Energy sector reform will continue with or without the United States, said former Mexican officialThough recent political tensions threaten the stability of US-Mexico relations, Mexico’s ongoing energy sector reform will continue without US partnership, if necessary, according to Mexico’s former deputy secretary of energy.
“Mexico’s energy reform does not depend on the United States,” Lourdes Melgar, who now serves at the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies, said at the Atlantic Council on March 16. “If the United States does not want to have business with Mexico,” Melgar cautioned, “I think they’re missing the picture, because Mexico has options.”
That new strategic reality is even starker today: Russia has not only continued to undermine the post-World War II and post-Cold War international order through its illegal occupation of Crimea and its continuing war of aggression in eastern Ukraine; Russia has also engaged in political aggression against our societies, using cyberattacks, disinformation, propaganda, and influence operations to affect the outcome of elections and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.
More and more governments are realizing the importance of renewable and sustainable energy resources. Hydrocarbons will continue to play a role in industrial processes, but will gradually fade out as a transportation fuel. Electric engines and batteries for cars have been developing rapidly, as a result, electric cars have become an attractive and economically feasible option for the public, with an unprecedented increase in sales in the past couple of years.
“There is a trend of very significant increases in Asian defense spending, as well as concomitant intra-Asian defense cooperation” which provide opportunities for “multilateral hedging against some of the uncertainties associated with China’s rise,” and “in some cases North Korea,” said Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
Pavel said recent agreements between Singapore and Vietnam, Japan and Australia, India and South Korea are all examples of how Asian countries can “train together, exercise together, develop new capabilities together,” with the broad mission of promoting security and prosperity in the region.
German chancellor’s visit to Washington puts focus on US-German, US-European relationships, says Atlantic Council’s Fran BurwellGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a tough re-election battle in September and a meeting with US President Donald J. Trump is perhaps not the best way for her to burnish her credentials with the German electorate. The fact that she is making the trip across the Atlantic is an indicator of her determination to shore up the US-German and US-European relationships that have been buffeted by often controversial rhetoric from Trump.
“If she were looking at this from a purely electoral calculation, she may not have even done this visit because no one in Germany wants to see her necessarily being close to President Trump,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Making the point that the visit is more about the US-German and the US-European relationships, she added: “She is coming not only as the chancellor of Germany, but as the leader of Europe.”
“There is a possibility to do things, but that depends on the politics,” said Barroso, who also serves as a co-chair of the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative.
“The most important risks today are political and geopolitical,” said Barroso, “but I believe there are conditions for Europe to prosper.”
If the agencies reviewing Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines do not take the time to provide justifications for their recent decisions on those projects—influenced by Trump—courts may invalidate pipeline approvals. Implementing explicit local content requirements for steel in pipelines could embroil the United States in trade disputes. Further, the administration’s memorandum to expedite federal infrastructure review and permitting creates uncertainty about the application of a more carefully thought out process Congress established in 2015.
According to Alina Polyakova, director of research for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, “the fact that you have this outward migration is a significant national security threat to the Russian Federation.” She said: “this is the number one threat to a Russian Federation that seeks to gain its foothold in the world again.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership ushered in an era where a revanchist Russia has clamped down on social freedoms at home in order to exert its aggression and influence on the global stage. However, these efforts may be impacted by instability at home. Between 2000 and 2014, approximately 1.8 million Russians left the country “under [Putin’s] watch,” said Polyakova, citing official numbers from the Russian Federation. “This trend has only intensified,” she added.