The Obama Security Strategy and Beyond – Implications for Germany and Europe
Barack Obama’s final year in office is one with the world in upheaval. It is also the year that will shape the security strategy for the next U.S. president. This commentary paper examines Obama’s security strategy, consisting of a Doctrine of “Strategic Patience” and realistic pragmatism. The core element is in its reliance on diplomatic partnerships or “Partners in Leadership”. The Obama strategy is defined by his management of the Ukraine crisis, the Syrian Civil War as well as in fighting terrorism of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Finally, the paper gives a first look at the legacy of Obama’s security strategy and addresses its implications for Europe and Germany.
A New War on Terror? The Challenge of the ‚Islamic State‘
The challenge to international peace and security posed by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ has dominated international headlines for months. Yet, while thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Iraq and Syria, the international community is still struggling to formulate – and implement – a credible response. Neither the desperate resistance of Kurdish militias nor the air strikes of the international coalition have thus far been able to put an end to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Against this background, the Center for International Security and Governance has brought together a distinguished group of experts to assess the situation and evaluate the options available to the international community for this edition of the ‘Commentary’.
Strategic Opportunity or Sellout of the Public Interest – The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
After nearly two decades of attempts to negotiate a Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. and the European Union are finally moving together on a major project – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Now that an agreement finally seems to be within reach, however, many of the countries involved in the negotiations are experiencing a rise in public opposition against an alleged weakening of consumer protection standards and the excessive influence of industry on and insufficient transparency of the negotiations. Proponents of the agreement, on the other hand, point to additional jobs and growth that would be generated by the demise of the remaining barriers to transatlantic trade. The one thing on which both sides agree, however, is that TTIP will define transatlantic relations – and major aspects of the global economy for years to come. Arguably, it will be the West’s last best chance to exercise such commanding influence over the global economy.
Russia in Ukraine – End of the Peaceful Era in Central Europe?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine poses a fundamental challenge to the post-Cold War order, which has kept Europe relatively stable and at peace for the past twenty-five years. With his policy of aggressive nationalism and hegemonic aspirations, President Putin openly challenges the principles of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy, on which this order was built. His worldview and, indeed, that of many others in the Russian elite, is premised on a perceived need to restore Russia to its former position of influence and greatness in the ’near abroad‘ and – through that – in the world. One year after the unrest in Ukraine commenced the question of how to respond to these ambitions still remains unanswered by the West.