Driven by understandable distrust of US President Donald Trump’s continued relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a bipartisan group of US senators have introduced legislation that, if passed, compels the Trump administration to increase the pressure on Moscow. The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019, or DASKAA, is a revisited, and improved version of the similarly named bill that was introduced in response to Trump’s widely panned July 2018 summit with Putin in Helsinki. Several additional Russian-related outrages later, this bill introduced by Senators Graham, Menendez, Cardin, Gardner, and Shaheen likely has a better chance of becoming law than its predecessor, which languished in a Congress distracted by a Supreme Court fight, the summer recess, a competing Russia sanctions bill, and the pre-election environment.

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Global democracy has seen better days. Disruptive new technologies, demographic change, stagnant wages, and uneven economic growth are leading many citizens to question the effectiveness of democratic institutions and the usefulness of global cooperation. At the same time, authoritarian regimes around the world have become emboldened in recent years, directly challenging global rules, regional stability, and attempting to undermine democratic electoral processes. Former leaders from democracies around the globe now say it is time to fight for the principles of freedom, prosperity, and peace.

“There has been much hand-wringing about the state of democracy and the world in general,” Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center, said. “The point now is to take action.”

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MUNICH – The United States has traditionally reassured doubtful allies of its security commitment through such measures as troop reinforcements and military exercises.

However, disruptive times call for unconventional measures.

This weekend, the U.S. will forward deploy more than 40 members of Congress – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – to the Munich Security Conference, the biggest such U.S. delegation in the 55-year history of the group, the most significant transatlantic powwow of its kind.

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Colombia’s leader calls on Venezuelan military to support interim President Juan Guaidó

Colombian President Ivan Duque said on February 14 Nicolás Maduro should relinquish his hold on power in Venezuela and face trial for crimes against humanity. He also called on the Venezuelan military to support Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by a number of countries, including the United States, as the interim president of Venezuela.


“His days are over,” Duque said, referring to Maduro. “Now, the military, who are the ones that have to make the change… they have now to support President Guaidó. What is the other option? Continue with a dictatorship that has impoverished the whole population; a hyperinflation of millions; the deterioration of all the liberties?”

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Valentine’s Day comes on the heels of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to long-neglected allies in Central Europe. While you were preparing to celebrate with your loved ones were you also paying attention to what was going on this week? Take our quiz on the world’s top news stories.

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An astonishing day in the British House of Commons as the Government slumped to a striking defeat over its plans for Brexit, with parliamentarians calling for a constitutional revolution under which parliament would instruct the government on just what it has to do to end the Brexit crisis.

Moreover, as both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party struggled to whip their own rebels into line, Labour finally came out with a clear statement of just where it stands on the future of Brexit – either the UK should enter a customs union with the EU or there should be a second referendum to ensure Britain did not leave the EU without a deal.

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On February 7, France announced its decision to recall its ambassador to Rome for consultations, denouncing a “grave situation” that “has no precedent since the end of the war.” This unprecedented move came a day after Italy’s deputy prime minister, and leader of the Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio flew to France and met representatives of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) movement. In a letter to Le Monde, Di Maio justified the meeting saying: “I wanted to meet with representatives of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ and the citizens' initiative referendum group, because I do not believe that the future of European politics lies in the parties of the right or the left.”

The meeting, and ensuing French reaction, marks a peak in the escalation of rhetoric between French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Italy’s ruling Five Star-League coalition over the past eight months.

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I never wanted to bang on about Europe. However, as a special adviser to British Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May, I managed to spend much of the past three and half years doing just that. 


One of my roles in that time was to brief ministers going on TV or radio on the latest issues in the news that day. Following the daily ins-and-outs of Brexit could be both time-consuming and frustrating. But beyond the day-to-day details, there are some fundamentals that underpin the whole process. 

This is my effort to draw them out. 

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As US-China trade tensions calm down, they could escalate quickly on the transatlantic front

While a US delegation led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Steven Mnuchin is in Beijing to try to de-escalate the current tariff tensions ahead of a March 1 deadline, clouds are gathering on the transatlantic trade front. A draft motion tabled by the European Parliament (EP) last week could end trade negotiations before they even officially start—and pave the way for US tariffs on European cars and car parts. With the US Commerce Department’s investigative report into whether foreign automobiles are a security threat to the United States due by February 18, European hesitation about the negotiating mandate could prove fatal.

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US Vice President Mike Pence, addressing US and Polish armed forces in Warsaw on February 13, emphasized the importance of NATO, reaffirmed the US commitment to the principle of collective defense, and encouraged allies to meet the Alliance’s defense-spending goal. It is an open question, however, whether his boss, US President Donald J. Trump, shares his conviction.

“While Vice President Pence’s words were eloquent and reassuring, allies have learned that there is a disconnect between the administration’s policy and the president’s own feelings about NATO and other US alliances,” said Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a former deputy secretary general of NATO.

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