Shortly after assuming power in May 2010, the government of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron began setting caps on immigration levels, ultimately promising to reduce net migration into the U.K. to fewer than 100,000 people per year by the 2015 general election. The focus on immigration was unsurprising; migration is highly politicized, particularly near elections and during economic crises. But the overlooked and crucial question was how effective a cap on immigration could be given the European Union’s free movement provisions. The U.K. could indeed limit non-EU immigration by decreasing the number of visas issued. However, there was not much […]

Of the 380 million eligible voters in the 28 countries of the European Union, very few will actually bother to cast ballots in the May 22-25 European parliamentary elections, according to recent polls. Popular disinterest in these elections runs deep, and the trend toward massive abstention—already 60 percent in the most recent EU elections in 2009—will likely be the polls’ biggest winner. Facilitated by the present climate of crisis, right-wing parties, which number approximately 60 across Europe, continue to surge for their part, raising concerns about their weight in the next parliament. What exactly are their chances of success? Analysts […]

The past few years have seen a remarkable recovery of Russia’s international influence and ambitions. Rejecting an implicit offer of partnership with the West, albeit with junior status for Moscow outside its Eurasian region, the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin continues to pursue a separate agenda aimed at making Russia an important and independent pillar of the global order. Moscow may not yet aspire to become a global superpower and peer rival of the United States again, but its goals and some of its capabilities still exceed those of Britain, France, Germany, Japan and other typical regional powers. Not […]

No matter whether the crisis in Ukraine begins to de-escalate in the coming days, Vladimir Putin, with his 19th century outlook, has demonstrated the hollowness of the West’s 21st century approach to Euro-Atlantic security. The twin pillars of the European security establishment—NATO and the EU—have been unable to respond effectively because their assumptions about the nature of conflict and the burdens that members ought to bear to provide for the common defense, formed out of the experiences of the mid-to-late 20th century, have not been updated. For all the exalted talk about NATO as the mailed fist of the West, […]

“Russia fulfilled none of its commitments. None. Zero.” Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, that was how Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland described Russia’s implementation of the Geneva agreement reached on April 17 to de-escalate tensions between Russia and Ukraine. In response, she said, the administration will continue its policy of “steadily raising the economic costs” for Russia, including targeted sanctions on Russian entities and individuals. One target of more muscular sanctions will be the Russian defense industry. A White House statement announced that the departments of State and Commerce would pursue a “tightened policy to deny […]

In Ukraine, language politics is so contentious that politicians will go to almost any lengths to deny that the issue even exists. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko once dismissed regional divisions between Eastern and Western Ukraine as “children’s fairytales.” More recently, opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko told a German news magazine that people in the East and South of Ukraine “are only superficially concerned about language, history and national identity.” Ukrainian politicians commonly say that the language issue only comes up during election campaigns, but then these same politicians have also come to blows in the parliament over this issue. This […]

In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Finland and Sweden are facing increasing pressure to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as full members. While the NATO debate has been simmering in both countries for some time, especially after Russian bombers practiced attacks against targets in Sweden in an exercise during Easter last year, Stockholm and Helsinki are now being encouraged to seriously consider membership by their Nordic and Baltic neighbors, as well as the United States. NATO leaders and security experts believe that the Ukraine crisis has exposed a real vulnerability on NATO’s northern flank, where Sweden and Finland […]

“Russia, whatever they’re doing right now, is not the Soviet Union,” said Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith yesterday at a discussion of the U.S. defense budget. Although most of his congressional colleagues would likely agree with that statement, there is no consensus on Capitol Hill about how to respond to a crisis in Ukraine that appears to leave the United States with few options. And while the differences in large part follow party lines, internal divisions within each camp have also surfaced. Democrats appear to generally support, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the Obama administration’s approach of gradually increasing pressure […]