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Paige Fusco

Europe plans for Putin & Trump 2.0

Signal spoke with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerry Butts about Europe’s future given the uncertainty created by both Russian aggression and America’s volatile politics. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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Putin looks on during his meeting with the Lebanese president at the Kremlin in Moscow.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Is NATO expansion bad for Russia?

For the first time in nearly two decades, NATO just got a lot closer to Russia’s borders. At a summit in Madrid on Wednesday, alliance leaders formally invited Sweden and Finland to join, ending more than half a century of neutrality by both countries.

At the same time, the alliance adopted a new strategic plan in which Russia has gone from being the West’s “strategic partner” to its “most significant threat.” And to underscore the point, NATO is putting more than 300,000 troops on high alert against Russian aggression.

Looks pretty bad for Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you say? Well, let’s consider a few perspectives.

Yes, of course it’s very bad. NATO’s border with Russia has just doubled to more than 1,600 miles, and those two new members are no strategic slouches. Sweden and Finland are both highly advanced militaries with decades of experience keeping a close eye on Russia, especially the Finns.

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NATO Summit: Most Important Summit Since the Wall Came Down | World In :60 | GZERO Media

NATO Summit most important post-Berlin Wall

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60:

First, what is the significance of Japan and South Korea's presence at the NATO summit?

First of all, this is by far the most important NATO summit we've seen since the Wall has come down. Japan and South Korea, a very big deal. Trilateral meeting with President Biden, the two American allies most important that have a dysfunctional relationship, fundamentally dysfunctional on the global stage, and increasingly they are trying to align Kishida, the Prime Minister, and Yoon, the President of South Korea, trying to make that happen. Also, we're increasingly seeing a transformation of NATO to not just being a North Atlantic Alliance, but increasingly taking on global security issues. China's more of a focus. Asian allies, more of a focus. Keep in mind, New Zealand and Australia also there.

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Luisa Vieira

Should NATO watch its southern flank?

As NATO leaders gather this week in Madrid for their first summit since the war in Ukraine began, they will talk mainly about the immediate bogeyman, Russia, and the long-term strategic rival, China. Meanwhile, host Spain is seizing the opportunity to get the alliance to pay at least some attention to Africa and parts of the Middle East, where Russia and jihadists are stirring up trouble that could impact Mediterranean countries.

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G7 and EU leaders gather for a group shot at Schloss Elmau castle in Germany.

REUTERS/Lukas Barth

What We're Watching: West gets tough(er) on Russia, protests rock Ecuador, Qatar pushes Iran nuclear talks

Western leaders up the ante

Leaders of the G7 — the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada — have ended their gathering in the Bavarian Alps, and all of them, including non-NATO member Japan’s prime minister, have arrived in Madrid for a NATO summit set for June 28-30. The agendas for both gatherings have included a range of topics, but none more urgent than collective responses to Russia’s war in Ukraine. There will be more announcements this week on how best to impose heavy near- and longer-term costs on Russia by banning the import of Russian oil and possibly imposing a price cap on the small volumes of Russian oil Western countries still buy. But Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will continue to warn that Ukraine can’t afford a protracted war and that his military needs powerful weapons ASAP to beat back slow-but-steady Russian advances in the Donbas region. The US has promised to deliver an advanced air defense system. Russia has responded to these gatherings by renewing long-range artillery strikes on Kyiv and other cities, including a missile strike on Monday that hit a shopping mall with more than 1,000 civilians inside.

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Russia Losing In The West | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia losing in the West

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Happy Monday to you. It is summit week, particularly summit week as it involves the United States and core allies starting right now with the G7, began on Sunday in Germany, and then moving on to the Madrid Summit in Spain. Certainly the most important NATO summit that we've had in decades, but more broadly, this is the United States and advanced industrial democracies coming together in response to a major global crisis on the European continent. And in some ways to the "Western order", which is of course the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we look at these summits, it's very clear that when you talk about individual leaders of the countries, they're looking pretty weak. I mean, given both the state of the economy, which of course makes a lot of citizens pretty angry, irrespective of whose fault it is or isn't, and also plenty of domestic challenges on top of that.

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Abortion-rights activists protest outside the US Supreme Court after it overturned Roe v Wade.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

What We’re Watching: The future of abortion in America, Madrid hosts NATO summit

US states fight over post-Roe abortion rights

In case you've been living under a rock, on Friday the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that protected abortion rights in America for almost 50 years. The decision, as expected, caused an outcry among abortion-rights activists and sparked jubilation for those in the anti-abortion camp. Now, the center of attention shifts to individual US states since 13 Republican-led ones had so-called "trigger laws" to prohibit or severely restrict abortion in case Roe was overturned. Although the verdict is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, when and how those laws will go into effect — and potential legal challenges to them — make the timeline hard to predict. Conversely, several states governed by Democrats are taking steps to codify Roe into law, ushering in an uncertain period of legal fights between states to determine whether those who perform and assist abortions can be prosecuted out-of-state, and over access to anti-abortion pills. Politically, the ruling is a double-edged sword for the GOP, which hopes it'll fire up social conservatives, but also fears the Dems could use the verdict to energize their own base and make inroads with suburban women in swing states ahead of the November midterms. Moreover, the ruling has already become a major battleground of the larger culture wars for corporate America.

Check out more of our coverage on the historic SCOTUS reversal:

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Paige Fusco

What is Turkey thinking?

It’s been over a month since Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. But despite expectations of a speedy process, the joint bid has been met by an unexpected and troublesome obstacle: Turkey.

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