President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

While recognizing that it could be undone at any time by a single presidential tweet, there appears to be a truce on at least one front in Donald Trump’s trade war. During a visit to the White House last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged along with Trump to refrain from further escalation of the trans-Atlantic trade dispute and try to work things out. Their joint statement was vague, and the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, and the EU’s retaliatory tariffs, remain in place for now. Trump imposed those duties on supposed national security grounds, […]

U.S. President Donald Trump at the end of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018 (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka for DPA via AP Images).

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that if elected, he might withdraw the United States from NATO largely because, in his words, the other member states “aren’t paying their bills.” At the time, this didn’t receive as much attention as Trump’s other statements on the campaign trail. Candidate Trump said so many peculiar, often offensive things that this one got lost in the shuffle, and few people at the time thought that he stood a chance of winning the election anyway. Even his supporters assumed that if he did, he would temper his more extreme positions once […]

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, right, looks on as French President Emmanuel Macron kisses France’s Kylian Mbappe after France won the World Cup, Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

PARIS—If, as the old saw has it, the United States and the United Kingdom are two countries separated by a common language, the United States and France are surely two countries separated by common ideals. But good intentions on both sides of the Atlantic often get lost in translation, with the latest example being the high-profile dispute between late-night comedy show host Trevor Noah and France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, over the identity of the World Cup champion French national soccer team. (Noah is South African, but his show is produced in the U.S. for an American audience.) […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk, right, after their joint press conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 17, 2018 (AP photo by Koji Sashara).

Earlier this month, Japan and the European Union concluded a mega-free trade deal that, when ratified, is expected to provide significant benefits to both sides. But as important as the economics of the deal is its symbolism, demonstrating a commitment to an international trade regime that has been passing through a zone of turbulence over the past year, largely due to arcane protectionist measures from the Trump administration. The U.S. has imposed large tariffs and threatened more on a wide range of products and countries, including allies such as Japan, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Washington’s turn to protectionism […]

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a press conference during a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 22, 2018 (AP photo by Gustavo Garello).

Officials from the European Union are headed to Washington this week for trade talks with the Trump administration, but nobody is optimistic. If the talks don’t go well, President Donald Trump has already said he is prepared to follow through on his threat of imposing further tariffs, as high as 25 percent, on cars and car parts imported from the EU. “If we don’t negotiate something fair, then we have tremendous retribution, which we don’t want to use, but we have tremendous powers,” Trump told reporters at the White House last week. “Including cars—cars is the big one.” However the […]

Arnaldo Otegi, a former member of ETA who is now a leader in a Basque pro-independence coalition, addresses a crowd, Logrono, Spain, March 1, 2016 (AP photo by Alvaro Barrientos).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, discuss the Helsinki summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and its fallout. For the Report, Raphael Tsavkko Garcia talks with Robbie about the dream of an independent Basque state in northern Spain after the formal disbanding of the violent Basque separatist group ETA earlier this year. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free […]

A woman holds a sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest outside the White House, Washington, July 17, 2018 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Everyone other than President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists considered his performance at—and after—this week’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin a disaster. Standing beside one of America’s most skilled adversaries, Trump blasted his own domestic political opponents, while again adopting the language of dictators by calling the nonpartisan media “an enemy of the people.” He once again accepted Putin’s denial of Russian meddling in America’s 2016 election despite the U.S. intelligence community’s conviction that it happened. Instead of highlighting the deep policy differences between the United States and Russia, Trump adopted the Russian positions on what caused the deterioration […]

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the NATO summit, Brussels, July 12, 2018 (Photo by Alexey Vitvitsky for Sputnik via AP Images).

Among the European countries that watched with great concern when President Donald Trump failed to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, and when he lambasted NATO and the European Union earlier in his trip to the continent, was Macedonia. The Balkan nation of 2 million people has been trying for years to gain entrance into NATO, to the great irritation of Russia. One could excuse the Macedonians for feeling a sense of confusion about what the future holds. The country has had much to celebrate in recent weeks, but also a great deal to worry about. During […]

President Donald Trump speaks before signing a memorandum imposing tariffs and investment restrictions on China, Washington, March 22, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

For decades American presidents pursued multilateral trade agreements and supported international institutions that bolstered liberal trade policies around the world because they believed it was in the United States’ interest to do so. Yes, multilateral trade rules and institutions are relatively more beneficial for smaller, less powerful countries that cannot take on the United States or European Union on their own. And, yes, the rules under the World Trade Organization, or WTO, constrain the United States’ freedom of action, as did the predecessor arrangement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT. Yet U.S. presidents going back to Harry […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Reichstag building for a meeting of the CDU, CSU and SPD parties, Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2018 (AP photo by Kay Nietfeld).

BERLIN—Germany’s government has withstood an assault from within, but the process revealed a ruling coalition increasingly beholden to the growing nationalist tendencies of its smallest member. The Christian Social Union, or CSU, operates only in the southeastern state of Bavaria, on Germany’s border with Austria. But in an unusual arrangement dating back to 1949, it has been the sister party of the Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, which competes in the country’s 15 other states and which Chancellor Angela Merkel has led since 2000. Although the CSU holds the fewest seats of any party in the Bundestag, Germany’s national parliament, […]

Pro-independence Basque residents gather to call for a general amnesty for more than 300 members of ETA, Bilbao, Spain, Nov. 18, 2017 (AP photo by Alvaro Barrientos).

The dissolution of the Basque separatist group, ETA, came as little surprise. It had ceased to pose a security threat, and its legacy of violence had alienated would-be supporters. Enthusiasm for Basque nationalism remains rife, however. As pro-independence voices become more emboldened, Madrid may be hard-pressed to keep them quiet. BILBAO, Spain—In Spain’s northern Basque region, residents often joke that “everything is ETA.” What they mean is that all kinds of seemingly benign behavior—wearing traditional clothing, speaking the Basque language or even sporting tattoos of certain Basque symbols—can expose them to accusations of belonging to the Basque separatist group, whose […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a one-on-one-meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

The Finnish government took a significant gamble when it agreed to host today’s Helsinki summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The Russian president’s meeting with his American counterpart threw U.S. and European analysts into a panic. Even relatively optimistic commentators predicted that the event would be a waste of time. Pessimists feared Putin would use it to extract major concessions from Trump on Syria or Ukraine. Finland has risked being associated with a debacle over which, despite being a good host, it has no substantive control. Why has it done so? Many observers have assumed that the Finns simply […]

Members of the public listen as the High Court in Kenya begins hearing arguments in a case challenging parts of the penal code that target LGBT people, Nairobi, Kenya, Feb. 22, 2018 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the NATO summit and the implications of U.S. President Donald Trump’s disruptive approach to the alliance. For the Report, Nanjala Nyabola talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu’s struggle to get her internationally acclaimed film, “Rafiki”—a love story between two women—screened in her native country, and the social and legal implications for Kenya’s film industry and creative community. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO summit, Brussels, July 11, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

As Hastings Ismay, NATO’s first secretary-general, famously put it, the alliance’s purpose in Europe was to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down. By all indications, U.S. President Donald Trump, who arrived in Brussels yesterday for his second NATO summit, is dead set on reversing all three elements of Ismay’s formula. Having already proposed that Russia be invited back into the Group of Seven forum of advanced economies, it would surprise no one at this point if Trump suggests that Russia play a greater role in European security when he meets President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki […]

Opponents of the recent name deal between Greece and Macedonia light flares outside the parliament building, Skopje, Macedonia, June 23, 2018 (AP photo by Boris Grdanoski).

Yesterday, leaders from the six countries in the Western Balkans—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia—gathered in London for the latest summit of what is known as the Berlin Process. Now in its fifth year, this annual meeting of ministers and heads of government, which includes participants from a select few members of the European Union, is meant to encourage greater cooperation among Balkan states as they prepare, some day, to join the EU. Leaving aside the obvious contradiction of a country that is leaving the EU hosting a meeting that aims to expand the bloc’s membership, the […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Danang, Vietnam, Nov. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

Much of the commentary surrounding the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has focused on geopolitics. Will Trump change America’s position on not recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea? Can Putin offer concessions on the Russian position in Syria or Ukraine? Most importantly, will the United States and Russia resume talks on ensuring a level of strategic stability, especially when it comes to nuclear weapons? There is, of course, not a good deal of optimism for any substantial breakthroughs in Trump and Putin’s meeting next week in Helsinki. Sanctioning and punishing Russia is by […]

Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a crowd celebrating Hungary’s national day, Budapest, March 15, 2018 (MTI photo by Tamas Soki via AP).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the resurgence of nationalism in global politics, the factors driving it and the implications for the liberal policy consensus in international affairs that dominated the preceding two decades. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three more complimentary articles in our weekly roundup every Friday. […]

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