After World War II, Europe sought to rebuild its decimated infrastructure and restore faith in European security. Despite having defeated Nazi Germany, the United States and its European allies were concerned about multiple events that were affecting regional stability across Western Europe (for example, civil war in Greece and a Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia). The United States, led by President Harry S. Truman, responded by enhancing its partnerships with Western Europe with the goal of bolstering regional security. As a result, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949 with the purpose of “deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong [US] presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.”

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Maj. Melissa Marshall is constantly pushing herself to be ‘stronger,’ ‘faster,’ and ‘better’

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was one of the first militaries in the world to open all of its positions, including combat roles, to women. Introducing women into the combat arms in 1989 increased the recruiting pool by about 100 percent.

The combat arms are the four combat-focused branches of the Canadian Army: armor, artillery, infantry, and engineering. Each now has a small but powerful contingent of women, including artillery officer Maj. Melissa Marshall.

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The European Union (EU) is entering campaign season. Between May 23 and 26, every EU member state will vote to elect the 705 members of the European Parliament, one of the key Brussels institutions alongside the European Commission and the European Council of heads of states. Ever since the first direct election by EU citizens in 1979, European parliamentary elections have often failed to excite voters. The EU legislative process is complex and Brussels seems remote to many. National parties have often used the opportunity to recycle losers of national elections or distance annoying opponents. “In Brussels No One Can Hear You Scream” was the title of a Borgen episode in which the fictional Danish prime minister “promotes” her main rival to the European Commission.


This time is different.

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This week will be a celebration of NATO. The military alliance that has ensured an unprecedented period of peace on the European Continent turns 70 on April 4; its secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, will address a joint session of the US Congress; and the Atlantic Council will co-host NATO Engages, a daylong conference at which US Vice President Mike Pence and Stoltenberg will be among a galaxy of speakers.

The Atlantic Council is jointly hosting NATO Engages along with the German Marshall Fund and the Munich Security Conference in partnership with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division in Washington on April 3. The theme of this year’s summit is “The Alliance at 70.” NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller will be the opening speaker.

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The outcome of the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on March 31, in which a TV comedian received almost twice as many votes as the incumbent president, is a reflection of the level of “disenchantment” with the “state of domestic affairs,” according to John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and a former US ambassador to Ukraine.

It showed that “while the country has united strongly to oppose Kremlin aggression, people hoped that the Revolution of Dignity would lead to major changes domestically and an improved standard of living,” Herbst said, referring to the 2014 revolution that led to the overthrown of Viktor Yanukovych’s government.

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When NATO kicked off Trident Juncture, its largest collective defense exercise in decades in Norway in October 2018, militarily non-aligned Sweden and Finland not only contributed substantial troops, they were actively involved in planning the exercise from the start.


Over the years, Sweden and Finland have moved closer to NATO, more so than any other Alliance partner, in order to meet the challenge of defending the Baltics. In 2014, Ukraine, also a NATO partner, came to the realization that there is a red line between the Alliance’s partners and allies when it comes to collective defense. For Sweden and Finland that red line may be more of a gray zone.

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Fifteen years ago, NATO welcomed seven new members into the Alliance, expanding its borders eastward from the Baltic to Black Seas. As NATO reaches its seventieth birthday, it could now be time to look toward adding a new member: this time in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After the end of World War Two, policy makers in London and across the Atlantic worried the Cyprus problem could unravel the entire Eastern Mediterranean. Following independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, tensions on the Mediterranean island flared between the Greek and Turkish communities residing there, inflaming tensions between new NATO allies, Turkey and Greece. There was considerable concern in the West that a deterioration of the situation could leave the door open for the Soviets to gain a foothold in the Mediterranean basin.

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Ahead of last year’s decisions on changing the name and disputed symbols in what was then commonly called Macedonia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made clear the stakes. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Stoltenberg warned Skopje. “Either [Macedonians] support the agreement and they can join NATO, or they don’t support the agreement but then they won’t join it. They cannot get both.” Government representatives of North Macedonia working the issue confirmed they had been informed in no uncertain terms it was now or never.

Although turnout in the non-binding referendum was lower than hoped , the parliament of North Macedonia approved the landmark Prespa Agreement on January 11. From there, compared with the twenty-seven years of diplomatic wrangling  with Greece over these matters, it was a mere blink of the eye until the leaders of [soon-to-be-called] North Macedonia were getting a standing ovation at NATO headquarters as they and allies signed the formal accession agreement in February.

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With the arrival of its troops and military advisers in Caracas this past weekend, Russia has upped the ante with the United States over how to deal with the crisis in Venezuela.


While the United States — along with dozens of other countries — recognizes Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, Russia has thrown its lot behind Nicolás Maduro.

And so it was that two Russian military aircraft carrying advisers and troops — as many as 100 troops according to some accounts — arrived in Caracas on March 23.

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For British Prime Minister Theresa May March 29, 2019, is the date that will live in ignominy. She promised to deliver Britain’s exit from the European Union on this day and, instead, suffered the humiliation of seeing Parliament reject her plans for a third time.

The fifty-eight-vote defeat means that while nothing is clear concerning Britain’s future relations with the EU, May’s own future is settled. She has none. It is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. She is an ex-premier. 

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