David Wemer

  • Trump’s Trade War Unlikely to End Soon

    Trump administration slaps more tariffs on Chinese imports

    The latest escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China is further proof that US President Donald J. Trump has no intention of quickly coming to an agreement over a new trade relationship with China, according to Bart Oosterveld, director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program.

    “The [Trump] administration has no political or economic incentive to tone down these trade wars,” Oosterveld said.

    On September 17, the Trump administration announced 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports in an attempt to pressure China to change trade practices that the president says are hurting US businesses.

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  • At Three Seas Initiative's Bucharest Summit, Central European Leaders Seek to Transform Region

    Central European leaders gathered in Bucharest on September 17 to discuss ways in which to deepen regional economic integration and send a clear message of their desire to see the region play a greater role on the world stage.

    “We are here today [not only] because we are part of the European Union and NATO,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said, but also because “we want to be a significant player. We would like Central Europe to be a developed, well-integrated, and structured part of the Euro-Atlantic world.”

    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis hosted the third summit and first business forum of the Three Seas Initiative in Bucharest on September 17-18. The initiative brings together twelve European Union (EU) member states from the area that borders the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas, to discuss common infrastructure and development programs to jumpstart the region’s economy.

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  • Putin Critic Litvinenko's Widow Says Russia Using Disinformation to Discredit Skripal Poisoning

    Russia is using the same disinformation playbook to sow doubt about the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter as it did in the case of Alexander Litvinenko’s death, Marina Litvinenko, the slain Russian intelligence officer’s widow, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on September 11.

    Russian authorities are now “trying to use a case of Alexander Litvinenko to destroy the future case of Yulia and Sergei Skripal,” Marina Litvinenko said. Alexander Litvinenko died in London in November 2006 after being exposed to radioactive polonium-210, allegedly given to him in a cup of tea. Litvinenko had emigrated to the United Kingdom in 2000 after serving for almost two decades in Soviet intelligence and then eventually Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

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  • Assad Still Standing in Syria: What Went Wrong?

    Seven years after the first protests against Bashar al-Assad, the dictator in Damascus is not only still standing, but is reconsolidating control over most of Syria. The war has killed hundreds of thousands, sent millions of refugees streaming into neighboring countries and as far as Europe and the United States, and spun-off proxy wars that have pit the United States against regional powers and strained Washington’s relations with its allies.

    Although the United States is winding down its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in one of the many offshoots of the current conflict, Atlantic Council resident senior fellow Faysal Itani and Nate Rosenblatt argue that Syria represents a resounding defeat for Washington, not a victory. While other actors within and outside of Syria certainly deserve much of the blame for the conflict’s brutality and duration, “the United States was the international actor with the greatest capacity to alter events in Syria,...

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  • Seven Things You Should Know About Macedonia

    On September 8, the Republic of Macedonia celebrates its Independence Day, marking twenty-seven years since it declared independence from Yugoslavia. On September 30, citizens will vote in a referendum to ratify a name-deal with Greece, that will see the country renamed to “the Republic of North Macedonia,” hopefully ending a decades-long disagreement with Greece and paving the way for Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO.

    But Macedonia is about more than NATO expansion or naming disputes. Here’s a look at this small Balkan country that is now grabbing headlines.

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  • Galileo, Galileo: London is Losing the Fight Over a Satellite Navigation System All Over Again

    Campaigners in favor of Brexit made a famous claim in 2016 that leaving the European Union (EU) would allow the United Kingdom to pour its £350-million-a-week contribution to Brussels back into the nation’s National Health Service. Now the “remainers” have their own numbers to throw around: £3 billion may be necessary to keep the United Kingdom’s access to vital technology in space. The UK government confirmed on August 29 that it is exploring the possibility of creating its own satellite navigation system—which experts say could potentially cost several billion pounds—due to growing concerns that it will be locked out of the EU’s existing system, known as Galileo, once the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next year....
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  • Trump's New Trade Agreement: What's In It?

    On August 27, US President Donald J. Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced an initial agreement on a new bilateral trade relationship. The negotiations were initially intended to be a start for wider conversations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including the third treaty partner, Canada. During the announcement, however, Trump implied that he may choose to negotiate bilaterally with Canada instead of reviving the tripartite agreement.

    Trump openly criticized NAFTA during his August 27 call with the Mexican president and declared his desire to rename the new deal “the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.”

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  • Brazil Readies For Contentious Presidential Campaign

    In October, voters will have the opportunity to elect a new leader in Brazil, on the hope that the next administration will turn things around for a country still facing economic uncertainty, deep political polarization, and a wide-spread corruption crisis. “We are looking at a new chapter for Brazil,” Roberta Braga, Associate Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center said in an August 16 conference call.  While currently “the general mood in Brazil is very negative,” according to Ricardo Sennes, nonresident senior Brazil fellow at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, voters will have the chance to pick a president who can address the challenges of high unemployment, political reform, and increasing crime rates.

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  • Trump Extends Feud with Turkey: Now What?

    On August 8, US President Donald J. Trump announced the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, escalating the tension between the two NATO countries that has reached a boiling point over the last several weeks.

    In his announcement, the American president said, “our relations with Turkey are not so good at this time!” The new tariffs follow the sanctioning of the Turkish interior and justice ministers on July 31.

    The Turkish lira tumbled following Trump’s announcement and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked Turkish citizens to convert any US dollars and gold into lira to help the country in its...

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  • The Saudi Arabia-Canada Feud, Explained

    Saudi Arabia and Canada have found themselves in the middle of a diplomatic crisis, which threatens to end all diplomatic and economic contacts between the two countries. Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian Ambassador in Riyadh on August 6, after Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, called for the release of Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi on August 2.

    Canada has refused so far to revoke its statements of support for Badawi and her brother Raif Badawi, prompting Saudi Arabia to increase its response on August 8. Samar Badawi is known for her advocacy on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia; her brother remains in jail, and his family has been living in exile in Canada after being imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for promoting religious tolerance.

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