Winter/Spring 2008

Turkey’s Islamic Party Sees Advantage in EU Bid

F. Stephen LarrabeeThe question of Turkish membership is one of the most difficult and important challenges facing the European Union. How this challenge is managed will have a significant impact on Turkey’s political evolution and on the EU’s own strength and vitality. Turkish membership in the EU would anchor Turkey firmly to the West and provide an important bridge to the Muslim world in the Middle East. Turkey also has the potential to become an important regional hub for the transport of Caspian gas and oil, which would allow Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

 

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Misreading Berlin... in the Lead into the Iraq War

The unconditional German rejection of any idea of a war in Iraq came as a huge shock in Washington and London (and even in Paris). In fact, it should not have surprised anyone: the trend of post-cold war attitudes in Germany showed that opinion was coalescing around a reluctance to use military force. Limited German help with NATO missions in the Balkans in the 1990s was part of this emerging pattern. By 2003, Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder played his hand in the context of electoral pressures that were shaped by a new self-confidence in Germans about their role in promoting Western security and international stability. The roots of German behavior in this crisis is still too little understood – a situation that clouds the chances of restoring coherence among the key allies in tackling such challenges in future. In chronicling the miscalculations all around – among the Bush administration, the Blair government, Chirac’s administration and Schroeder’s team – prominent political historian Simon Serfaty offers insights into the national mentalities that prevailed in 2003 in the four allied countries. Some of these trends are changing, but the new leaders in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin will need to understand this “new” recent history before they can hope to succeed in reinstating any real unity and sense of purpose to the West.

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Poland’s New Government Seeks Solidarity, Not Provocation

Radoslaw Sikorski – better known as Radek – has a well-earned reputation as a combative man with a sardonic edge. But since taking charge of his country’s diplomacy last year at age 44, he seems to have channeled his ambitions for Poland’s foreign policy into a quest for a more measured tone and constructive stance towards fellow European Union members, towards an historic antagonist, Russia, and towards Warsaw’s main ally, the United States. On display during his first trip as foreign minister to Washington in late January 2008, it seemed to be effective in reaching a new understanding with the Bush administration about a controversial U.S. missile defense plan that would base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland.

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Kosovo: It IS a Real Geopolitical Precedent

David YoungAt the time of the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, the premise of Western governments was that confronting ethnic cleansing was more important than respecting the international borders. The message was that future would-be tyrants needed to know – and be deterred by – the cost that would be imposed on them by the international community if they sought to inflict such atrocities. The U.S. decision to throw its full political and military weight into Kosovo reflected a desire to make up for perceived moral failures in the 1990s (notably Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia). President Bill Clinton was eager to restore America’s image as the global policeman backing up the recently proclaimed new world order. And he wanted to restore the strategic authority of the United States.

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Saving the Arctic, Now

Rafe PomeranceArmond CohenThe Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the earth as a whole. Since 1979, Arctic warming has reduced summer sea ice by more than 40 percent, and many climate models now predict that all sea ice will disappear by 2030 or sooner. To put this in perspective, the amount of sea ice lost from 1980 to 2007 would cover half of the European Union.

 

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