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Posts tagged ‘Europe’

Stand-off in Crimea: Cui Bono?

Simon Saradzhyan

Simon Saradzhyan

By Simon Saradzhyan

Simon Saradzhyan is assistant director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism and a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.

It seems there has been no Russia watcher left in the world who has not opined on Vladimir Putin’s swift and not so covert moves in the Crimea, pondering: “who’s to blame and what to do?”  In times like these it is also as customary for analysts of international affairs to wonder “to whose benefit?” Yet this question remains open even though some of the Western diplomats are already calling the current standoff the biggest crisis in Europe of the 21st century.

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How Obama Can Win a European Free-Trade Deal

Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

By Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

(This article first appeared on TheAtlantic.com, where Ben Heineman is a frequent contributor)

The contrast was striking. In his State of the Union address, President Obama buried the start of a U.S.-E.U. free trade negotiations in a single sentence well down in the text: ” Tonight, I’m announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”

Yet, remarkably, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times led their editions the second day after the speech with the trade talk stories, and under multi-deck headlines (“Obama Bid for Trade Pact with Europe Stirs Hope: Rise of China May Spur Deal Despite Past Failures–Visions of Lower Prices.“)

In trumpeting the story, the newspapers acknowledged the potential significance of such a deal between the first and second largest economies in the world (E.U. $17 trillion; U.S. $15 trillion; China $12 trillion), reflecting the views of politicians and other leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. In downplaying the announcement, the president was hedging his bets: because of parochial interests in both the U.S. and the E.U., it will be hard to get a meaningful deal done on a host of technocratic issues, and he doesn’t want the trade negotiations to detract politically from the host of other issues he wishes to advance during his second term.

Yet the irony is that the president cannot hedge his bets without effectively undermining, or indeed killing, the talks in their infancy. He must be prepared to put the full weight of the administration, and the full weight of the presidency, behind this project for it to have a decent chance of succeeding. Read more

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Why Europe Still Matters

Nicholas Burns

By Nicholas Burns

(This is an excerpt from my latest Boston Globe column on Friday, March 30. See that piece for a longer assessment of these challenges.)

At a recent conference in Brussels sponsored by the German Marshall Fund, I heard from countless European officials how simplistic, shallow, and plain wrong the pundits are in forecasting the declining importance of Europe for Americans. Europe still matters greatly to the United States, these officials say, and we should be skeptical about predictions of its imminent demise. Read more

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The Threat from Europe

Joseph S. Nye

Joseph S. Nye

By Joseph S. Nye

The recovery of the American economy has slowed, and the collapse of the Euro  — a financial crisis in Europe — could tip the United States into the feared double dip of recession. Ironically for the Obama Administration, the greatest threat to the president’s re-election comes not from Afghanistan or Yemen, but from our allies in Europe.

What are the prospects of a collapse of the Euro? On Wednesday, 20,000 Greeks rioted in Athens in opposition to the austerity measures that are required to meet the conditions for payments from the $600 billion European Financial Stability Facility. As one observer noted, “there is no sign of a national spirit of sacrifice to save the country.”  And although the German Bundestag voted on September 29 for an expanded bailout fund, there is still resistance in Germany to allowing the European Central Bank to issue Eurobonds or act as an unlimited lender of last resort to prevent the contagion of loss of confidence spreading from Greece to the sovereign debt of Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy (as well as to the Northern European banks that hold much of that debt.)  Markets believe that the EFSF is too small to deal with the problem, but German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble says “we do not have the intention” of enlarging the emergency fund. Read more

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Responding to Steve Walt’s Response

Richard Rosecrance

Richard Rosecrance

By Richard N. Rosecrance

Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow, International Security Program; Director, Project on U.S.-China Relations, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

My colleague Steve Walt and I agree that we may need a balance of power against China to reverse the US pattern of decline. Recently a Chinese official dubbed the U.S. “conceited” and claimed that China’s new aircraft carrier was “longed for by the Chinese people,” a somewhat romantic expression of popular sentiment.

Where we disagree is what to do about China. (See Walt’s initial blog post on Foreignpolicy.com, my response to him, and his re-response to me). Read more

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The Coming Erosion of Europe?

Richard N. Rosecrance

Richard N. Rosecrance

By Richard N. Rosecrance

Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow, International Security Program; Director, Project on U.S.-China Relations, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

My esteemed colleague Stephen Walt has consigned the European Union to the trash heap of history and asserted that the US should no longer take it seriously. Europe is in decline; NATO is in decline. The United States should focus on Asia or go it alone.

As a proponent of the Balance of Power—where he has made fundamental contributions — Walt has overlooked the very essence of the problem. Asia is rising, the West, apparently declining, and the question is what to do about it. Europe is critical in these calculations. Read more

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