Thousands of miles from home, 1,700 US Marines began slowly arriving for their newest mission. Their destination was not the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, however, nor the established bases of Europe and Japan, but the tropical city of Darwin, located far in Australia’s north.

The contingent of Marines is the largest to visit Australia since Washington and Sydney agreed in 2011 to allow up to 2,500 US troops to use the country for basing and training. The deployment, known as Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, will remain in Australia’s north until October, primarily participating in large training exercises with Australian and other partner regional forces, including the massive Talisman Sabre exercise with Australian forces from June to August.

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As the US Congress considers passing new sanctions to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, interference in US elections, and material support for Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, lawmakers should remain committed to a united approach with Washington’s European allies and ensure that the new legislation maximizes US cooperation with its partners, according to Atlantic Council Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow Daniel Fried.

Two current bills, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression (DASKA) Act and the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act , have been reintroduced in the US Senate as attempts to mandate the Trump administration place sanctions on Russia in response to specific bad behavior by the Kremlin. The latest sanctions push demonstrates that Congress still “continues to show antipathy towards Russian behavior,” in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Syria, and other places, according to Atlantic Council Global Energy Center Chairman Ambassador Richard Morningstar, who moderated an Atlantic Council panel on the sanctions measures on April 17. The event was cohosted by the Atlantic Council’s Economic Sanctions Initiative and the Global Energy Center.

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The world mourned the damage to the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris this week, while electoral victories were celebrated in Indonesia and Finland. Were you paying attention to the headlines? Take seven questions to prove you are a master of the latest international news.

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When most of us think about genetic technologies, healthcare comes to mind for some very good reasons. Our growing understanding of how our genes impact how our bodies function has made possible incredible medical innovations to treat and even cure some truly awful genetic diseases. But our genomes don’t just underpin our health, they are the blueprints of much of our lives.

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi kicked off long-awaited trade negotiations between the United States and Japan in Washington this week. While both sides have agreed to accelerate the talks, their scope is unclear.


Japan wants to focus on tariffs on industrial and agricultural goods, referring to the possible outcome as a Trade Agreement on Goods (TAG), but the United States insists on a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation—encompassing goods, services, investment, and anti-currency manipulation.

Beyond these differences in scope, there are important divergences on substantive matters, not the least of which is Japan’s preference for a free trade framework as opposed to the United States’ managed-trade approach. As a consequence, the talks could make speedy progress if narrowly focused, but could drag on if Washington insists on a comprehensive agenda.

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Need a respite from watching the slow self-immolation of British politics over Brexit?  Discouraged by French and German leaders asking—no longer sotto voce—if they can still count on the United States? If so, it’s instructive to look at what’s happening in Finland, a country whose 5.5 million people count slightly less than the population of Minnesota. In this country, the art of compromise is still practiced and the transatlantic relationship highly valued.        

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European Union leaders sat down this week in Brussels for a summit with a China it recently branded a “systemic rival,” and the United States is nearing the end game of trade talks with a China that national security documents refer to as a “strategic adversary.”
 
So, it’s surprising that transatlantic leaders are neither working at common cause nor asking the most crucial geopolitical questions of our age.

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India, the world’s largest democracy, kicked off a five-week-long parliamentary election on April 11. Unlike the United States, where the Democratic and Republican parties dominate, India is a multiparty system, giving voters a choice of candidates.


At the national level, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the secular Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, whose father, grandmother, and great grandfather all served as prime ministers of India, are in a fight to lead the country. Modi has served as prime minister for the past five years.

This handy guide will help you make sense of the contest.

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By agreeing to extend the deadline for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) to October 31, EU leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May “managed to avoid the most disruptive [potential] scenario, which would have been no-deal Brexit,” top European Commission official Valdis Dombrovskis said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 12.

The extension, which would first be reviewed by the EU on June 30 but could last as long as October 31, would give the UK Parliament time to “reflect and work on what is really their preferred scenario,” Dombrovskis said.

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The arrest of Julian Assange in London on April 11 is a victory for the rule of law. Whatever one believes of the purported nobility of his ideology that governments and persons he does not like should be subject to information warfare under the guise of targeted “transparency,” Assange and his allies and enablers have done far more harm than good. 

Individuals, businesses, and governments have the right to live within digital rules and laws.  Anything else is a crime, espionage or information warfare. Respect for protected and private information, whether it be for individuals or nations, is essential for societal function. Individuals who take it upon themselves to decide who deserves data respect and who does not are dangerous for all.  Who’s next? 

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