US President Donald J. Trump’s speech in Poland ahead of the G20 summit on July 7 reassured allies and emphasized the importance of the transatlantic relationship, noting that a strong Europe is beneficial for the United States and the whole of the West.

“When your nations are strong, all the free nations of Europe are stronger, and the West becomes stronger as well,” Trump said in a speech on July 6 in Warsaw. “Together, our nation and yours can bring greater peace, prosperity, and safety to all of our people.”

“We live today in an era of global volatility…[and] we appeal for transatlantic cooperation,” to deal with the myriad threats facing the international community today, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski said in a keynote address at the Atlantic Council’s Global Forum in Warsaw.

Noting the significance of Trump’s trip to Poland and the gravity of his vocal support for the US-European relationship, Waszczykowski called the US president’s visit “an important step to strengthen the transatlantic link and to further our transatlantic ambitions.”

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US President Donald J. Trump has provided “valuable” support to the Three Seas Initiative, but he can go further by encouraging US businesses to participate in the plan that seeks to improve trade, infrastructure, and energy links among the twelve nations between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said at the Atlantic Council’s Global Forum in Warsaw on July 7.

“What President Trump can do is to encourage American businesses to look at the initiative more closely and to participate in the initiative,” said Grabar-Kitarović who, together with Polish President Andrzej Duda, launched the Three Seas Initiative in 2016.

Grabar-Kitarović participated in a panel discussion with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid. Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe moderated the discussion.

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Conventional forces called critical component of NATO’s toolkit

Though the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign poses a significant threat to Western security, NATO allies working to counter Russian aggression must remember the importance of bolstering conventional forces, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

“Conventional forces are back,” said Ian Brzezinski, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, he described how “yes, there was hybrid warfare, but there were also 30,000 Russian special forces that were sent into Crimea.”

Russia’s military is “a much more capable force than they were ten years ago,” according to Brzezinski, whereas NATO troops are now stretched thin.  

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The Baltic States and Poland have long wanted an enduring NATO presence on their territories. Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 convinced their allies they need it.  With plans approved at the Warsaw Summit in 2016, now the four countries each have a battle group of approximately 1,000 troops stationed on their territory. “We don’t see any imminent threat against any NATO ally,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “but we have to be vigilant.”

Stoltenberg traveled to Latvia and Lithuania in June during the Saber Strike 2017 military exercises, which involved some 11,000 troops from twenty countries, to mark the battle groups becoming fully operational and to remind everyone why they exist.  

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Russia has decisively expanded its global footprint in a way that analysts say challenges the West and will force US President Donald J. Trump to rethink his “America First” strategy.

This challenge extends well beyond Russia’s neighborhood—Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic States—to Syria, Libya, and even Afghanistan. Western governments and intelligence agencies have also accused Russia of meddling in elections in the United States and Europe.

John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “pursuing a clear revisionist agenda designed to change the post-Cold War order in Eurasia; permit Moscow to establish a clear sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space; weaken NATO and the EU; weaken the transatlantic relationship; diminish American prestige and power; and project Russian power globally.”

With this as a backdrop, Trump and Putin will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7. The meeting takes place amid investigations by a special prosecutor and congressional committees into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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A little over a month since WannaCry spread across the world in an unprecedented cybercriminal attack, not only does the world seem just as vulnerable to a similar attack, another attack has already surpassed WannaCry in virulence and damage using some of the same tools. 

On June 27, this attack, nicknamed “Petya” after a cybercriminal operation using similar code, spread quickly across the world like the first malware attack, and even used the same software vulnerability, but from there the operations differ.

In May, ransomware called WannaCry spread to 150 countries in a day, encrypting victims’ files and demanding payment in return for access. WannaCry was able to spread despite relying on a well-known software vulnerability for which a fix was already available, a situation that prompted many to call WannaCry a wake-up call and hopefully a lesson learned.

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North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that has the ability to strike Alaska could embolden Pyongyang to be more aggressive in the future, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

“With this nuclear ICBM ‘shield,’ the DPRK [North Korea] likely will be much more aggressive in every other area of its foreign and military policies. We are entering a new and very dangerous era,” said Barry Pavel, a senior vice president, Arnold Kanter Chair, and director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

On July 4, six months after Trump had tweeted that a North Korean test of an ICBM capable of reaching the United States “won’t happen,” North Korea said it had tested such a missile that could hit Alaska.

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On July 6, heads of state from across Central Europe will convene in Warsaw, Poland, to address how to drive forward regional infrastructure projects. They will be joined by US President Donald J. Trump. The Three Seas Summit, convened by the presidents of Poland and Croatia, involves nations situated between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas. The participants will be driven by a shared determination to complete the vison of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

Twenty-eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, much progress has been made toward fulfilling that vision. The accession of Central Europe’s countries to NATO and the European Union (EU) contributed to the security, stability, and prosperity of the entire continent as well as the transatlantic alliance.

These have been remarkable successes, yet the task is far from complete. Europe’s economic and social woes, as well as new security challenges, add to the urgency of completing and consolidating the European integration project—a project that is critical to catalyzing and reinforcing the prosperity and resilience of the EU as a whole.

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In recent years, waves of migrants in numbers surpassing those seen during World War II have overwhelmed the capabilities of governments around the world. The political, economic, and social strains brought on by this influx have contributed to the rise of nationalist candidates, who stoke the flames of fear and hatred for the “other.” However, Amy Pope, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience and author of the report Building More Resilient Communities: Responding to Irregular Migration Flows, argues that, when governments prepare for unexpected migration as they would for other challenges like hurricanes and tornadoes, communities can not only accommodate these unexpected new neighbors, but thrive as well.

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Even before entering the Élysée Palace, Emmanuel Macron had largely earned his credentials as firm on Russia.

Macron was the target of a Russia-sponsored smear campaign, which included personal attacks, during the presidential election earlier this year. That moment in the campaign is described by people working with Macron as a turning point. Where Macron may have held mostly pragmatic views about Russia before, those views hardened, according to these people.

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