The United States pledges military support to Lithuania but also calls on the Baltic country to increase defense funding which is now one of the lowest among NATO countries.
On March 4, Stefan Fule, the European Union’s Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, came to Georgia on an official visit. He held high-level meetings with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze (Channel 1 TV, Rustavi 2, March 4). Moreover, on February 24, during an official visit to the United States, Prime Minister Garibashvili met with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Although both meetings with the top White House officials were preplanned, the meeting with the US president was not publicized beforehand. In fact, President Obama joined the Georgian prime minister’s talks with Vice President Biden later on, for about 20 minutes, giving the occasion a more semi-formal flavor (civil.ge, February 25).
As President Putin moves to annex Crimea, US vice-president Joe Biden arrives in Poland "to confirm NATO obligations" and consult on measures to support Ukraine's sovereignty.
Issue of sanctions the West against Russia goes into action: U.S. White House announced that stops receiving applications for visas from official and individuals who are responsible for "destroying the integrity of Ukraine." From Russia requires reducing military presence in Crimea to 11 thousand military units and unlocking Peninsula. Discusses options for sanctions against Russian business tools to lower world prices for oil and gas. EU froze negotiations on an agreement on strategic partnership and also imposed visa restrictions. SF in response to discussing the possibility of freezing the assets of Western companies in Russia. Unpleasant but not fatal for Russia would stall the G8 summit in Sochi Russia and anticipated elimination of the "Big Eight".
At their November 28th, 2011 summit, the EU and the U.S. decided to establish the High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth with the task of identifying policies and measures to increase trade and investment. In order to increase trade and investment in the relations between these two regions, the Working Group settled on creating a comprehensive agreement including bilateral trade, investment, and regulatory issues. It was thus that on February 13th, 2013, the two global actors decided to create the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). There’s substantial controversy over whether the agreement will be a game-changer or not. The partnership negotiations, which started in July, completed its third round on December 20th, 2013.
Germany’s importance on the international scene has been steadily increasing as of late. The German Marshall Fund (GMF), together with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) recently published the report “New Power, New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a Changing World”. We discussed this report and Germany’s new role with Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin.
Victoria Nuland did not make me write this blog post, but she clearly helped me. Having spent the past week in Washington, D.C., I have again been struck by how few people in that town give a hoot about Europe. They care about China, naturally; the Middle East, of course; Russia, again; and Iran, as ever. But from an American perspective, Europe plainly has no real role in any of that. High time for a hefty dose of realism in transatlantic relations.
The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world -- a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.
The United States is undergoing one of the quietest economic revolutions in history. Unthinkable only a few years ago, the shale gas revolution has drastically reduced domestic natural gas prices, making it possible for the U.S. to shutter heavily polluting coal plants, reduce the overall carbon intensiveness of our economy, and spur domestic manufacturing and petrochemicals industries. While the domestic benefits—and possible environmental costs—of this revolution have been the subject of vigorous public debate, relatively little attention has been paid to the immense geopolitical and economic potential for the United States if it were to ease its stringent rules that effectively prevent liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to countries without free trade agreements with the United States.
After years of debate, a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline may be close at hand.