Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

21 July 2019

Moving ASEAN Toward Sustainable Defense Cooperation

By Sarah Teo

The 13th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), held on July 11, in Bangkok, Thailand, was a considerably quiet affair — there were no controversies, no public disagreements, and no last-minute decision to cancel a joint statement. Since the early 2010s, ASEAN-centred meetings have on occasion been venues where interstate tensions have manifested, although, to be sure, the ADMM itself has so far steered clear of these scenarios. Instead, it has been able to keep its focus on dialogue and practical cooperation toward managing regional security challenges.

At the most recent ADMM in Bangkok, defense ministers of the 10 ASEAN member states adopted six documents, specifically on assessing existing ADMM initiatives, supporting border management cooperation, establishing an ASEAN military medicine conference, implementing guidelines for maritime interaction, establishing a hotline between ADMM countries and the eight ADMM-Plus countries, as well as endorsing the terms of reference of the “Our Eyes” initiative, which facilitates information sharing for counterterrorism.

20 July 2019

Europe Is Back

BY MAX BERGMANN 

For the past two decades, the United States has essentially ignored the European Union. Through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, Washington treated the union as an afterthought at best and, as under the current administration, sometimes even a foe. This is a profound strategic mistake. With the selection of Germany’s defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to be the next head of the European Commission, the United States should seize the opportunity to build a new lasting partnership with the EU.

The recent European parliamentary elections have shown that Europe’s political center of gravity is shifting from national capitals to Brussels and the European Union. They saw turnout rise for the first time ever, surpassing 50 percent. The boost was driven by a highly charged debate about the EU’s future, pitting far-right nationalists looking to devolve power from the EU against unionists looking to strengthen it. In the end, a robust showing from pro-EU parties, particularly the Greens, staved off a feared far-right surge. As the Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum observed following the elections, “the continent is becoming a single political space.”

Can Greece’s New Democracy Abandon Its Aggressive Rhetoric and Govern?

Yiannis Baboulias 

When the nominally center-right New Democracy party emerged victorious in snap elections last week, it potentially marked the end of a long and tumultuous chapter in Greece’s history. The now former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced the vote following deep losses by his radical, left-wing party, Syriza, in the European Parliament elections in May. 

With 39.5 percent of the vote, New Democracy and its leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have a strong mandate to push forward with a program he describes as reforming the state, by reducing taxation and turbo-charging investment in the country. Mitsotakis appears very optimistic. When challenged on where the money for the costly tax cuts would be found, he responded that his policies would secure strong economic growth of up to 4 percent per year, to cover for the shortfall.

Who Would Really Benefit From a Freeze on EU Enlargement in the Balkans?

Aleks Eror 

French President Emmanuel Macron left a recent EU leaders’ summit in Brussels frustrated after his fellow heads of state failed to come to an agreement on who should be appointed to the top posts in the European Commission. Following the unsuccessful all-night negotiations, Macron took a swipe at his colleagues by voicing his opposition to further enlargement of the European Union. “I am more than skeptical toward those who say that the future of Europe lies in further enlargement, when we can’t find agreement between 28 nations,” Macron told reporters. “I will refuse all forms of enlargement before deep reform to the way we function institutionally.”

Prospective enlargement has moved back onto the agenda as EU leaders contemplate whether to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania after the European Commission gave its approval last year. But Macron has been a consistent critic of admitting new members. At a EU-Balkans summit in Bulgaria in May 2018, he said that enlargement has “weakened Europe every time” it has been undertaken

18 July 2019

The Melians’ Revenge: How Small, Frontline, European States Can Employ Emerging Technology to Defend Against Russia


T. X. Hammes argues that the current technological revolution is creating a range of small, smart, cheap weapons that can provide small nations with the combat power previously reserved to major powers. For Hammes, this is good news for European NATO nations - such as the Baltic States - seeking to deter Russian aggression. Indeed, he contends that for a modest investment, such nations could present Russia with an unpalatable complex defense of inexpensive autonomous drones, missiles, and ubiquitous improvised explosive devices (IEDs), especially when combined with other NATO members’ capabilities.

17 July 2019

Can Greece’s New Democracy Abandon Its Aggressive Rhetoric and Govern?

Yiannis Baboulias 

When the nominally center-right New Democracy party emerged victorious in snap elections last week, it potentially marked the end of a long and tumultuous chapter in Greece’s history. The now former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced the vote following deep losses by his radical, left-wing party, Syriza, in the European Parliament elections in May. 

With 39.5 percent of the vote, New Democracy and its leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have a strong mandate to push forward with a program he describes as reforming the state, by reducing taxation and turbo-charging investment in the country. Mitsotakis appears very optimistic. When challenged on where the money for the costly tax cuts would be found, he responded that his policies would secure strong economic growth of up to 4 percent per year, to cover for the shortfall.

14 July 2019

Europe Is Stuck between the United States and Russia

by Lyle J. Goldstein

For those monitoring Russia policy, the Democratic Party debates proved something of a welcome relief. After all the ink and airtime devoted to Russia in American media over the last three years, questions related to Russia hardly came up at all. It has indeed been profoundly disturbing for this sometimes “Russia-hand” to watch the total conflation (and yes, denigration) of American foreign policy with domestic politics in regards to this crucial bilateral relationship.

Still, it seems U.S.-Russia relations are hardly out of the woods. Many foreign-policy aficionados did not take kindly to President Donald Trump appearing to share a joke over alleged election meddling with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Osaka. All joking aside, the reality is that this most fundamental relationship continues to list badly and is in real danger of sinking in the abyss. Despite having a U.S. president that is allegedly pro-Russian, the United States and Russia have now witnessed the dangerous escalationof military conflicts in both Ukraine and Syria, the deployment of more U.S. forces into Eastern Europe, along with ever larger NATO exercises along Russia’s flanks, not to mention the near complete collapse of essential arms control initiatives, along with a dangerous political crisis over the future of Venezuela.

The Death of British Steel and the Myth of the Good Brexit

By Sam Knight

On May 22nd, British Steel, which is the United Kingdom’s second-largest steelmaker, went into liquidation. It hasn’t been easy to manufacture steel in the U.K. for a number of years. The country’s high energy costs and property taxes make it an inhospitable place for heavy industry, even compared with other European countries. But it wasBrexit—specifically, the unresolved, purgatorial, shapeless Brexit that Britain finds itself in, three years after deciding to leave the European Union—that carried British Steel over the edge. Last year, with uncertainty stalking the economy, orders began to dry up. In April, because the Brexit negotiations were not complete, the company was hit with a hundred-and-twenty-million-poundprobably Boris Johnson, has not yet arrived. Desperate to avoid a spectacular bankruptcy in the interlude, the state has been paying British Steel’s bills and the salaries of its workers, while looking for a buyer to take four blast furnaces, named after English queens, and a two-thousand-acre steelworks off its hands.

13 July 2019

нефть: The Impact of Russian Energy on Europe

Jeremiah Goodpaster

Introduction

All year long gas prices have slowly been increasing. First twenty cents, then another thirty cents with rates expected to climb all summer. The cost of groceries has doubled as a result of those increased fuel costs. Your paycheck is not going as far, and expenses just keep rising. Shortages of fuel have caused long lines and wear nerves thin. Worse winter is coming, and prices are expected to be twice as much as last year due to political issues with Russia. Russia continues to threaten to stop energy supplies to the region due to sanctions by the European Union and the United States. Then on the coldest day of January, Russia cuts all energy supplies and halts shipments oil and gas via pipelines to Europe in retaliation to the sanctions. Now, there is no gas coming to your country. It is going to be a long, cold winter. But next year’s elections are coming, and the opposition party to the incumbents are running on a platform to repair relationships with Russia and vowing to reduce energy prices.

While this scenario is fictitious, a very similar event did take place in January 2009. Gazprom, a Russian state-owned company, “halted nearly all its natural gas exports to Europe . . . sharply escalating its pricing dispute with neighboring Ukraine. The cutoff led to immediate shortages from France to Turkey.”[i] Russia was able to use the halting of gas as leverage to force the EU to pressure Ukraine into price concessions. The impact of the cut-off was felt far and wide in energy-dependent Europe. For example, “Schools and kindergartens in Bulgaria closed down because utilities needed time to switch to alternative fuels. In Bosnia, where gas operator Sarajevogas said the situation was close to a humanitarian disaster,”[ii] the EU Commission and European governments were sent scrambling to find a solution. This was neither the first nor the last time Russia used its energy dominance to influence policies or regulations to their favor.

Why Doctrine Matters

George Fust

Anyone who has ever purchased furniture from Ikea knows the value of well written instructions. Entire sub-markets have developed to help people put Ikea furniture together. These experts have figured out the patterns and nuances of the company’s model. They have experience and knowledge of their respective task and can therefore perform it efficiently. Even when faced with a chair or table they haven’t assembled before, they under the principles and style of manufacturing and can leverage those skills to accomplish their objective. Military doctrine serves a similar function. It is critical for junior officers to have a solid foundation in doctrine. They must read it and apply it during training. They must commit to memory the most critical components. They must return to it if time permits to guide and shape courses of action (COA).

Unlike the notoriously vague Ikea instruction manual, Army doctrine is as specific as it needs to be without being overly directive. It allows flexibility when circumstances change, which they always will. Army doctrine has also evolved for generations. Hard fought lessons have been inculcated into each iteration. The material builds on previous knowledge and is now synchronized across war fighting functions. Army doctrine is a guidebook for accomplishing your mission. Those who attempt to build the latest Ikea desk without the instruction book may have similar results to those who ignore doctrine. At best, you may have a place to work. But how sturdy is it? Can you replicate the task the same way and achieve the same results in the future? At worst, you are unable to complete the build or mission.

12 July 2019

Is Iran’s Nuclear Program Back for Good?

By Philip H. Gordon

The demise of the Iran nuclear deal does not make Tehran an immediate threat, but it opens the door to nuclear escalation.

The main provisions of the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are now no longer being carried out. CFR Senior Fellow Philip H. Gordon assesses what this means and what comes next.
Does this latest announcement that Iran is breaking the uranium enrichment limits set by the nuclear agreement mean the deal is effectively over? 

In practical terms the JCPOA is dead—at least for now. The United States has withdrawn from the agreement and, through its secondary sanctions on other countries doing business with Iran, it is preventing other parties from upholding their commitments. And now Iran is no longer abiding by some of the deal’s core provisions.

Both sides could sooner or later return to compliance, but the deal’s main provisions—international sanctions relief in exchange for Iranian nuclear restraint—are no longer being implemented. 

Will the European Union ease or tighten sanctions in response? 

10 July 2019

Europe Alone

By Alina Polyakova And Benjamin Haddad 

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in early 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden had a reassuring message for European politicians, diplomats, and military leaders worried about American disengagement: “We will be back.” Biden’s speech was met with applause and relief. Wait out the tenure of U.S. President Donald Trump, he seemed to be saying, and sooner or later, leaders can return to the transatlantic consensus that defined the post–World War II era. Patience is the name of the game.

Biden was feeding a common but delusional hope. A new U.S. administration could assuage some of the current transatlantic tensions by, say, removing tariffs on European steel and aluminum or rejoining the Paris climate agreement. But these fixes would not deal with the problem at its root. The rift between the United States and Europe did not begin with Trump, nor will it end with him. Rather than giving in to nostalgia, U.S. and European leaders should start with an honest assessment of the path that led them to the current crisis—the first step to building a more mature and forward-looking transatlantic partnership.

9 July 2019

United states of Europe could spell the end of the western alliance


The changing of the guard at the top of the European Union, with a new line-up of top officials set to be approved by the European parliament, could well result in increased tensions in the western alliance, as Brussels intensifies its efforts to create a European superstate.

And the emergence of a new EU leadership that is preoccupied with pursuing its own, federalist agenda, could have a profound bearing on its approach to global issues, especially in the Middle East, where its insistence on sticking to the controversial nuclear deal with Iran could increase tensions in the region.

That is certainly the conclusion being reached by many western diplomats following 27 hours of intense summit negotiations in Brussels earlier this week that resulted in the nominations for the EU’s most important posts for the next five years.

Foremost among those to emerge victorious from the brutal power-brokering between Germany and France over who should hold these key positions was Ursula von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a committed European federalist.

The Popular Backlash Against Migration Is Making a Global Problem Worse

July 05, 2019

Around the world, the popular backlash against global migration has fueled the rise of far-right populist parties and driven some centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration. But with short-term strategies dominating the debate, many of the persistent drivers of migration go unaddressed, even as efforts to craft a global consensus on migration are hobbled by demands for quick solutions. 

Around the world, migration continues to figure prominently in political debates. In Europe, far-right populist parties have used the Migrant Crisis of 2015 and latent fears of immigrants to fuel their rise and introduce increasingly restrictive border policies in countries, like Italy, where they have entered government. The popular backlash against immigrants has also pushed centrist governments to adopt a tougher line on immigration at home, while working with countries of origin and transit to restrict migration, whether through improving border controls or strengthening economic incentives for potential emigres to stay in their home countries.

Can Ethiopia Defy Its Own History?

By Allison Fedirka 

When the country tries to function as a federation, it tends to suppress its people.

High-profile political violence in Ethiopia has brought into question Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ability to implement long-awaited political reforms. Abiy inherited a divided country, and his primary tasks are to reduce violence, encourage a more participatory political system and establish free elections. Importantly, he needs to create a more unified federation – Ethiopia has rarely been able to maintain civil order in such a politically decentralized system. So for Abiy, the challenge is twofold. He needs to figure out how to govern a multinational state, and he needs to define a government that has struggled to define itself ever since the end of the Cold War.

A Rise of Militias

8 July 2019

Will the Future Bring Digital Trench Warfare Between the EU and China?


Dr. Annegret Bendiek is Senior Associate in the EU/Europe Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Dr. Nadine Godehardt is Deputy Head of the Asia Research Division at SWP, and David Schulze is Research Assistant in the Asia Research Division at SWP. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Neyer is Professor of European and International Politics at the European University Viadrina and Vice President for International Relations.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s placement of Huawei on the Entity List, effectively banning U.S. suppliers from trading essential components like chips and software with the company, has seriously escalated the technological conflict with Beijing. European countries, more reliant on Huawei and trade with China than the United States, risk getting caught between the two superpowers. The European Union (EU) has named China as a “systemic rival,” in part because of mounting concerns about discriminatory industrial policies but many European countries are reluctant to follow U.S. warnings to completely cut ties with Huawei and suffer the technological and economic consequences of a decoupling from China.

Europe alone: July 2024


“If europeans won’t take American soybeans, they don’t get American soldiers. america first!” The tweet was dispatched by President Donald Trump in the early hours of April 5th 2023, as he watched “Fox & Friends”, his favourite breakfast-television show. It landed as officials in the foreign ministries of Paris, Berlin and Warsaw were settling down for lunch. Most rolled their eyes.

The president had, after all, issued similar threats at each of the natosummits after his narrow re-election in November 2020. At the alliance’s gathering in Potsdam in 2021 Mr Trump had unnerved fellow leaders by proposing that Russia join the alliance. The following year in Skopje, as the us-eu trade war spiralled out of control, he had insisted that his chief trade negotiator accompany him to every meeting with allies, in place of the secretary of defence. Despite that, 60,000 American troops remained scattered across the continent.

7 July 2019

Europe Alone

By Alina Polyakova And Benjamin Haddad 

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in early 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden had a reassuring message for European politicians, diplomats, and military leaders worried about American disengagement: “We will be back.” Biden’s speech was met with applause and relief. Wait out the tenure of U.S. President Donald Trump, he seemed to be saying, and sooner or later, leaders can return to the transatlantic consensus that defined the post–World War II era. Patience is the name of the game.

Biden was feeding a common but delusional hope. A new U.S. administration could assuage some of the current transatlantic tensions by, say, removing tariffs on European steel and aluminum or rejoining the Paris climate agreement. But these fixes would not deal with the problem at its root. The rift between the United States and Europe did not begin with Trump, nor will it end with him. Rather than giving in to nostalgia, U.S. and European leaders should start with an honest assessment of the path that led them to the current crisis—the first step to building a more mature and forward-looking transatlantic partnership.

6 July 2019

Greece Is Over Its Crisis, but Europe Isn’t

RACHEL DONADIO

ATHENS—It has been a problem child, a sick man, a canary in a coal mine, a warning sign, and a long-running experiment into where economics meets politics, with a significant social toll. It has become a rallying cry for Brexiteers and right-wing populists, and has revealed some of the deepest fissures in the European Union.

Nearly a decade after it required a bailout in 2010, Greece remains one of the most polarizing issues in Europe, and politicians across the EU draw different—and politically convenient—lessons from how European institutions handled, or mishandled, its crisis.

5 July 2019

Farewell, Flat World


The single most important economic development of the last 50 years has been the catch-up in income of a large cohort of poor countries. But that world is gone: in an increasingly digitalized global economy, value creation and appropriation concentrate in the innovation centers and where intangible investments are made.

PARIS – Fifty years ago, the conventional wisdom was that rich countries dominated poor countries, and it was widely assumed that the former would continue getting richer and the latter poorer, at least in relative terms. Economists like Gunnar Myrdal in Sweden, Andre Gunder Frank in the United States, and François Perroux in France warned of rising inequality among countries, the development of underdevelopment, and economic domination. Trade and foreign investment were regarded with suspicion.

History proved the conventional wisdom wrong. The single most important economic development of the last 50 years has been the catch-up in income of a significant group of poor countries. As Richard Baldwin of the Geneva Graduate Institute explains in his illuminating book The Great Convergence, the main engines of catch-up growth have been international trade and the dramatic fall in the cost of moving ideas – what he calls the “second unbundling” (of technology and production). It was Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times who best summarized the essence of this new phase. The playing field, he claimed in 2005, is being leveled: The World is Flat.