Central Europe

  • Can NATO Allies Effectively Utilize Increases in Defense Spending?

    Decreases in NATO members’ defense budgets in the years before Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Crimea in 2014 created readiness problems in Europe just as they have in America,
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  • Scholl and Morningstar in Handelsblatt Global: Nord Stream 2 takes center stage in Trump’s NATO performance


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  • Trump on NATO Summit: 'Yes, There Was Fighting'

    [Excerpts from joint press conference by President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, July 13, 2018]
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  • Trump Reveals He was ‘Very Firm’ with NATO Allies

    [Excerpts from remarks by President Trump at press conference after NATO Summit, July 12, 2018.
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  • The Trump-Merkel Showdown

    Managing a growing rift within NATO

    US President Donald J. Trump traveled to Europe this week with his rhetorical guns loaded, taking aim at NATO allies for failing to adequately pay for their own defense. The primary target of Trump’s ire is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite positive trajectories in both German and NATO allies’ defense spending over the past two years, which allies promised to increase to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, Trump is not looking to take a “victory lap” in Brussels and take credit for positive momentum in NATO defense spending.

    Instead, Trump will sharply accelerate American calls to end European “free-riding” to a new crisis point, directly linking U.S. political and security commitments in Europe with European willingness to raise defense spending, turning a security partnership into a transactional relationship. Trump’s rhetoric and actions in the following months has the potential to do more damage to the Alliance than any previous US president, more than even Russian President Vladimir Putin could have conducted or dreamed of.   

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  • NATO Ministers Preach Unity, But Divisions Persist

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen stressed the importance of unity in the Alliance during a panel discussion in Brussels on July 11. Although each of the ministers implored the Alliance to find common ground on the challenges facing the bloc, divergent views on these central questions also emerged. The ministers participated in NATO Engages, a two-day event co-hosted by the Atlantic Council on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels.

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  • Nord Stream 2 is a Bad Deal for Europe

    This week, Western leaders will gather at the NATO Summit in Brussels to discuss the most pressing issues of the day, likely including the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. The pipeline, owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, would significantly increase Moscow’s capacity to export natural gas directly to Germany. Nord Stream 2 is too often mistakenly framed as primarily a German commercial issue or a Ukrainian transit problem, since the country will be bypassed by the new pipeline. Sometimes, even more misleadingly, it is portrayed as a rival to the United States’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) export ambitions to European markets.

    But is this gas pipeline really that bad for Europe?

    The short answer is an unequivocal yes. Here are the four main reasons why:

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  • Merkel: NATO Must Refocus on Russia Threat

    From Deutsche Welle:  "The challenges for NATO have changed drastically in recent years," Merkel said.
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  • Senior US Official: Trump Wants to Cut American Defense Spending in Europe

    President Trump will land in Europe next week amid fears that he will blow up a key summit focused on Europe’s defense
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  • Withdrawal of US Troops from Germany is Not Being Discussed, US Ambassador to NATO Says

    From Washington Post: The Trump administration’s ambassador to NATO said Thursday that no discussions are underway regarding withdrawal of U.S. troops in Germany
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