Summer/Fall 2007

U.S. Intelligence Tackles Climate Change

Gregory F. TrevertonWhen congressional Democrats mandated a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessing climate change’s potential effect on national security, Republicans accused them of caring more about “bugs and bunnies” than hunting for al Qaeda. The effort to prevent the estimate failed, but the project is in train during 2007. The episode did however raise important questions about the role of U.S. intelligence in subjects not traditionally associated with secrets or “spook-dom.” Congresswoman Jane Harman, a California Democrat and the former ranking member on the Intelligence panel, defended the idea of an estimate: “This isn’t bugs or bunnies, it is survival or destruction. Droughts affect the stability of governments, and stability of governments is one of the few things we need to know about.” But Republicans dismissed the study as too “politically correct,” and said the call for an estimate was redundant because numerous government organizations already study the issue. To be sure, an estimate or other assessment by U.S. intelligence will not add to the science about global warming. On the science, U.S. intelligence will be a consumer, not a producer. It will not be able to add to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other august scientific bodies have produced.

 

Read more...
 

Outflanking Russia’s Energy Grip on Europe

Matthew BryzaConfronted with new and ongoing challenges to energy supplies – our own and those of our friends in Europe – this administration has decided to reorganize some policies and renew a long-standing U.S.-led effort aimed at expanding oil and gas production in the Caspian, using public-private partnerships as the preferred Western approach.

 

Read more...
 

Europe Is Not in a Zero-Sum Game with NATO

Nick WitneyIt is intriguing how close Europe came, back in the early 1950s, to establishing a European Defense Community. Forget the sort of carefully-nuanced initiatives which proceed under the banner of European defense today: this would have been real, full-blooded common defense, with a standing European army under central command, sustained by a common budget. Even more intriguing, [in Washington] President Truman was all for it, and after the change of administration so was Eisenhower. But eventually it came to nothing, NATO got going, and defense rather disappeared from the specifically European agenda for the next half century.

It reappeared as the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), as recently as 1999. And I think it fair to say that the welcome it got on this side of the Atlantic was less than wholehearted. Okay, so the Brits were in there from the beginning, determined to ensure that this new policy developed only in ways compatible with NATO. But would there not be others pursuing different agendas, dreaming of using the policy to separate Europe from America? And was there not more than a dash of pretentiousness about this new European enthusiasm – particularly in light of the then-recent Balkan campaigns?

Read more...
 

A Tale of Two Václavs

Michael Kraus“Which is the most neutral country in the world? Czechoslovakia. It refuses to intervene even in its own internal affairs.” So went an anecdote I heard twenty years ago in communist-era Prague. But now it is June 2007. The Czechs joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, and President George W. Bush has visited Prague to make his case for the U.S.-built anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland to be built by 2012 to cope with threats from rogue states such as Iran. Formal bilateral negotiations are only just beginning; it remains unclear whether this anti-ballistic system can work or how it relates to NATO’s plans or whether the U.S. Congress will actually fund it. But none of those uncertainties forestalled Russia’s President Vladimir Putin from threatening to put those two central European facilities in the cross-hairs of Russian nuclear missiles. How popular is the shield in the Czech Republic? The center-right Czech coalition government, headed by Mirek Topolánek of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), says it wants it. But for months, Czech public opinion has run about two-to-one in opposition to the shield, with 10 percent undecided.

Read more...
 

The French Approach to a European Defense Industrial Base

General Patrick AuroyAs the man in charge of strategy at France’s Delegation Générale de l’Armement (the French Armaments Agency), the subject of European cooperation on procurement is obviously important to me because of my responsibility for getting our troops the weapons they need. More than 25 percent of our current programs are led in cooperation. France played a major role in the creation of trans-national defense industries such as Eurocopter and MBDA, EADS or THALES. The main developmental axes of the defense-industrial policy in Europe center on: using more competition and market forces, fostering cooperative programs, providing visibility and a common reference base, notably through the publication of a strategy for a European Defense Technology Industrial Base (DTIB). I will then try to show how these efforts should be perceived – as an opportunity for expanded transatlantic relationships at the political and the industrial level.

Read more...