The United States and Europe are in a period of transformation and redefinition of their relationship to each other, and to world order, that is likely to be profound. The Transatlantic Leadership Network is committed to address contemporary challenges and future prospects of this vital partnership through a range of activities, with particular emphasis on the future of NATO, U.S.-EU relations, and continued efforts to advance a Europe whole, free, and at peace.
The Transatlantic Leadership Network and the Polish Institute of International Affairs are sponsoring a project on the vision of a Europe Whole and Free.
In May 1989, in a speech delivered to the people of Mainz, Germany, President George H.W. Bush evoked a vision of “Europe whole and free” and set forth a path for Europe to follow to realize that dream. Shortly thereafter, the collapse of communism in Central Europe opened new possibilities for peoples, once oppressed, to integrate under the ideas of democracy, unity and freedom from outside domination. The vision paved the way for the enlargement of democratic Europe and the transatlantic community.
Three decades later, this vision remains incomplete. Once again a divide has appeared in Europe, this time between two models of development: a democratic one, rooted in European and transatlantic integration; and a oligarchic and quasi-autocratic one, whose essence is a tight penetration of politics, business and crime. Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine since 2014, together with significant remaining challenges in other Eastern Partnership countries and in the western Balkans, and disruptive politics in a number of central and western European countries, are testing President Bush’s vision for Europe’s future.
With this in mind, we have invited prominent authors to take part in preparing a book that would commemorate this vision and induce a discussion about its relevance today. The volume is co-edited by TLN President Daniel S. Hamilton and Sławomir Dębski¬, director of The Polish Institute of International Affairs. The book was published in November 2019.
The Western Balkans countries are in a period of transformation and redefinition of their relationship to each other, and to the world, that is likely to be profound. The Transatlantic Leadership Network is committed to address contemporary challenges and future prospects within the Western Balkans through a range of activities, with particular emphasis on election reform, economic growth, NATO enlargement, and EU accession.
The Future of U.S.-GCC Relations: Partnership Amidst Crisis
At the Camp David Summit in May 2015, the United States and GCC countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain – committed to establish a stronger partnership. The fact that only two GCC heads of state attended the Camp David Summit – Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah of Kuwait and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar – demonstrates the precariousness of US–GCC cooperation in the fields of security, economic, energy and development when there is tension between several GCC countries. Since June 2017, Qatar has been blockaded by four Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt. Several months later, the UAE and Saudis formed a partnership separate from the GCC. In recent months media have reported that Saudi and UAE private investors have funded a waterway that will turn Qatar into an island. The Transatlantic Leadership Network looks to encourage dialogue amongst GCC member countries and support continued commercial and geopolitical partnerships between GCC countries and the United States.
East Mediterranean Gas: Transatlantic Cooperation
The Eastern Mediterranean is receiving international attention as a region primarily characterized by instability, turmoil, conflict, terrorism and humanitarian crises. The region is today defined by the civil war in Syria, the operations of the Islamic State, sectarian clashes, a seemingly endless wave of refugees, weak, failing states, authoritarian tendencies and a fundamental sense of uncertainty. However, simultaneously, substantial and significant cooperative efforts are underway that hold the potential to ameliorate regional instability and offer solutions to real, pressing problems. These efforts revolve primarily around regional energy findings and have received much less attention. (As an example, Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings and Israel’s Delek Drilling signed a 15 billion dollar, 10-year deal to export gas from Israel to Egypt). Countries contributing to regional stability through energy exploration and exploitation are Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Italy. Turkey is also a significant actor but more efforts must be made to reconcile geostrategic and geopolitical differences.
Two trilateral processes are underway among Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and Greece. Significant infrastructure projects are being discussed that include the East Med pipeline (Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy) the EuroAsia Inter-connector (Israel, Cyprus, Greece) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (Greece, Albania, Italy). The project will support ongoing dialogue between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean to encourage continued commercial and geopolitical cooperation and to strengthening transatlantic cooperation.