Donald Trump, at the beginning of his presidency, decided to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation free trade agreement signed in 2016. By this act, the U.S. has lost a very important economic and geopolitical tool in the Asia-Pacific region. Although there are chances that the remaining 11 countries will ratify the agreement without the U.S., it is much less significant and most probably will not be a template for future trade agreements as planned. As a result, the leadership of regional integration may fall to China, which perceived TPP as part of a U.S. containment strategy. At the same time, the EU can benefit from the disarray by pursuing its own trade agenda in the Asia-Pacific region.
Turkey’s presidential system referendum constituted another step in Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s consolidation of power. The indications are that it will open the next phase of the Turkish state’s remodelling. Although after a long and polarising campaign Turkish authorities may intend to decrease tensions both at home and abroad—especially in Turkey’s relations with its Western allies—the process could have adverse effects. Thus, the EU Member States may need a new strategy towards Turkey. While it ought to focus on common European-Turkish interests, it also should be aimed at working out a model of relations that would tie Turkey closer to the EU.
Two opposite trends in force posture in Europe became evident in the last decade. Out of the six biggest military spenders among the OSCE participating States, four—France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom—have been on a downward trend in regard to their force posture: reducing the number of personnel, downscaling high-end capabilities and decreasing force readiness; the same is true for the U.S. military presence in Europe. The outlier was Russia. While the Russian armed forces were shrinking and disposing of large quantities of legacy equipment, the military capabilities required for high-intensity conventional operations were revamped, force readiness improved, and scenarios involving a large-scale conflict in the OSCE area practiced.
Jacek Durkalec, Anna Maria Dyner, Artur Kacprzyk, Wojciech Lorenz, Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski, Marcin Terlikowski (ed.)