Emergency Powers: William C. Banks Speaks on Brennan Center Roundtable

The Brennan Center for Justice convened an Emergency Powers Roundtable on July 21, 2017, to look at several aspects of the ability of the Executive Branch to act unilaterally in times of national security emergency, including during war, natural disasters, pandemic, riot, etc.

Panels examined the constitutional history of emergency powers, when and how emergency powers can be deployed in the US, the “dangers” inherent in their use, and what reviews are available to avoid over-reach by the Executive Branch.

Speaking in the first session—“Identifying the Danger Zones”—INSCT Director William C. Banks opened discussion on “Domestic Military Deployment.”

Emergency Powers Roundtable

July 21, 2017 | 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Washington, DC

Setting the Scene

To ensure that all participants are starting from a common point of reference, we will begin with a 30,000 ft overview of emergency powers, including the history of their use in the US, the extent to which the Constitution grants or limits emergency authorities, the statutory and administrative framework for emergency powers, and some key lessons from other countries.

  • History of Emergency Powers in the US (Chris Edelson)
  • Emergency Powers and the Constitution (Marty Lederman/Steve Vladeck)
  • The Statutory and Regulatory Framework(Liza Goitein)
  • A Comparative Perspective (Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld/Dr. Kim Lane Scheppele)

Identifying the Danger Zones I

In the two middle sessions of the day, we will examine dffirent areas of government operations, and for each area we will ask the following questions: (i) What events could trigger emergency responses in this area, and how likely are those events? (ii) What emergency authorities are available in this area, and where are the areas of concern (if any) in terms of potential misuse or overreach? (iii) What new authorities might the administration seek to acquire or assert in the wake of the emergency?

  • Securing the Homeland After a Major Attack (Discussion opener: Jonathan Meyer)
  • Emergency Immigration Measures (Discussion openers: Alvaro Bedoya, David Shahoulian)
  • Crime, Riots, and Protests (Discussion opener: Chris Fonzone)
  • Domestic Military Deployment (Discussion opener: William Banks)

Identifying the Danger Zones II

  • Dealing with “Dangerous” Speech (Discussion opener: Mary-Rose Papandrea)
  • Emergency Cyber and Communications Measures (Discussion opener: Ari Schwartz)
  • The Role of Surveillance Authorities (Discussion openers: LizaGoitein, Matt Olsen)
  • A New AUMF? (Discussion openers: Oona Hathaway, Matt Waxman)
  • Financial Sanctions (Discussion opener: Ori Lev)
  • Responding to Public health Crises (Discussion opener: Kate Heinzelman)

Heading Off Overreach

Having identified potential scenarios in which real or perceived emergencies could trigger executive overreach, we will end the day by seeking to identify the practical and legal levers that can be deployed, either inside or outside government to try to head off that result. These levers could include but almost certainly aren’t limited to judicial review; congressional oversight; intervention by inspectors general, general counsels, or other internal checks (the “deep state”); state and local governments; influential public figures; and grassroots mobilization. What is most likely to be effective? What can be done ahead of time either to prevent misuse of emergency powers or to establish the conditions or an effective response?

A Step Backward: The Closure of the Office of Global Criminal Justice

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Jurist | July 21, 2017) With the raspy barking of a US President in the background trying to “Make America Great Again,” the world shrinks away in surprise and confusion. As the light begins to wane on that bright and shining experiment on the hill called “America”, the international community faces the yawning maw of a retrenching America, once again looking inward, shrinking away from a leadership position it has held since World War II. Unprepared for any of this, the West is losing its way uncertain and weakened. They look for any indication of someone to lead.

“The United States has always been at the forefront in creating justice mechanisms.”

It will not be America. From the environment to trade, the US has chosen to step away from not only legal but also moral obligations. This past week another indication of further retrenchment was manifest when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that he was closing the Office of Global Criminal Justice (OGCJ), the office where the US asserts leadership and support for international justice and holding accountable those who feed upon their own citizens. Like much else this new US administration has done, this is wrong!

The United States has been the cornerstone for the creation of modern international criminal law. It played the leading role at the International Criminal Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945, the subsequent Council 10 trials, up to and including the establishment of the tribunals and courts for Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, as well as the International Criminal Court. BUT FOR the support of the United States, most of these justice mechanisms would not have come into existence or would have had existential and overwhelming challenges at the beginning. The United States has always been at the forefront in creating justice mechanisms.

Past administrations have had policy differences with the world community on the administration of international justice, but, at the end of the day, they did not waiver in the perception that the rule of law is important for a more stable world. This administration, a newly forming kleptocracy, is facing the rule of law with almost a blatant disregard, certainly a jaw-dropping disrespect not seen in the history of the republic. Ruefully, commentators have said that in Washington “nothing matters” …

To read the full article, click here.

 

“Journalism & International Justice”: David M. Crane Lectures at Chautauqua

(The Chautauquan Daily | July 17, 2017) In 2013, Charles Taylor, the former president of the West African nation Liberia, was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity for subjecting the people of Sierra Leone to murder, mutilation, rape and sexual slavery. Estimates vary, but it is believed that more than 50,000 people were killed, several hundred thousand were maimed or wounded and 2.5 million were displaced in a nation of 6 million during 11 years of conflict.

“If they call me tomorrow, I could prosecute Assad.”

Taylor is the only sitting head of state ever to be convicted on such charges, according to David M. Crane, the chief prosecutor in the case. He was appointed by Kofi Annan, then-secretary general of the United Nations, at the recommendation of the Security Council, to create and manage the independent Special Court for Sierra Leone. Besides Taylor, the leaders of three other factions in the war were also convicted of war crimes, including the widespread forced conscription of children as fighters.

Why was Crane chosen?

“That’s the $25 question,” he said. “(Former U.S. secretary of state) Colin Powell told me that I had a reputation for creating new organizations and driving them forward toward success.”

At 3:30 p.m. [on July 18, 2017] in the Hall of Philosophy, Crane will discuss his work and address the theme “Journalism & International Justice” as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series. He will be joined by the television and newspaper journalist Brian Rooney, the winner of four Emmy and two Edward R. Murrow awards. A renowned expert in international criminal law and a professor of that subject at Syracuse University’s law school, Crane said he chose the topic because of “the role of the press in bringing atrocities to light. Without the press, politicians would just cover them up.”

While Taylor is the only head of state to be tried and convicted by an international tribunal, Crane — along many other human rights advocates and legal scholars — hopes he will not be the last. Crane created and has headed the Syrian Accountability Project at Syracuse University since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. The group has built a huge database and index matrix cataloguing war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad and the leaders of 13 fighting factions. The group, which has verified 8,000 pages of individual war-crime incidents, has been praised by the U.S. Congress and the United Nations for its work, and could be called upon to assist in any potential tribunal.

“If they call me tomorrow, I could prosecute Assad,” said Crane, who served in the U.S. military and worked for 30 years on national security issues and policy for the Department of Defense and congressional intelligence committees …

Read the full article here …

International prosecutor David M. Crane to discuss media and war crimes

Tara Helfman Appointed to DOJ Civil Rights Position

INSCT Faculty Member and Associate Professor of Law Tara Helfman has been named Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the US Department of Justice (DOJ).  

Helfman—who is currently serving as a Visiting Scholar at Georgetown Law—will commence work at DOJ headquarters in Washington, DC, this month
 
As a member of the Civil Rights Division, Helfman will defend the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans by upholding the Constitution and enforcing federal civil rights law. This prestigious appointment complements her extensive scholarship in constitutional law.  

“Added Flexibility”: Corri Zoli Addresses Expanded Military Footprint in Iraq & Syria with Al-Monitor

Pentagon wants to build new US facilities in Iraq, Syria

(Al-Monitor | July 13, 2017) The Donald Trump administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new “temporary” facilities in Iraq and Syria as part of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State.

“It looks to me like what they’re trying to do is get a little more maneuverability to create some infrastructure for deepening the fight beyond Raqqa and Syria.”

In a policy statement released Tuesday night, the White House argues that US troops are hamstrung by legal restrictions on their ability to expand US military infrastructure “in both Iraq and Syria.” The administration wants lawmakers to extend existing authorities that only cover the “repair and renovation” of facilities to also encompass “temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection.”

“These facilities, supply points, and assembly areas will enable the pursuit of [IS] into the Euphrates River Valley and help improve the security of Iraq’s borders,” the statement reads. “Current authorities … severely limit the coalition’s maneuverability and its ability to respond quickly to changing operational conditions.”

Tuesday’s Statement of Administration Policy, which the White House uses to present its views on pending legislation, takes the House Armed Services Committee to task for not including the change in its annual defense authorization bill released last month, although it is not clear if lawmakers had received the request from the Pentagon in time. The Senate Armed Services Committee draft, released this week, does, however, include the requested change. The House began floor consideration of the bill Wednesday.

The added flexibility would enable the Defense Department to go on the offensive to root out IS safe havens in Iraq and Syria, according to Corri Zoli, the director of research at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.

“It looks to me like what they’re trying to do is get a little more maneuverability to create some infrastructure for deepening the fight beyond Raqqa and Syria,” Zoli told Al-Monitor. “It’s kind of an attempt to create a lily-pad structure in the Levant to go after [IS] and their entrepreneurial efforts to start miniature caliphates in the region.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Zoli added, “is thinking a couple steps ahead. He wants to win the peace, stabilize the region and militarily pressure Iran. If he can do it with logistics all the better.”

But detractors say the effort could further draw the United States into Syria’s complex civil war, even as Congress continues to resist launching a full-fledged debate over updating the 2001 use of force authorization that remains the main legal justification for US involvement in the region …

To read the whole article, click here.

 

What Did Trump’s FBI Nominee Know of US Torture Post-9/11?

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Hill | July 12, 2017) [On July 12, 2017] Washington’s attention turns to the confirmation hearing of Christopher Wray, nominated by President Trump as FBI Director following the firing of James Comey in that position.

“But perhaps the most disturbing recent official effort to sweep our torturous past under the rug is the Administration’s surrender of most copies of the 6,770-page study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices to the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

In the inevitable focus on the Russia investigation and Comey firing fallout, Senate Judiciary Committee members would be remiss not to use the opportunity to probe the issue of Wray’s previous role as Assistant Attorney General in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department. What are his past and current views on the use of torture in interrogations?

In the years following 9/11, our government unleashed a program of illegal torture and rendition of suspected enemies.

Recent efforts to bury the most comprehensive account to date of the U.S. torture program, coupled with Administration appointments of those who played a key role in it, raise sharp concerns about human rights, government transparency and accountability.

Wray served in  a Justice Department which sought to justify the use of torture by since-repudiated legal gymnastics. Glimpses from highly redacted government documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU indicate that, at the very least, Wray knew about detainee abuse and was involved in discussions about harsh interrogation techniques.

His stance in those conversations remains a mystery, but members of Congress and the American public have a right to a full picture of what happened. Nothing less will prevent a repeat of these mistakes.

Wray is not an outlier among recent appointees who played a role in this dark chapter of American history.

Steven Bradbury, a key enabler of the torture program, was nominated as General Counsel of the Transportation Department. Bradbury has suffered no consequences for his 2007 memo that helped authorize the since-discredited program.

These two nominations follow the February appointment of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director of the CIA; who, according to multiple reports, personally oversaw the use of torture at a black site in Thailand.

But perhaps the most disturbing recent official effort to sweep our torturous past under the rug is the Administration’s surrender of most copies of the 6,770-page study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the report.

This recall was requested by the Chair of that Committee Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). The declassified summary of the report contains a damning assessment of the CIA’s tactics as both ineffective and damaging to America’s reputation and influence.

It raises the distinct possibility that some of these actions violated both international and domestic law …

To read the full article, click here.

 

Remarks on President Donald J. Trump’s Visit to Poland

By Kamil Szubart

The second overseas visit of President Donald J. Trump to Europe began in Warsaw, Poland, on July 5 and 6, 2017. President Trump’s visit to Poland lasted less than 24 hours. However, he held bilateral talks under four eyes with Polish President Andrzej Duda and met with the leaders of 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe taking part in the Three Seas Initiative (TSI) Summit in the Polish capital city.

“President Trump’s visit to Poland was an apparent success of Polish diplomacy.”

The last part of the visit was the public speech delivered by the US President in Krasinski Square, in front of the monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis costing 200,000 lives, mostly innocent civilians.

During the visit, Trump was accompanied by family members (First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner) and officials from his Administration (Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and National Security Advisor Herbert R. McMaster). Unexpectedly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not appear in Poland due to the growth of tensions in the Korean Peninsula; he joined the US delegation at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Military & Economic Issues Surrounding the Visit

The agenda of the visit was consumed with issues related to the US military presence on NATO’s Eastern Flank, emphasized by the Polish authorities, and economic cooperation—especially liquid natural gas (LNG) shipments—between the United States and Poland and other countries from Central and Eastern Europe.

A bilateral meeting with President Duda, which lasted only 25 minutes, focused on the US presence on NATO’s Eastern flank within the framework of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence initiative, according to the 2016 NATO Summit’s decisions. Moreover, Trump and Duda discussed the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its potential consequences for the region, as well as economic aspects of the US-Polish relations.

Ahead of the meeting, the Polish Ministry of Defense signed a memorandum with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) represented by US VADM Joseph W. Rixey, DSCA Director. The US government has agreed to sell Patriot missile defense systems (PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement) to Poland. The memorandum between the both governments opens the road to the second phase of negotiations between the Polish Ministry of Defense and Raytheon. Negotiations should finish with the signing of a Letter of Agreement at the end of 2018. 

During the bilateral talks, the Polish president insisted on strengthening the US military presence in Poland, turning the current rotation presence into the permanent presence of the US Armed Forces on Polish soil. Polish authorities attach vital importance to the US military presence in Poland. Currently, the US leads as a “framework state” one of the four NATO Battalion Battle Groups in Orzysz. Additionally, the Armored Brigade Combat Team formed by the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado, is deployed to Zagan. Eventually, the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) will have been built in Redzikowo in northern Poland.

Although Trump declared nothing new, he assured Poland and other European allies of the United States’ commitment to NATO and Article 5 of Washington Treaty. Moreover, he mentioned again the necessity of increasing military expenditures among European allies. The president underlined that Poland is one of an exclusive group of only five NATO member states (the United States, the UK, Greece, Estonia, and Poland) whose military spending meets the criteria of at least 2% of GDP with at least 20% of the annual military budget invested in modernization.

At the end of the meeting, both presidents touched on the Ukrainian crisis and on migration into the European Union. However, President Trump did not make particular declarations, only urging Russia to cease its destabilizing activity in Ukraine and elsewhere (e.g., in Syria).

The Chaos of the Joint Press Conference

Following the bilateral meeting, a joint press conference devolved into more discussions about President Trump’s campaign against what he terms “fake news” and the failures he sees that were made by President Barack Obama and his Administration. President Trump also unexpectedly called on the West to “defend our civilization.”

However, the press conference soon veered away from matters to do with Poland. Trump spent much of his press conference time responding to questions about the anti-CNN wrestling video footage he broadcast via Twitter and allegations on Russian interferences into the 2016 elections by saying that “nobody knows” who meddled in the elections. Trump went even further into this subject area and asked his counterpart, President Duda, about the situation in Poland and whether he is also a target of “fake news” spread by Polish mass media. The question caught the Polish leader by surprise.

Another off-topic subject that arose at the joint press conference was the latest North Korean test of the intercontinental ballistic missile, marking a significant step forward in its WMD program and an escalation of the nuclear standoff with the United States and the rest of the world.

The TSI Summit and Its Economic Background

The discussions at the Three Seas Initiative (TSI) Summit were focused on economic aspects of the further cooperation between the United States and the 12 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. President Trump said that the region has a particular importance to him, emphasizing the Slovenian roots of the First Lady, and he added that the United States stands with the TSI nations and looks forward to the opportunity to expand an economic partnership.

The energy-related issues referenced long-term LNG shipment contracts and further transit of natural gas to Poland and other countries in the region. Trump assured those present that he would be encouraging US energy companies to establish long-term cooperation with their Polish partners, by building or developing LNG hubs in Poland, Lithuania, and on Krk Island on the Croatian shore.

Trump’s Public Speech to the Polish People

In front of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Monument, President Trump referred to some landmark points in the Polish history and assured that the United States is determined to defend its European allies according to the NATO obligations. Speaking of NATO, Trump indicated that “our defense is not just a commitment of money, but it’s a commitment of will.” These words appeared to be directed at Western Europe—notably Germany and France—and what the United States sees as their insufficient military expenditures, laid out in the last two NATO summits in Wales and Poland.

Trump also made multiple references to generals Kazimierz Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciusko, the Poles who fought for American independence during the American Revolutionary War, and to the 1920 Miracle of the Vistula when the Polish army countered the Bolshevist invasion of Poland and Western Europe.

A Success for Polish Diplomacy

President Trump’s visit to Poland was an apparent success of Polish diplomacy, which took steps to invite and then, alongside its American counterpart, to organize the visit. It will also have an impact of the Polish foreign policy conducted by the current Polish government and by President Duda. First, Poland seems now to have a chance to enhance its bilateral cooperation with the United States in the realms of energy, defense, and transportation. This future cooperation should also be extended to other countries of the TSI, although among them, Poland holds a dominant position due to its political, military, and demographic factors.

Secondly, Poland is one of the real exceptions among NATO member states that fulfills its commitment to spending 2% of GDP on military purposes. This makes Poland a credible partner to the Trump Administration. The decision to sign a bilateral memorandum between the Polish Ministry of Defense and the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency also allows for the opening of negotiations between the Polish authorities and Raytheon on purchasing Patriot missile defense systems, something that won’t be the US arms industry as a whole, which is interested in selling further US weaponry to Poland.

The visit to Warsaw inevitably brought benefits for President Trump. Firstly, it was a clear signal to the American people that a shift in US foreign policy toward European allies can be effective. Secondly, it was apparent in Poland that there are still European governments and societies that are not keen to criticize Trump’s controversial positions or mob orations. On the contrary, Trump was cheered by crowds in a country that, since the end of Soviet domination in the region, has remained one of the most pro-American countries and anti-Russian countries in Europe. The visit to Warsaw, then, was also a signal to Moscow.

Thirdly, Trump’s stated assurances about the US commitment to NATO and its obligations should calm down European allies throughout the Old Continent, while assuring a US commitment to the European security architecture should also quiet allegations about a pro-Russian foreign policy in the Trump Administration. Lastly, steps taken to strengthen the energy cooperation between Eastern and Central Europe and the US is a further blow to Russia, which would like to be the leading gas supplier to the countries of the region.

INSCT Research and Practice Associate Kamil Szubart is a 2017 visiting fellow at INSCT, via the Kosciuszko Foundation. He works as an analyst for the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan, Poland, where he is responsible for German foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Islamic threats in German-native-speaking countries and topics related to NATO, CSDP, OSCE, and the UN. Currently, he is working on a doctoral dissertation examining US-German relations in the field of international security since 9/11.

“Armed Conflict and Compliance in Muslim States” with Corri Zoli Now Online

Although many empirical studies have explored state conflict behavior by a range of factors, relatively few studies have examined the conflict behavior of Muslim-majority states. Even less research systematically examined the role of state compliance with international humanitarian law as a variable in such conflict behavior.

This work builds a new dataset based on an international humanitarian law definition of war, and provides an overview of modern armed conflict behavior and compliance with international law governing armed conflict for Muslim states from 1947-2014.

PARCC Conversations in Conflict Studies 2017.

Great Expectations: Looking Ahead to President Trump’s Visit to Poland

By Kamil Szubart

President Donald J. Trump will visit Poland on July 5 and 6, 2017, ahead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The visit primarily will focus on political and security-related issues, as well as economic cooperation between the United States, Poland, and the other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

From the Three Seas to the Silk Road

During his visit to Eastern Europe, President Trump first will hold bilateral talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda and then meet with political leaders attending Three Seas Initiative (TSI) Summit in Warsaw.

TSI was launched in 2016 thanks to Poland’s inspiration and consists of 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia (the Visegrad Group or V4 Group); Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia (the Baltic States); and Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Austria. The primary purpose of TSI is to enhance multilateral cooperation among the participating countries and to formulate a joint position within the European Union (EU).

The meeting of Trump and the TSI leaders seems like a clear signal by the Trump Administration that it wants these countries to enhance political, military, and economic cooperation among themselves and the United States. The United States seems to be alarmed by the growth of interest in Central and Eastern Europe by China, which has proffered the “16+1” initiative to these countries.

The “16+1” concept is China’s mechanism for bringing together European countries either from the EU or aspiring to join the EU—including countries such as Serbia and Belarus—and strengthening their economic cooperation with China. Beijing is offering these countries a strategic partnership within the framework of the Silk Road Initiative which will allow China and its economy access to overseas consumer markets, especially the EU.

A Frosty Forecast for the G20

President Trump should expect a frosty greeting from Western Europe’s leaders at the G20 Summit in Germany due to his recent announcement of the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, his scolding about military expenditures by NATO countries, and his failure to emphasize the United States’ commitment to NATO’s Article 5 during a meeting of NATO Leaders in Brussels in May 2017.

On the other hand, Trump wants to highlight the importance to his Administration of countries from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as US leadership on NATO’s Eastern Flank, where the United States leads one of the four Battalion Battle Groups, established within the framework of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Poland and the Baltic States at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw.  

Support from Poland and the other countries from the eastern region should, therefore, be a desirous for the United States during robust future talks with Western European allies at NATO.

Furthermore, the Trump Administration looks forward to achieving economic goals regarding the dynamic GDP growth of TSI countries. For instance, Poland’s GDP is expected to grow by approx. 3.5% in 2017, and Warsaw continues its efforts to modernize the Polish Armed Forces, mostly based on equipment purchased from the United States. Raytheon—with its Patriot missile defense system—is currently vying for the highest arms industry contract in the history of the Polish Armed Forces ($10 billion). Additionally, the UH-60 Black Hawk—manufactured by Sikorsky—is being considered as a new main helicopter for the Polish Land Forces. The US arms industry can also look forward to announcing other government defense tenders, such as purchasing attack helicopters to replace the mothballed Soviet-era Mi-24 “Hind” gunship.

Protecting the Eastern Flank by Looking West

For Poland and Polish authorities, the visit of President Trump will build international prestige, and the visit is an undisputable success for long-term efforts taken by Polish diplomacy. It will also confirm US engagement in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence along NATO’s Eastern Flank and the role of Poland as a strong NATO member country that politically and militarily has been supported the United States in every conflict since 9/11.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and political changes in Central and Eastern Europe, Poland, along with other countries in the region, has established treaties with the EU and NATO, as well as a strong US commitment to Europe, as crucial cornerstones of its foreign and security policies. Since the 1999 NATO enlargement, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary have pursued strategic partnerships with the United States, and this trend has mainly been seen in Poland that holds the strongest military, political, economic, and demographic capabilities among all countries in the region.

Poland’s pro-American orientation intensified after the 2015 parliamentary and presidential elections and the victory of the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) and presidential candidate Duda respectively.

Poland, therefore, welcomed the United States’ Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal, especially the amount of $64.6 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget that provides resources in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State, and US presence in Central Eastern Europe through the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

Particular attention is being paid to the ERI, announced by President Barack Obama during his visit in Poland and Estonia in June 2014. It is considered by Poland and other US allies in the region as a guarantee of further US commitment to maintaining its defense capabilities and to defending European allies. Warsaw might also expect an increase of the US military presence in Poland, which could more efficiently deterrence Russia against aggression in the Baltic States.

Strengthening Domestic Policy Through Foreign Policy

A strategic shift of Poland towards NATO and the United States has also been fueled by the long-time weakness of the EU in the field of defense and security capabilities, ever since the Treaty of Lisbon (signed in 2007, in force since 2009), under the name of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).

Poland also counts on efficient cooperation with the United States in the United Nations Security Council. On June 2, 2017, Poland was elected for the sixth time as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, gathering 190 votes out of 192 voting UN member states, with two abstentions.

Poland—along with Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, and Peru—will start its two-year term on Jan. 1, 2018. Sitting on the UN Security Council will allow Poland to play a leading role in the discussion on global security issues and in seeking peaceful solutions to ongoing conflicts worldwide. Moreover, by being a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Poland will have a chance to increase its international prestige, to forcefully articulate the goals linked to Poland’s foreign and security policy, and become more actively engaged in strengthening and shaping global order.

Finally, Poland—along with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia—await President Trump’s support to their resistance to the EU’s 2015 migrant resettlement program that seeks to resettle 160,000 refugees across EU countries, a program that is causing a major rift inside the EU.

The defiance is supported by a majority of citizens and is focused very strongly against immigration, particularly from Islamic countries. The official position of V4 countries is that a quota system to redistribute refugees within the EU will not work because many countries are not those in which refugees would like to stay, preferring to leave for Germany. Moreover, the quota system as a permanent mechanism that would allow the European Commission to distribute refugees according to individual economic indicators would be the breach of national sovereignty, according to V4 Group.

In addition to political and military-related aspects of the bilateral and multilateral relations with the United States, Poland looks forward to tighter cooperation in transport, energy, and the IT sector, which will make the region more competitive and therefore more attractive for American business. A first definite effect of the deepening cooperation between the United States and Poland was the first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment from the United Stated (specifically, Louisiana) that arrived in Poland on June 7, 2017. For Poland, and other countries in the region, LNG is the fruit of a new energy policy that is allowing it to reduce near-total dependence on Russian imports. New Polish infrastructure follows closely behind Lithuania’s move to open a floating LNG terminal.

A Two-Speed Europe? Potential Consequences for Poland and the TSI Nations

President Trump’s visit to Poland will arguably not significantly change the place of Central and Eastern Europe within the priorities of US foreign policy. However, the Trump Administration may use Poland and other countries in the region as a foothold on which to rest its European policy and to accompany it through tough talks with Germany, France, and Italy, the nations seemingly most skeptical of Trump and his vision of transatlantic relations.

President Trump’s support for the TSI might help build its credibility with American business, which has access to both the financial and technological means necessary to implement particular projects. However, tightening of bi- and multilateral relations between the United States and TSI countries might have implications for their position within the EU and might subsequently split them off from the core of the union, especially if they decided to embrace their ties with the United States and continue to resist EU migration policy.

What could evolve is a “two-speed” Europe that would allow a core group of EU countries to press ahead with closer cooperation and integration on finance (e.g., tightening the Eurozone), tax policy, and national security, leaving the TSI countries on the periphery of union.

 INSCT Research and Practice Associate Kamil Szubart is a 2017 visiting fellow at INSCT, via the Kosciuszko Foundation. He works as an analyst for the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan, Poland, where he is responsible for German foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Islamic threats in German-native-speaking countries and topics related to NATO, CSDP, OSCE, and the UN. Currently, he is working on a doctoral dissertation examining US-German relations in the field of international security since 9/11.

 

 

“From the Farm to the Schoolhouse” with Catherine Bertini

INSCT Faculty Member Catherine Bertini was recently interviewed for the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Nourishing Millions podcast series.

In the episode, “From the Farm to the Schoolhouse,” Bertini explains how education is central to creating opportunities for girls and women as key players in the effort to end hunger and malnutrition …

… we talk with Catherine Bertini, professor at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, about the many challenges that face women living in low- and middle-income countries today.

Professor Bertini details the role of women as the cooks and caregivers of the household, and laborers within agriculture, dual roles that make them critical to ending hunger and malnutrition. She proposes that girls’ and women’s education is the foremost step to creating not only opportunities for women, but also increasing the agricultural productivity and economic opportunities within their countries.

The episode relates some innovative solutions to ensuring that families keep their daughters in school, and Professor Bertini’s vision of a world in which all women can lead fulfilling lives.