Analysis

Given the level of effort that the United States has put into reinvigorating its involvement in European security, it is understandable that the president and the American people expect our allies to meet their treaty requirements.
My forty years in the Foreign Service—and the careers of many of my friends—became associated with the fall of the Soviet Empire and the putting in order of what came after:  the building of a Europe whole, free and at peace.  It is hard to recall today how improbable victory in the Cold War appeared.  For two generations, up through the mid-1980s, many thought we were losing the Cold War.  Even in early 1989, few believed that Poland’s Solidarity movement could win, that the Iron Curtain would come down, that the Baltic States could be free, that the second of the 20th Century’s great evils—Communism—could be vanquished without war.  But it happened, and the West’s great institutions—NATO and the European Union—grew to embrace 100 million liberated Europeans.  It was my honor to have done what I could to help.  I learned never to underestimate the possibility of change, that values have power, and that time and patience can pay off, especially if you’re serious about your objectives. Nothing can be taken for granted, and this great achievement is now under assault by Russia, but what we did in my time is no less honorable. It is for the present generation to defend and, when the time comes again, extend freedom in Europe. 

European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said all sides must abide by terms of the agreement

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on February 10 that Brussels is committed to the full implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, and that she came away reassured from her meetings with US officials that Washington shares that commitment.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, Mogherini said she found “common ground” with the Trump administration on the deal that seeks to cut off Iran’s pathways to building a nuclear bomb. Mogherini said: “I heard from my interlocutors the intention to make sure that the deal is 100 percent implemented.”

“It is a clear European shared interest to preserve the agreement,” she added.

The EU, she said, will monitor in a “very strict manner” the implementation of the deal “in its entirety, from all sides.” The nuclear deal was struck between Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, and Germany in 2015. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has found Iran to be complying with the terms of the agreement. Mogherini’s statement was a clear message to the United States to also stick to its commitments.

Interview with Sir Peter Westmacott, distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council

US President Donald Trump will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May—his first meeting with a head of state or government since his inauguration on January 20—at the White House on January 27.

Sir Peter Westmacott, distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council who served as the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States from 2012-2016, discussed what to expect from the meeting, the future of the US-UK “special relationship,” and the challenges in the transatlantic relationship and those posed by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Sir Peter Westmacott spoke in a phone interview with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from our interview.
Have no doubt: Vladimir Putin is not America’s ally. Neither is he a trustworthy international partner....

ISIS claims responsibility; official response ‘measured’ 

German authorities have been “careful not to jump to conclusions” following a December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin despite the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has claimed responsibility, said Jasmine El-Gamal, a senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

“They’re being very measured,” El-Gamal said. “[T]hey’re not quick… to shift the blame to someone else because they’re still in fact-gathering mode.”

El-Gamal joined Fran Burwell, vice president for European Union and Special Initiatives at the Atlantic Council, for a Facebook Live discussion on December 20 to examine the security situation in Europe in light of the attack, as well as the potential political implications. 

Spanish foreign minister discusses the rise of populism, dealing with Vladimir Putin, and measuring defense expenditure

The year 2016 has been a terrific one for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The rising tide of populism across Europe has brought to the forefront far-right populist leaders, in France and Germany, for example, who espouse pro-Russia rhetoric. The elections of Donald Trump in the United States and pro-Kremlin leaders in Moldova and Bulgaria have been celebrated in Moscow. Meanwhile, Europe has become more divided over refugees, economic stagnation, and Islamic extremism. Will all this weaken the West’s resolve to stand up to a revanchist Russia?

Hopefully not, said Spain’s foreign minister, Alfonso María Dastis.

“It is true that when you look at some of the comments of some candidates in the forthcoming elections in the West there may be some reason to be worried,” Dastis said in an interview at the Atlantic Council on December 16.

In France, for example, François Fillon, a former prime minister who has called Russia a “crucial partner” for Europe, is a frontrunner to win the presidential election in 2017. In November, pro-Russian candidates—Rumen Radev in Bulgaria and Igor Dodon in Moldova—were elected presidents of their countries.

Nevertheless, Dastis was hopeful about the future. “I am an optimist and I hope that in the end we will stand up for our values and if that means that we have to be stronger vis-à-vis Putin we will be doing it,” he said.
The victory of the “no” vote in the Italian referendum is not simply a rejection of reform, but will result in a significant loss of leadership on the European stage with the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to Andrea Montanino, director of the Global Business and Economics Program at the Atlantic Council.

Montanino, a former career officer in the Italian Ministry of Finance, said that “the biggest problem in Europe now is the lack of leadership, the lack of someone to give a vision of what to do next.”

On December 4, Italians voted down a referendum designed to reform and streamline the processes of government. Renzi, who had said he would resign if the “yes” vote is defeated, handed in his resignation to Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

In Renzi’s absence, compounded by French President François Hollande’s decision to not to seek a second term in office and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to run for a fourth term, “the risk for the future of Europe, to me, is that you will have leaders… that are not able to find a common view,” Montanino said. Additionally, it will be hard for the United States to find a partner in an increasingly insular Europe, he added.


    

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