BrianBeary.new1Brexit may be about to claim another casualty: the devolved Northern Ireland government. 

First results in the snap elections Thursday for the Northern Ireland Assembly suggest a surge in support for the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein Party whose long-term goal is to reunify the northern and southern parts of Ireland. Sinn Fein’s wins come partly at the expense of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the pro-UK party that leads the devolved Northern Ireland government created under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

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bod.hunter2
Last week, the senior leadership of the new Trump Administration turned out in full force in Europe to try reassuring anxious allies about the continued strong commitment of the United States to European security and to transatlantic relations overall.  To the extent we can make judgments based largely on media reporting, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the right things to his colleagues at the NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels about the “rock solid”[1]  US defense commitment and continued implementation of decisions taken at the 2014 and 2016 NATO summits in the wake of Russian military aggression in Ukraine.  He and Vice President Mike Pence did the same thing at the 53rd annual Munich Security Conference last weekend – the defense and foreign policy equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos.   Many important people from more than 100 countries spoke at the Munich conference, including the German Federal Chancellor and her key ministers, the British, French, Russian, and Chinese foreign ministers, as well as leaders from many other countries from around Europe and elsewhere. 

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bod.hunter2“Special relationship” is used so often to describe Anglo-American ties that it has long since become a cliché. But it still has force, reflecting not just tangible interests but the intangibles of culture, history, and shared roots of law and politics.

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MichaelWhite2016

The foaming cocktail of official alarm and voter distain which greeted Donald Trump’s first flurry of presidential tweets and executive orders around the world was not mixed the same way in Brexit Britain, any more than it was in the American heartland. The Trump feedback loop is both negative and positive. Hey, if he’s upsetting all those protesting liberals, Silicon Valley and the foreigners, he must be doing something right, yes?

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Spellman 1The leader of the United Kingdom affirmed in a much-heralded speech that her country will leave the European Union to regain control over immigration and other national laws, but equally stressed the critical need for a strong Europe and a trade arrangement that would minimize any economic fallout from Brexit as Europe’s recovery remains unsteady.

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