David Wemer

  • The Saudi Arabia-Canada Feud, Explained

    Saudi Arabia and Canada have found themselves in the middle of a diplomatic crisis, which threatens to end all diplomatic and economic contacts between the two countries. Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian Ambassador in Riyadh on August 6, after Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, called for the release of Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi on August 2.

    Canada has refused so far to revoke its statements of support for Badawi and her brother Raif Badawi, prompting Saudi Arabia to increase its response on August 8. Samar Badawi is known for her advocacy on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia; her brother remains in jail, and his family has been living in exile in Canada after being imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for promoting religious tolerance.

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  • Russia Braces For 'Crushing' New Sanctions Over Electoral Interference

    On August 8, the Russian newspaper Kommersant published a draft of what they claim is the new Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA), a bill US senators introduced on August 2 that aims to punish Moscow for its interference in American elections, its continued support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and the illegal annexation of Crimea.

    US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the new sanctions were necessary because existing measures had “failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 elections,” and that these sanctions would be in place...

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  • Britain Will Remain A Global Power After Brexit, UK Defense Minister Says

    “Brexit is Britain’s moment to look up, be more ambitious, and redefine our place in the world,” United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, said on August 7. Speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, Williamson sought to assure those “worrying about Brexit and what role Britain will play in the world,” that the United Kingdom will “remain a nation that champions those fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and tolerance.”

    Rebutting criticism that the United Kingdom’s pending withdrawal from the European Union would weaken Britain’s influence in the world, Williamson said “never underestimate my nation.”

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  • Ankara and Washington Reach a Boiling Point over American Pastor Imprisonment

    This piece is part of a two part series on current US-Turkey relations. See the first piece here

    Relations between Turkey and the United States may have hit a new low after the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned two Turkish government officials in response to the imprisonment of an American pastor in Turkey on July 31st.

    The sanctions were placed on Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Abdulhamit Gül, and the Minister of Interior, Süleyman Soylu, on the basis of the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act and 2012 Magnitsky Act. These...

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  • Congress to NATO: We Have Your Back

    With concern rising on both sides of the Atlantic about Washington’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance, NATO’s newest champion is also one of its oldest supporters: The United States Congress. On August 1, a group of twenty US senators met privately with NATO officials and ambassadors from allied governments to make clear that the American legislative branch remains committed to the United States’ involvement and leadership in NATO.

    At a time when the White House has aggressively pushed NATO allies to spend more on defense – and suggested that American involvement in NATO could be dependent on increased allied commitments – members from both sides of the aisle in Congress have increasingly voiced their unified support for the transatlantic alliance.

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  • Uncertainty and a Need for Leadership After Zimbabwe's Election

    After days of uncertainty, protests, and violence following Zimbabwe’s July 30 presidential and parliamentary elections, “everyone has got to take deep breath,” Dr. J Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s Vice President for Research and Regional Initiatives and the Director of the Council’s Africa Center said.

    In the early hours of August 3, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced that current president Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election with 50.8% of the vote, avoiding a potential run-off. The election was the first one not featuring former president Robert Mugabe in more than four decades.

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  • Is North Korea Really Committed to Peace?

    US intelligence officials believe that North Korea is continuing to build new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), despite North Korean leader Kim Jung Un’s promise to work towards denuclearization after a summit with US President Donald J. Trump in June.

    The intelligence findings, which were reported by The Washington Post on July 30, raise questions about Pyongyang’s commitment to improve its relations with the United States and seriously move to halt or roll back its nuclear weapons program.

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  • Trump Says He's Willing to Meet Iran's Rouhani Without Preconditions

    Eight days ago, US President Donald J. Trump warned Hassan Rouhani of dire “consequences” should the Iranian president persist with his threats against the United States.

    On July 30, Trump said he would be willing to meet with the Iranian leader at any time “with no preconditions.”

    “If they [the Iranians] want to meet, we’ll meet,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House in Washington.

    Matthew Kroenig, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, said Trump’s willingness to meet the Iranian leader is “the textbook pressure and engagement strategy the United States has used for many years in dealing with rogue states.”

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  • Trump Says He's Willing to Meet Iran's Rouhani Without Preconditions

    Eight days ago, US President Donald J. Trump warned Hassan Rouhani of dire “consequences” should the Iranian president persist with his threats against the United States.

    On July 30, Trump said he would be willing to meet with the Iranian leader at any time “with no preconditions.”

    “If they [the Iranians] want to meet, we’ll meet,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House in Washington.

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  • Was the Trump-Juncker Meeting Really a Success?

    US President Donald J. Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attempted to tamp down trade tensions between the United States and the European Union (EU) in their meeting at the White House on July 25. Juncker pledged that the EU would seek to import more US soybeans, buy more US liquified natural gas (LNG), and work toward an agreement on zero tariffs for industrial products in exchange for a promise from Trump to back off his threat to increase tariffs on European-made cars.

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