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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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Snake Island (1856 painting)

Carlo Bossoli/CC license

Why the battle over Ukraine’s Snake Island matters for the world

One of the most important battles raging in the Russia-Ukraine war is over Snake Island, a tiny, craggy, uninhabited speck of land in the Black Sea, off the southwestern coast of Ukraine.

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Putin attends a meeting with Senegal's President and African Union chair Macky Sall in Sochi.

REUTERS

Are the West’s efforts to isolate Russia doomed?

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe have launched a concerted campaign to punish Russia economically and isolate it politically. The West wants to send a strong message to other powers that might be tempted to violate the so-called rules-based international order. But many developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are reluctant to go along, blunting the effectiveness of this campaign. We spoke to Eurasia Group expert Christopher Garman to better understand the reasons for their skepticism, and what the consequences are likely to be.

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S3 Episode 6: Economic weapons & fallout of the new Cold War

Listen: In 1985, after four decades of standoff between the world's biggest superpowers, US President Ronald Reagan had a private conversation with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan asked him, "What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?"

"No doubt about it," Gorbachev responded.

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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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