Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting at NATO’s headquarters, Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

What would the United States lose if it lost Europe as a friend, partner and ally? The question is an abstract one for now. But if his inaugural presidential trip abroad last week is any indication, U.S. President Donald Trump seems hell-bent on finding out what the real-life answer would be. Any European leaders watching the first two legs of Trump’s trip would have been understandably encouraged and even optimistic about the prospects for their first meeting with the new American president. Four months in office had already served to soften the iconoclastic declarations he made as a candidate into […]

French soldiers walk over the Mirabeau bridge, Paris, France, May 20, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to continue the NATO policy of his predecessor, Francois Hollande. There is support within the French defense establishment to increase defense spending to reach the alliance’s target of 2 percent of GDP, and Macron maintains that France will do so by 2025. Yet despite this consensus, there remains debate within France over what the country gained and lost by reintegrating into the alliance’s chain of command in 2009. In an email interview, […]

Members of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division prepare to unload Abrams tanks after arriving at the Gaiziunai railway station, west of the capital, Vilnius, Lithuania, Feb. 10, 2017 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are no strangers to dealing with authoritarian figures. Bordering Russia, they have invested heavily in building up their defenses against sophisticated techniques from Moscow that seek to undermine their social cohesion and security. But how do you manage relations with your closest ally across the Atlantic when its president is detached from democratic norms? During their first face-to-face encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels today, Baltic politicians have to reconcile a hard-nosed assessment of their national interest—the fact that the United States remains the crucial guarantor of the security of […]

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih walks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the Asia Oil and Gas Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 8, 2017 (AP photo by Daniel Chan).

Oil markets are expecting the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to extend their supply quotas when they meet in Vienna on Thursday. The current production cuts have failed to drain bloated oil inventories due to a remarkable resurgence in U.S. shale production. Keeping production down will not be easy for the coalition of 24 oil producers, 11 of which are not in OPEC. Even if fully implemented, an extension of the deal will likely just prevent oil prices from falling, while giving more market share to U.S. shale. It seems that OPEC has lost the […]

Polish and Hungarian security forces patrol along the temporary border fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary, Oct. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Zoltan Mathe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. Since joining NATO nearly two decades ago, Hungary has taken advantage of the collective defense offered by the alliance to reduce the size of its armed forces while improving their capacity. While the country has been a reliable partner in NATO missions, the focus under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who assumed his post in 2010, has shifted toward internal security threats, especially in light of the migration crisis of recent years. In an email interview, Gen. Zoltán Szenes, former […]

People wave Macedonian flags during a peaceful protest to demand new elections to try and break the country's political deadlock, Skopje, Macedonia, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Boris Grdanoski).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. The Balkan nation of Macedonia has been waiting for years to join NATO, yet the hurdles to this goal seem only to multiply. In addition to objections and conditions from some NATO members, including Greece, Macedonia is also facing the possibility that its ongoing internal political crisis will prevent the process from moving ahead. In an email interview, Stojan Slaveski, a professor and security expert at the European University of the Republic of Macedonia in Skopje, explains how these […]

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses the media after a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers, Brussels, May 18, 2017 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

On Thursday, at a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that Europe’s first joint military command center could be launched in “a couple of days.” EU states already approved the creation of the new military training headquarters in Brussels, known in EU parlance as the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, or MPCC, back in March, but they have been hashing out the final details this week. Though the MPCC will initially only oversee joint EU military training operations in Africa, speculation has persisted that it could lay the groundwork for an […]

French President Emmanuel Macron waves from a military vehicle as he rides on the Champs Elysees avenue toward the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France, May 14, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

During the campaign for this month’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, who was elected on May 7, was labeled an “extreme centrist” for his “neither-left-nor-right” paradigm. Establishing his En Marche party in 2016, he pledged to break from the political establishment, offering a platform to simultaneously boost France’s economy and maintain its social security net while strengthening the European Union. But many were skeptical, pointing to his role as economy minister during Francois Hollande’s unpopular administration, his degrees from elite institutions and, most nefariously, his background in investment banking. So when he announced the members of his Cabinet on Wednesday, many […]

Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and Gen. Milan Maxim, chief of the general staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, inspect an honor guard, Slovakia, April 15, 2016 (NATO photo by Ivan Kelement).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. Anti-NATO voices within Slovakia are becoming more vocal, spurred in part by the public’s susceptibility to pro-Russian propaganda and suspicions of the U.S. Yet Slovakia, a NATO member since 2004, remains a committed member of the alliance, and officials see clear benefits to the security assurance NATO provides as well as training that comes with participating in NATO missions. In an email interview, Dušan Fischer, an alumni scholar at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, at the White House, Washington, May 10, 2017 (Russian Foreign Ministry via AP).

In recent years, Russia has learned how to punch above its weight in the global security system, exercising influence out of proportion to its actual political, economic and military strength. It has done this through ruthless skill and willingness to adopt almost any method that advances its interests while limiting the risk. Moscow has developed—even mastered—what national security experts call “gray zone” methods based on slowly emerging aggression that combines a wide array of techniques. These include conventional military intimidation, cyberattacks, economic warfare, political-psychological operations by Moscow’s extensive army of online trolls, and alliances with political and criminal proxies of […]

The welcoming ceremony for NATO’s multinational battalion headed by the U.S., Orzysz, Poland, April 13, 2017 (Sputnik photo via AP).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. Last month, Poland’s government gave a warm welcome to a U.S.-led NATO battalion, which is part of a series of deployments to create “tripwire” deterrence to Russian aggression. “Generations of Poles have waited for this moment since the end of World War II, generations that dreamt of being part of the just, united, democratic and truly free West,” said President Andrzej Duda. As the largest country to join NATO since the end of the Cold War, Poland has tried […]

President-elect Emmanuel Macron poses for a picture with supporters after a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, Paris, May 10, 2017 (Pool photo by Eric Feferberg via AP).

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France’s presidential election capped a surprise-filled campaign that upended the country’s political landscape. This has been most widely noted with regard to France’s established political parties, the Socialist Party on the left and the Republicans on the right, neither of whose candidates made it to the second-round of voting last Sunday. But the campaign signaled not just a remaking of the party landscape, but also a generational transition in French politics, one that goes beyond Macron’s youth. At 39, he is the youngest elected president of France and among the youngest heads of state of any […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at 10 Downing Street, London, May 10, 2017 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. There has never been a question of the U.K.’s preference for NATO as a guarantor of European security, instead of a separate European force. In an email interview, John Louth, senior research fellow and director for defense, industries and society at the Royal United Services Institute, describes the U.K.’s role in the alliance and explains why U.K. officials—like U.S. President Donald Trump—believe European allies should spend more on defense. WPR: How do NATO alliance concerns shape the U.K.’s security […]

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, left, and outgoing President Francois Hollande attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, May 8, 2017 (Philippe Wojazer, pool via AP).

Emmanuel Macron has never said anything noteworthy about the United Nations. But his victory in this weekend’s French presidential election increases the chances that France and Europe still have a role to play in defending international cooperation. It is probable that the three main European powers—Britain, France and Germany—will be active supporters of the U.N. and other multilateral bodies for at least the rest of this decade. They may be able to offset, at least in part, the Trump administration’s retreat from multilateralism. Just a few months ago, it would have been hard to make even this guardedly optimistic statement […]

Matteo Renzi, the former Italian prime minister and newly re-elected head of the Democratic Party, delivers an address during the party's national assembly, Rome, May 7, 2017 (ANSA photo by Riccardo Antimiani via AP).

On April 30, Matteo Renzi showed that rumors of his political demise were greatly exaggerated. Italy’s former prime minister found his career on the rocks following a humiliation in December, when the constitutional referendum he backed was defeated. But he proved that he could still command the loyalty of the overwhelming majority of supporters of the Democratic Party, or PD, by winning a convincing victory in the party leadership primaries. Nearly 2 million people voted—less than in previous contests, but still an impressive figure, especially since the vote coincided with a holiday weekend. Almost 70 percent cast a ballot for […]

The first freight train service from China to the U.K. arrives at DB Cargo's rail freight terminal, Barking, U.K., January 18, 2017 (Press Association photo by Stefan Rousseau via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Last month, the U.K. inaugurated the first freight train service to China—a 17-day, 7,500-mile journey from Essex to Zhejiang province. A cargo route was earlier established linking China and Spain. The milestones are reminders of Chinese ambitions for European involvement in its One Belt, One Road initiative. In an email interview, Andrew Small, senior trans-Atlantic fellow with the Asia Program of the German Marshall Fund of […]

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen delivers a speech, May 1, 2017, Villepinte, France (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Wednesday’s vicious presidential debate ahead of Sunday’s election in France did little to improve the public image of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. In a flurry of factually dubious assertions about her centrist opponent, Emmanuel Macron, she struggled to offer a clear political platform, instead railing against free trade and demonizing Muslims. Her dismal performance, coupled with endorsements for Macron from across France’s political spectrum, is likely to seal her defeat come Sunday. But Le Pen and her movement will remain relevant for French politics. The first round of the election sidelined France’s mainstream parties from the presidential runoff in […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last