August 2011

Europe without Turkey

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By Ian Buruma

Most European citizens (for example, more than 60% in France and Germany) believe that Turkey should not become part of the European Union. There are various reasons for this opposition – some valid, some based on prejudice: Turkey is too big; Turkish migrant workers might swamp other members; Turkey has a shaky human rights record; Turkey oppresses the Kurds; Turkey hasn’t solved its problems with Greece over Cyprus.

Expert: Unconventional gas has “huge” potential

By Jan Vitásek

Shale gas and unconventional gas have a huge future potential when compared with conventional gas supplies. But their lack of social acceptance, and the technological adjustments and regulatory framework required to develop them remain a challenge in Europe, Pawel Konzal, associate director for Energy Industries of the World Economic Forum (WEF), told in an exclusive interview.

Thoughts on the U.S.-Russian “Reset”

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By Daniel Larison

It has been three years since the start of the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. The anniversary of the war’s beginning is a good occasion to reflect on how far U.S.-Russians relations fell during the Bush years, and how much they have been repaired in the last two and a half years. At present, inveterate opponents of the “reset” policy are doing their best to undermine this improved relationship. The “reset” was designed in no small part to undo much of the damage caused by Bush administration policy and the aftermath of the 2008 war, and in many respects it has been such an obvious success that its critics are usually reduced to whining about how it has failed to solve things it was never intended to fix. Russia still has a culture of “legal nihilism,” it is a one-party, illiberal authoritarian state that suppresses and criminalizes dissent, and real political opposition is not permitted. The “reset” has not changed any of this, but it was never supposed to, and there is no way that U.S. policy towards Russia can change this.

The Euro-American Debt Dilemma

By Michael Boskin

Wealthy Europe and America, crown jewels of mixed capitalist democracies, are drowning in deficits and debt, owing to bloated welfare states that are now in place (Europe) or in the making (the United States). As Europe struggles to prevent financial contagion and America struggles to reduce its record deficits, their dangerous debt levels threaten future living standards and strain domestic and international political institutions. The ratings agencies are threatening additional downgrades; others envision an eventual breakup of the euro and/or demise of the dollar as the global reserve currency.

The New Power Alliance: Russia, Germany and France

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By Ariel Cohen

Moscow is flush with cash from energy sales and arms producers in France, Italy and Germany are happy to take large chunks of it. They are busily selling Russia advanced weapons, sensitive dual-use systems and military supplies. All this indicatesunprecedented Russian openness about (and need to) buy advanced weapons systems. Moreover, Moscow-based experts say privately that the Kremlin hopes the arms deals help revive the Russian-French-German axis that began to emerge in 2003 in opposition to the US-Iraq war.

A Step Toward Trust With China

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By Mike Mullen

THE military relationship between the United States and China is one of the world’s most important. And yet, clouded by some misunderstanding and suspicion, it remains among the most challenging. There are issues on which we disagree and are tempted to confront each other. But there are crucial areas where our interests coincide, on which we must work together.

The U.S.-Saudi Dilemma: Iran's Reshaping of Persian Gulf Politics

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By Reva Bhalla

Something extraordinary, albeit not unexpected, is happening in the Persian Gulf region. The United States, lacking a coherent strategy to deal with Iran and too distracted to develop one, is struggling to navigate Iraq’s fractious political landscape in search of a deal that would allow Washington to keep a meaningful military presence in the country beyond the end-of-2011 deadline stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement. At the same time, Saudi Arabia, dubious of U.S. capabilities and intentions toward Iran, appears to be inching reluctantly toward an accommodation with its Persian adversary.