Summer Reading List for Foreign Policy Wonks
This is not the kind of year that lends itself to “beach reads.” Instead, we thought our Transatlantic Take readers might want to use the slower summer months to catch up on things we have published on the many headline issues that will accompany us past the summer months into the fall — and, unfortunately, probably well beyond.
France has been in a state of emergency for over eight months; Turkey has now joined it after the failed coup attempt. Germany is the latest to be included on the long list of countries in the West and beyond that have suffered terrorist attacks in the past year. Meanwhile, fringe parties and candidates are becoming more popular and questioning the system of alliances that have been fundamental in the Western post-Cold War order — including reshaping the future of the U.K. and EU through the vote for Brexit.
How has terrorism transformed French politics and shaped its foreign policy? Where is democracy in Turkey headed, and how did the AK Party get where it is? Does Asia offer antidotes to Western populism? From Europe’s multiple crises, to China and Brexit and the maritime disputes, and democracy and the forces that undermine it — below is a selection of GMF experts’ work on the many forces shaping Western societies and our foreign policy today.
ENGAGEMENT, TERRORISM and SECURITY
By Derek Chollet
The idea that President Obama has presided over an era of disengagement is a myth. While Obama has, indeed, avoided unilateral military interventions, he has strengthened ties with allies in Asia, expanded counter-terrorism operations in Africa, and improved relationships throughout Latin America.
By Ian Lesser
The deepening challenge of terrorism in the Mediterranean will shape the national and regional security environment in key countries in the north and south. It is also likely to shape the strategic environment in Europe as a whole for the foreseeable future.
By Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Martin Michelot, and Martin Quencez
Terrorism has reshaped French life and policy since early 2015. The new insecurity has fed an ever more activist foreign policy and altered domestic and foreign policy calculus in the country. GMF analysts from our Paris office examine the shifts in French foreign policy and its complicated relationship with U.S. leadership.
By Ian Lesser
As the summer begins with troubling developments in Turkey’s post-coup crackdown it is worth returning to a short paper by Ian Lesser on the direction of a critical, embattled, and often difficult transatlantic security partner since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Since the AKP’s rise, argues Lesser, Turkey has witnessed a steady political, economic, and, above all, social transformation. If anything, this transformation seems to be gaining speed.
DEMOCRACY AND THE LIBERAL ORDER
In 2013 the Transatlantic Academy published a report on liberalism and democracy — and the forces that derail or obstruct democracy. Post-Brexit and with populist parties or political figures in many Western countries questioning the fundamentals of our liberal order, this report, Democratic Disconnect, is more relevant than ever.
By Daniel Twining
Dan Twining, senior fellow and director of GMF’s Asia program, argues in an article for the Nikkei Asian Review that it’s time the West looked to the East for lessons in a what successful democracy looks like. Western populism is eroding the liberal order. Publics are right to be angry — their lives are getting worse while elite lives get better — but referenda and strongman leaders are not the antidote. India and Japan, meanwhile, are benefitting from a deepening and strengthening of democratic leadership.
By Joshua Walker
Beijing and Moscow share a goal: to create a new geopolitical reality in opposition to the current liberal world order. Joshua Walker contemplates how the G7 can counter revisionism with internationalism. Read the full article in The National Interest.
By Daniel Twining and Volker Stanzel
Dan Twining, Volker Stanzel, and a series of leading Asia experts assess the dynamics that are eroding the liberal international order and proposes ways in which the United States, Europe, and Japan can cooperate more closely to bolster a system that best protects their common interests and values.
CHINA AND THE WORLD
By Minxin Pei
On the 12 July, the Hague ruled that China’s claims in the South China Sea were illegal, a major decision that will now require China to defy international law if it is to persist with its territorial claims. Given the belligerent response from China, including a recent military exercise in the South China Sea, it is clear that Beijing will not abide by the ruling. Pei outlines three possible options Beijing might pursue in the aftermath of the ruling. Read the full article in Fortune.
By Andrew Small
Before Britain voted to leave the European Union, Andrew Small wrote a short article explaining the myriad ways in which various Asian leaders were united in not wanting to see a Britain apart from Europe and the Single Market. In the aftermath, he did some myth busting as to why China is not “the winner of Brexit”, despite all the experts claiming that it might be. Both are must-reads for understanding how Britain’s future is seen from the world’s most significant region.
EUROPE IN CRISIS
2015 and 2016 saw European crises multiply and extend to different fronts, from the Eurozone to the crisis following the refugee influx, and then to Brexit, culminating in the worst period in the history of European integration. GMF insights shed light on the deeper malaise affecting Europe.
By Rosa Balfour
The post-Brexit situation has proven much more complicated than the pre-referendum scenarios suggested. If the EU wants to prevent its dissolution, its institutions should stick to core principles and offer new ways to encourage political participation in a complex, multi-level institutional structure.
By Daniela Schwarzer
The political developments in Greece between 2014 and 2015 have demonstrated that the political system of the euro area is not sustainable. Leaving the authority for European public goods to national governments alongside the European Central Bank is one of the major causes of such unsustainability.
By Stephen Szabo
In the Washington Post Szabo argues that Syrian migration and the rising fear of the “other” is pushing Europe’s identity crisis to a critical point.
By Timo Lochocki
In this short op-ed Lochocki offers an optimistic, contrarian view. Perhaps Germany’s announcement to raise its intake of refugees can be seen as a strategic decision at the core of its national interests. Germany´s asylum policy could be beneficial the country’s negotiating power in the EU, international image, boosting domestic confidence in the government and ease economic tensions in Germany’s job market.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE, and NATO
The European Union and the United States must continue prioritizing transatlantic unity and coordination in their response to Russia’s assertive foreign policy, a group of leading scholars from Europe and the United States argue in the Transatlantic Academy’s report from May 2016.
By Bruno Lete
Though the fighting in eastern Ukraine has largely subsided, Kyiv is still fighting to survive – and looking for help from the West. Bruno Lete outlines how Ukraine can demonstrate to NATO that it can be a reliable partner – which must start with fighting corruption and pushing through reforms.
By Tim Ridout
With NATO’s official incorporation of cyberspace as a domain of warfare, understanding what this means for strategy is imperative. Concepts of cyber deterrence are still in their early phases and are being robustly debated. This article seeks to serve as a guiding framework for these debates.
TRADE AND ECONOMICS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
By Hans Kundnani
During the last year, Europe’s ongoing internal and external crises have strongly undermined the unity of the European Union, causing EU member states to become increasingly reliant on non-Western powers for trade and investment. If the EU wants to prevent its economic dependence on external actors, it must be willing to further develop the linkages between economic and foreign policy.
By Peter Sparding
With TTIP under attack in both the U.S. and Germany, Peter Sparding explores the concerns that negotiations on the free trade agreement between the U.S. and EU have created on both sides of the Atlantic. While Germans fear undue corporate influence and threats to existing labor, environmental, and consumer protection standards, Americans worry that lower standards abroad give some trading partners an unfair advantage.
By Guillaume Xavier-Bender
Harnessing economic power for foreign policy goals provides an invaluable strategic hedge for nations, and this has shaped the foundation of U.S. national security objectives. Europe’s international economic power is not used strategically to serve political goals, yet the EU is well positioned to exercise the appropriate leverage it needs to meet its foreign policy goals through the use of such economic power.
By Guillaume Xavier-Bender
As the European Union embarks in a series of initiatives under the flagship of the Digital Single Market strategy, policymakers should see the forest for the trees. Current discussions over data protection, data privacy, data retention, e-commerce, copyright, platforms, etc. are laying the pipes of new economies and societies across the continent. They may also redefine the narrative of transatlantic economic relations.
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.