This week’s hot links include EU strategy, refugee policy, counter-terror strategy and analysis of the geo-politics of Turkey’s failed coup.

27 Jul

Javier Solana, formerly EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain, currently President of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe writes for Project Syndicate on The EU’s Bold New Strategy. Opening by addressing the current context of the EU, Solana implores that issues facing the EU will not resolve by the passage of time and cites ‘one of the most urgent is Europe’s security: each day that passes without taking joint action is an opportunity lost and leads to greater risk.’ ‘Addressing such issues effectively, rather than falling into the trap of the immediate, requires adhering to accepted strategies. By identifying challenges, establishing long-term objectives, and designing collective action to achieve those objectives, strategies provide a framework for initiatives to address problems in a more far-sighted, coherent way.’ He endorses Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and her team who ‘have designed and presented a Global Strategy for European security that has clearly defined aims befitting conditions both within and beyond our borders.’

George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC and founder of the Open Society Foundations, writing for Foreign Policy, discusses how this is Europe’s last chance to fix its refugee policy. Soros states that the ‘EU’s piecemeal solutions are coming apart. Only a surge of financial and political creativity can avoid a catastrophe.’ Soros analyses the current climate in relation to the European Union, ‘EU member states have become increasingly unwilling to cooperate with one another. They pursue self-serving, discordant migration policies, often to the detriment of their neighbors. In these circumstances, a comprehensive and coherent European asylum policy is not possible in the short term, despite the efforts of the EU’s governing body, the European Commission. The trust needed for cooperation is lacking. It will have to be rebuilt through a long and laborious process.’ Soros offers what a comprehensive approach stating that ‘It would establish a guaranteed target of at least 300,000 refugees each year who would be securely resettled directly to Europe from the Middle East — a total that hopefully would be matched by countries elsewhere in the world.’

In the wake of the Chilcot Report, Sara Ogilvie, Policy Officer at Liberty, discusses the dangers of counter-productive counter-terror strategy. ‘In February 2003 the Joint Intelligence Committee warned that Al Qaeda activity would increase with any military action against Iraq, and that Iraqi regime collapse could see chemical and biological weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. It added that war could lead to increased anti-Western sentiment, including among communities in the West. Baroness Manningham-Buller, former Director General of MI5, told the Inquiry that action in Iraq had “radicalised” a number of individuals, and that hard evidence could be produced to show that the invasion of Iraq increased the terrorist threat to the UK. The finding that the Iraq invasion increased the risk to British life is a damning indictment of the ‘War on Terror’.’ Ogilvie believes that the above responses ‘warns all policy-makers of the vital importance of listening to the cold, hard evidence – rather than bowing to populism, rhetoric or ideology.’ Ogilvie then goes forward to offer immediate and long term policies to shape productive counter-terror strategy.

Kemal Kirişci, TÜSİAD senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe‘s Turkey Project at Brookings Institution writes on the geopolitics of Turkey’s failed coup. Kirişci describes a swinging pendulum. ‘Turkey—literally the bridge between Europe and Asia—sometimes seems of two minds on governance issues. On the one hand, its leaders express a commitment to a Western form of governance based on the rule of law, liberal democracy, transparency, and accountability. On the other—and more in the vein of governance styles in Russia, Iran, and China—they sometimes reject what they see as outside interference, restrict civil liberties and government transparency, and promote a heavy state role in the economy.’ Kirişci believes ‘Among its peers in the Muslim world, Turkey had once made the most progress in terms of democratic values and economic growth. Many would still like to believe that that Turkey still exists, in spite of recent setbacks. But for Turkey to win back those gains, its leadership will have to proceed very cautiously and with reason.’  

Writing for the World Economic Forum, Kofi Annan, Chair at Kofi Annan Foundation, writes on the huge progress reducing poverty and appeals to not allow climate change to reverse those gains as climate change will magnify and multiply existing threats. Annan begins by explicitly detailing ‘the overall threat’ – ‘that climate change poses to human health is huge. The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change was unequivocal: “Climate change has the potential to undermine the last 50 years of progress in public health and development.”’ He believes that the effects will be ‘felt hardest in low and middle-income countries in Africa and South Asia.’ Annan praises ‘The Paris Agreement, which has focused unprecedented government attention on climate change, underlines the climate threat to health.’ ‘Now we need a comprehensive programme of action that places people and their health at the centre of the global response to climate change.’

Comments are closed.