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The Increasing Importance of the Transatlantic Alliance

"The transatlantic alliance is likely to become more relevant as new powers rise." That is the conclusion of the report "The Transatlantic Alliance in a Multipolar World" (pdf) by Thomas Wright and Richard Weitz, which was just published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The most interesting argument in the report is IMHO: "The future appears likely to bring multipolarity without multilateralism. It will thus fall to the United States and Europe to act as a convenor of like-minded countries to ensure that the integrity and effectiveness of the international order is preserved."

This is of great relevance because:

Very recently [...] it has become apparent that the United States and Europe cannot count on emerging powers to bolster the multilateral order. Instead, they often go their own way in pursuit of interests and priorities that are not always in line with what members of the old Western order would like. Brazil, China, Russia, and others may share many of the transnational foreign policy challenges facing the United States, but they do not necessarily share the same priorities or policy prescriptions. They differ in opinion over the likelihood that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, the extent to which developing countries have a responsibility to cut carbon emissions, how financial imbalances in the global economy should be addressed, and whether or how cybersecurity should be addressed or advanced. Furthermore, the trend is not confined to countries outside of the western order. Turkey, which is a member of NATO and has long sought membership of the EU, has ruffled feathers in the United States with its independent foreign policy, serving as a reminder that Ankara's support should not be taken for granted.

China is described as most responsible for multipolarity without multilateralism:

China's relationship with the West is complex and contradictory. It is an indispensable economic partner but increasingly a political rival whose leaders hold a different vision of international order than those of the United States, Europe, and Asian democracies. This divergence severely complicates prospects for increasing multilateralism in inclusive institutions like the UN.

Europe will be useful again to the United States:

Tensions over burden sharing may continue but new challenges relating to multipolarity are emerging that are better suited to Europe's capabilities and interests. As they face these challenges, the United States and European nations have more shared interests now than at any time since 1989.

The report makes some interesting recommendations for increasing transatlantic cooperation. Though, I am certainly against the proposed NATO Space Command.

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Pamela on :

"They differ in opinion over the likelihood that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons" Forehead meets desk.

Pamela on :

Just after a quick skim, I'm struck by one thing that I don't quite know how to express. There seems to be an underlying premise that Europe and the U.S. are willingly yoked to the same wagon and the discussion is merely about which foot to put in front of the other, and in which direction. In any case, the wagon and the yoke are still very important to both. Remember when Obama decided not to attend the May 2010 US-EU summit? This is noted on pg. 7 of the essay. Tellingly, the essay says "..the Obama administration's decision...to cancel..." The admin did not cancel the summit, nor did it have any standing to do so. Simply by failing to appear, Europe took the message of 'cancelled' nevertheless. And if memory serves, the channel of communication in this instance was - ahem - the Wall Street Journal. Obama never showed Europe the common courtesy of an RSVP. He just put it up on the Facebook page of the U.S. media. He dissed the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, too. Sent a video of his own gorgeous self - wasn't there something in there about how amazing it is that their ally is led by an African American or some such self-referential (self-reverential?) garbage. My point is the thinking here does not acknowledge a fundamental point; Obama not only does not give a monkey's butt about Europe, he has given every indication that its colonial past is worthy of contempt and nothing but contempt. So, I'm having a Ground Control to Major Tom* moment reading this. I'll just keep reading and try to get over it. *From Elton John's "Rocket Man"

Joerg Wolf on :

Personally, I understood the report as discussing long-term trends concerning multipolarity and multilateralism. Thus, the preferences and style of America's current president are not decisive.

Kevin Sampson on :

Sorryy, David Bowie-Space Oddity

Zyme on :

Personally I take the behavior of Obama towards Europe as seriously as Pamela. He clearly does not have any sympathy towards our continent. Which is a good thing I would say, as for the first time Britain seems to feel truely alienated and turns towards Europe for good. I always feared that one day the British, giving their strong antipathy towards foreign rule, might be tempted to conduct a secession from the EU. The longer Obama is president, the more unlikely such a scenario becomes.

Pamela on :

Zyme, have you taken leave of your senses?! The Brits are looking at Europe - and Ireland, especially - and thanking their lucky stars they didn't join the euro. Cameron caught flak because he cut everything he could cut - but still could not do a thing about England's share of the EU budget increase. There is no love for the EU in the UK

Kevin Sampson on :

'Instead, they often go their own way in pursuit of interests and priorities that are not always in line with what members of the old Western order would like.' Like Europe's never done that! 'Tensions over burden sharing may continue but new challenges relating to multipolarity are emerging that are better suited to Europe's capabilities and interests.' Such as?

Pat Patterson on :

NATO might continue wearing the armor of the righteous but the guys who place the soldiers in the armor are engaged again in protecting their interests everywhere in the world and not just the Continent. Or did I miss the basing of a EU carrier battle group in the Pacific to help patrol the sea lanes?

Marie Claude on :

"but the guys who place the soldiers in the armor are engaged again in protecting their interests everywhere in the world and not just the Continent" oh, that's funny, the former german president admitted the same reason for german troops being in afghanistan, and he was fired out !

Joerg Wolf on :

Multipolarity without multilateralism. Related article in FP: "Rather than a world of alliances, it's a world of multi-alignment. Globalization means never having to choose sides. Look at the Persian Gulf states." http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/11/29/hows_that_new_world_order_working_out

Joerg Wolf on :

Since this post mentioned Turkey: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out at Israel's attack on a Gaza aid flotilla and by extension the Obama administration's reluctance to immediately condemn the assault that left at least nine civilians dead. "Psychologically, this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey," http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060101506.html

Joe Noory on :

"The transatlantic alliance is likely to become more relevant as new powers rise." ...is the kind of thing a committee says about itself when it won't recognize that they are largely made up of dead wood, but is vain enough to require perfunctory plaidits all around. It's also obvious who the dead wood are. The question is: what does Germany or France do that is half as much as the Poles? Why, then, are the Germanies and Frances of the alliance deserving of a little star next to their name pinned up to the kindergarten cork board? Case in point, the spinning moral compass of the Turkish FM, obviously buying into the revised notion of what a martyr now is: no longer a victim of others sacrificed at the strength of ones' own fate, but one who murders others indiscriminately. In this case, how dare you offend me by defending yourself... Turkish feelings are more important than the civilian dead on 9-11 or what the Gazan would brutally do to you, me, or anyone else if they had the power to.

Marie Claude on :

"The question is: what does Germany or France do that is half as much as the Poles?" Perhaps it did slip out of your mind that France and UK agreed on a common Defense agenda, that our troops aren't only serving in Afghanistan, that many other places on the planet requierred (and still do) their help, and we aren't the US altogether when our state has not much importance than a California and or a Texas. Now if you mean that we should be or become the US legion étrangère, like the Poles, or the Georgians, you're dreaming, we'll never become a vassal to any other big power, just that we could share some objectives, and therefore then act together!

Joe Noory on :

The French-English alliance is at this point entirely academic, and only time will tell if it is anything more than just another brave-sounding "announcement of the week". More to the point, it REINFORCES their own view that the alliance is made pointless by over-emphasis on scholar exchange programs, seminars, and any number of things. More to the point, the idea that anything that a European state does for itself and no-one else is some heroic and selfless act for the sake of their partners is beyond idiotic: it's delusional. Despite saying on numerous occasions over the years that they were going to, some day, embargo Iran to get them to curb their nuclear weapons program, they continue to undermine it with trade. Despite 5 year after 5 year phase of negotiating with Iran, all they did was provide cover for them to develop nukes. Their actions are beyond pointless and vain, they are destructive. Even as they make another announcment for another pretend initiative or yet another program, commission, or organization, the actions of the large European states (old europe,) has been an albatross in the way of freeing people from poverty and authoritarian tyranny. And yet they want to be admired as though they are some sort of oracle of humanism. It's pitiful. What you don't get, is that simply having a handful of troops in the field (after years of push-me, pull-you nonsense of the US being begged to ask, and being asked to beg), amounts to virtually nothing of any significance.

Marie Claude on :

Iran is the american geopolitical playground, that is pressed on to let the Americans get through for the eurasian oil fieds ! Americans playing a double standard part in there, officially holding Iran as a warmonger state, but expecting that the theocracy will comply to their demands. No awared politician in EUrope ignores that ! UK and France Defenses aren't making it in academies, but in trainings, that is what they already do since quite several years

Joe Noory on :

Bullshit. The US' imported oil comes largely from Canada, Mexico, and South America. Mideast oil fuels Europe and the Asian rim. To say that it's just "playing" is as venal and detached from reality as it gets.

Marie Claude on :

see what I mean when you'll investigate this site, which is from Iranian dissidents pro Sha http://www.iran-resist.org/

Joe Noory on :

Do you even know the difference between a fact and an opinion? I'm familiar with the site, and met one of the people who started it. Just because it's based outside Paris, doesn't mean that the French government, or any other European government is engaging in a robust defense of their own security interests. Nor does it mean that training is the defense of anything when the governments taking part are feckless and undermine their own militaries. NOR does it mean that the same idiots who have been yelling "war for ooooooil!!!!" since 1973 have based that on any sort of fact of any kind. The "Bring back the Shah" crowd has been comforting itself for decades with the delusion that the US didn't send in the Marines to prop up the Shah "for OOOOOOOOil!!!" It's the one thing that they have in common with the uneducated adolescents of the western left and Jihadist propaganda. I'll tell you what I DO know about why Europeans are so fond of blaming the US for going to war and staging putsches for oil: because Europeans have a longhistory of doing it themselves. Why do you think the Elysee ever even bothered with any part of French Wast Africa after "liberation" if they could help it? Fraternal love? No. Commodities. Commodities that they could have just bought - so it was both stupid AND evil.

Marie Claude on :

jonouri, quiet ! now, you only have clichés on Europeans and a fortiori on French, the de-colonisation wasn't wished by all the african countries, but de Gaulle wanted them out of our "intendance", some african leaders today still say that they regret that, and that they were better before. as far as Oillllllllllllll for war, your the hospital that mocks at charity : your hawks in Washington concocted us some nice conspiracies, I wonder if wikileaks will reveil their origins and initiators once ;-) Wikileak, if your read me, please !

Pat Patterson on :

Those African leaders must be speaking soto voce as they have made their careers blaming their own corruption or lack of progress on colonialism. I would be interested in seeing a link to some leader in sub-Saharan Africa that has even suggested that their independence was not worth the state of how well the French ran their colonial empire.

Marie Claude on :

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdd1ak_kofi-c-etait-quand-meme-mieux-du-t_news http://www.eutimes.net/2010/06/rioters-in-algeria-asked-france-to-re-colonize-them/ and they aren't alone probably, we can't forget that reason : they'd like to have the same social advantages that the immigrants have in France

Pat Patterson on :

A link to a French politician in Brittany yearning for the good old days and another link to an unsourced and unverified claim in a blog that ranks in with InforWars and Prison Planet for unreliability and mendacity is hardly proof. So in other words after desperately combing the internet there still are no African politicians pining for a return of the French Commonwealth much less the Empire.

Marie Claude on :

"and another link to an unsourced and unverified claim" that's funny, your conservatives like this site ! hmmm, not a "historical proof", but a indication ! Seen a report about the subject though ! now, I have no time to search more links, my wifi time is counted here !

Joe Noory on :

Hardly... Just because you found some example of some west African who once had an opinion doesn't mean that THAT OPINION was to change the mind of the French government. Just think about how ridiculous your rationalization is - it's founded on your sispucion that someone, somewhere MIGHT have thought something agreeable to a point you're trying to make. As to "Evil AmeriKKKA and it's conspiracies", if they are so vile and so personally directed at you and your fragile self-image - were they to really exist over teh decades of people sputtering about them, don't you think there would be SOME sort of actual reflection of them in reality? Wouldn't, if this really is try, show that the US annexed parts of the world or is actually exploiting others' oil directly without compensation? Wouldn't that have been the first "dramatic leak?" Seriously, grow up. Basically, you're out of your mind with hatred because even silent re-evaluation of your megalomaniacal self-image is painful to you. What the leaks display quite clearly, is that those most vociverous to reflexively make a bogeyman out of the United States are incredibly venal and largely impotent to deal with the risk to their populations and interests - that they are a bunch of posers. "jonouri quiet".... Is that how you operate? It seems all to real that the French mind ultimately concidered the souond of their own voices, suppressing anything that migh disagree with it as their famous "culture de débats". As to Joerg's notion that "Europe is useful to America", what exactly is it that you mean? Do you think that we WANT to spend generation after generation absorbing Europe's problems and risks? Taking it on as a burden?

Marie Claude on :

"As to "Evil AmeriKKKA and it's conspiracies", if they are so vile and so personally directed at you and your fragile self-image -" you like to play the "victim" partition, any culpability sentiment that is frustrating somewhere ? We haven't the feeling of a self-fragile image, in the contrary, we constructed ourselves in opposition to the anglo-saxon world, remember what Brurke said on our Revolution and our choice of society! That's you that gives us this importance, isn't it odd that the vast majority of foreign journalists in Europe are settled in France ! The rest is the product of your own inflated mind, that can't remain serene when it comes to us, uh a inferiority complex ? ;-)

Kevin Sampson on :

‘We haven't the feeling of a self-fragile image, in the contrary, we constructed ourselves in opposition to the anglo-saxon world’ Harking back to the thread about a British/French jointly operated aircraft carrier( and NATO in general for that matter), the above pretty much says it all.

Marie Claude on :

"Harking back to the thread about a British/French jointly operated aircraft carrier( and NATO in general for that matter), the above pretty much says it all." hmm, why do we need such a anglo-saxon aircraf carrier project ? it is your vision of conflicts that imposed the design of it to the Brits, since then water passed under the bridges, and a money crisis, anyone ? now, we have to rank the priorities, and this carrier ain't the first, but still our nuclear defense ! Sorry, in EUrope we haven't a papermoney machine that can print at volonty, like yours, we are worried that our children will not have to pay for our foolishnesses !

Kevin Sampson on :

I didn’t say you did need one. In fact, if you refer back to my original post, the point I was making was that even if such a thing existed it would be completely useless because you and the British would never be able to agree on how to use it. So I agree such a thing would be a waste of resources. Why don’t you try actually READING the posts before responding to them?

Pat Patterson on :

The odd thing about this particular MC point is that on nearly a yearly basis the French deploy their sea-based aircraft to US carriers. So while the French and British talk about cooperation the US actually does.

Kevin Sampson on :

WHAT?!?! Do we really? OMG!! Do you a link to this?

Pat Patterson on :

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htnavai/articles/20100613.aspx

Marie Claude on :

the thing is, in spite of ALL our bickerings and or true quarrels, we still are the Americans best friends, think that we freed them from the Brits once !

Marie Claude on :

why do you think I can read ALL what you wrote ?

mbast on :

"Do you think that we WANT to spend generation after generation absorbing Europe's problems and risks? Taking it on as a burden?" I'm sorry, exactly which of Europe's "problems and risks" are you currently taking on as a burden? What puzzles me with you types is that a. you can't stop ranting about how bad Europe/France/Germany is; just reading the few last posts of yours it seems to me I should consider myself a vicious colonialist, an unscrupulous freeloader and a genetically programmed hypocrit with a propensity toward self-destruction just because I'm European. b. you're always harping on about how unimportant Europe/France/Germany is yet you write pages upon pages about our perceived shortcomings. c. the EU seems to be absolute anathema to you, a useless bureaucratic club which serves no purpose and should be disbanded immediately. Or let it collapse upon itself which, of course, is bound to happen anyway within the next five minutes. Then again on the other hand you start complaining already (preemptively, as it were) that, should the EU fail, the US would have to clean it all up once more. Is there any kind of argument in there somewhere? What exactly is it you want? That the US should just shut down any contact with Europe (and, preferably, with the rest of the world as well) so all of America can continue living out the American dream in peace? Or perhaps just invade Europe? Or what?

Pat Patterson on :

And how many carrier battle groups does Europe have in total to protect the sea lanes which deliver the bulk of its commodities? Currently none. So that means the US provides them and it looks like the US will have to provide even more since most of Rumsfeld's Old Europe is contemplating cutting back its defense budgets even further.

mbast on :

Since when do you need carrier battle groups to protect sea lanes? Carrier battle groups are there to project power, generally onto some region where there's a crisis (like Korea right now). You protect sea lanes with operations like Atalante, which, incidentally, is essentially a European operation.

Kevin Sampson on :

That depends on what you're trying to protect them against. If all you have to worry about is a bunch of threadbare pirates, no, you don't need a carrier battle group. If, on the other hand, you face a credible submarine threat, then, yes, you will need a carrier battle group. This was demonstrated during World War 2 when the advent of the escort carrier finally brought the Battle of the Atlantic to a definitive end. And yes, I am aware that ASW is largely the providence of helicopters today, and that most modern frigates and destroyers carry one or two helo’s for that reason. Never the less, their limited capacity will not support sustained operations on anything like the scale of even of Operation Atalanta. It also enlightening to consider the fact that the overall failure of the anti-piracy campaign is routinely blamed on the lack of sufficient surface vessels (even with their organic helicopter support) to patrol the large areas which must be defended. The availability of long range, fixed-wing patrol aircraft would do a lot to redress this shortcoming.

Marie Claude on :

"This was demonstrated during World War 2 when the advent of the escort carrier finally brought the Battle of the Atlantic to a definitive end" you guis have only one referrence for a successful campain : WW2, since then we can't sea where are them, despites you spend a lot of on arms. Got to say, if you want to win a war, you don't need such expensive and impressive means, but the will ! We failed in Viet Nam (like you too), because it was a far away conflict, and our population couldn't figure the necessity of it, it was different for Algeria, 1/10% of the population there was French.

Kevin Sampson on :

‘you guis have only one referrence for a successful campain : WW2, since then we can't sea where are them, despites you spend a lot of on arms.’ Korea was successful within the political constraints placed upon it, as was Gulf War 1. Also a number of small engagements like Panama and Grenada. And even Viet Nam was not as much of a crushing defeat as the ignorant would like to think. The last US combat troops left in ’73. In 1974 the North launched a concerted attempt to over-run the South but were rebuffed. It was only in 1975, after the US congress reduced Foreign Military Aid to the South by 30%, that Saigon fell. So what do they teach in French schools instead of history? And I referred to WW2 because the topic was defense of Sea Lines Of Communication, and the last time there was any real struggle to control the high seas was DURING WORLD WAR TWO. But what is your point? In my post I said that the Battle of the Atlantic was ended by the advent of the escort carrier. This evidently outraged you but you don’t say why, instead indulging in some more of your usual semi-literate bitching. ‘Got to say, if you want to win a war, you don't need such expensive and impressive means, but the will.’ Seriously? I could again cite WW2 and the war against Japan (who had all kinds of Will), but found it of little use against our ‘impressive and expensive means’. But that would just provoke another outburst wouldn’t it?

Marie Claude on :

hmm, I know some of your guis said and still say that Viet Nam war was a success, BUT in the world wide, the official image is still that helico on a roof that was leaving thousands of Vietnameses to the fury of the Viets, it isn't what we can acknowledge as a image of a victorious army. Now, suffer that I'm not a american copyright fan, and that my opinion isn't feed by your own sided infos !

Kevin Sampson on :

I didn't say it was a success. It was a defeat, but a political one much more than a military one.

Marie Claude on :

"And how many carrier battle groups does Europe have in total to protect the sea lanes which deliver the bulk of its commodities? Currently none. So that means the US provides them and it looks like the US will have to provide even more since most of Rumsfeld's Old Europe is contemplating cutting back its defense budgets even further" uh, where ? in China + Korean seas ? not our business, but in Somalian sea, yeah, we're right there, and our FREGATES catch quite a few pirats ! also our carrier is joining the common training in oman and persian sea, but to please who ? the PATRON !

Joe Noory on :

DOn't you think anyone reading your rants has noticed that everything you reason amounts to" "Daddy drinks because you cry" ?

Marie Claude on :

yes, my dog does survey all what I say

Pat Patterson on :

If it wasn't for the overall projection of power than those seven frigates would still be having visiting days for the families of the crews in their respective countries. That is tantamount to arguing that the men o'war of the Royal Navy weren't needed on the anti-slavery patrols of the 19th century because the captain's gigs and a squad of Royal Marines were the ones actually boarding the slavers. Frigate are the least seaworthy of all the military ships in the world and require big naval assets so that they can patrol.

mbast on :

Interesting bit of sophistry here. So in fact, if Europe does take care of its own business and protects its own sea lanes, it's only because of the US who graciously do the "big work", whatever that might be. Oh, and of course, the US only does that to serve the EU interests, not its own. Circular logic isn't going to get you past the central question: what is it you really want? Why are you going that far out of your way argumentatively to belittle anything Europe as a whole or any European nation individually does, even if it's right according to your own argument?

Pat Patterson on :

Actually that is exactly why the USN was kept big after WWII. One because the Europeans were in no condition to maintain even their litoral sea lanes and that the US did not really want the Europeans to rearm to the point were they could project power. Too many world wars in to short a time period. BTW, I've not seen any worse criticism here of Europe, in fact just the opposite, when compared to what the Europeans have been saying about the US since Soviet propaganda at the end of the war talked about black GIs raping anything that was female and between the ages of 12 and 82. The difference is that now Americans are aware of these comments and don't particularly like them coming from a continent that is descending into a set of squabbling principlaities intent on recreating a pre-Prussian map. A Europe at peace is the primary goal of the US else somewhere along the line, say in 1948, Congress would have not spent millions of dollars on the Marshall Plan. Or the fact that none of the war debts from World War I to the US were ever collected nor a substantial amount of debt from France, Italy and the Soviet Union have still no been repaid from the Second War. If the US had acted as France did after World War I we could very well have had another war based on German resentment of the cost of this repayment. Most Americans would simply like to see Europe, excluding the British essentially punch at their weight level rather than criticize the US for acting in places that the Europeans had the nerve or the military to take care of themselves.

Marie Claude on :

" when compared to what the Europeans have been saying about the US since Soviet propaganda at the end of the war talked about black GIs raping anything that was female and between the ages of 12 and 82." I'm sorry a American teacher in criminology wrote this book, not the Soviets: http://www.amazon.com/Taken-Force-American-Europe-during/dp/023050647X " If the US had acted as France did after World War I we could very well have had another war based on German resentment of the cost of this repayment." your enemis were the Japaneses, and, accessoiry, the Germans ! But, your bombs destroyed the majority of the german and french infrastructures and cities WW1, was never repaid by the Germans as it was stipulated by the Versailles treaty, because, your banksters and the Brit government feared that Germany would revert to a communist state like Russia, therefore, the debt was "smoothered"", delayed... so that Germany could trade with UK and the US, ya know there was a deep depression then, and any trade (even arms) ment empoyment and money fer yer countries. Now if you had respected Versailles treaty articles, Germany might have turned communist, but NO fürher would have found a little place in the kind of government, and Germany would never have found the means to re-arm, nor trading... Probably that Versailles treaty articles were severe, but the big mistake that was made then was that the Germans weren't allowed to participate at it in Versailles. Though, in regard to the damages, France had to support the biggest part, war happened on french territory, millions of Ha of good agricultural soil was ruined for years, more than 400000 inhabitations were destroyed, millions of persons were "deported" for war cause... NOT Germany , NOT UK !

mbast on :

Right. So to cut a long story short: you're angry because some Europeans criticised the US in what you consider an unfair way, and you're replying in just such a fashion to get even. Thought as much. It's understandable. Keep in mind, though, that this kind of discussion has nothing to do with facts or reason. It's all gut feeling and ultimately it only generates hate, not understanding, on both sides. Therefore this kind of one-upmanship is not what you might call "constructive debate". Essentially, it's useless. And it gets boring after a while.

Pat Patterson on :

Not angry at all as I think that the US encouraged the Europeans to remain enfeebled and now have a hard time getting a more coherent response then their constant attempts to redesignate NATO assets to some imagined pan-European command while still relying on American assets just in case. MC as usual saw something else then what I was referring to as both the UK and the US asked the French in the period between both wars to either suspend German war reparations or to renegnotiate. And then ignored that Germany would hyper-inflate its currency to maintain its payments and beggar its population encouraging more extreme reactions among the Germans. And as far as mbast is concerned where in anything I wrote is there the kind of insults I was referring to regarding Soviet propaganda and its repetition in the West.

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