June 1, 2014
The U.S. “Rebalance” and Europe: Convergent Strategies Open Doors to Improved Cooperation
European concerns regarding U.S. disengagement have dissipated but not entirely disappeared over the past 2 years. Still, U.S. readiness to lead politically and militarily in Europe— for example, in response to the ongoing crisis involving Russia and Ukraine—and adjoining regions remains under close scrutiny. Furthermore, while many Europeans agree in principle that renewed American focus on Asia-Pacific issues should encourage Europeans to assume a greater share of security-related responsibilities in their neighborhood, there is little evidence to date of a sea change in European attitudes toward defense spending and overseas military deployments.
Feb. 1, 2011
Finland, Sweden, and NATO: From “Virtual” to Formal Allies?
The “Open Door” policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) has been an article of faith for Allies and aspirants alike for
more than a decade. Its most recent formulation, approved at the November
2010 Lisbon Summit, states: “The door to NATO membership remains
fully open to all European democracies which share the values of our Alliance,
which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership,
and whose inclusion can contribute to common security and stability.”
European Energy Security: Reducing Volatility of Ukraine-Russia Natural Gas Pricing Disputes
On January 7, 2009, the existing energy relationship among Europe, Russia, and Ukraine broke down over a natural gas dispute, just as it had done 3 years earlier. Amid subzero temperatures in many parts of Europe, Russia turned off its gas supply to Ukraine, causing shortages in more than 20 European countries. Thousands across the continent were left in the dark, and government services were closed.1 While the flow of gas was eventually restored, Russian gas disputes with Ukraine continue, and the prospect of another Gazprom shutoff has become an annual event for European consumers. Despite earlier indications that another breakdown in negotiations would lead to blackouts in Europe early in 2010, the potential crisis was averted via a Russia-Ukraine deal that restructured earlier payment and pricing arrangements.2 However, it is doubtful that Ukraine can continue timely payments for its domestic gas consumption and maintain its own pipeline infrastructure. Fundamental changes to Russia-Ukraine energy transport agreements are coming.