The upcoming NATO summit meeting in Chicago on May 20-21 is being billed as a historic event that will enable the alliance to achieve consensus on several important security issues, particularly military capabilities, missile defense and Afghanistan. But a dodgy European economy and the change of government in France could severely complicate prospects.
The most serious obstacle is the severe economic constraints on defense resources. The global economic crisis has forced European governments to sharply cut their defense budgets. Germany plans to reduce defense spending by a quarter over the next four years. Britain’s defense budget will be slashed by 7.5 percent until 2015.… Seguir leyendo »
The decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin not to attend the NATO summit and the G-8 summit is a blow to the Obama administration’s hopes of building closer ties to Russia and underscores that the effort to “reset” relations with Russia is likely to be slow and fraught with difficulties.
Putin’s excuse — that he was too busy with the formation of the new Cabinet — is hardly credible. Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has the responsibility to nominate the Cabinet, not Putin. But Medvedev will be in the United States attending the G-8 summit. So the prime minister, who is in charge of forming the Cabinet, can go to the summit.… Seguir leyendo »
The recent start of the trial in Kyiv of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the leaders of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, on charges of abuse of power raises grave concerns about President Viktor Yankovych’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law. In reality, it is his regime, not Tymoshenko, that is on trial, along with the European Union’s willingness to stand up for democracy in a large and important neighbor.
As the EU and Ukraine launch another round of negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), the EU should not repeat its mistakes in accession negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania, which most EU members believe were admitted prematurely, or with Belarus, where it failed to define impermissible behavior in 2008-2010.… Seguir leyendo »
Las dramáticas revueltas en Túnez, Egipto y Libia han funcionado como catalizador de un despertar árabe más generalizado que ha sacudido los fundamentos del orden político del Medio Oriente que existía desde finales de los años setenta. Si bien es muy temprano para pronosticar los resultados finales, ya se vislumbran algunas consecuencias regionales importantes.
En primer lugar, las revueltas son una espada de dos filos para Irán. El régimen iraní podría beneficiarse de la expulsión o el debilitamiento de los líderes y regímenes pro occidentales de Egipto, Jordania y Arabia Saudita, pero el aliento inicial que dio Irán a los levantamientos democráticos en Túnez y Egipto tuvo consecuencias inesperadas.… Seguir leyendo »