Panel discussions

The future of NATO: Between integration and enlargement

 

This year NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary. In the last thirty years the alliance has been forced to fundamentally re-align at least on two occasions – first, following the end of the Cold War and as a response to the emergence of de-centralised non-state threats, and then again in recent years following the resurfacing of old geopolitical tensions, specifically in Eastern Europe. Two processes were inherent to both of these changes: further integration of existing member state capabilities and the eastward expansion of the alliance. While the former undoubtedly helped strengthen the alliance and stabilise the wider European region, the latter’s legacy is more contentious.

The Russian backlash provoked by NATO’s attempts to expand into Georgia and later into the Ukraine severely destabilised the Eastern European region. In turn, this led to renewed geopolitical tensions spanning from the Baltics to the Middle East. In this context, the question arises whether continued attempts to include Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and the Ukraine, all of which are beset by some sort of internal instability, as its member states will indeed strengthen the alliance, or will it in rather detract from its ability to pursue strength through further integration. Conversely, if both enlargement and integration remain indispensable, can these two processes be made compatible instead of mutually exclusive?

Speakers: TBA

Date & time: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 / 10:00 (TBC)

Duration: 90 minutes

Structure: Moderated debate (60 minutes) + Q&A (30 minutes)

Speakers: 2–4 Panellists + 1 Moderator

Language: English

In partnership with:


 

Global trade: The end of an era?

This year NATO is celebrating its 70thanniversary. In the last thirty years the alliance has been forced to fundamentally re-align at least on two occasions – first, following the end of the Cold War and as a response to the emergence of de-centralised non-state threats, and then again in recent years following the resurfacing of old geopolitical tensions, specifically in Eastern Europe. Two processes were inherent to both of these changes: further integration of existing member state capabilities and the eastward expansion of the alliance. While the former undoubtedly helped strengthen the alliance and stabilise the wider European region, the latter’s legacy is more contentious. 

The Russian backlash provoked by NATO’s attempts to expand into Georgia and later into the Ukraine severely destabilised the Eastern European region. In turn, this led to renewed geopolitical tensions spanning from the Baltics to the Middle East. In this context, the question arises whether continued attempts to include Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and the Ukraine, all of which are beset by some sort of internal instability, as its member states will indeed strengthen the alliance, or will it in rather detract from its ability to pursue strength through further integration. Conversely, if both enlargement and integration remain indispensable, can these two processes be made compatible instead of mutually exclusive?

Speakers: TBA

Date & time: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 / 11:45 (TBC)

Duration: 90 minutes

Structure: Moderated debate (60 minutes) + Q&A (30 minutes)

Speakers: 2–4 Panellists + 1 Moderator

Language: English


 

The Iran deal: Beyond salvageable?

The dispute over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the ‘Iran deal’ has split European countries and United States. US Presidents’ decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has led to serious transatlantic tensions. The disagreement and withdrawal come when bilateral issues between the two traditional allies have been compromised by many discords, such as trade tariffs, ecological policies, US Presidents complaints about Europe’s low defense spending and others. But the disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal is worrying because not only it damages already detached transatlantic relationship but also due to the underlying political issue on dealing with the revolutionary regime in Tehran. Iran’s nuclear ambitions, aggression in the region and support for terrorism call for strong transatlantic unity, instead, the West is divided.

On top of the political and security consequences, one of the biggest effects of the withdrawal will be economic. Multinational companies with important US operations cannot be forced against their own business interests to remain in Iran. Surely there are already some European companies that are starting to withdraw investments from Iran for fear of US reprisals. Iran stands to lose substantial European investment regardless, putting into question whether the Europeans can save the deal, which was premised on Iran’s getting economic benefit from accepting restrictions on its nuclear program. Finally, the biggest consequences of the withdrawal are more revealing of the current nature of trans-Atlantic relations than Europe’s ability to get its companies to invest in Iran. US tariffs will gravely damage the entire European economy, which is now slowing amid global debt levels exceeding those of 2008. The aftermath will be strongly felt by the German economy, which is heavily reliant on exports to the United States, its largest trading partner.

To summarize, it seems that the fate of the Iran deal is bigger than Iran - it stands to fundamentally shift how EU foreign policy makers view the trans-Atlantic alliance. It will also impact on the future of the Middle East, where Iran plays a pivotal role and where economic progress could also help to stabilize the region.

Speakers: TBA

Date & time: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 / 14:30 (TBC)

Duration: 90 minutes

Structure: Moderated debate (60 minutes) + Q&A (30 minutes)

Speakers: 2–4 Panellists + 1 Moderator

Language: English

In partnership with:


Of traditions and trends: Diplomatic styles in transatlantic relations

 

From an outsider’s perspective, diplomatic practice seems to be defined by a monolithic air of formality that reaches across nations. It is this equalising characteristic, perhaps best exemplified in the notion of a standardised protocol, that allows state representatives from various corners of the world to engage with one another in a respectful and dignified manner in the first place. Yet this does not mean that diplomatic practice of individual states is entirely devoid of cultural and historical specificities that make up their respective national characters. Some more spirited, others reserved; some eager to strike a deal, others preferring a more gradual pace; the sights of some trained mostly on the future, others solemnly mindful of the past – different states have been documented to possess different diplomatic styles.

In recent years the cultural dimension has been supplemented, and to some extent amplified, by two other factors. First, technological advancements have drastically transformed the communication landscape, creating entirely new global audiences. This made governments more accountable while also giving them an opportunity to engage with people that were previously out of reach. As a result, the range of issues considered to fall within the diplomatic purview expanded and diplomatic engagement became more direct, at times even seemingly spontaneous.

The second factor emerged only recently. Riding on the wave of domestic tensions and enabled by the aforementioned advancements in communication technology, populist political movements have taken many Western states by storm. At home their incendiary rhetoric is stirring up a mixture of excitement and unease, which alone can ripple across the international stage. However, it is this same daring and at times brash approach that seems to also be trickling into the proverbially reserved and cautious practice of diplomacy, in turn causing tensions even among partners and allies with traditionally strong ties of mutual commitment. While some were quick to dismiss this change as superficial, others warn that unconventional practices of this kind could profoundly change how nations engage with one another.

Speakers: TBA

Date & time: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 / 16:15 (TBC)

Duration: 90 minutes

Structure: Moderated debate (60 minutes) + Q&A (30 minutes)

Speakers: 2–4 Panellists + 1 Moderator

Language: English