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

23 March 2018

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?

For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.

22 March 2018

Erdogan the Magnificent, Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Revival

By Joseph V. Micallef 

In 1994, an aspiring Turkish politician named Recep Tayyip Erdogan leveraged his fame as a player for Istanbul's Kasimpasa Soccer Club into a successful run for mayor of Istanbul as a candidate of the Islamist Welfare Party. His initial success proved short-lived. In 1998, he was dismissed from his position as mayor, banned from further political office and imprisoned for four months for having recited a poem, during a speech, that promoted an Islamic point of view of the role of government.

20 March 2018

A Storm Is Brewing in Transatlantic Relations

By Louis Golino

Recent events in Washington, especially the nomination by US President Donald J. Trump of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state and US imposition of tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, combined with a Europe that is politically weakened and internally focused, are helping create what may become the worst divergence in the transatlantic relationship since the 2003 crisis over the war in Iraq. Unlike the Iraq split, which was over one issue—Franco-German opposition to the US intervention there —the new crisis involves a wide range of complex issues that will be much more difficult to resolve. The replacement of Rex Tillerson with Pompeo, whose paternal great-grandparents came to the United States from Italy, is being greeted in Europe with caution and concern.

Food Insecurity: A Devastating Consequence—And Weapon—of Conflict


Bottom Line: Behind the curtain of violent conflict often resides a potentially devastating, long-term issue that demands global attention: food insecurity as both a weapon and consequence of war. Militant groups recruit the hungry with promises of the next meal, and states such as North Korea and Syria control food as a mechanism of internal power and psychological warfare. The problem of feeding the world’s hungry – many of whom find themselves in the crossfire of conflict – is only expected to get worse as climates change, populations grow and the rural migrate to booming megacities.

19 March 2018

Cold War Tactics Return to Britain

Yasmeen Serhan

The last time the United Kingdom moved to expel Russian diplomats en masse, it was during the depths of the Cold War. The defection of a top KGB officer in 1971 revealed the scope of the Soviet Union’s espionage apparatus in the U.K., prompting the British government to banish 91 suspected Soviet intelligence officials, in the country as diplomats, in response. Moscow responded in furious fashion, calling the British espionage claims “a complete fabrication,” and retaliated with its own expulsions. The moment marked a new low in Anglo-Soviet relations, which wouldn’t improve until the end of the Cold War.

18 March 2018

The Geopolitics of Britain

By George Friedman

The fundamental problem for Britain has always been continental Europe. The danger to Britain was that a single, powerful entity would arise that could do two things. First, it could ally with the Scottish elite to wage war against England on land. Second, it could build a naval force that could defeat the British navy and land an invading force along the English shore of the Channel. The Romans did this, as did the Normans. Successive powers arose in Europe that saw an opportunity to defeat England and later Britain. The Spaniards attempted an invasion in the 16th century; the French in the 19th century; the Germans in the 20th century. Each was defeated by treacherous waters and the Royal Navy.

Who do I call if I want to call the US?


ROME — Henry Kissinger, the quintessential realist, once provocatively asked “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Last week, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, reassured the world that Europe’s number — hers — is up and running. Then, she threw the question back across the Atlantic: “Who do I call if I want to talk to the U.S.?” Mogherini posed the question with a touch of irony, but it acquired a sober taste on Tuesday, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired and replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo in what is starting look like an incessant game of musical chairs in the chaotic Trump administration.

17 March 2018

It’s time for the UK to take a stand on Russia – the world is watching


Brexit aside, we are suddenly facing the biggest foreign policy crisis since the Falklands. Attempted murder in Salisbury constitutes a warlike act says Tom Tugendhat, respected chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee. The Daily Telegraph quotes this in its leader headline: “Warlike act to which NATO must respond”, and political, public and media opinion broadly agree. So, how bad could this get? What must we do now? What should we be prepared to do if things get even worse? What is Putin likely to do next? How will he respond? What unintended consequences might follow?

14 March 2018

The Most Dangerous Man in Europe Is Jens Weidmann

Germany’s political and economic establishment believes its handling of the eurozone crisis and its aftermath has been vindicated. After all, the eurozone is intact and enjoying an increasingly robust economic recovery. This conveniently ignores, of course, that the euro survived because of European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes” and buy as many government bonds as was necessary to prevent the banking systems of Italy and other crisis-riven countries from collapsing, and the euro with them. This promise drew fierce criticism in Germany and Jens Weidmann, head of Germany’s Bundesbank, was the only member of the ECB’s governing council to oppose it.

13 March 2018

Russia Will Challenge US Military Superiority in Europe by 2025: US General


Russia is advancing in key military technology areas and shows no deceleration in efforts to destabilize the West, said the commander for U.S. forces in Europe. The Russian military may surpass U.S. military capability in Europe by 2025, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, head of U.S.European Command, told lawmakers on Thursday. He emphasized that keeping up EUCOM’s modernization was key to keeping up and maintaining superiority. “Given their modernization, the pace that it’s on … we have to maintain our modernization that we’ve set out so that we can remain dominant in the areas that we are dominant today,” said Scaparrotti. “If we were not to do that, I think that their pace would put us certainly challenged in a military domain in almost every perspective by, say, 2025.”

Italy Takes a Step Back From Europe

Ferdinando Giugliano 

One is simply to focus on the arithmetic. From that perspective, the outcome is really not that different from what was expected. There was no outright winner: Neither the center-right coalition, nor the center-left nor the anti-establishment Five Star Movement managed to win a majority of seats. The vote produced a hung parliament, which will make it very hard to form a government, let alone a stable one. That means a period of instability lies ahead — though one could say this is merely the norm for Italy.

12 March 2018

Europe Sails Into Uncharted Waters

By Louis Golino

Italy’s March 5 parliamentary election, in which anti-establishment parties won half of the vote, has caused a political earthquake with the potential to reshape Italy, Europe’s future, and even how populism impacts democracy. Traditional political forces on the left and center are foundering. What will take their place remains to be seen both within Italy and in Europe as a whole, which remains split between its “Franco-German liberal democratic core” and illiberal democratic regimes in Hungary, Poland, and now potentially Italy. As expected, the Italian vote resulted in a hung parliament with no party or bloc receiving enough votes to govern by itself. Most experts doubt that a new government will be in sight when the upper and lower chambers of parliament meet on March 23 to elect their respective speakers. As a consequence, there will be possibly months of political haggling, as has been the case following almost every major European election in the past year except for the one in France last May.

11 March 2018

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?

For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1

Europe Wants American Support for a Common Security Policy

Gabriela Marin Thornton Tobias Oder

The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into effect in 2009, introduced the “Permanent Structured Cooperation,” also known as PESCO, as a “specific CSDP flexibility mechanism,” for EU member states to increase their defense cooperation and mutual-security commitments. Article 42(6) of the Treaty on the European Union now states that “Those Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework.” The permanent structured cooperation clause allows for differentiated integration on military and defense matters among EU member states. In other words, it allows for a cluster of EU states to create a common-defense policy.

10 March 2018

Who killed European social democracy? Collapse of center left risks destabilizing Continent’s politics.


Social democracy, the most influential force in European politics for decades, is dying. And the result could be political fragmentation, instability and paralysis. In recent months, social democratic parties have been swept from power in the Czech Republic, Austria, France and the Netherlands, adding to a long string of losses since 2010.  On Sunday, Italy’s Democratic Party is likely to perform poorly in the national election, finishing behind former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition and the anti-establishment 5Star Movement. Among the EU28, that would leave only Malta, Romania, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden under social democratic leadership.

Echoes Of The Past In The Debate Over Europe's Future

by Adriano Bosoni

The European Union is thinking about the kind of bloc it wants to be. As EU members consider a range of reforms - including measures to help the eurozone better withstand crisis and to make European institutions more efficient - the underlying question is whether the bloc should become a federal superstate. The conversation isn't a new one for the Continent. But given the many challenges facing the bloc, and the differing priorities among its members, the latest iteration of the federalism discussion could deepen the divides among the European Union's constituent states.

Juncker’s Dangerous Defense Strategy


Post-mortems of this year’s Munich Security Conference amounted to something of an indictment of the increasingly rudderless global order. The one big idea – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call to shift authority over foreign and defense policymaking in the EU from the member states to the Commission – is a very bad one.  MADRID – These days, there are just three events that bring together all of the main actors in international politics: the annual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, G20 summits, and the Munich Security Conference. That makes it all the more disappointing that the latest MSC, which took place in mid-February, brought only one big idea – and not a good one.

9 March 2018

Could Blockchain Solve a Brexit Sticking Point?

Blockchain, a technology that can track goods from start to finish, could eventually contribute to retaining the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The technology is still in its early stages, and it will be years before it could be introduced at the scale necessary to control an international border. For blockchain to be included in the Brexit process, British and European negotiators would have to buy time for a customs system based on the technology to be developed, tested and implemented. 

Echoes of the Past in the Debate Over Europe's Future

By Adriano Bosoni

The debate over reforming the European Union will once again expose the rifts among member states' priorities and strategic imperatives. At the heart of the discussion is the enduring question about whether the bloc can overcome history and geography to become a federal superstate. In the long run, the European Union's main challenge will be to keep its internal divisions from paralyzing it, as challenges in and beyond the bloc multiply.

Three Reasons the EU Will Reject the ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ Proposal

Georgina Wright

Reports of the meeting of the ‘Brexit War Cabinet’ convened by Theresa May, the British prime minister, at Chequers last week, suggest that an agreement of sorts has been reached on the UK government’s guidelines for a transition and a future trade deal with the EU. But though the Cabinet is united over the reported plan, all indications are that it will not be acceptable to the EU.