US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to arm Kurdish rebels in Syria, despite objections from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, indicates that the new administration’s Turkey policy is secondary to winning the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

This decision “would suggest to me that Trump really doesn’t have a Turkey policy,” said Aaron Stein, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “Turkey policy is secondary to the need to prosecute the war against ISIS quickly,” he added.

“The key actors in the US bureaucracy are not on team Turkey,” said Stein. “They don’t care. They are elevating different priorities now.”

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Dale Carnegie’s famous self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, centers on investing in personal relationships in order to achieve success. US President Donald J. Trump has demonstrated an instinctive understanding of this principle in the way he has interacted with a succession of world leaders, whether over a round of golf at Mar-a-Lago or an informal dinner in Washington. Yet his administration is set to undermine one of the most effective vehicles for this on a global scale, through proposing a radical cut in funds for the State Department’s international scholarship and exchange programs.

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Political crises, regional tensions, and the decline of democracy point to an increased risk of conflict and instability in the Balkans.

Peace, democratic reform, and stability in the Balkans have been guaranteed for the past two decades by the prospect of European Union (EU) membership and by US and NATO security guarantees. Both pillars of stability have been weakened, and we are witnessing a return of geopolitics in the region.

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South Korean leftist opposition candidate Moon Jae-in’s impressive presidential electoral victory is reverberating not only across the Korean Peninsula, but throughout Northeast Asia and the United States as well. In a crowded field of fifteen candidates, Moon won 41 percent of the vote, soundly defeating his conservative rival, Hong Joon-pyo, who won 24 percent.

While Moon’s victory almost certainly portends that South Korea will be less in sync with the United States and will pursue more accommodating policies toward North Korea, this election was primarily about Korean domestic issues. “Reform and unity” were the goals Moon articulated.

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Emmanuel Macron’s election as the next president of France is consequential not just because it is the first time that a centrist who has never held elected office has won or that it reinforces, after the recent Dutch and Austrian elections, the fact that the forces of nationalism have, at least for now, been kept at bay in Europe.

Macron’s victory is also hugely important for France’s role on the world stage, the European Union, and the US-European alliance. This is especially true given the combination of a US president who is still discovering the value of having allies and a French president-elect who is about to be tested by global challenges that range from terrorism to trade and climate agreements.

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Emmanuel Macron’s election as the next president of France marks a defeat for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a setback for the wave of populism that has swept the West, but France is not out of the woods just yet.

“Vladimir Putin emerges as a loser,” said Daniel Fried, a former US assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Russia is believed to behind a massive cyberattack on Macron’s campaign days before the election.

Fried added, “whether or not [Macron’s victory] is a strategic turning point depends on how well Macron does.”

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Emmanuel Macron’s election as the next president of France is positive news for Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Among the four leading candidates in the presidential election, Riyadh and Doha most favored Macron, whose foreign policy positions are pro-European Union (EU) and who is expected to continue Paris’ overall approach to international affairs. More specifically, Macron’s victory will likely preserve France’s relationships with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have deepened under outgoing French President François Hollande and his predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy.

A victory for Macron’s rival, far-right National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen, would have been bad news for France-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) relations. Her foreign policy agenda entailed aligning Paris more closely with Moscow on regional issues, chiefly Syria, where Russia and the GCC’s interests have clashed. Le Pen also frequently accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting the Islamic State in the Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda. A Le Pen victory could have severely reversed the growth of French-GCC relations.

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Later in May, US President Donald J. Trump is scheduled to attend his first NATO summit. The summit will take place at a time when most NATO and European Union (EU) leaders are breathing a sigh of relief with centrist Emmanuel Macron’s defeat of the far-right Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election on May 7. Both Le Pen and Trump—with the overt and covert support of Russian President Vladimir Putin—have been disdainful of NATO and the EU. The Le Pen bullet has been dodged, but the Trump challenge, and the conditions that have given rise to illiberal politics on both sides of the Atlantic, remain.  

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Emmanuel Macron’s  large victory is historic by many standards. The newly-elected president of France won the election on his first attempt (like Valery Giscard d’Estaing in 1974 and François Hollande in 2012) but, unlike any other French president since 1958, he did so without any longstanding political experience or the backing of a mainstream party; he achieved this feat at the age of thirty-nine, which makes him France’s youngest president.

More importantly, however, Macron has been elected on a clear pro-European platform. Europe was a central theme of this presidential election and Macron was the only truly “Europhile” candidate in a group of eleven candidates. His pro-European Union (EU) stance was magnified in the May 7 runoff against Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front candidate who had campaigned aggressively in favor of France leaving the Eurozone.

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Maltese voters face a choice in elections on June 3 between two prime ministerial candidates who have starkly different views on the path ahead for the European Union (EU) and their country’s role in a future EU army.

On the question of whether the solution for the EU is more or less Europe, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of the Labour Party (PL) has said that a “multispeed Europe” could be a viable option. His opponent, Nationalist Party (PN) leader Simon Busuttil, has, on the other hand, warned against the populist tide sweeping across Europe and said that people want more Europe, not less.

Similarly, on Malta’s role in a future EU army, while Muscat has categorically stated that Malta will not join such an endeavor, Busuttil has called on EU member states to consider merging their armed forces, questioning whether it makes sense for countries to have separate armies.

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