1:26 PM, Apr 15, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The crisis in Ukraine has not reached the dreaded point where it turns into a shooting war. And likely it will not. So we hear no urgent analysis of things like objectives, interior lines, unity of command, logistical staying power, the durability of alliances, and the other matters that have been the concern of European strategists since the days of Napoleon. Germany is not going to invade Russia and visa versa.
But there are analogous strategic considerations and on most of them, Russia has the advantage. It faces a weak alliance – NATO – that counts on the member with the least at stake in this crisis for its existence and effectiveness. The United States picks up 75 percent of NATO’s tab and depends on Russia for … nothing.
The alliance is not only structurally weak, it also suffers from its lack of single, centralized command. Germany’s Merkel may be NATO's strongest leader but she will be as busy keeping her allies in line as she is in dealing with the opposition. Vladimir Putin is not similarly handicapped.
Then, there is the question of will and stamina. If it is to be a war of economic attrition, then, as Gerald F. Seib points out in the Wall Street Journal, economic sanctions cut both ways and:
Europeans are much less enthusiastic about economic sanctions than are Americans, because they have more to lose in the process. Their economy is more tied to Russia’s, so their companies have more to lose if economic ties are cut.
Some 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russia. If NATO clamps down on the flow of money through banks, Russian can retaliate by cutting the flow of gas, by pipeline, to nations where it gets cold. Ukrainian independence and sovereignty are nice in the abstract but don’t keep citizens warm in the winter.
One suspects that Mr. Putin, meanwhile, is prepared to have his people suffer the pain of stock market losses and higher interest rates if that is what it takes.
11:01 AM, Apr 13, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, providing Russia with what it considers a case for intervention. As James Marson and Lukas I. Alpert of the Wall Street Journal report this morning:
12:02 PM, Apr 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO.
3:46 PM, Mar 25, 2014 • By ELLEN BORK
General Secretary Xi Jinping of China is in Lyon, France today, the second stop on a European swing, his first trip there since taking over the leadership of China’s Communist party. He has already visited Amsterdam, where he met with President Obama. After France, including a visit to Paris, Mr. Xi will continue on to Germany and Belgium.
Iranian success in European courtrooms. Feb 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 23 • By ANDREW SOUTHAM and TED R. BROMUND
In a recently leaked private phone call, an EU foreign policy official, Helga Schmid, grumbled to the EU’s ambassador to Kiev that it was “very annoying” that the United States had criticized the EU for being “too soft” to impose sanctions on Ukraine. Criticism may be annoying, but EU softness is a fact of life, and the transatlantic trouble over sanctions goes beyond Ukraine. For the past year, British and European Union sanctions against Iran have faced a string of legal challenges and lost nearly every round.
1:17 PM, Feb 11, 2014 • By JULIANNE DUDLEY
At today’s press conference with French president François Hollande, a member of the French press asked President Obama whether France had replaced Great Britain as America’s closest ally.
President Obama chuckled and responded, “I have two daughters and they are both gorgeous and wonderful. I would never choose between them. And that's how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways."
Some gloomy reflections on the presidential conscience. Jan 13, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 17 • By EDWARD ALEXANDER
In his ponderously titled book Contributions to the Correction of the Public’s Judgement Concerning the French Revolution (1793), the German philosopher and political leader Johann Gottlieb Fichte took time out from his defense of the Reign of Terror to compose what has been called by Daniel Johnson “the most notorious footnote in history.” It warned his German countrymen of the Jewish menace in their midst. The Jews, he told them, constituted “a state within a state. . . .
Obama annoys Europe.Dec 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 16 • By TOD LINDBERG
Apparently relations between the United States and Europe are actually maturing. How else to account for the singular absence of transatlantic crisis-mongering over the many, many ways in which the Obama administration has annoyed our allies in Europe?
Euthanasia activists are on a roll. Dec 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 16 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
Advocates of assisted suicide tell two—no, three—lies that act as the honey to help the hemlock go down. The first is that assisted suicide/euthanasia is a strictly medical act. Second, they falsely assure us that medicalized killing is only for the terminally ill. Finally, they promise that strict guidelines will be rigorously enforced to protect against abuse.
Victorino Matus, Sabbath shopper
Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By VICTORINO MATUS
The Good Book tells us “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work He had done in creation.” What biblical scholars cannot tell us, however, is precisely how God spent his Sunday. Did He go for a run? Read the paper while sipping on a venti macchiato at Starbucks?
The NSA in Europe. Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
It is often remarked that espionage is the second-oldest profession. Written records from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran suggest that spying and civilization sprang up together. In antiquity, spies could be the hidden bureaucrats of tyranny or good governance (a ruler needed to know whether a satrap was cheating the crown and its subjects) or, less often, camouflaged itinerants writing home about the machinations of rival city-states, empires, or barbarian tribes. In modern times, espionage went Orwellian, becoming primarily a tool to buttress police states.
4:44 PM, Oct 17, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The captain of the ms Noordam has announced that due to the choppy seas we won't be able to put in, as planned, at Santorini—but that rather than having another day at sea, we're boldly heading off to dock at Iraklion, Crete.
9:04 AM, Oct 15, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On board the ms Noordam, at port in Venice
"Now, what news on the Rialto?" you ask those of us enjoying THE WEEKLY STANDARD Mediterranean cruise (echoing Solanio in Act 3, Scene 1, of the Merchant of Venice).
Oct 21, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 07 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last week in these pages, Ike Brannon noted that Europe is outstripping the United States in reducing the role of government in the economy (“Europe Leads the Way?” October 14). Now it seems that our European brethren are also taking a more sensible view of the regulatory state. The European parliament surprised observers by refusing to regulate electronic cigarettes as medical devices, which would have subjected them to onerous regulations.