"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:
Continue reading "The Increasing Importance of the Transatlantic Alliance"
"U.N. sees progress for Afghanistan in 2009" is UPI's headline for an article by its correspondent Daniel Graeber.
It turns out, however, that a qualifier is missing in that headline. After all the article is based on a big "If" in a quote by Kai Eide, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan:
If we can manage to strengthen the positive work now under way, and implement what we have agreed on, if additional troops can bring the insurgency on the defensive and if we can hold elections that have the credibility required to be accepted by the population at large, then 2009 could well be a turning point,
That's a huge "if," isn't it? Have you seen bigger "ifs" recently? Are you optimistic of pessimistic regarding Afghanistan's future?
Senator and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has repeated his calls for a 'league of democracies' in a Financial Times op-ed directed at Europe.
We need to renew and revitalise our democratic solidarity. We need to strengthen our transatlantic alliance as the core of a new global compact – a League of Democracies – that can harness the great power of the more than 100 democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests.
At the heart of this new compact must be mutual respect and trust. We Americans recall the words of our founders in the Declaration of Independence, that we must pay “decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed.
The words about respect and trust are welcome. However, the idea of a leage of democracies is also likely to run into some opposition among America's European allies. The reasons McCain gives for his league of democracies, both in the FT and in a May 2007 speech reported on in the Washington Post, have much to do with America's perceived national interest. On issues like confronting the 'turn towards autocracy' in Russia, 'acting where the UN fails to act' on a problem like Darfur and providing 'unimpeded market access' to open market democracies, continental Europe has completely different perceived interests.
Continue reading "John McCain's League of Democracies"