From a suspicious arrest in Russia to a historic ruling in Africa, the week’s headlines were full of courtroom drama. Do you remember who was stripped of power in Moldova? What new law sparked large protests in Hong Kong? Take our quiz to prove you were paying attention this week.

Read More

Iranian supreme leader rebuffs Japanese prime minister’s attempt at mediation

Iran is unlikely to agree to negotiations with the United States in the absence of US concessions, according to Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has offered to serve as a mediator between Washington and Tehran, traveled to Iran this week—the first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in nearly forty years—in an attempt to facilitate negotiations. However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rebuffed Abe’s effort.

Read More

The migrant flow from Central America to the United States is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but cannot be solved through the use of tariffs, two US senators said at the Atlantic Council on June 12.

On May 30, US President Donald J. Trump threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods by June 10 unless the Mexican government did more to help prevent migrants from reaching the US border. He further warned that this tariff would be increased by five percentage points each month until satisfactory progress was made. On June 7, Trump announced that a deal had been struck with the Mexican government that saw the tariff threat dropped, although it could be reinstated if the there is a “problem.”

Read More

But Poland unlikely to get 'Fort Trump,' says the Atlantic Council's Alexander Vershbow

US troop presence in Poland is likely to be at the top of the agenda when US President Donald J. Trump and his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, meet at the White House on June 12.

Pointing to Russian military activity in its neighborhood, the Duda administration has made the case for a permanent US troop presence in Poland at a base Polish officials have suggested they would christen “Fort Trump.” The Polish government has even offered to pay $2 billion to support this base.

Read More

Ties between the United States and Greece are not at risk of weakening, regardless of the outcome of snap elections for the Greek parliament in July, Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Greece, said at the Atlantic Council on June 11.

“I am confident that whatever the choice of the Greek people, we are going to continue to make the kind of investment [that strengthened] this relationship and continue to move it forward in a way that reflects both of our interests,” Pyatt said.

Read More

Almost four months after parliamentary elections it is still unclear who will govern Moldova, a small Eastern European country and former Soviet republic. Disputes over a coalition government mean that there are now competing claims of legitimacy that have caused political gridlock.

Although representatives from the pro-Russia Socialist Party and the pro-European Union ACUM bloc reached an agreement on June 8 to form a coalition government, the deal was challenged by the Democratic Party, which argued to the Constitutional Court that it was formalized after the official deadline, meaning snap elections needed to be called.

Read More

The effectiveness of President Donald Trump’s unprecedented weaponization of tariffs in addressing non-trade issues is facing its most significant tests yet in Mexico and China.
 
In the case of Mexico, he had threatened new 5% tariffs on Mexican goods – which were to be imposed as early as Monday. The aim was to force the Mexican government to stem the flood of undocumented migrants across US borders.

Read More

The near collision of US and Russian warships in the Philippine Sea on June 7 is just the latest close call between the two nations’ militaries that have increasingly found themselves in tense encounters around the globe. While a crisis was averted, the next time may be different.

Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair and director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, said with close calls like the one on June 7 “the risks of escalation are very significant.”

Read More

Coming up on the anniversary of the July 2018 “trade truce” between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald J. Trump, little progress has been made in trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union. This article is the second in a series that will take stock of the opportunities in and challenges to the deepest trading relationship in the world and focuses on two current high-profile disputes.

US frustrations with the functioning and role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure prominently in the background of discussions with key trading partners, including the European Union (EU).  The United States and a number of its allies have for some time flagged areas of the WTO process they consider problematic. These include the self-designation as developing countries by China and others, which allows them to commit to a narrower range of WTO obligations; the notification procedures under which member countries are supposed to (but often do not) disclose information about domestic subsidies and other economic policies affecting trade; and the organization’s dispute resolution system.

Read More

Coming up on the anniversary of the July 2018 “trade truce” between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald J. Trump, little progress has been made in trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union. This article is the first in a series that will take stock of the opportunities in and challenges to the deepest trading relationship in the world and focuses on the current state of discussions.

Read More