil tax to fund clean transport
4 February 2016 – Associated Press
In an effort to promote the fight against climate change, U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed that oil companies pay a $10 fee on every barrel of oil. This proposal will be released in the budget request for Congress starting Tuesday. The $10 fee is to be phased in over five years, providing $20 billion in traffic reduction.
INTERVIEW: G20 may need fiscal policy action at summit to boost growth (IIF)
4 February 2016 – Reuters
The collapse of oil, the possibility of yuan devaluation, and increasing capital outflows from China, has the world on edge in fear of a global recession. Chief financial leaders from the G20 member states will meet on February 26-27 to discuss strategies to strengthen the economy. A chief economist stated that while China should detail a strategy for future exchange rate policy at the event, the G20 could also take charge in promoting growth.
Trans Pacific Partnership signing brings on international protests
3 February 2016 – San Diego Free Press
As representatives from 12 Pacific Rim nations gather in New Zealand for the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, organized protests have been occurring around the world in opposition. The deal must still be ratified by at least six of the member states, and ratification has been unofficially put off until after the November elections in the United States.
“Russia’s economic blockade of Ukraine has failed”: Kyiv hails success of the new “Silk Road”
3 February 2016 – Ukraine Today
Though the first test shipment along the new “Silk Road” took a few days longer than expected, the Ukrainian government is optimistic about its trading future with China. The prime minister of Ukraine announced: “We’ve succeeded in launching the test shipment and in showing Russia that the economic and transit blockade of Ukraine will fail.” Ukraine is currently in the process of promoting the route among EU member states, and expects that the issues experienced with the test shipment will be resolved quickly.
Italian rail company in 5bn EUR Iran deal
4 February 2016 – Railly News
The Transport Ministers of Italy and Iran have signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the return of state owned Italian rail transportation to Iran. The company providing the transportation, Ferrovie dello Stato, has been active in Iran since 2001. The company will carry out contracts worth up to 5 billion euros.
The Pentagon’s Top Threat? Russia
3 February 2016 – The New York Times
The Pentagon has put Russia at the top of its list of national security threats with its plan to increase the deployment of heavy weapons, armored vehicles and troops on rotating assignment to NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe. In a speech on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter listed a hierarchy of threats to the United States, which include China, North Korea, Iran and finally, the fight against terrorism. But his primary focus was Russia.
EU Banking Rules Divide at Euro-Area Border in Cameron Deal
3 February 2016 – Bloomberg
A new EU draft deal with Britain splits banking rules for euro and non-euro countries, to protect the British financial industry. The draft challenges the idea of uniform rules for the single market after the Eurozone crisis.
North Korea missile launch plan raises alarm
3 February 2016 – Financial Times
On Tuesday, North Korea notified the International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunication Union of a future satellite launch sometime between February 8th and 25th. A U.S. State Department spokesperson stated that while pre-emptive strike is out of the question for an attack that has not happened, “the announcement of it itself is just all the more indication that the international community needs to get behind tougher action against them.”
France sees EU proposals for Britain as basis for talks, but within limits
3 February 2016 – Reuters
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that draft deal for Britain should not go against treaties and have non-euro countries interfere with the Eurozone. The EU proposals by Tusk did not clarify how Britain will interfere with Eurozone decision-making. The proposals are legally acceptable according to EU officials.
Putin prepares Russia for massive privatization drive
2 February 2016 – ABC7
As a result of Russia’s economic crisis, Putin is considering privatizing state assets to raise money. Any company that is based on Russian soil could be a focus, but strategically important companies will not be considered. Because Russia is suffering from both Western sanctions and the collapsing oil market, the Russian economy shrank by 3.7 percent in 2015.
EU seeks to bring U.S. trade talks towards a close by summer: trade commissioner
2 February 2016 – Reuters
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says that EU hopes to conclude the TTIP negotiations with the U.S. by the summer. Talks have lasted for over two years, and the deal could benefit both sides by $100 billion.
Britain Receives Proposals for “Better Deal” on EU Membership
2 February 2016 – New York Times
Today, a top European offered a package of concessions to Britain for “better [EU] deal” such as giving the British government rights to restrict welfare to foreigners from the EU, in an effort to keep Britain in the EU. Critics from the British Conservative Party said the concessions are not enough for to keep Britain in. A number of other proposals were made to protect Britain’s financial industry.
EU draft deal on Britain not a Eurozone veto: Tusk letter
2 February 2016 – CNBC
European Council President Donald Tusk says in letter to EU that protection for non-Eurozone countries like the UK does not give them veto rights. He also mentions that this protection will not “delay urgent decisions.” The proposal will be discussed on February 18th.
Negotiators miss deadline for transatlantic data agreement
1 February 2016 – The Hill
The U.S. and EU missed the January 31th deadline to replace the Safe Harbor data framework. Negotiators are meeting on February 2nd to discuss further methods for industries to legally use data. The loss of data could impact transatlantic trade.
Statement by the President on the FY2017 European Reassurance Initiative Budget Request
2 February 2016 – The White House
Since the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine almost two years ago, the United States has taken steps to assure allies and bolster NATO’s collective defense capabilities in light of a changing European security environment. Under the European Reassurance Initiative, the U.S. has increased its military presence in Europe; conducted additional bilateral and multilateral exercises; improved U.S. and allied military infrastructure in Europe; prepositioned more U.S. equipment in Europe; and intensified efforts to build the capacity and interoperability of allies and partners.
Pentagon Unveils Budget Priority for Next Year: Countering Russia and China
1 February 2016 – The Washington Post
On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter will preview the Pentagon budget proposal for fiscal 2017, making a case for why China’s rapid military buildup and Russia’s intervention beyond its borders pose larger threats to U.S. security, and merit larger investments, than do extremist groups like the Islamic State.
Report calls for strengthening credibility in climate action
1 February 2016 – Business Standard
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment published a report with the London School of Economics and Political Science calling for G20 member countries to build confidence in the Paris agreement on climate change. According to the report, G20 countries’ emission targets scored lower on transparency, inclusiveness, and effectiveness in decision-making, therefore resulting in “no credible basis” across determinants from any G20 country. The report suggested that the countries focus on credibility rather than making ambitious pledges regarding future emissions.
Europe's Biggest Exchange Warns “Brexit” May Spur London Exodus
1 February 2016 – Bloomberg
Britain’s potential exit from the EU raises concerns over damage to international investment and the business climate of the UK. Bats Global Markets Inc, which manages both the European and American Stock exchange, released a statement suggesting that a Brexit “could damage the London business climate enough to drive some or all the company’s operations out of the UK.” British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to hold the UK referendum on EU membership in 2017, and is pushing to renegotiate the terms of UK membership.
ECB chief urges agreement to keep Britain in European Union
1 February 2016 - Reuters
Italian economist and head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, called for a solution to the debate over Britain’s exit from the EU. He supported his position by arguing that an agreement to keep UK in the EU would strengthen integration and bolster confidence. Draghi’s remarks highlight the concern of the European Central Bank regarding a potential Brexit.
Ukraine open to military cooperation with Turkey in Black Sea, Ukrainian FM says
1 February 2016 – Daily Sabah
In an official visit to Istanbul, the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Turkey discussed ways to approach Russian policy toward the region. While there was no press conference after the meeting, an interview with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin showed the possible planning of security and defense cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine. Klimkin stated that Russia’s actions indicate no respect international law and are a threat to global security.
Zika virus could be bigger global health threat than Ebola, says health experts
1 February 2016 – The Guardian
The World Health Organization has reported that the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America could be a more pressing threat to the global community than the Ebola epidemic in Africa. As Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, explained: “It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable individuals—pregnant women—that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies.” Vaccines against Zika are unlikely due to ethical issues, and it may take extreme measures to contain Zika.
Germany tipped for a top spot in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
1 February 2016 – South China Morning Post
The five vice-presidents for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are reported to hail from China, Germany, India, South Korea and Indonesia. This balance and international representation is relatively novel compared to other Western-dominated institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The AIIB emphasizes professional and financial expertise, as evidenced by its disapproval of the UK’s nomination of the relatively inexperienced Danny Alexander for vice-president.
ECB's Coeure suggests treasury for Eurozone
1 February 2016 – Reuters
ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure suggested that the European Commission could become a treasury for the Eurozone, where the idea is opposed by countries that do not want their independent economies to be interfered. Coeure also mentioned that a Eurozone-level institution should be built to help European economy recover.
EU's Covered-Bond Market Stance Seen as “Good News” for Denmark
1 February 2016 – Bloomberg
EU Commissioner Johnathan Hill proposed that covered bond markets in Europe should be governed at the national level instead of pursuing a single European market. Big covered bond markets are often warned against lower standards due to market integration. Hill’s comment is against the idea of ECB’s “harmonization of the covered bond market in the EU.”
U.S. and Europe Fail to Meet Deadline for Data Transfer Deal
31 January 2016 – New York Times
American and European negotiators failed to reach an agreement regarding the security and protection of online data transfers across the Atlantic. Officials from the two regions could not agree on how one region would be protected from the surveillance of the other. American officials proposed the creation of a data ombudsman that would allow Europe to have a direct point of contact in the U.S. State Department if they are concerned over government misuse of data. The negotiations revealed a lot of uncertainty on both sides regarding the future of data transfers and privacy.
Cameron hopes on Brexit deal rise after Tusk meeting
31 January 2016 – The Financial Times
Britain will propose a draft to the EU on financial protection for non-euro countries in the EU. France is concerned with British influence over the single market as a non-Eurozone country, where policies do not apply to those outside of the single currency. French officials argue that new rights and veto power should not be given to non-euro countries.
Cameron says “long way to go” in EU benefit talks
29 January 2016 - BBC
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to prevent migrants from claiming tax credits for four years is being met with stark opposition, as other European countries view the proposal as discriminatory toward their citizens. Cameron argued that the proposal would help to ensure that migrants pay into the system before being able to take advantage of welfare safety nets. UKIP leader Nigel Farage disagrees with Cameron’s efforts and called the plan “pathetic and somewhat anemic.” Despite the EU proposal for a temporary ban on welfare credits for European countries that can prove strain on their economies due to welfare, Cameron insists that more work needs to be done.
Russia Tops List for European Court of Human Rights Violations
29 January 2016 – Newsweek
Human rights abuses in Russia have long been cause for concern among international organizations. Russia violated the convention of the European Court for Human Rights more times than any other country in 2015. “The Kremlin is encouraging an atmosphere of anti-western hysteria, witch hunts, and intimidation to silence critics,” said Human Rights Watch’s Russia program director Tanya Lokshina.
With Sanctions Gone, Iran Goes On A Shopping Spree In Europe
28 January 2016 - NPR
The lifting of international sanctions against Iran has triggered trade and business investment negotiations with the French automobile manufacturer, Peugeot Citroën, which agreed to return to Iran after leaving the country in 2012 due to sanctions. The company’s agreement with Iran includes the production of 200,000 cars per year in Iran starting in 2017. Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, announced that European-Iranian business agreements are valued at $18 billion.
OECD: 31 countries sign tax co-operation agreement to enable automatic sharing of country by country information
28 January 2016 – Hellenic Shipping News
The Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for the automatic exchange of country-by-country reports was signed by 31 countries today in an effort to increase transparency from multinational enterprises. The approval of the MCAA marks important progress for both the OECD/G20 BEPS Project and international cooperation on tax issues in general. The MCAA will not only allow tax administrations to gain a full understanding of how multinational enterprises operate, but will also maintain and protect the confidentiality of such information.
IMF reforms: China, India, Brazil, Russia get greater say
28 January 2016 – The BRICS Post
Brazil, Russia, India and China are now among the top ten biggest members of the International Monetary Fund. This means that the 2010 IMF reforms and quotas have now come into force. Though the four members have increased their quotas, the BRICS countries will still hold less than 15% of voting share, which is not enough to gain veto power.
Putin aide: Syrian vote must include refugees
28 January 2016 – Associated Press
Russia’s security chief stated that Syrian refugees should be given the chance to vote in future national elections. Russia is one of many countries that have convened to foster Syrian peace talks beginning Friday. On the subject of Russian-American relations regarding Syria, the security chief emphasized that “[i]t’s necessary to return to a normal dialogue” in the cases of security and non-proliferation.
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