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Does the EU really have a foreign policy?

For decades, European leaders have debated the question of whether Europe should have a common foreign policy that’s independent of the United States.

Germany, the UK, and countries situated closest to Russia have traditionally preferred to rely on membership in NATO and US military strength to safeguard European security at a cost affordable for them.

French leaders, by contrast, have argued that, with or without NATO, Europe needs an approach to foreign policy questions that doesn’t depend on alignment, or even agreement, with Washington.

There are those within many EU countries who agree that Europe must speak with a single clear voice if the EU is to promote European values and protect European interests in a world of US, Chinese, and Russian power.

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Putin has a “noose” around Ukraine, says Russia analyst Alina Polyakova

What’s going on in Vladimir Putin’s mind? That’s the million-dollar question.

Ukraine and Russia analyst Alina Polyakova doesn’t think it’s anything good.

Russia's president, she says, has put a “noose” around Ukraine with a troop build-up along the border that could spell invasion in the near term. The US has led an effort to deescalate the situation through diplomacy.

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Russia's actions towards Ukraine are strengthening NATO

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on Russian escalation of Ukraine strengthening NATO, omicron and the end of COVID-19, and on the most recent military coup in West Africa — Burkina Faso:

How will Russian escalation of Ukraine strengthen NATO?

Well, NATO over the last 10, 20 years even was increasingly beset by problems. You had the US unilateralism focused more on Asia. You had the old mission of defending against the Russians less relevant. The French wanting strategic autonomy. Macron leaning into that. Now, of course, Merkel's gone, too. But the proximate reality in danger of the Russians invading Ukraine, actually, as much as the Europeans are more dependent on the Russians for their economy and their gas, they're also more concerned about Russia in terms of national security. That has driven a lot of coordination, including announcements of a lot more troops and material from being sent by NATO states to Ukraine and also to defend NATO borders, like in the Baltic states as well as Bulgaria and Romania. I would argue that what Putin's been doing so far has had no impact greater than bolstering NATO, and it's one of the reasons why I'm skeptical that a full-on invasion is something that Putin has in the cards because that would frankly do more than anything else out there to make NATO, focused on Russia, a serious and going concern.

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Russia cares more about Ukraine than the US does

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and kicking off the week with more concerns about rising tensions between the United States, NATO, and Russia over Ukraine.

We saw from the Biden press conference last week, which feels already like a month ago, that he believes the Russians are "going in." That doesn't mean full invasion and overthrow of the Ukrainian government, which would impose massive costs on the Russians. But some form of direct Russian escalation that the United States would respond sharply to and wants to convince its NATO allies that they need to as well.

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Russia-Ukraine: Don’t expect full-on invasion, but Putin isn’t bluffing

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Happy Tuesday after the long weekend for those of us that had a long weekend. I thought I would kick us off with the first major foreign policy crisis of the Biden administration. And that is of course, Russia-Ukraine. Afghanistan, of course, was a debacle, but not exactly a global crisis. This of course has the potential to really change the way we think about European security and about US relations with the other major nuclear power in the world. So, I would say that the level of concern is even higher and there are a lot of things we can say.
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No progress after US/NATO-Russia talks, Boris Johnson in trouble

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Kiev, Ukraine

First question, how is the crisis in this part of Europe developing?

Not good. There's been a week of intense diplomacy with talks in Geneva, and Brussels, and Vienna that produced virtually nothing. The Russian, sort of key demands are outrageously unrealistic. They know that is the case. The US is trying to engage them on somewhat different issues. We'll see if there's any prospect there, but it doesn't look too good. I think the likelihood is that we gradually will move into the phase of what the Russians call military technical measures, whatever that is.

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What We’re Watching: Russia vs US/NATO, Twitter back in Nigeria, Syrian war crimes verdict

US/NATO-Russia talks. Did this week’s flurry of high-level diplomacy in Europe make any significant progress to stop war in Ukraine? Depends on who you ask. The Russians say the talks were unsuccessful, insomuch as Washington has not agreed to the Kremlin’s demands for NATO to not further expand into former Soviet territory. What’s more, Moscow is now threatening to send Russian troops to Cuba and Venezuela — two of its allies in Washington’s own geographical sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere — if the Americans don’t cave. The US and NATO admit “significant differences” remain between both sides, but want to keep talking. Meanwhile, Poland has warned that the risk of war in Europe is the highest it’s been since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

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After Kazakhstan, how will Russia escalate in Ukraine?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hey everybody, Ian Bremmer here and kicking off the week with some excitement in Kazakhstan and the beginning of the most important bilateral negotiations the US is going to have in some time with the Russians.

First I'll start off on Kazakhstan. It was a surprise to everyone, certainly the Kremlin to find out that suddenly what had started as worker demonstrations that got violent very fast, because fuel prices went up significantly with the Kazakh government, suddenly became nationwide and very violent. And the special forces, the interior forces were basically standing aside. Looks like this... Yes, there's a lot of anger with corruption. There's a lot of anger with a state that's unresponsive to the economic needs of its people. But there was also major elite infighting and Nazarbayev, the former president, the still leader of the Kazakh people, got the short end of the stick. Tried to make a move against Tokayev, failed. His head of intelligence has been removed and arrested. Dozens of Nazarbayev connected oligarchs have fled the country.

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