Is Europe An Optimal Political Area?

Is Europe An Optimal Political Area? Brookings Institution. Alberto Alesina, Guido Tabellini, and Francesco Trebbi. March 23, 2017

In “Is Europe an optimal political area?” Harvard University’s Alberto Alesina, Bocconi University’s Guido Tabellini and University of British Columbia’s Francesco Trebbi examine 15 EU countries and Norway from 1980-2009 to determine if the so-called European political project was “too ambitious.”
The authors examine cultural differences among European citizens along fundamental dimensions such as trust, obedience, and religiosity, finding that European cultural differences are widening in spite of an increasingly more economically integrated Europe from the 1980-2009. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 58 pages, 1.49 MB].

How To End The Practice of Anonymously Held Corporations, One Year Post-Panama Papers

How To End The Practice of Anonymously Held Corporations, One Year Post-Panama Papers. Brookings Institution. Aaron Klein. March 27, 2017

One of the core tenets of America’s terrorism finance and anti-money laundering (AML) strategies is that financial institutions are under an affirmative requirement to ‘know your customers’—or KYC. The centrality can be seen in the ubiquity of the KYC acronym, often appearing alongside AML as a merged six-letter short hand.
Despite the importance of the tenet, however, corporations are still legally able to set-up anonymous shell entities that are entitled to open bank accounts and not required to provide information regarding the company’s beneficial owners—a shady practice that received international attention almost one year ago with the publication of the now-infamous Panama Papers. How can banks be expected to know your customer, when the customer is entitled to anonymity? What are the implications of anonymous ownership and of revising this practice? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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NATO and Russia in the Black Sea: A New Confrontation?

NATO and Russia in the Black Sea: A New Confrontation? Center for Strategic & International Studies. Boris Toucas. March 6, 2017

With the recent completion of the NATO Sea Shield exercise and NATO defense ministers’ approval of an enhanced force presence in the Black Sea, as Russian aircraft fly close to U.S. vessels operating there, this commentary focuses on the strategic implications of NATO’s military presence in the Black Sea. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Reducing Tensions Between Russia and NATO

Reducing Tensions Between Russia and NATO. Council on Foreign Relations. Kimberly Marten. March 2017.

“[Vladimir] Putin’s aggression makes the possibility of a war in Europe between nuclear-armed adversaries frighteningly real,” writes Kimberly Marten in a new Council Special Report on tensions between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). She outlines how U.S. policymakers can deter Russian aggression with robust support for NATO, while reassuring Russia of NATO’s defensive intentions through clear words and actions based in international law.

Marten, a professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University, and director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia’s Harriman Institute, lays out several scenarios that could lead to a dangerous confrontation, ranging from an inadvertent encounter between NATO and Russian military aircraft or ships to an intentional Russian land grab in Europe. The report, produced by the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, offers a plan for how the Donald J. Trump administration could work with Congress and NATO allies to lessen the chances of crisis escalation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 67 pages, 2.04 MB].

Aligning Partnerships for Security: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Security and Economic Cooperation

Aligning Partnerships for Security: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Security and Economic Cooperation. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Shannon N. Green, Julie N. Snyder. February 23, 2017

Human rights are often compromised and relegated to a lower status than security or economic interests. Furthermore, a lack of collaboration and communication between U.S. government agencies, the private sector, and civil society prevents a more coherent and effective approach to human rights. This report examines concrete ways in which the U.S. government, particularly the military, private sector, and civil society, can work individually and in concert to reduce human rights violations committed by partner security forces. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 2.80 MB].

The Futile Goal of “Winning” Wars

The Futile Goal of “Winning” Wars. YaleGlobal. Louis René Beres. March 2, 2017

Wars and the technology for fighting them have evolved rapidly in recent decades. “We never win, and we don’t fight to win,” lamented US president Donald Trump shortly before announcing plans to increase US military spending. “We’ve either got to win, or don’t fight it at all.” However, Louis René Beres, author and professor emeritus of international law, describes that assessment as “dangerously simplistic” and suggests that “traditional criteria of winning and losing in war have generally become outdated and counterproductive.” Societies have much to lose with any attack, regardless of whether they win or lose, and “the overriding point of US military involvements must be to blunt or prevent infliction of substantial military harms upon the population, not to flaunt any viscerally satisfying exclamations of machismo.” The United States already spends more on defense than any other nation, almost three times as much as China, the next biggest spender, and strategic calculations are complex and endless. “Going alone is no longer an option,” and “nothing is more practical than a coherent strategic doctrine, nuanced and well thought out.” Beres concludes, “Winning modern wars is an illusory goal.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Strategic Insights: Is the European Union Really That Important to U.S. Security Interests?

Strategic Insights: Is the European Union Really That Important to U.S. Security Interests? Strategic Studies Institute. Dr. John R. Deni. March 9, 2017

Questioning long-held assumptions and challenging existing paradigms in U.S. security policy can be a useful way to ensure that American leaders are not pursuing strategies that do not actually support and promote U.S. interests. However, on the question of whether the European Union’s (EU) existence is in U.S. interests, the evidence is consistently clear. It most definitely is, and undermining it—for example, by promoting Brexit or suggesting other countries would or should follow the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the EU—risks the further unraveling of the international order that is central to American prosperity and security. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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