David Wemer

  • Congressional Russia Sanction Push Needs to Maximize Cooperation with Allies

    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) Actand the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act , have been reintroduced in the US Senate as attempts to mandate the Trump


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  • Brussels Agreed to Brexit Extension to Avoid No Deal, EU Official Says

    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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  • Libyan Conflict Could Worsen Migrant Plight, European Commissioner Warns

    The worsening security situation in Libya, where forces loyal to the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army are attempting to seize the capital city, could make conditions even more dire for migrants in the country, the European Union’s Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 8.

    Libya is a main conduit used by traffickers to funnel migrants north onto Europe. Avramopoulos admitted that the conditions in migrant detention centers in the country, which drew international attention when a Somali man burned himself to death in November, are “a disgrace for the whole world.”

    “No one wants this. Not the European Union, not the international community, and certainly not the migrants who end up there,” said Avramopoulos. He maintained that the EU is “doing


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  • As it Turns 70, NATO Sets its Sights to the Future

    On NATO’s seventieth anniversary on April 4, foreign ministers from the twenty-nine allies, as well as the foreign minister of North Macedonia — soon to be the thirtieth member of the Alliance — met in Washington to discuss the growing threats the Alliance faces and the progress being made to strengthen it for the decades to come.

    Before the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said foreign ministers would “reflect on our achievements over these last seven decades, but we will also look to the future.” Speaking to reporters after the meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Alliance “took important decisions on urgent problem sets,” including burden sharing, Russia, and Afghanistan.

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  • Here’s What You Should Be Reading About NATO on its Seventieth Birthday

    NATO is being celebrated in Washington this week. The Alliance, which turned seventy on April 4, is marking its anniversary in the very town it was born.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made history by becoming the first leader of the Alliance to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on April 3. He was treated like a rock star on Capitol Hill where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed their support for the Alliance. “The secretary general of NATO had so many standing ovations, I thought it was an aerobics class,” joked Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe. 

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  • Germany Will Meet Its NATO Commitments, Foreign Minister Says

    Amid a storm of criticism from the Trump administration over its low level of defense spending, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sought to allay concerns that Berlin was reneging on its commitment to increase its contributions to the NATO Alliance.

    “We will stand by our commitments,” Maas said on April 3 at the NATO Engages event in Washington. “I know that our budgetary process is sometimes difficult for outsiders to understand…however, we made a firm commitment to invest more money in our defense and we intend to keep our word.”

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  • After Seventy Years, The United States Still Supports NATO

    Following the first ever speech by a NATO Secretary General to the United States Congress, Washington has made it clear that US support for the transatlantic alliance remains steadfast.

    “The response to the secretary general’s speech was very strong [and] bipartisan,” US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said at the NATO Engages event in Washington shortly after NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg’s address to Congress on April 3. “It was not like the usual addresses we see in Congress where the Democrats stand up on one thing and the Republicans stand up on another,” she explained.  “Everyone stood up an applauded.”

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  • North Macedonia and Greece Look Forward to Common NATO Future

    As NATO marks its seventieth year, it is also looking forward to welcoming its thirtieth member: the Republic of North Macedonia.

    The agreement between Greece and the newly-named Republic of North Macedonia, which ended a twenty-seven-year dispute between the two countries, “sends a clear message that we can resolve disputes through dialogue, by good faith… and using history not as a prison but as a school,” Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said on April 3. He said that the success of the two Western Balkans neighbors’ reconciliation can be a “blueprint for the Balkans — the powder keg of Europe in the past — to help resolve the other very difficult disputes that still exist” in the region and around the world.

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  • ‘It is Good to Have Friends,’ NATO Secretary General Tells Congress

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg used his address to a joint meeting of the US Congress in Washington on April 3 to play down differences with US President Donald J. Trump and play up the virtues of the military alliance that turns seventy this year.

    NATO “has not lasted for seventy years out of a sense of nostalgia or of sentiment,” but rather “because it is in the national interest of each and every one of our nations,” Stoltenberg told lawmakers.

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  • Ukraine’s Presidential Election: How a Comic Secured the Most Votes and Won a Ticket to Round Two

    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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