June 15, 2018

The Dish | June 12, 2018

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June 12, 2018

Fallout Edition

  • Cancel the NATO Summit?: While there has been another “pivot to Asia” as all eyes turn to Singapore, the transatlantic community is just emerging from fallout shelters to see what remains of the transatlantic bond after a very bad pounding over the past few weeks. Heard on the street are concerns about a G-7 repeat performance at the July NATO Summit, and there are already rumors that the President will leave the Summit early or not even go at all. Given the great work done by Defense Ministers at the NATO Defense Ministerial last week, there are no decisions that must be approved by Heads of State and Government in July…might we avoid another transatlantic blowup and just cancel the Summit altogether? While an extreme view, the very fact some suggest this even in jest shows the worry about an even more public spat “at 29”. For particularly relevant insights, check out Julie Smith and Amanda Sloat in Foreign Policy, calling for the American people and Congress to speak out before it’s is too late and Azita Raji describing three future transatlantic scenarios in War on the Rocks, including a Transatlantic divorce. Anyone know a good lawyer?
  • The Arctic Council Wins the Stanley Cup!: Or almost. Swedish Ambassador for Arctic Affairs Björn Lyrvall tweets that there was a lot of High North blood shed (or teeth lost) for the Stanley Cup: “Congrats Capitals! What a team effort! Great Swedes, Russians, Americans, Canadians & Danes! (almost the Arctic Council!).” But Washingtonians all.
  • Pew Polling: The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes and Trends updated its Global Indicators Database with data from Spring 2017. Pew was plumbing global confidence in the U.S. president and asked, “How much confidence do you have in the U.S. President (Trump '17, Obama '09-'16, Bush '03-'08)?” Interesting comparisons (especially in Germany), which should become even more interesting when 2018 data comes in.
  • Women Take Control in Madrid: The new Socialist Government in Spain headed up by PM Pedro Sanchez announced a cabinet where there are more women than men, with big posts going to women including economy (Nadia Calvino), finance (María Jesús Montero) and defense (Margarita Robles). Justice and education also went to women. The Deputy Prime Minister will be Carmen Calco who will also head the Ministry for Equality. The PM described his government as “progressive, modernizing and Europe-minded.” Quite a change from other governments recently voted in by the populist wave in Europe.
  • Matt’s The Way To Do It: There was at least one successful gathering of America and its allies this week. NATO Defense Ministers met in Brussels and agreed a substantial package of measures to strengthen NATO’s deterrence including the creation of two new commands in the United States and Germany, a commitment to increase military mobility through Europe and progress on offensive cyber capabilities. And Secretary of Defense Mattis got strong agreement for his four 30s initiative: 30 battalions, 30 squadrons, and 30 ships at 30 days readiness by 2020. NATO Sec Gen Stoltenberg even reported progress on NATO-EU cooperation. Will any of this even matter when the NATO Summit occurs in July? There was general agreement that burden-sharing would be the central political issue then. All Allies were increasing spending and non-U.S. spending looks like it will increase by almost $90bn between 2014 and 2018. But expect to hear more about how Allies aren’t doing enough and less about important initiatives such as those two new commands.
  • Banks’ Heist: London papers were full of revelations over the weekend about Aaron Banks – the millionaire who bankrolled Nigel Farage and his crusade to leave the EU. Newly unearthed documents suggest that, despite earlier denials, Banks had repeated meetings with Russian officials from November 2015 to 2017. Brexiteers have been strangely quiet since the story was released but with Banks due to appear in front of a Parliamentary committee that may all change. Rather more chatty on the topic of Brexit are the new contestants on UK reality dating show Love Island. If you've not heard of the show, ask the nearest Brit.
  • I Don’t Wanna Taco Bout It: At an event in France current Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats pulled no punches in stating that Russia continues to meddle in U.S. politics and conduct cyber attacks and information operations to weaken alliances and influence the midterm elections. But after the last few days the Dish isn’t sure it can take much more. So instead here is the Russian propaganda guide to stealing a burrito.
  • Dish Bookshelf: “A Changing Europe in an Uncertain World” Conference report hosted by the Center for European and Transatlantic Studies at Georgia Institute of Technology (Karen Donfried, Celeste Wallander, Evelyn Farkas, and Harlan Ullman with a foreword by Phil Breedlove). H/T to Dr. Scott Brown and Dr. Alasdair Young.
  • Brussels Sprouts – Fried, Roasted, and Boiled: We will be bringing you some very special editions of our podcast Brussels Sprouts in the coming weeks, that will guarantee preparation for the 2018 NATO Summit. This Wednesday’s episode includes the all-star cast of NATO Permanent Representatives Kay Bailey Hutchison (USA), Kerry Buck (Canada), and Sarah MacIntosh (UK). Next week, we will feature an interview with a number of DC-based European defense specialists with NATO experience. The following week, to coincide with the release of our report “More Than Burden Sharing: Five Objectives for the 2018 NATO Summit,” we will release an episode featuring three former U.S. NATO Permanent Representatives, including our very own Ambassador Toria Nuland. All three podcasts and our report will get you smart for the NATO Summit, so be on the lookout!

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