An alliance the world can count on

By Barack Obama and David Cameron
Monday, 12 March 2012


Seven decades ago, as our forces began to turn the tide of World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill traveled to Washington to coordinate our joint efforts. Our victories on the battlefield proved “what can be achieved by British and Americans working together heart and hand,” he said. “In fact, one might almost feel that if they could keep it up, there is hardly anything they could not do, either in the field of war or in the not less tangled problems of peace.”

Keep it up we have — not only winning that war for our survival but also building the institutions that undergird international peace and security. The alliance between the United States and Great Britain is a partnership of the heart, bound by the history, traditions and values we share. But what makes our relationship special — a unique and essential asset — is that we join hands across so many endeavors. Put simply, we count on each other and the world counts on our alliance.

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Can Europe Really Cram 17 Leaders in One Chair?

By Kati Suomenin
Tuesday, 22 November 2011

WASHINGTON—The European Commission’s economic proposals to be unveiled on Wednesday will include a call for the Eurozone nations to pool their representation at the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) into a single seat. Designed to boost the currency bloc’s clout at a time when emerging markets are seeking greater powers in the world body, the proposal is bound to meet resistance — not in Beijing or Brasilia, but right next door to Brussels, in Berlin and Paris.

The Commission’s calls for a single European seat go back a good decade, and reflect its interest in concentrating power in Brussels. Other prominent sponsors of the idea have included the former head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, EU president Herman Van Rompuy, and the Fund’s former managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Today, the Commission’s calls are motivated by a sense of a global assault on European powers in the world body. Reserve-rich emerging markets such as China and India have expressed a willingness to rescue the ailing eurozone from its prolonged financial crisis, but in return would likely want expanded voting share at the IMF, where European nations (EU plus Norway and Switzerland) collectively still hold a hefty 34 percent of the total vote — and the subset of eurozone nations hold 20 percent. Europeans also hold a third of the 24 board seats; eurozone nations Germany and France, as well as Britain, have their own, nonrotating chairs, along with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Japan, while Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and non-eurozone EU member Denmark as well as Switzerland represent groups of countries.

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Austerity not the way to go for Europe

By Joseph Stiglitz
Monday, 3 October 2011

Most economists thought that when the euro was put together, it was an incomplete task. They’d taken out too many adjustment mechanisms and had not put anything in its place.

One of the things that makes the American common currency work across the country is we have a common fiscal authority and high migration – we’re willing to allow North Dakota to become empty.

In Europe, there’s no fiscal authority, migration is more difficult and most of the countries are not willing to let themselves become empty. So the framework for allowing for an effective common currency is not there.

Now you might be able to make up for the deficiencies in one part by strengthening another part, for instance by having a stronger fiscal authority. But they don’t have that.

What they did fiscally was tie themselves to the stability and growth pact, which was a pact for recession rather than for growth because limiting deficits when you have a shock is a recipe for recession, which is what is happening in Greece.

So the question was always: when a crisis occurred would they be able to finish the task? And I think the jury is still out.

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George Will thinks NATO’s dying. That’s what he thought in 1999 too.

By David Bosco
Thursday, 18 August 2011

George Will has a gloomy column on NATO in today’s Washington Post that mostly mirrors former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ parting shot: Europeans don’t spend enough on their militaries for the alliance to be worth America’s while:

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UK-US special relationship ‘must be based on pragmatism, not nostalgia’

By Richard Norton-Taylor
Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Shadow defence secretary will use speech in Washington to call for European Nato members to contribute more.

Britain must adopt a new, pragmatic approach to the “special relationship” with the US that is based neither on ideology nor nostalgia, the shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, will tell Americans in a speech in Washington.

He will also challenge a growing assumption that Britain should merely buy military equipment off the shelf from the US and say that European members of Nato must contribute far more to defence and to making their armed forces more effective.

“In the new security landscape we must assess where and when the UK-US partnership adds value. It is neither a prerequisite nor a luxury,” he will warn. “We have vital and historic links which foster an undoubted and important solidarity. Neither ideology nor nostalgia, however, will ensure we benefit from our close links in today’s world, and so pragmatism should define our approach.”

Murphy will tell an audience of American defence industrialists on Wednesday: “Our publics are wary and weary. The US is experiencing international reticence … At the same time the financial crisis has strengthened protectionist instincts, and so while multilateralist internationalism is more necessary than ever our scope to pool power is limited by sceptical domestic populations.”

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AP (UK) Breakfast Discussion with the Rt. Hon Jim Murphy

Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Breakfast Discussion

The Atlantic Partnership (UK) held a breakfast on the 29th June 2011 at which the Rt. Hon Jim Murphy, the British Shadow Secretary of Defence spoke. The event was held at the Goring Hotel and was well attended by many AP supporters.

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Europe must continue to do justice to Ronald Reagan’s legacy: it would be wrong to view the changing relationships between Europe, the US and the world’s emerging economies in ‘zero-sum’ terms

By János Martonyi
Tuesday, 06 July 2011

HUNGARY — Yesterday, Britain paid tribute to a great leader of the free world, President Ronald Reagan. My country has also unveiled a statue of President Reagan to mark his centennial. The moment had special poignancy for Hungarians. President Reagan was a decisive factor in helping us to win back our freedom 20 years ago, as of course was Baroness Thatcher. It is an appropriate moment to remember the debt of gratitude we owe to them both. But it also serves as a timely reminder for all Europeans of the importance of strong transatlantic ties.

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A leap of faith? Divergent EU and U.S. choices on nuclear power

By Thomas Legge
Friday, 10 June 2011

WASHINGTON — Germany’s decision last week to phase out nuclear power has sharpened the differences between Europe and the United States on energy policy. Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman, a senior voice on energy policy in the U.S. Congress, led the chorus decrying that removing nuclear power from the energy mix would undermine global efforts to combat climate change because the technology emits much fewer greenhouse gases than coal or natural gas, the other main fuels used to generate electricity. The decision highlights an apparent contradiction: Europe is committing itself to a low-carbon future while it moves away from nuclear power, whereas the United States, a laggard on climate action, insists that nuclear power is essential to avoid climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted to the crippling of the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan by immediately ordering the temporary closure of seven older nuclear power plants. She has since expanded what appeared to be a panicky sop to public opinion into a revised energy policy that will see all nuclear power stations in Germany closed by 2022.

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Europe Starts to Get Serious About its Neighbors

By Alina Inayeh
Thursday, 26 May 2011

BUCHAREST — Nearly four months after a young Tunisian fruit seller burned himself alive out of despair over the corruption of his country and sparked a popular revolt against autocracy that swept the region, thunderstruck leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are finding their voice again. Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama gave a major speech that compared the uprisings with America’s civil rights movement. This week, it was Europe’s turn to answer the call from Northern Africa and the Middle East. By European standards of deliberation, the European Union’s response was atypically timely.

On Wednesday, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, and Stefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy,  released a joint policy paper called, in characteristically dry EU-speak, “A New Response to a Changing Neighborhood.” Technically, this document is the result of a routine review of the EU’s existing neighborhood policy, and was scheduled long before the Arab upheavals. But as events unfolded, it became clear that Europe’s response could no longer be routine. So the advance word was that this would be a bold reaction to the dramatic changes in what remains a very dynamic neighborhood.

But the paper published on Tuesday falls somewhat short of a genuinely bold vision. It does not go so far as to sketch out a desired democratic end state for the nations of the region. That kind of clarity might have made relations with some countries easier. Still, by European standards, it’s a courageous document. Most importantly, it rectifies the chief flaw of the earlier policy by introducing genuine conditionality; it seeks to encourage democratic reforms by offering the carrot of economic support–and threatening to withdraw it in case of backsliding. This in itself is a remarkable affirmation of European principles and values. Civic and opposition party leaders had asked for it in vain for years, and watched in frustration as the EU gave funds to regimes that paid no more than lip service to reform, if that.

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U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Are the Partners Finally Headed for Divorce?

By Louise Langeby
Friday, 6 May 2011

The latest twist in U.S.-Pakistani relations has come to reveal a deepening rift that is proving increasingly difficult to mend. Last weekend’s killing of Osama bin Laden in the heartland of Pakistan has caused tensions to plummet, but relations have clearly been deteriorating for some time. The current low was initiated by CIA agent Raymond Davis’ killing of two Pakistanis with alleged links to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency. A high-profile diplomatic dispute ensued, eventually leading to Mr. Davis’ release in exchange for $2.3 million in compensation to the victims’ families. Closely following this, U.S. drone strikes hit a tribal jirga in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, killing several Pakistani civilians and causing tensions to exacerbate. Combined with bin Laden’s killing these events call into question the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s Af-Pak Strategy adopted just two years ago, and with the latest White House report on the state of the war in Afghanistan affirming “there remains no clear path toward defeating the insurgency (in Pakistan)”, we may be witnessing the start of a new phase of U.S.-Pakistani relations. Clearly, both Islamabad and Washington have contributed to the current downward spiral and despite the allies’ inherent co-dependency this trend is likely to persist, unless both sides manage to reconcile their strategic interests. However, as long as the Pakistani military remains a powerful political, economic, and social actor, this will prove exceedingly difficult.

Since coming to office President Obama has worked to shift the focus of the so-called War on Terror to Pakistan, recognizing the direct link between a stable and prosperous Pakistan and success in Afghanistan. This acknowledgement has not only translated into increased financial support for the civilian government, estimated at $7.5 billion, but also a military aid package of $2 billion, and increased intelligence sharing between the CIA and the ISI. Moreover, the counterterrorism effort conducted in Pakistan’s tribal areas has become one of the administration’s top priorities. However, despite the Pakistani government’s official support for the strategy, military and intelligence officials widely see it as a breach of sovereignty and thus have become increasingly reluctant to provide the Americans with intelligence support. The unilateral U.S. operation that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden last weekend is a prime example of the strategy.

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