July 11, 2018 | By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week's Reads: Will Trump Choose Russia over NATO?

For once, it seems like President Donald Trump isn’t interested in winning. Everything is in place for a great NATO summit — defense spending is up, deterrence in Eastern Europe is strong and a united alliance will set a firm tone for Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Everything seems set. Everything, of course, except that last part.

While Trump could use a successful NATO summit to hold Putin to account for his misdeeds in Ukraine and U.S. election interference, he appears more interested in seeking to improve relations with Russia, even if it’s at NATO’s expense.

Continue reading at chicagotribune.com

Ahead of NATO and Putin Summits, Trump’s Unorthodox Diplomacy Rattles Allies

Greg Jaffe, Josh Dawsey, and Carol D. Leonnig / The Washington Post

US allies have two pressing fears regarding the NATO summit: President Trump will blow up the talks, and he will offer concessions to NATO’s main adversary, Vladimir Putin. “The allies’ worries and Moscow’s hopes are rooted in Trump’s combative approach to foreign policy,” Jaffe, Dawsey, and Leonnig write. Instead of relying on, “…the long history that undergirds America’s alliances or the collective foreign policy expertise of the US government,” Trump favors his instincts and ability to forge a personal bond with world leaders, including autocrats such as Putin.

Will Donald Trump be Triumphant, Tetchy or Torpedo?

The Economist

The Economist projects three scenarios of how President Trump may act at the NATO summit, given his past comportment toward the alliance and its 29 members. “Although as president, Mr. Trump has affirmed his commitment to the alliance, some suspect his support is at best skin-deep,” the article states. There’s a possibility that the summit goes fine, but more likely, according to The Economist, the president will star at the summit as “berater-in-chief,” stemming from his belief that the allies are out to take advantage of the United States and are not carrying their weight in terms of economic support to NATO.

Summit Looms for a Strained NATO Alliance

Jacob M. Schlesinger and Bojan Pancevski / The Wall Street Journal

Many Europeans fear a deep split in the postwar order as, “…no previous American president has so openly questioned the trans-Atlantic alliance’s value.” President Trump sent letters to European leaders in June warning them of his “growing frustration” with their military spending levels and his expectation that they redouble efforts when they next meet, according to Schlesinger and Pancevski. Trump’s plan to have a private sit-down meeting with Vladimir Putin, the alliance’s biggest foe, following the NATO summit, has further augmented the allies’ concerns.

For Europe, Cutting the Flow of Migrants Challenges Basic Ideals

Steven Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold / The New York Times

“The free movement of people has been central to how many Europeans want to see themselves: tolerant, open, and diverse,” Erlanger and Bennhold write, but according to Austria’s young chancellor, Sebastian Kurz: “A Europe without internal borders can only exist if it has functioning external borders.” In particular, Kurz wants to close off Europe’s southern perimeter, “…ramping up patrols in the Mediterranean and systematically returning migrant boats to the countries from where they embarked.” This idea, reinforced by other populist governments in Europe, not only raises moral and legal questions, it challenges the core values of the EU, according to Erlanger and Bennhold.

Inside Pompeo’s Fraught North Korea Trip

Nick Wadhams / Bloomberg

Despite talk of goodwill and President Trump’s repeated tweets of the bond he has formed with Kim Jong-un, Mike Pompeo’s difficult trip to Pyongyang last week reflects the reality of dealing with one the world’s most reclusive and unpredictable regimes. From the moment Pompeo landed in the North Korean capital, government officials quickly asserted control, Wadhams writes. The US Secretary of State was whisked off to a gated guesthouse on the outskirts of town and spent a good deal of his 30-hour sojourn held captive, figurately, by long, lavish banquets. The meeting with Kim Jong-un never occurred. While, as Wadhams reports, the specifics of what happened behind closed doors remain unclear, shortly after Pompeo left Pyongyang, the North Korean state media issued a statement calling the demands he presented “gangster-like.”

America and North Korea Are Having Two Different Conversations

Kathy Gilsinan / The Atlantic

North Korean promises do not mean what President Trump seems to think they mean, Gilsinan writes, citing disagreement over perhaps the most important term in the US-North Korea denuclearization talks: denuclearization. From Trump’s perspective, the phrase, “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” means Kim Jong-un promises to give up nukes, while from Kim’s perspective, it ultimately means the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea and an end to the US-South Korea alliance. This reality gulf might help explain why US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized his post-summit trip to Pyongyang last week as “productive,” while his North Korean counterpart called it “regrettable.”

Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

Thomas L. Friedman / The New York Times

Friedman coins the term “complex adaptive coalitions” to describe the cities and communities in the industrial world that are thriving from the bottom up, in an age when political parties are fracturing from the top down. He uses Lancaster, Pennsylvania as an example. Just 20 years ago, the city seemed to be dying, but today it’s thriving, thanks, in large part, to a group of business leaders, educators, philanthropists, and social innovators who got together in their living rooms to become catalysts for change. Friedman believes that Lancaster’s success can be replicated in cities throughout the US and the world.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive


Wait Just a Minute: Edward Glaeser

Urban economist and Harvard professor Edward Glaeser shares ideas about the biggest opportunities and challenges facing cities and what cities can do to ensure economic growth and inspire innovation.




| By Iain Whitaker

Global Affairs Books For The Fall

Every June Book Expo America brings the nation’s publishing houses together with book wholesalers, retailers, and marketers in New York. The event provides an opportunity to collect an unwieldy amount of free as-yet-unpublished books (pro tip: they’re not really free if you end up paying for an extra checked bag).


| By Brian Hanson, Phil Levy, Laura Dawson, Duncan Wood

Deep Dish: There’s a New NAFTA in Town

Mexico and the United States announced a preliminary new NAFTA agreement early this week, which is now pending Canada's approval. Experts join the podcast to discuss the deal's substance and it's chances of being ratified before a number of deadlines.


| By Karen Weigert

Wait Just a Minute: Karen Weigert

Our new web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, our senior global cities fellow, and former chief sustainability officer for the city of Chicago, Karen Weigert answers questions on climate change.


| By Brian Hanson, Phil Levy, Steven Cook, Henri Barkey

Deep Dish: The Turkish Lira Crisis

The Turkish currency crisis was started by a mix of domestic policy decisions and intensifying tariffs from the United States. Experts join the podcast to examine how Turkey got here, and if it will impact other countries' economies. 


Wait Just a Minute: Eliot Cohen

Our new web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, military historian and author Eliot Cohen answers questions in just 60 seconds about the international order,  America First, and US alliances.