New Atlanticist

In October 1949, as the defeated forces of Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan and Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China, Republicans in Congress blamed Harry S. Truman for losing China. Some demanded a pivot from Europe to Asia in US foreign policy. Truman might have been persuaded a few years earlier when US relations with the USSR were cordial. After meeting Joseph Stalin in Potsdam in 1945, the American President wrote, "I like Stalin. He is straightforward. Knows what he wants and will compromise when he can't get it."

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A growing number of Russian analysts, in Russia and abroad, have taken to calling Vladimir Putin's regime "fascist." And they don't use the term casually or as a form of opprobrium. They mean that Putin's Russia genuinely resembles Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany.

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In Atlantic Council address, Secretary of State says case for TPP, TTIP ‘overwhelming’

US Secretary of State John F. Kerry delivered a strong pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) April 23, saying the economic case for both deals is “overwhelming.”

A day earlier, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill granting the White House fast-track authority for future trade deals.

“We have an opportunity before us to shape and elevate the global rules of trade for decades to come,” Kerry said at the Atlantic Council. “In Congress, prominent leaders from both parties are poised to open that door. It is absolutely vital that we do everything to make sure we walk through that door together and get this job done.”

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White House official makes pitch for free-trade deals as Senate panel backs Trade Promotion Authority

Two free-trade agreements currently being negotiated by the Obama administration will ensure a level playing field and benefit American workers, a senior White House official said April 23 at the Atlantic Council.

“If we do not do this … the world wouldn’t stay the same,” said Caroline Atkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs at the White House.

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With war tearing apart eastern Ukraine, ethnic strife claiming lives from Libya to Yemen, and record numbers of African refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, it’s easy to conclude that the once-familiar world order is falling apart.

Whether or not that’s true, few scholars would dispute that the United States is no longer in charge as it was in 1945—at the end of World War II—when the US economy accounted for 50 percent of global GDP.

Today, that figure is more like 18 percent, said Barry Pavel, who with Peter Engelke is the author of a new strategy paper, Dynamic Stability: US Strategy for a World in Transition.

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European energy security has received a great deal of attention on both sides of the Atlantic since Russia suspended gas shipments through Ukraine in the winter of 2009.

In response to Ukraine’s experience, the European Union has taken steps to develop interconnectors and new liquefied natural gas facilities that would allow gas to flow to vulnerable member states in Eastern Europe. It has also increased alternative sources of supply, including new routes, development of renewables, and LNG imports.

These steps have already had some effect on prices being charged by Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy firm. Now, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military actions in Eastern Ukraine, the EU is proposing a European Energy Union. This union would promote an integrated European energy market and place the necessary steps to achieve European energy security under one political and legal umbrella. The steps are not particularly new, but the hope is that the Energy Union concept will create the necessary political will for implementation.

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Ilya Ponomarev has not slept in the same bed for more than a few nights since August 2014. The two-term legislator from Russia's third-largest city Novosibirsk has been living in exile since Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, stripped him of parliamentary immunity.

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Editor's note:

It's unfortunate that in a time of critical issues that legislation that disenfranchises certain, if often extreme, points of view looks like it's going to become law.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to sign four laws on "decommunization," recently passed by Ukraine's parliament, which enact an official version of the nation's 20th century history. The laws ban Nazi and Communist symbols and the "public denial of the criminal nature of the Communist totalitarian regime 1917–1991," open former KGB archives, replace the Soviet term "Great Patriotic War" with Second World War, and provide public recognition to anyone who fought for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century.

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Things are not looking good for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of the parliamentary elections in June. The AKP may lose seats while the Kurdish political party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are expected to gain seats, according to recent polls.

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From Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, dictators seem to be gaining the upper hand these days—outsmarting the most determined pro-democracy activists with a clever mix of 21st-century technology and old-fashioned repression.

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