On foreign policy matters, President Donald Trump through this week’s mid-term elections has demonstrated a refreshing willingness to take on critical issues that his predecessors either avoided altogether or ineffectually kicked down the road.
 
His tactics can lack diplomatic elegance (mostly by intention) and anger partners, but it’s undeniable he has locked his legacy-seeking sites on what looks to be an overwhelming list of long-festering problems. Among them: NATO allies’ unwillingness to bear sufficient defense burdens, China’s unfair trade practices, Russia’s violation of a short and intermediate-range missile treaty, North Korea’s nuclear proliferation and Iran’s dangerously malign behavior. 
 

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The guns of war at last fell silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Great War was over. The Armistice took effect. The war had lasted more than four years; it had caused the death of close to ten million combatants and more than half as many civilians. An entire generation of European youth, supported by comrades from the United States and around the world, had met the fate foreseen by the young New Yorker Alan Seeger, who had enlisted in the French Foreign Legion even before the formation of the American Expeditionary Force: “I have a rendezvous with death / At some disputed barricade / ... It may be he shall take my hand / And lead me into some dark land / And close my eyes and quench my breath.” Seeger was killed in action on July 4, 1916.

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On November 11, 1918, Allied leaders signed an armistice agreement with Germany, effectively ending World War I. The conflict is estimated to have left more than seventeen million soldiers and civilians dead, wreaking havoc on most of the European continent. The United States entered the war in 1917. Among the dead were 116,708 American soldiers.

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One hundred years ago, at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the guns fell silent on the western front. The end of World War I set into motion a new course for Europe, and remains an important facet of European politics. The bloody war that lasted more than four years stole a generation of mostly men from both sides. Here are eleven things to know about the Great War.

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The European Union has reached its mid-twenties.

On its twenty-fifth birthday on November 1, however, there were no fireworks, inspiring speeches, or fancy receptions in Brussels though. Mired in internal quarrels, from Brexit to rising Euroscepticism, European leaders may feel there is not much to celebrate.

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Key Libyan and international stakeholders will meet in Palermo, Italy, on November 12 to discuss and, hypothetically, draft a plan to deal with the political crisis in Libya. Main Libyan actors from the east—strongman Khalifa Haftar and president of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Salah—as well as the west—prime minister of the United Nations (UN)-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Serraj, and head of the High State Council, Khalid al-Mishri—are supposed to attend. The heads of state of the United States, France, Germany, and Russia have been invited: none have confirmed their attendance. The United States should send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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French President Emmanuel Macron will welcome world leaders to Paris this weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The event will provide Macron with an opportunity to flex his foreign policy muscles, specifically to reaffirm his position as a leading supporter of the European Union (EU) and, more importantly, a champion of liberal democratic values.

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On November 11, 1918, World War One, the Great War, ended. Amid the chaos that followed—revolution, the fall of empires, and rise of nations—the United States attempted to build a rules-based world which favored freedom. American power had won the war, and President Woodrow Wilson was trying to shape a peace along the lines of what we now call a rules-based or “liberal” world order. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, presented the previous January, challenged the imperial, balance-of-power system of the European powers (on both sides) which had started the war, and at the same time took on Lenin’s revolutionary alternative. Wilson’s ideas were a rough draft of American Grand Strategy in what has been called the American Century.

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Votes are still being counted across the United States, but were you paying attention to what else was going on in the world? From sanctions to the "Troika of Tyranny" prove that you kept your eyes on the international headlines this week.

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The US State Department made an important, if expected, announcement to Congress on November 6 that it was unable to certify that Russia had met the conditions in the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) necessary to stave off a second round of sanctions. The notification drew relatively little domestic coverage—coming, as it did, during the fever pitch of the US midterm elections—but it did garner an angry statement from the Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, denouncing the department’s apparent lack of a timetable for imposing the next round of sanctions.

Add Royce’s reaction to the draft bills that were simmering before the midterms recess, unease over the potential for another meeting between US President Donald J. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and what is sure to be a swift reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation on November 7, and the Trump administration did not get even twenty-four hours from the close of the midterm polls before letting Russia jump right back into the national conscience as a hot-button issue.

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