Transatlanticism and the Fate of European Cohesion
For a few years now, I’ve been contributing to Judy Dempsey’s “Judy Asks” feature over at Carnegie Europe, where she poses questions on international topics to various experts. Below are links to some of the questions I’ve answered this year—click through to read my responses and those of other experts, including from Johns Hopkins, the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economist, and the Financial Times.
Is America Still the Guardian of Transatlanticism? (November 2016)
I commented that the U.S. is definitely still in the driver’s seat, though I’m not optimistic about its long-term position. Europe’s brand isn’t what it used to be, with crisis after crisis in the last few years, and any future fractures in the EU could diminish its position as a strategic asset for America. It’s clear that America benefits from a strong Europe, so internal unity and solidarity are essential.
Can the EU Survive Without Britain? (September 2016)
I consider the UK to have been an influential but not indispensable piece of the EU puzzle. To bolster the union, the remaining members must find commonalities beyond economic interests. With the Brexit, the EU will be losing a member notable for its comparative advantages in financial services, diplomatic corps, and educational excellence—and one that has proved valuable for building consensus.
Is It Possible to Reform France? (April 2016)
This was a no-brainer for me, since reforms are part of changes in citizens’ preferences. When I wrote my response in April, I didn’t think France’s political groups were quite ready to go after radical change, particularly since the country’s middle class tends to support sticking to the status quo. As France gears up for a presidential election next year, more than a whiff of change is in the air already. Aside from a larger roster of candidates, speaking openly about deeper reforms is no longer taboo.
Will TTIP Happen? (April 2016)
As of this spring, I was fairly confident that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a potential agreement between the U.S. and EU, would not be wrapped up while President Obama was in office. Months later, it’s certain that the agreement will have to wait for the next president. In the interim, the current administration seems to be putting a brave face on an otherwise failing enterprise. I still feel that TTIP has significant strategic value. Unfortunately, my guarded optimism has turned into the incredulous realization that TTIP may not survive in its current form for long.
Will Cheap Oil Kill Global Stability? (January 2016)
Back in January, I argued that economic stability has already suffered from cheap oil, such as Canada’s descent into recession in 2015, though lower prices provide some benefits on the consumer end. Political stability is more of a factor for countries where oil has an important fiscal role. Now, months later, I feel that some countries have moved on (notably Canada, which has emerged from recession) while in others, internal woes continue. This is particularly the case in Venezuela and Nigeria: both stand on the brink of civil war, and the low price was instrumental in deepening the crises.