Surprising evolution in U.S. policy toward Ukraine
In no time, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was elevated from Donald Trump’s doghouse to the status of an honored guest at the White House. The U.S. president has discovered reasons to demonstrate to his NATO allies, and the world, his tough stand on Russia. As East-West tension mounts, the conflict over Donbas, a portion of eastern Ukraine captured by Moscow-backed secessionists, may quickly degenerate into a U.S.-Russia proxy war.
Protectionism undermines European principles
Emmanuel Macron came to office promising to liberalize the French economy and reduce the role of the state. But his government is already turning protectionist, threatening to “temporarily nationalize” a shipyard. The move undermines European and liberal principles.
Brexit and the sunset of European influence in Asia-Pacific
Though the Asia-Pacific region seems too far away to be affected by Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU will have a profound impact on the region. While it will reduce the bloc’s significance in the region’s affairs, the UK’s status may suffer as well. Asia-Pacific states will likely look to countries such as Germany to act as a new counterweight to China and the United States.
Opinion: Confusing statements on money and trade
Janet Yellen is not worried about another global financial crisis. Mario Draghi and even Warren Buffet bemoan “inequality.” But no one seems to be taking seriously the problems artificially cheap money is causing to the global economy. With such a fragile global financial situation, free trade could be a big help – but protectionism is on the rise. Could the upcoming G20 meeting bring substantive progress on that count?
Opinion: France and Europe
Emmanuel Macron may be a fresh face, but France’s new president poses much less of a threat to the cosy status quo than his vanquished Republican opponent, Francois Fillon. Now that Mr. Macron has a solid parliamentary majority behind him, he will have to make choices and take sides. Chances are that his eclectic program will prove a disappointment.
Macron and the German project
After Brexit, the European Union is composed of two sorts of countries – those willing to recognize German leadership, and those reluctant to do so. With the project of an ever-closer union now defunct, the EU’s internal debate has shifted to what Germany wants and how much it is willing to compromise. A lot depends on the position of France and its new president.
Opinion: Can Emmanuel Macron change France?
After winning France’s presidency, the easy part is over for Emmanuel Macron. Now he must shift from faux outsider to the country’s first real reformer in decades. To succeed, he will need to take on a political establishment only too eager to jump on his bandwagon.
All eyes on France, but local German elections were also crucial for the EU
Emmanuel Macron’s proposals to centralize debt and financial functions in the European Union could, if implemented, put the bloc on a slow path toward disintegration. However, election results in Schleswig-Holstein have confirmed that fiscally sound policies have solid support in Germany. If the CDU and FDP can again form a coalition after the country’s September elections, Berlin will be in a strong position to continue to resist moves toward centralization. That will be good news for the EU.
Opinion: Populists, demagogues and the French elections
The intellectually arrogant arguments against “populism” fail to consider that it is an important ingredient in any democracy. It is demagoguery that is dangerous. And there is plenty of that in France’s election campaign. With many of the candidates railing against “inequality” – a strength, not a weakness of mankind – only Francois Fillon, who supports free markets and an EU that acts as a fatherland of the fatherlands, has a realistic economic and social agenda.
The future of euroskepticism
While Europe’s populist parties identify the euro as the root of most evils, exiting the common currency won’t solve their country’s economic woes – in fact, the solutions they propose will probably make them worse. Voters have recognized this. But anti-immigration sentiment remains a powerful weapon in their arsenal, and Brussels seems unwilling to take the necessary measures to address it.