The CSS Blog Network

Merkel and Macron: Edging towards Change?

Image courtesy of the European External Action Service/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 7 June 2018.

Angela Merkel finally responds to Emmanuel Macron’s Europe reform plans – but through the pages of a newspaper, and in only the most guarded of terms.
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Iran, Russia: What’s at Stake in the Syrian Civil War

Image courtesy of Kremlin.ru. CC BY 4.0.

This article was originally published by Geopolitical Futures (GPF) on 23 May 2018.

The era of foreign intervention in Syria is coming to an end – at least that’s what Russian President Vladimir Putin said when Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, visited Sochi last week. Granted, Putin’s statement was ambiguous – “in connection with the significant victories … of the Syrian army … foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic” – but Russia’s Syria envoy clarified the next day that Putin was, in fact, calling on all militaries to vacate the country.

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The US National Defense and International Affairs Budget

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This graphic outlines the US national defense and international affairs budget from 1990-2019. To find out more, click here to read Jack Thompson’s Strategic Trends 2018 chapter on how the US is struggling to manage external challenges as well as domestic constraints, such as the underfunding and mismanagement of the military and diplomatic corps. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.

If the Transatlantic Relationship Sneezes, Will NATO Catch a Cold?

Image courtesy of NATO/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 21 May 2018.

On May 17, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with President Donald Trump at the White House, part of Stoltenberg’s agenda was to insulate NATO from the political winds whipping through the transatlantic relationship. It’s too early to tell if he succeeded, but it is now entirely possible that when the United States and its allies meet at the NATO Summit in Brussels in July, transatlantic relations will be at their lowest ebb since the 2003 Iraq War. Will the NATO alliance, buffeted by disputes not directly related to its mission, feel the chill of this deep freeze in transatlantic political relations, or be insulated from it?

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China’s Global Connectivity Politics: On Confidently Dealing with Chinese Initiatives

Image courtesy of European External Action Service/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This article was originally published by the German Instiitute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in April 2018.

European attitudes towards China and its Belt and Road Initiative are changing. While the People’s Republic under Xi Jinping is the only country in the world pursuing a global vision, distrust of China’s expanding influence is growing. As a consequence, the European debate about China is becoming increasingly emotional with interpretations fluctuating between alarmism and reassurance. Ideas about the ‘essence of China’ and expectations that the country should fit into the liberal order according to Western standards, however, threaten to limit Europe’s scope of action in dealing with the People’s Republic. In order to develop strategies for a confident German and European policy, China’s current global political approach should be considered systematically. Based on the features of China’s ‘connectivity politics’ (Konnektivitätspolitik), Germany and the EU could formulate policy options that go far beyond the realm of infrastructure.

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