NATO defense ministers agreed on June 7 to support a new “Four Thirties” military readiness plan designed to enhance deterrence by creating a new “culture of readiness” in the Alliance. It is one of four related initiatives suggested by the United States to ensure that Moscow does not believe it can exploit the Alliance’s slow deployment and political divisions in the opening stages of a conflict. Elements of the four initiatives should be adopted at the Alliance’s summit in Brussels on July 11-12 to prevent this scenario and help address NATO’s burden-sharing problems.

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After overturning the Mexican political establishment and capturing an astounding fifty-three percent of the vote, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador must face his next challenge: governing.

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Two summits this month—NATO’s in Brussels and US President Donald J. Trump’s first one with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki—are causing much anxiety in Europe.

While in public, NATO and European officials are at pains to put on the best possible face, in private they have abundant and good reasons to be apprehensive about Trump’s policies, allied cohesion, and European security. 

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For Andrés Manuel López Obrador it was third time lucky.

The new president-elect, popularly known as AMLO, won Mexico’s July 1 presidential election by a landslide picking up more than 50 percent of the vote.

A self-described nationalist leader who hails from the southern state of Tabasco and is a former mayor of Mexico City, AMLO twice ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2006 and 2012.

“AMLO’s election is a seismic shift in Mexico that cannot be understated,” said Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

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The election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) augurs great uncertainty over the direction of Mexico’s seminal 2013 energy reforms. As a candidate, AMLO spoke in favor of pausing new offerings for oil and gas investment acreage, building more refining capacity within Mexico, and developing the nation’s gas supplies. Changes in Mexico’s energy framework will likely be incremental, but there is much that industry, think tanks, and even the US government can do to address the concerns raised by the president-elect during the campaign.

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These three dangers have never come together simultaneously: openly expressed US presidential doubts over the cost and value of transatlantic commitments; growing, migrant-driven populist dangers tearing at European unity; and rising trade conflicts without any offsetting common project to repair fraying bonds.

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OSCE monitor calls for withdrawal of heavy weapons, troops as ceasefire agreed

All sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine must withdraw heavy weapons and troops and remove landmines if a new ceasefire, expected to go into effect on July 1, is to have any chance of success, according to Alexander Hug who oversees what has until now been a nonexistent peace process.

The “new recommitment to the ceasefire” must address the root causes of the conflict in order to have any lasting effect, said Hug, deputy chief monitor for the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). “That is, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, disengagement where the forces and formations stand too close and mine action” to mark or remove land mines and stop laying new ones, he explained.

“If these three basic military technical measures are not being implemented in full and in all earnest, then the violence is likely to resume after a short moment—and we have seen violence resuming after such recommitments before,” he added.

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The US-Russia summit on July 16, which will take place several days after President Trump issues a broadside against NATO Allies July 11-12 for their lack of burden sharing, will undermine US and NATO interests vis-à-vis Russia. Although a summit between the US and Russian Presidents can be productive at the right time and with the right approach, particularly with tension running so high in US-Russian relations, now is not that time. President Trump should be focused on ensuring the visit of an American president to the continent, at a great time of insecurity and uncertainty in Europe, is done in a way that strengthens Allied deterrence, defense, and unity. A snap meeting with Russia’s president with little coordination with European allies runs cross purposes to that objective. 

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On June 4, Saudi Arabia issued driver’s licenses to ten women for the first times in their lives. This followed a repeal—announced by royal decree last September—of the female driving ban, which officially ended on June 24. In what is one among a number of ambitious socioeconomic reforms driven by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), women in the Saudi Arabia can now obtain a license and drive without the presence of a male guardian.

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On July 1, voters in Mexico will head to the polls to fill more than 3,000 elected positions. The presidency, senate, and the chamber of deputies, as well as state and municipal positions are up for grabs. Although women eighteen and older comprise 52 percent of the electorate (44,483,446 votes), presidential candidates’ proposals on gender equality were given little attention during the campaign trail.

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