Josef Ackerman Atlantic Council Photo

Dr. Josef Ackermann, the chairman of Deutche Bank, told the Atlantic Council that the current financial crisis is a "watershed event" that may "reshape our political system."  He warned that, "Globalization is not a natural force.  It is man-made and can be undone with our own hands."

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EU and NATO: Interlocking or Interblocking?

With many of the world's navies engaged in anti-pirate patrols off the coastal waters of Somalia, it's no surprise to find French, German and Spanish frigates among them. The frigates are there, though, not under their respective national commands, but rather under that of a joint EU naval force, whose mission is to protect World Food Program vessels delivering food aid to Somalia, as well as commercial and other vessels threatened by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

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David Smith recently argued that the peaceful demonstrations we're seeing in Georgia and the United States are a healthy part of democracy. Today's May Day violence in Turkey, Germany, and Greece show the flip side of the coin.

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Since the beginning of the modern petroleum industry around 1850, oil exports from Russia and other countries in the North Caspian have flown almost exclusively one way: west. The Baku refineries in Azerbaijan were already linked to the Batumi port on the Black Sea by a kerosene-carrying pipeline in 1906. Once the oil treasures of the Volga-Ural and West Siberia basins became known and developed, more pipelines reached out to Black Sea and Baltic ports and Central Europe. Projects to develop new fields in Russia’s Arctic have invariably been accompanied by plans to move oil west, either by tanker or by pipe. The main export lines built by Azerbaijan (BTC) and Kazakhstan (CPC) point to the west.

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 The expulsion of two Russian diplomats from the nation’s mission to NATO will surely put a damper in recent attempts to thaw relations.  Yesterday’s confirmation of the action comes only one day after the first resumption of formal talks between NATO and Russian representatives since last summer’s war with Georgia.  The talks were meant to ease tensions, but, so far, have only proved to escalate them.

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President George H.W. Bush was presented the 2009 Atlantic Council Distinguished International Leadership Award by Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who served as Deputy National Security Advisor and later CIA Director in his administration.

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General David Petraeus, in his acceptance speech for the Atlantic Council's 2009 Distinguished Military Leader Award, proclaimed that he is "a huge believer in the importance of the Alliance" but warned that NATO "now faces a very urgent moment."

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At the 2008 awards dinner, the Atlantic Council honored Tony Blair, Rupert Murdoch, Mike Mullen, and Evgeny Kissin.  We had the likes of Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger introducing the introducers.   It was inconceivable that we would be able to top that.  And, yet, we did just that last night.

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NATO and Russia today resumed formal relations, which were broken off in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Georgia.

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DC Tea Party Protests

When there is interesting news from just down the road, most people focus on that, largely ignoring events in other countries.  But in our globalized world, a few keystrokes put us in touch with London, Paris, Rome or New York.  Google is marvelous.  A few hops around cyber space yield two observations.   First, almost everyone in England, France, Italy and America is paying attention to their own news.  Second, much of that news is about protests, which are normal democratic phenomena.

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