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East African Federation: A New Regional Power?

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By Charles Marsh In September 2018, the East African Community appointed a twelve member Committee of Experts to begin drafting a new constitution for an East African Confederation as a step towards full federation.[1] By 2021, it is hoped the bloc will have a functional constitution, to be promulgated by 2023. By the middle of this decade then, a new …

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Refreshing American Priorities: Democrats Offer a 180 on Foreign Policy

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By Bartia Cooper Summary: The foreign policy objectives of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden oppose those of Donald Trump in a variety of contexts. The election of one of these top two Democratic candidates would signal a shift away from utilizing military force in conflict resolution, the treatment of the Russian government as an adversary, a potential re-joining of the …

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Is Democracy in Decline? Tracking Developments Over the Past Twenty Years

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by Bartia Cooper and Mitch Yoshida Summary Headlines concerning the outlook for democracy generally lean toward two conclusions: it is in dangerous decline[1] and the free world is under attack.[2] At first glance, such statements are cause for concern. Will long-time democratic states like the U.S., France, and the U.K. turn authoritarian? Are democratic freedoms soon to be stripped forever? …

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What Does a Nuclear North Korea Really Mean for the International System?

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by Michael Dimino, Global Governance Analyst Summary In the last four months, North Korea has transformed the strategic landscape of East Asia, achieving both its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and first thermonuclear weapon. This new reality for the United States, Japan, South Korea – and the wider liberal international order – must be confronted. For decades, like-minded free democracies have …

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The European Defense Fund: What Does it Mean for Transatlantic Security?

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by Mary Capparuccini and Mitch Yoshida Summary The European Commission launched the European Defense Fund (EDF) on June 7, 2017. It will provide €590 million through 2020, and at least €1.5 billion per year after 2020, to incentivize collaborative defense research, development and acquisition within the EU. The aims of the fund are to reduce duplication in defense spending, produce …

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NATO, Trump, and the Return of the Burden-Sharing Debate

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by Andrea Bodine and Mitch Yoshida Summary As North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on May 24-25, they face heightened uncertainty about the future of the Alliance. U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has voiced support for NATO while emphasizing the need for a more equitable defense spending burden within the Alliance. …

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The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?

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by Thomas Rhoades and Mitch Yoshida Summary As the European Union (EU) approaches the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, its leaders and institutions face a rising tide of political risk. Long-held and growing doubts about the EU’s ability to reduce unemployment, stem migration, and counter terrorism have set the stage for electoral gains by euroskeptic parties in the …

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The EU’s New Push to Counter Tax Avoidance

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by Triet Pham Summary The European Commission’s decision to impose a €13 billion ($14.2 billion) bill on Apple, payable to the Irish government, is one part of its new push to address tax avoidance by multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in the EU. While moves in this direction would significantly reduce member state deficits, they risk provoking a euroskeptic backlash. The …

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Turkey at a Crossroads

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by Jeremy Weiss Turkey’s accession to the EU has been a diplomatic goal for decades, but a continual lack of progress has made the process seem like a mirage: even after years of discussion, membership remains distant. Turkey has long had one foot in Europe politically as well as geographically, with membership in the Council of Europe, OECD and OSCE. …

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Nord Stream 2: Strategic Implications for the European Union

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The proposed “Nord Stream 2” natural gas pipeline is one of the most controversial projects of post-Cold War Europe. Since the start of the project’s study phase in 2011, it has divided the EU between north and south, and east and west. It reveals the tenuous position of the EU following the resurgence of Russian intransigence under President Vladimir Putin: a beacon of political liberalism forced by necessity to rely on energy from an illiberal, increasingly hostile, and authoritarian state.