Central Europe

  • A Strategy for Merkel to Get Trump’s Attention

    When German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Washington on April 27 for her second visit since US President Donald J. Trump took office, she will not be weary of pointing out the common democratic values that Europe and the United States share and cherish. Trump will equally not be weary of showing his genuine disinterest for such arguments.

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  • The Coming of Emmanuel Macron

    Whatever the policy outcomes on individual issues, Emmanuel Macron’s three-day state visit to Washington, from April 23 to April 25, will have succeeded in one goal which is surely at the top of the French president’s agenda: to “Make France Great Again.” He did so by assuming the mantle of the leadership of the West, by acting not only as president of France, not only as president of Europe, but also as president of the free world. In so doing, Macron positioned himself as the equal of the American president, something no other world leader could contemplate today.

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  • Europe Needs To Persuade Iran, Not Just Trump, To Save The Nuclear Deal

    As French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Washington, a top priority will be convincing his American counterpart to stay within the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran.

    But judging from this analyst’s conversations with Iranian diplomats in Europe and New York over the past week, Macron and his colleagues in Germany and Britain may have an equally crucial task persuading Iran to remain within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if US President Donald J. Trump fails to reissue waivers of US sanctions on the next deadline, May 12.

    Despite all the attention paid to the US-Iran aspect of the nuclear issue, Iran’s main expectation upon signing the JCPOA was that it would be able to restore and increase economic relations with Europe, traditionally Iran’s major trading partner.

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  • Macron And Merkel Come to Washington. Lend Them Your Ear

    The free world (to put it in Washington wonk speak: the “rules-based, liberal global order”), the product of American leadership, which generated relative peace, prosperity, and democracy after 1945 and even more after 1989, faces aggression from without, most acutely from Russia; a long-range challenge from the rise of China; and, most alarming, doubts from within about the worth of our own system and values. 

    The visits to Washington this week of Europe’s two most important leaders—French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—take place against this background and the context of favorable but vulnerable economic growth (see the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Report just out). The big question in this week’s talks is whether Europe’s leaders can influence US President Donald J. Trump to accept the value of the free world—America’s own creation—and not to trash it in favor of, ironically, the sort of Old European Great Power nationalism which brought ruin in the twentieth century.

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  • Gedmin in The Hill: Populist Right's Rise in Germany Not (yet) a Reason for Panic


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  • Emmanuel Macron: The Trump Whisperer?

    French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television interview on April 15 that he convinced US President Donald J. Trump not to withdraw troops from Syria.

    “Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term,” Macron said in the TV interview.

    Macron said that he had also persuaded Trump “that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons [sites], after things got a little carried away over tweets.” He has since tried to walk back those comments.

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  • World Reaction to Strikes on Syria

    The United States, the United Kingdom, and France on April 13 launched strikes on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack which they blamed on Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

    While US Defense Secretary James Mattis described the strikes as a “one-time” shot, the Western allies warned more strikes could come in the event of another chemical weapons attack in Syria.

    Here's a look at world reaction to the strikes.

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  • Shaffer Quoted in Foreign Policy on Germany Souring on Russia’s Nord Stream


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  • Syria: All Eyes on Trump (and His Tweets)

    US President Donald J. Trump is weighing his options as he decides how to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. He has not ruled out military strikes.

    In a tweet on April 11, Trump warned Russia that missiles targeting its ally, Syria, "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'"

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  • Populists-1, Globalists-0

    Hungary forges a path for illiberal democracies

    Fourteen years after Hungary joined the European Union—a celebrated and significant milestone for the post-Communist nation—the country’s deviation from the EU’s shared principles of democracy and freedom is both a source for concern and a warning sign for others following suit.

    On April 8, Hungary re-elected Viktor Orbán to his third consecutive term as prime minister. Despite a record turnout of approximately 70 percent in this year’s election, Orbán and his far-right Fidesz party managed to win 67 percent (133) of the seats in Hungary’s 199-seat parliament. By obtaining this two-thirds majority, the seemingly unstoppable leader has secured his ability to make at-will constitutional changes without opposition support, continuing his reign of power.

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