Russia, Germany, and the European Order

For a large part of their history, the destiny of the peoples living in Europe has been shaped by the interests of the great powers. This is still a reality of international politics. Yet, a reliable and sustainable order in Europe can only be achieved if states, both large and small, are prepared to establish a fair balance of interests and influence. View

Montenegro is in NATO. What's next for the western Balkans?

On June 5th, Montenegro has become the 29th member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This is the only success story coming from the Western Balkans in a long time. As such, it gains a particular importance beyond the reach of the small country of 620,000 inhabitants in the Southern part of Europe and has multiple implications. View

The White Stream Pipeline Project: Transcaspian Energy for the European Union

White Stream is a proposed pipeline network designed to transfer natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe through Georgia and Ukraine. Eastern members of the European Union should consider pursuing the full development of the White Stream pipeline network as an alternative to Russian natural gas imports. View

How Germany and the United States Can Strengthen Cooperation

“Federal governments should no longer be viewed as the sole source for action and solutions both because of the current administration in the US and a continued power shift towards NGOs and local actors. Engagement at the subnational level is ever more critical.” This is one of the key conclusions from the first “Atlantic Expedition”. View

EU's Litmus Test in the Western Balkans

Moscow's meddling in the western Balkans has increased, while the West's attention has focused on Russian activities in Ukraine and in the Baltic region. With the exception of Serbia, all the other countries in the western Balkans have indicated their desire to be part of the NATO alliance (Albania and Croatia are NATO members). Each of them have EU integration as their main foreign policy goal. In an attempt to weaken the region's ties to the West, Russia´s main objective is the creating of a "non- alignment zone". View

Smaller and Larger Nations: Concert of Big Powers or Fair Balance of Interests?

The destiny of the people living in Europe has been shaped for many years by the interests of the great powers. For centuries, the Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires, as well as France and Britain, have dominated the European continent. From the nineteenth century until the end of World War II, first Prussia and then Germany—directly and indirectly—joined this competition for influence. Indeed, during the Yalta Conference, the great powers of the time shaped the European political landscape for decades to come. View

The Trump-Merkel Summit: After the Storm, a Vital Trans-Atlantic Agenda

Dr. Ariel Cohen, Atlantic Council US, consider the massive snowstorm that postponed Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House as symbolic of the chill in the US-German relations: President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Frau Merkel’s open borders policy, which has brought over 1,250,000 refugees to Germany since 2015. Merkel has responded with a strong defense of freedom of movement, refugee rights, and freedom of the press. View

Alternative Pipeline Facts

According to the Commission the EU remains well on track to reach its 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewables. It is, however, high time the European Commission lives up to its responsibility as guardian of the Treaties and provides for an encompassing assessment of the implications of Nord Stream 2 in legal, environmental and economic terms. Nord Stream 2 is 100% controlled by Gazprom View

Germany Needs to Address Fake News and Digital Illiteracy

If hacking, espionage, cyber-attack and identity theft are to be considered existential threats in the cyber world, then ‘fake news or digital lying' can be considered emerging threats. As the Bundestag approaches the 2017 election, protection from fake news and increasing digital literacy are the needs of the hour, especially as first generation internet users have rebooted to ‘App-generation internet user'. Public-private partnerships are key for balancing security, privacy and free enterprise. View

Remedies Against Populism

Democracy is not “the rule of the people” and not even “the rule of majority”. It is a compromise between four principles: the will of the people, the wisdom of the elected, respect for rules and social commitment. The second principle is under attack by populists and needs protection as democracy should be strictly representative. How can we gain a balance between the necessary distrust and the equally necessary confidence towards politicians? View

Trump and NATO: Opportunities and Dangers

The Atlantic world is not coming to an end. Not yet, at least. It is facing turbulence, which means serious risks. Change always brings both opportunity and risk. The best way to head off risk is, in most cases, to find and focus on opportunities. On the evidence thus far, the risks from Trump are less, not greater, than they have been from Obama and Bush II. The latter two were very different, but both were bad for the Atlantic Alliance. View

Enhancing NATO Cohesion: A Framework for 21st Century Solidarity

Memo 52: A diverse set of policies is needed to unify a diverse set of peoples against a diverse set of threats. NATO should reorganize itself, develop a shared clean-energy grid and strengthen links between different national publics. View

Redefining Relationships Inside and Outside the Alliance

Memo 51: In order to learn from past mistakes, NATO should seek to bring Russia into the fold of European security, refrain from humanitarian missions better conducted under UN auspices, sanction non-compliance to the 2% defense spending promise, and strengthen its democratic norms. View

Georgia and Russia: Smoldering Conflict at a Geopolitical Intersection

Georgia can be a strategic pillar of stability in an otherwise volatile region and we should consequently place it much higher on our political agenda. Georgians want nothing more than NATO membership and the West cannot deny the evident successes of democratization and economic reform. The internal logic of realist politics however demands other factors also be considered. Georgia joining NATO would further exacerbate the conflict with Russia. View

Future-Proofing NATO: A Forthcoming Decade of Change

Memo 50: NATO must adopt hybrid models of national defense, coordinate efforts on economic and electronic warfare, and secure its space-based infrastructure. The Alliance should also establish a partnership with China and strengthen its presence in the Arctic. View

NATO Energy Security Strategy Crucial to Checking Russian Aggression

Russian gas supplies are dividing Europe on sanctions. Recognition of the security implications of climate change are becoming widely recognized. NATO can and should play a key role in driving positive on both by building energy security for its members. Including specific, targeted mandates to enable mutual energy security in NATO’s mission moving forward would be to both recognize the key challenges of our time and bolster longstanding alliance precepts. View

Why NATO Must Revert to Basics and Adapt to Russian Aggression

With the risk that the EU will collapse following the UK's decision to leave, it is a pivotal time for NATO to assume responsibility for the unity and security of Europe. NATO's biggest mistakes have been its commitment to widen its scope both globally and in terms of its activities pursued, whilst failing to deal with the Russian security threat. NATO must simplify and return to its core objective of collective security and propose Russian integration into the Alliance. View

Moving Beyond the 2 Percent Promise

NATO's member states failed to abide by the solemn promise to spend 2% of their GDP on defense spending. Jumpstarting NATO resolve while understanding economic constraints requires a strategy that advocates pooling and sharing and cooperation among member states. View

The Moscow Integration That Never Happened

NATO’s failure to proactively include Russia after the collapse has led to 25 years of ongoing conflict. By examining history, the organization is a fundamentally anti-Russia group focused on surrounding, isolating, and deterring aggression from a country different to its late Cold War identity—the USSR. The introduction of a formal military agreement and a change in NATO’s image, led by Western leaders, are necessary to rekindle relations. View

From Opportunity to Crisis: NATO's Eastern Perception Problem

With its rapid eastward expansion following the Soviet collapse, NATO lost an unprecedented opportunity for east-west cooperation. Since then, its rhetoric and further expansion have only entrenched its negative perception in Russia, which the Ukraine crisis revealed to be problem a serious danger to European stability. In future, NATO must make accession process more selective and weigh geostrategic concerns more carefully. View

The Obstacles of Managing NATO: A Way Forward

NATO’s biggest mistake in the past has been to permit the citizens of its Western European and North American countries to fall into a feeling of complacency, ignoring the very prominent fear Eastern Europeans feel due to Russia’s threats of invasion. NATO must put an emphasis on crisis education within its countries so that the organization can confidently right wrongs done by Russia's military. View

Containment Is Dead. Long Live Containment

They say old foreign policies never die, only fade away. Three decades removed from the height of the Cold War, American troops are heading back to Europe: the next war is no longer a matter of if, but when. From the day NATO opened its doors to the East, could we have expected anything different? View

Why We Should Build a Bridge of Trust Between NATO and Russia

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization must extend its hand towards the Russian Federation to avoid further military conflict and sow the seeds of future cooperation. A bridge of trust must be built between NATO and Russia in order to mitigate the effects of future harm in the case of continued tension and rivalry. View

Promoting NATO's Mission and Vision at the Grassroots Level

Due to the lack of recent conflicts on European soil, people have forgotten about NATO's relevance. Consequently, European leaders do not dare spend more on defense capabilities. The lack of support for NATO funding is an easy target for nations seeking to destabilize the Alliance. Improved Public Relations can help NATO member states reach their 2% of GDP benchmarks. Not all armies seek to destroy but rather to protect: it is time that NATO shows people this side of the Alliance. View

NATO's Article V: Iron Clad Commitment or Paper Tiger?

NATO's "Ironclad" Article V is referred to when any threat is made to an ally or the Alliance. Yet, Russia's hybrid warfare in Ukraine, coupled with Article V's ambiguity and NATO disunity, brings into question Article V's reliability and function. To deter anyone from testing its validity, NATO should pursue proactive forms of collective defense. Given the meagre response to the 2% pledge, a stance based on increased cooperation and integration between the EU and NATO should be adopted. View

How NATO Underestimated Russia

NATO redefined itself by expanding its membership in three waves, but underestimated Russia's future capabilities. These waves of enlargment provoked Russia, which responded through a first step of testing the Alliance, in 2008, through the Georgian war. Putin continued with the decision to test at a fully-length pace, NATO's response, through the annexation of Crimea and the start of the Ukrainian war in 2014. View

If NATO Cannot Be a Lion, It Must Be a Fox

Imagine you are Vladimir Putin. If you wanted to invade a Baltic NATO ally, you could: you are certainly not deterred by NATO's defenses. Currently, Russia is capable of achieving a victory – albeit limited – against NATO: thus, NATO has failed to be a lion. It should raise the cost of a Russian invasion by being a fox. It should adopt hybrid defense; adapting policies such as the Swiss model of national service to counter the threat of Russia. View

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit 2016

Our new policy workshop competition gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing NATO today and to shape the future of the Alliance. Five winners will receive a trip to Berlin to present the collective ideas to decision-makers. View

Bibliography on NATO: Some Guidance for Getting Started

As a think-thank comprised mainly of Political Science students, we are keenly aware of the endless activities that foment procrastination when writing an article. In order to get the proverbial mental ball rolling for the "Shaping our NATO" competition, we have compiled some recent publications regarding NATO. These articles range from introductory texts to more area-focused and technical papers. View

Stop Blaming the West for Russia's Aggression

Adam Reichardt, Editor in Chief of New Eastern Europe, argues that Russia's actions in Eastern Europe should be viewed similarly to that of a bully in the schoolyard. The bully will force you to hand over your lunch money and will beat you up if you refuse to play by his rules. No one ever blames the victim (or his friends) for the bully's actions; so why are we blaming ourselves for Russian aggression? It is absurd and only proves to Putin that he is right in his assumptions that the West will not stand up for its own principles. View

Clinton Expresses Strong Support for NATO and Europe

Hillary Clinton is much more supportive of NATO and Europe than all the other presidential candidates. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave an impressive speech describing NATO as “one of the best investments America has ever made”. She stressed the need for US leadership and collaboration with allies in the struggle against ISIS. Bernie Sanders has yet to give a major speech on NATO. Donald Trump's opinion on NATO reflects widely held sentiments in the US. View

Misconceptions about German Business and Russia

Dr. Marcus Felsner, President of the Eastern Europe Business Association of Germany, dispels the commonly held belief that German businesses have a “special affiliation” with Russia. In his guest article he writes that the new generations of German business leaders are guided solely by the allure of profits and competition. There is indeed little space for unprofitable German-Russian sentimentality. The EU and Euro-Atlantic partners should take note. View

Political Risks Threaten the Global Economy

Political risks have increased in recent years, while policy makers, including central banks, have less power to mitigate those risks. Global stock prices, however, do not reflect these developments as the markets have been distracted by cheap and abundant liquidity. "Great Power Sclerosis" and the weakness of Pax Americana have created a vacuum in global governance. The bank Citi raises awareness about the "new convergence between geopolitical and vox populi risks". View

Nuclear Sharing is Caring

Russia constitutes a real threat for NATO’s easternmost nations. The unpredictable Kremlin seems to be willing to use tactical nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear neighbors. While Russia’s saber-rattling is reaching new heights, NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy seems to be stuck in a bygone era. Unsurprisingly, one of the Alliance’s frontier members seems to be considering strengthening regional deterrence possibly via participation in Nuclear Sharing. View

Modernity Versus Archaics

In the latest years globalization has made great progress, having left critically little space for archaics. The scared archaic societies have demonstrated an aggressive reaction, considering (not without reason) the current state of affairs in the world as a threat to their existence. This situation is particularly exemplified by Russia and the West, further triggered by events in Ukraine. It's time to decide which side we shall take in the struggle of modernity and archaics. View

In Syria, Russia is Certainly not an Ally

It is almost a common refrain these days. With Russia’s intervention in Syria, is there not a chance to build a new coalition with the Kremlin against a common foe? Such arguments take attention away from an important reality. The Kremlin and the Islamic State share a vested interest in upending the existing international order. But the danger these actors pose vary and prudent foreign policy demands that we set the right priorities and do not fall for false choices. View

Russian Plane Downed in Turkey: What Should NATO Do?

As Turkey shoots down a Russian plane, NATO is indirectly involved as Turkey is an Alliance member. What could/should be role of NATO (if any) in the current situation when we should probably firstly find a way to deescalate the situation? Read a few comments from US experts weighing in on the issue. View

NATO Should Strengthen Deterrence in Baltics

Aggressive, revanchist and opportunistic Russia perceives NATO as its top enemy. Would Russia dare to challenge NATO in the Baltic states? Yes, it looks like it would, as long as Putin believes that the Russian military could do that successfully, quickly, and with impunity. Would the United States risk nuclear holocaust in order to punish Russia's occupation of the Baltics? Ultimately, NATO needs to establish a permanent and hefty military presence in the Baltics to deter Russian aggression in the region. View

Four Words to Change the World

Gary Kasparov, former chess world champion and pro-democracy leader, gave this keynote at the Aspen Institute Germany’s Annual Gala Dinner in Berlin on October 14. He argued that Assad, Putin, and ISIS will not go away on their own, thus “we must fight and we must start now, because the price will only be higher tomorrow. The alternative is not to avoid conflict, because conflict is unavoidable. It is already here. This battle is for our values. This battle is for the modern world we have built on those values.” View

Armament and Sanctions: Hard Power Versus Soft Power

The options on arming Ukraine and on sanctions against Russia, and how they relate to the options on NATO membership must also be given ample consideration in this situation, as well as all of the leftover in-between options experts have to offer. The necessity of choice is certainly important considering the amount of time that has lapsed since this conflict began. This choice is equally as difficult as it is important, because the wrong choice could have dire, and even violent, consequences. View

Ukrainian NATO Membership as a Bargaining Chip with Russia

There are two ways of using the NATO membership question in negotiations with Russia: soft-line and hardline. Both aim at a deal for peace in Ukraine, but on different terms; one would refuse Ukraine membership in return for a deal, the other would not grant membership unless Russia agreed to a good enough deal. The former would need a compromise formulation, to avoid alienation of Ukrainians and help ensure compliance, while the latter is simply unlikely to materialize given recent hostility. View

The Emergence of a New Reality

In the last two years, out of the four options on Ukraine, Russia, and NATO, one that in the past had seemed the least likely, has suddenly materialized: Russia treated Ukraine so badly that it has driven Ukrainians into NATO's arms. This option came second on the list, but last on expectations. It depended on two failures: the failure of the two countries moving toward joining NATO together, and the failure of Ukraine’s balancing between East and West in the face of pressures to choose sides. View

The Four Original Options on Ukraine and NATO

In the conditions of a strongly anti-NATO popular leaning, from 1991 to 2013, Ukraine could not join NATO, nor could it join a Russian-dominated union without coercion, and the attempts, of its respective westernizers and easternizers to do so, backfired. The pressures to simplify and choose sides came from both ends, East and West. Their symmetry eliminated the more complex, but better, cooperative options. Their moral non-equivalence ultimately drove Ukrainians into choosing the side of the West. View

Lukashenko's Chicanery - What Will He Do to Remain President?

The next presidential elections in Belarus will take place on October 11, this year, and a principle candidate for the presidential post is Aleksander Lukashenko, the incumbent leader of Belarus. Some essential features of his campaign were highlighted during his recent meeting with journalists from foreign and domestic media outlets. It appears that his campaign is mainly aimed at concealing his reputation of manipulation and repressive methods for the purpose of winning the upcoming elections. View

How Should the West Respond to Ukraine's NATO Bid?

It used to be that Ukrainians were heavily pro-Russian, and would have agreed to join NATO only alongside Russia’s joining. However, in light of the conflict ignited almost two years ago, it appears that Ukrainians have finally had enough and today, a supermajority favors joining NATO without Russia. The new thinking in Ukraine requires the West to do its own new thinking. It needs to make a decision on Ukraine and NATO, at a time when either option, yes or no, is riskier than ever. View

West Should Respond to Russian Militarization of the Arctic

While Western nations tend to view the Arctic as the "Global Commons," an increasingly unpredictable and desperate Russia seems to think differently. As Moscow begins military exercises in the region, the West should be wary of what might be next. From threats of full militarization to oil exploitation, the potential environmental and security risks are not to be underestimated. View

Another Reset? The Iran Nuclear Deal and Its Consequences for NATO

The recent nuclear agreement with Iran has consequences not only for the Middle East, but also for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The deal changes the energy landscape and offers a chance to break free from the Russian near monopoly on natural gas supplies for this region, but Russian help in shepherding the agreement may prompt President Obama to cooperate with Moscow on other security issues. However, the price for such cooperation may require sacrificing interests of America’s regional allies. View

The Russian Social Contract: An Emblem of Illegitimacy

Regimes typically legitimize themselves one of two ways; either through provision and protection of transparent institutions that enshrine liberty, rights, democracy, and the rule of law – often seen as vaguely Western ambitions – or through broad-based rising living standards – what could be seen as the Chinese or Singaporean route. Putin's regime fails on both of these fronts, and therefore the "Russian Social Contract" with which he came to power should be discarded. View

NATO Solidarity: Atlantic Community is a Vision, not yet a Reality

The Pew Research Center’s new transatlantic survey indicates a high degree of security complacency and a lack of solidarity across NATO member publics. Evidently, the Atlantic Community is still a distant future, with this vision being marred by an absence of real unity. We must encourage more policy dialogue between citizens throughout Europe and across the Atlantic and in consequence create empathy and a shared identity. View

Thomas Friedman on the World's Most Disruptive Forces

The Market, Moore’s Law and Mother Nature are the three biggest forces shaping the world today. That was Thomas Friedman’s central thesis at a recent event hosted by the American Academy in Berlin. He described how the expansion and speed of globalization (the market), the exponential acceleration of computing power (Moore’s Law), and climate change, the extinction of biodiversity, and population growth (Mother Nature) affect individual careers, national economies, and entire civilizations. View