Winter/Spring 2009

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In U.S. Climate Debate, Farms are Crucial Lobby

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Agriculture is a political heavyweight in Europe, but in the U.S. farms (and rural regions sprawling across a continent) are an even bigger sector. The U.S. Congress contains a strategically-organized bloc of: "Agricrats" (pro-farm Democrats) who fear losses from carbon caps, and so the need to reward farmers with "agricultural offsets" is a political imperative in Washington for climate action. In Europe, the climate debate has focused on industry and the farm dimension has been ignored.

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NATO at 60 – Not Yet Retirement Age

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Bruno TertraisIn the run-up to the 60th-anniversary summit meeting of NATO – to be held in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany in early April – the transatlantic political atmosphere has rarely been better since the end of the cold war almost twenty years ago.

In the first years after the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, the new situation in Europe was rife with questions about NATO’s future, including the question about whether it even had a future. Granted, it was the longest-running, most successful military alliance in history. But had it aged beyond its normal shelf life? Had it outlived its usefulness? The West had prevailed in the cold war, so what mission, if any, remained for the alliance?
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Can Mega-Challenge Spark Mega-Cooperation?

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Beneath the mantra about a coordinated global response to the economic crisis, a line of fracture starkly divides the two sides of the Atlantic about what to do in practice to revive the sinking economies. In Washington, the Obama administration is accepting an unprecedented amount of government debt in order to pump money into the hands of consumers who can spend it and revive business. An Obama aide says that Canada, France, Germany and Brazil are not matching the U.S. effort with stimulus spending of their own and should do more. No, answer Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy – firmly but politely, so far – this is the wrong approach, the wrong priority. The global financial rules need to be overhauled before more money is pumped into it, they say, because the real problem is the lack of confidence in a recent U.S. model of capitalism that has collapsed. And, they say privately, America is to blame for the problem, so America should pay to fix it.
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Letter from the Editor

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The Reckoning: Amid Global Economic Rubble Leaders Must Scale New Peaks of Cooperation

Never waste a crisis: it can open opportunities. Thus runs a mantra in the Obama White House. Certainly, the crisis is stark already, and worse seems set through 2009. So where are the opportunities in this crisis? So far, a main one seems to be renewed transatlantic commitment to the principle of “survival together.” Both in the European Union and in Washington, policy-makers have vowed to avoid the “beggar-thy-neighbor” approaches, protectionism and trade wars that worsened the Depression in the 1930s. Today, they agree, there can be no success, no salvation, no solution for any country acting alone to protect itself.

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Obama Must Lead at Financial Summit; or G-20* Could Become “G-19 + 1”

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Douglas RedikerThe inauguration of Barack Obama has been greeted by seemingly universal words of welcome and great expectations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it “a special day for billions of people all over the world” while French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced “we are eager for him to get to work so that with him we can change the world.” In most quarters of the globe, there appears to be a common belief that President Obama will preside over an American government that is ready, willing and able to engage the rest of the world and re-assert its leadership on the most important issues facing the world today and in years to come. Unilateral actions are out, we are told, and multi-lateral cooperation is back on the table.
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