European Affairs

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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The United States held the two-year, rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council from April 24, 2015, to May 11, 2017.

Record low extents of Arctic sea ice over the past decade have focused scientific and policy attention on links to global climate change and projected ice-free seasons in the Arctic within decades. These...

Spain and Its Relations with the United States: In Brief

The United States and Spain have extensive cultural ties and a mutually beneficial economic relationship, and the two countries cooperate closely on numerous diplomatic and security issues. Spain has been a member of NATO since 1982 and a member of the European Union (EU) since 1986. Given its role as a close U.S. ally and partner, developments in Spain and its relations with the United States are of continuing interest to the U.S. Congress.

Domestic Political and Economic Issues

The government of Spain is led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party (PP). Rajoy...

France and U.S.-French Relations: In Brief

French President Emmanuel Macron took office in May 2017 promising to shake up a political system he characterized as out of touch, revive the stagnant French economy, and revitalize French leadership of the 28-member European Union (EU). Since that time, he has sought to advance a centrist, reform-oriented domestic agenda while pursuing a “traditional” French foreign and defense policy that emphasizes European integration and a strong French presence in global affairs.

Although Macron has the support of a solid majority in the French parliament, he faces challenges in advancing his...

The United Kingdom: Background, Brexit, and Relations with the United States

Many U.S. officials and Members of Congress view the United Kingdom (UK) as the United States’ closest and most reliable ally. This perception stems from a combination of factors, including a sense of shared history, values, and culture; a large and mutually beneficial economic relationship; and extensive cooperation on foreign policy and security issues.

Conservative-Led Minority Government Following 2017 Election

The government of the UK is led by Prime Minister Theresa May of the Conservative Party. Her leadership position was weakened after she triggered an early election in June 2017,...

Northern Ireland: Current Issues and Ongoing Challenges in the Peace Process

Between 1969 and 1999, almost 3,500 people died as a result of political violence in Northern Ireland, which is one of four component “nations” of the United Kingdom (UK). The conflict, often referred to as “the Troubles,” has its origins in the 1921 division of Ireland and has reflected a struggle between different national, cultural, and religious identities. Protestants in Northern Ireland (48%) largely define themselves as British and support remaining part of the UK (unionists). Most Catholics in Northern Ireland (45%) consider themselves Irish, and many desire a united Ireland...

The European Union: Questions and Answers

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic partnership that represents a unique form of cooperation among sovereign countries. The EU is the latest stage in a process of integration begun after World War II, initially by six Western European countries, to foster interdependence and make another war in Europe unthinkable. The EU currently consists of 28 member states, including most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and has helped to promote peace, stability, and economic prosperity throughout the European continent.

The EU has been built through a series of binding...

FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act

This report discusses the FY2018 defense budget request and provides a summary of congressional action on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The annual NDAA authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense (DOD) and defense-related nuclear energy programs of the Department of Energy and typically includes provisions affecting DOD policies or organization. Unlike an appropriations bill, the NDAA does not provide budget authority for government activities.

The Trump Administration’s FY2018 budget request, released on May 23, 2017, included a total...

Ukraine: Background and U.S. Policy

In February 2014, protests over the Ukrainian government’s decision to postpone concluding an association agreement that would lead to closer relations with the European Union (EU) culminated in violence and the collapse of then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. The government that followed pledged to embrace pro-Western reforms, and an energized civil society supported its efforts. Within weeks, the new government was forced to confront Russian armed interventions in southern and eastern Ukraine. These culminated in Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014 and...

Russia: Background and U.S. Policy

Over the last five years, Congress and the executive branch have closely monitored and responded to new developments in Russian policy. These developments include the following: increasingly authoritarian governance since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidential post in 2012; Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support of separatists in eastern Ukraine; violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; Moscow’s intervention in Syria in support of Bashar al Asad’s government; increased military activity in Europe; and cyber-related influence...

Argentina: Background and U.S. Relations

Argentina, a South American country with a population of almost 44 million, has had a vibrant democratic tradition since its military relinquished power in 1983. Current President Mauricio Macri—the leader of the center-right Republican Proposal and the candidate of the Let’s Change coalition representing center-right and center-left parties—won the 2015 presidential race. He succeeded two-term President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, from the center-left faction of the Peronist party known as the Front for Victory, who in turn had succeeded her husband, Néstor Kirchner, in 2007. Macri’s...

Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

This report provides information and analysis on a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel. The BDS movement is generally seen as a loose grouping of actors from various countries who advocate or engage in economic measures against Israel or Israel-related individuals or organizations, though defining precisely what may or may not constitute BDS activity is subject to debate.

The report also analyzes economic measures that “differentiate” or might be seen as differentiating between (1) Israel in general and (2) entities linked with Israeli-developed areas and...

France’s 2017 Presidential Election: In Brief

French voters will elect France’s next president in a runoff election scheduled for May 7, 2017. They will choose between the top two finishers of the presidential election’s first round, held on April 23—Emmanuel Macron of the centrist En Marche! (Moving Forward) political movement and Marine Le Pen of the far-right, nationalist Front National (National Front).

The presidential campaign has exposed apparent wide-scale public dissatisfaction both with the presidency of outgoing President François Hollande and, more broadly, with a French political establishment perceived by many as...

The Greek Debt Crisis: Overview and Implications for the United States

Crisis Overview

Since 2009, Greece has grappled with a serious debt crisis. Most economists believe that Greece’s public debt, 180% of Greek gross domestic product (GDP), is unsustainable. The ramifications of the debt have been felt throughout the Greek economy, which contracted by 25% from its pre-crisis level. A fifth of Greeks are unemployed, with youth unemployment at nearly 50%, and the Greek banking system is unstable. Although other Eurozone governments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank coordinated a substantial crisis response, Greece continues...

The European Union: Current Challenges and Future Prospects

The European Union (EU) is a unique partnership in which member states have pooled sovereignty in certain policy areas and harmonized laws on a wide range of economic and political issues. The EU is the latest stage in a process of European integration begun after World War II, initially by six Western European countries, to promote peace, security, and economic development. The EU currently consists of 28 member states, including the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

EU members share a customs union; a single market in which goods, services, people, and capital...

NATO’s Warsaw Summit: In Brief

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) 2016 summit was held in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8-9, 2016. The summit was the second meeting of the alliance’s 28 heads of state and government since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and began providing large-scale military support to separatist forces fighting in Ukraine. Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe more broadly have upended NATO’s post-Cold War transformation from a military alliance focused solely on deterring Russia to a globally oriented security organization. Over the last two years, NATO has taken major steps to...

Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union

This report provides an analysis of the possible economic implications for the United States and the global economy of an exit from the European Union (EU) by the United Kingdom (UK), commonly referred to as Brexit. It offers background information on possible implications of the vote to leave the EU, an overview of U.S.-UK trade and investment relations, and various estimates of Brexit’s financial implications for the U.S. and global economies. For Members of Congress, economic fallout from Brexit could increase the risks of a slower rate of economic growth and potentially complicate...

U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield

Both the United States and the European Union (EU) maintain that they are committed to upholding individual privacy rights and ensuring the protection of personal data. Nevertheless, data privacy and protection issues have long been sticking points in U.S.-EU economic and security relations, in part because of differences in U.S. and EU data privacy approaches and legal regimes. In the late 1990s, the United States and the EU negotiated the Safe Harbor Agreement of 2000 to allow U.S. companies and organizations to meet EU data protection requirements and permit the legal transfer of...

Poland and Its Relations with the United States

Over the past 25 years, the relationship between the United States and Poland has been close and cooperative. The United States strongly supported Poland’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and backed its entry into the European Union (EU) in 2004. In recent years, Poland has made significant contributions to U.S.- and NATO-led military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Poland and the United States continue working together on issues such as democracy promotion, counterterrorism, and improving NATO capabilities.

Given its role as a close U.S. ally...

U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent revelation of Al Qaeda cells in Europe gave new momentum to European Union (EU) initiatives to combat terrorism and improve police, judicial, and intelligence cooperation among its member states. Other deadly incidents in Europe, such as the Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005, respectively, injected further urgency into strengthening EU counterterrorism capabilities. Among other steps, the EU has established a common definition of terrorism and a common list of terrorist groups, an EU arrest warrant,...

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) Negotiations

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) is a potential reciprocal free trade agreement (FTA) that the United States and the European Union (EU) are negotiating with each other. Formal negotiations commenced in July 2013. Both sides initially aimed to conclude the negotiations in two years, but more recently have updated their timeline and aim to conclude the T-TIP by the end of 2016. Twelve rounds of T-TIP negotiations have occurred to date.

The United States and EU seek to enhance market access and trade disciplines by addressing remaining transatlantic barriers to...

The Islamic State—Frequently Asked Questions: Threats, Global Implications, and U.S. Policy Responses

In the wake of the deadly November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, U.S. policymakers are faced with a wide range of strategy and operational considerations related to the activities of and threats emanating from the Islamic State (IS). A terrorist attack such as this prompts an examination of U.S. domestic security precautions; the role of allies and coalition partners; the appropriate military and diplomatic reactions; the safety and security of infrastructure and that of travelers; and numerous additional discrete issues that require the active involvement of dozens of federal,...

France: Efforts to Counter Islamist Terrorism and the Islamic State

This report discusses the commitment of French government to counter Islamist terrorism as the chief security threat facing the country.

Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification

As a major energy consumer, Europe faces a number of challenges in addressing future energy needs. Among these challenges are rapidly rising global demand and competition for energy resources from countries such as China and India, tensions with Russia, persistent instability in the Middle East, a fragmented internal European energy market, and a growing need to shift fuels in keeping with European climate change policy. As a result, energy supply security has become a key concern for European governments and the European Union (EU).

A key element of the EU’s energy supply strategy has...

Russian Deployments in Syria Complicate U.S. Policy

This report briefly discusses Russia's military presence in Syria. In recent weeks, Russia has moved military equipment and personnel to Syria, which could potentially be used to resupply the Asad regime or lead to a direct Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war.

Election in Greece

This report discusses issues leading up to Greece's snap legislative election on September 20, only eight months after the country's last election. Greece continues to struggle with the negative repercussions of a sovereign debt and financial crisis that began in 2009.

Pope Francis and Selected Global Issues: Background for Papal Address to Congress

Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio) assumed the papacy on March 13, 2013, following the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), who had served as pope since the death of St. Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtya) in 2005. The pope, respectfully referred to as “Your Holiness,” serves as head of the Holy See (diocese) of Rome and as the leader of the world’s roughly 1.2 billion Catholics. He is the first pope elected from Latin America, the first Jesuit pope (an order of priests founded by Ignatius Loyola), and the first pope in recent times who spent much of his...

Iran Nuclear Agreement: CRS Experts

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R44139 Summary Congress is currently in a period of formal review, being conducted on the basis of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (P.L. 114-17), of the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) nuclear agreement concluded between Iran and six negotiating powers (“P5+1”) on July 14. The period for initial congressional review under the Act is to conclude on September 17. The agreement has raised a wide variety of questions in Congress. Issues include the specific terms of the deal; the implications for inspections, proliferation,...

European Fighters in Syria and Iraq: Assessments, Responses, and Issues for the United States

The rising number of U.S. and European citizens traveling to fight with rebel and terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq has emerged as a growing concern for U.S. and European leaders, including Members of Congress. Several deadly terrorist attacks in Europe over the past year—including the killing of 17 people in Paris in January 2015—have heightened the perception that these individuals could pose a serious security threat. Increasingly, terrorist suspects in Europe appear to have spent time with groups fighting in the Middle East, especially with the Islamic State organization (also known...

U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia

This report briefly discusses U.S.-EU responses to the Ukrainian conflict, specifically focusing on the possible expansion of sanctions against Russia.

Scotland's Independence Referendum

This report examines varying opinion in regards to Scotland's Independence Referendum. The report also discusses U.S. views on the topic.

NATO: Response to the Crisis in Ukraine and Security Concerns in Central and Eastern Europe

Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its alleged role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have caused observers and policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic, including Members of Congress, to reassess the role of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in upholding European security. The security concerns of NATO’s Central and Eastern European member states and non-NATO member states such as Moldova and Ukraine are of particular concern.

NATO has strongly condemned Russian actions in Ukraine and has taken steps aimed both at reassuring allies and...

Iraq Crisis: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the ongoing crisis in Iraq. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Iraq, al Qaeda affiliates, embassy security, military operations, war powers, sanctions, energy security, humanitarian issues and displaced persons, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, and other international actors.

The European Parliament

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RS21998 Summary Between May 22 and May 25, 2014, the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) will hold elections for the next European Parliament (EP). The Parliament is a key EU institution that represents the citizens of the EU. It works closely with the two other main EU bodies, the European Commission (the EU’s executive) and the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council of Ministers, in which the national governments of the EU’s 28 member states are represented). Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) serve...

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Russia made uneven progress in democratization during the 1990s, but this limited progress was reversed after Vladimir Putin rose to power in 1999-2000, according to many observers. During this period, the State Duma (lower legislative chamber) became dominated by government-approved parties, gubernatorial elections were abolished, and the government consolidated ownership or control over major media and industries, including the energy sector. The Putin government showed low regard for the rule of law and human rights in suppressing insurgency in the North Caucasus, according to critics....

CRS Issue Statement on Europe: Regional Policy, Bilateral Relations, and Key Issues

This report provides a statement on the United States' relationship with Europe.

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: Security and Human Rights Issues

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on July 4, 2007, that Sochi, Russia, had been selected as the host city for the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympics. The Olympic Games, which will be held February 7-23, 2014, are the first to be hosted by Russia as a successor state to the former Soviet Union. Reportedly, some 230 U.S. athletes out of approximately 2,900 from some 88 countries, and about 10,000 U.S. visitors, are expected in Sochi. Olympic events will take place at two main locations: a coastal cluster along the Black Sea and a mountain cluster in the...

European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey’s Accession Negotiations

October 2013 marked the eighth anniversary of the European Union’s decision to launch formal negotiations with Turkey toward full membership in the Union. Throughout all of 2012 and the first half of 2013, little or no progress was made on any open chapters of the EU’s rules and regulations known as the acquis communautaire, as formal accession talks between Turkey and the EU seemed to have reached a political and technical stalemate.

In February 2013, France, which has been part of a group in the EU that has expressed doubts about Turkey’s EU membership, signaled that it was prepared to...

Chemical Weapons: A Summary Report of Characteristics and Effects

The potential for terrorist use of chemical agents is a noted concern highlighted by the Tokyo sarin gas attacks of 1995. The events of September 11, 2001, increased congressional attention towards reducing the vulnerability of the United States to such unconventional attacks. The possibility that terrorist groups might obtain insecure chemical weapons led to increased scrutiny of declared Libyan chemical weapon stockpiles following the fall of the Qadhafi regime. Experts have expressed similar concerns regarding the security and use of Syrian chemical weapons, reportedly including stocks...

Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress

Reports of a mass casualty chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus are reshaping the long-running and contentious debate over possible U.S. intervention in Syria’s bloody civil war. Obama Administration officials and some foreign governments report that on August 21, 2013, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Asad attacked opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs of the capital with chemical weapons, killing hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The Syrian government has denied the accusations categorically and blames the opposition for the attack. United...

Possible Intervention in Syria: CRS Experts

The table below provides names and contact information for CRS experts on various policy concerns of interest to Congress relating to the prospect of international military responses to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. Policy areas identified include the conflict in Syria, chemical weapons, military operations, intelligence issues, war powers, the humanitarian response, issues in the Middle East region, the United Nations, other international actors, and other foreign policy instruments.

The U.S. Congress and the European Parliament: Evolving Transatlantic Legislative Cooperation

The United States and the European Union (EU) share an extensive, dynamic, and mutually beneficial political and economic partnership. A growing element of that relationship is the role that the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament (EP)—a key EU institution—have begun to play, including in areas ranging from foreign and economic policy to regulatory reform. Proponents of establishing closer relations between the U.S. Congress and the EP point to the Parliament’s growing influence as a result of the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty which increased the relative power of the EP within the EU, and...

Nuclear Weapons R&D Organizations in Nine Nations

Seven nations—China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—possess nuclear weapons. North Korea tested a nuclear explosive device in 2006, and announced that it had conducted a test in 2009 and another in 2013. Israel is widely thought to have nuclear weapons. As an aid to Congress in understanding nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, and arms control matters, this report describes which agency is responsible for research and development (R&D) of nuclear weapons (i.e., nuclear explosive devices, as distinct from the bombers and missiles that deliver...

The Eurozone Crisis: Overview and Issues for Congress

Crisis Overview

What started as a debt crisis in Greece in late 2009 evolved into a broader economic and political crisis in the Eurozone and European Union (EU). The Eurozone faces four major, and related, economic challenges: (1) high debt levels and public deficits in some Eurozone countries; (2) weaknesses in the European banking system; (3) economic recession and high unemployment in some Eurozone countries; and (4) persistent trade imbalances within the Eurozone.

The economic crisis also turned into a political crisis. A combination of deep cuts in public spending, rising...

Recent Protests in Muslim Countries: Background and Issues for Congress

Muslims in a number of countries have responded in recent days with anger at the United States that many observers describe as a response to a privately produced film circulating on the Internet that denigrates Islam and the prophet Mohammed. In some cases, this outrage has taken the form of public expressions by relatively small groups of demonstrators, and in other countries the demonstrations have been larger. In the most extreme cases, such demonstrations have been accompanied by violent attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel and diplomatic facilities. Pre-existing anti-U.S....

Afghanistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance

The U.S. program of assistance to Afghanistan is intended to stabilize and strengthen the Afghan economic, social, political, and security environment so as to blunt popular support for extremist forces in the region. Since 2001, nearly $83 billion has been appropriated toward this effort.

Since FY2002, nearly two-thirds of U.S. assistance—roughly 62%—has gone to the training and equipping of Afghan forces. The remainder has gone to development and humanitarian-related activities from infrastructure to private sector support, governance and democratization efforts, and counter-narcotics...

The Future of the Eurozone and U.S. Interests

Seventeen of the European Union's 27 member states share an economic and monetary union (EMU) with the euro as a single currency. These countries are effectively referred to as the Eurozone. What has become known as the Eurozone crisis began in early 2010 when financial markets were shaken by heightened concerns that the fiscal positions of a number of Eurozone countries, beginning with Greece, were unsustainable. This report provides background information and analysis on the future of the Eurozone in six parts, including discussions on the origins and design challenges of the Eurozone,...

Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Background and Analysis

Commercial ties between the United States and the 27-member European Union are substantial, growing, and mutually beneficial. However, differences in regulatory approaches limit an even more integrated marketplace from developing. To deal with this situation, a variety of government-to-government efforts have been created to dismantle existing regulatory barriers and to prevent new ones from emerging. These efforts fall under the rubric of transatlantic regulatory cooperation (TRC) and are at the heart of today’s U.S.-EU economic relationship.

This report is intended to serve as an...

Muslims in Europe: Promoting Integration and Countering Extremism

Many European countries have large and growing Muslim minorities. This is particularly true for the countries of Western Europe that have experienced influxes of Muslim immigrants over the last several decades from a variety of Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries, as well as Turkey and the Balkans. Today, although some Muslims in Europe are recent immigrants, others are second- or third-generation Europeans. While expanding Muslim communities pose significant social and economic policy questions for European governments, the realization that some segments of Europe’s Muslim...

Greece’s Debt Crisis: Overview, Policy Responses, and Implications

The Eurozone is facing a serious sovereign debt crisis. Several Eurozone member countries have high, potentially unsustainable levels of public debt. Three—Greece, Ireland, and Portugal—have borrowed money from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to avoid default. With the largest public debt and one of the largest budget deficits in the Eurozone, Greece is at the center of the crisis. The crisis is a continuing interest to Congress due to the strong economic and political ties between the United States and Europe.

Build-Up of Greece’s Debt Crisis

In...

U.S. Policy Towards Burma: Issues for the 112th Congress

A robust discussion has arisen around U.S. policy towards Burma. Some Members of Congress, senior officials in the Obama Administration, noted Burma scholars, and representatives of various interest groups have weighed in on this discussion, offering their views on the merits of current U.S. policy towards Burma and what policy changes ought to be made.

Among the commentators, there is general agreement that more than 20 years of political and economic sanctions, and nearly two years of “pragmatic engagement,” have not led to the achievement of the stated goals of U.S. policy towards...

Côte d’Ivoire Post-Gbagbo: Crisis Recovery

Côte d’Ivoire is emerging from a severe political-military crisis that followed a disputed November 28, 2010, presidential runoff election between former president Laurent Gbagbo and his, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Both claimed electoral victory and formed opposing governments. Their rivalry spurred a full-scale civil military conflict in early March 2011, after months of growing political violence. Armed conflict largely ended days after Gbagbo’s arrest by pro-Ouattara forces, aided by United Nations (U.N.) and French peacekeepers, but limited residual fighting was...

Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya): Background and Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of military operations in Libya under U.S. command from March 19 to March 29, 2011, and the most recent developments with respect to the transfer of command of military operations from the United States to NATO on March 30.

The ongoing uprising in Libya against the government of Muammar al Qadhafi has been the subject of evolving domestic and international debate about potential international military intervention, including the proposed establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya. On March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution...

CRS Issue Statement on NATO

Russian Energy Policy Toward Neighboring Countries

The Russian oil and natural gas industries are key players in the global energy market, particularly in Europe and Eurasia. Another trend has been the concentration of these industries in the hands of the Russian government. This latter phenomenon has been accompanied by an authoritarian political system, in which former intelligence officers play key roles.

Russian firms have tried to purchase a controlling stake in pipelines, ports, storage facilities, and other key energy assets of European countries. They need these assets to transport energy supplies to lucrative western European...

NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance

The mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan is seen by many as a test of the alliance’s political will and military capabilities. Since the Washington Summit in 1999, the allies have sought to create a “new” NATO, capable of operating beyond the European theater to combat emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan is NATO’s first “out-of-area” mission beyond Europe. The purpose of the mission is the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The mission has proven difficult, an...

Pakistan—Internal Stability and U.S. Response: CRS Experts

North Korean Counterfeiting of U.S. Currency

The United States has accused the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) of counterfeiting U.S. $100 Federal Reserve notes (Supernotes) and passing them off in various countries, although there is some doubt by observers and other governments that the DPRK is capable of creating Supernotes of the quality found. What has been confirmed is that the DPRK has passed off such bills in various countries and that the counterfeit bills circulate both within North Korea and around its border with China. Defectors from North Korea also have provided information on Pyongyang’s...

Cyprus: Status of U.N. Negotiations and Related Issues

Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Greek Cypriots, 76% of the population, live in the southern two-thirds of the island and lead the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots, 19% of the populace, live in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey, with about 36,000 Turkish troops providing security. United Nations peacekeeping forces (UNFICYP) maintain a buffer zone between the two. Since the late 1970s, the U.N., with U.S. support, has promoted negotiations aimed at reuniting the island as a federal, bicommunal, bizonal republic....

NATO’s 60th Anniversary Summit

NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates

At the April 2-4, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, a principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. The allies agreed to extend invitations to Albania and Croatia. Although the alliance determined that Macedonia met the qualifications for NATO membership, Greece blocked the invitation due to an enduring dispute over Macedonia’s name. After formal accession talks, on July 9, 2008, the foreign ministers of Albania and Croatia and the permanent representatives of the 26 NATO allies signed accession protocols amending the North...

Russia’s Accession to the WTO

In 1993, Russia formally applied for accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Its application was taken up by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the successor organization of the GATT, in 1995. Russia’s application has entered into its most significant phase as Russia negotiates with WTO members on the conditions for accession.

Accession to the WTO had been critical to Russia and its political leadership. President, now Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin had made it a top priority. However, in the last year, Russian leaders have sent mixed signals regarding their...

Enlargement Issues at NATO’s Bucharest Summit

NATO held a summit in Bucharest on April 2-4, 2008. A principal issue was consideration of the candidacies for membership of Albania, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM, or the Republic of Macedonia). These states are small, with correspondingly small militaries, and their inclusion in the alliance cannot be considered strategic in a military sense. However, it is possible that they could play a role in the stabilization of southeastern Europe. The allies issued invitations only to Albania and Croatia.

At Bucharest NATO decided not to offer a Membership Action...

The European Union’s Energy Security Challenges

Recent increases in energy prices and a steady escalation in global energy demand—expected to rise by nearly 60% over the next 20 years—have led U.S. policy-makers to engage in a wide ranging debate over how best to address the country’s future energy requirements. Similarly, energy security has become a policy priority for the European Union (EU) and its 27 member states. The EU imports about 50% of its energy needs. Barring significant changes, the European Commission expects this figure to rise to 65% by 2030. About half of the EU’s natural gas imports and 30% of its imported oil come...

Islamist Extremism in Europe

Although the vast majority of Muslims in Europe are not involved in radical activities, Islamist extremists and vocal fringe communities that advocate terrorism exist and reportedly have provided cover for terrorist cells. Germany and Spain were identified as key logistical and planning bases for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid have been attributed to an Al Qaeda-inspired group of North Africans. UK authorities have named four British Muslims as the perpetrators of the July 2005 terrorist attacks on London; in August 2006,...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility.

A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended...

European Approaches to Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent attacks on European countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain have prompted both sides of the Atlantic to reinvigorate their respective efforts to ensure homeland security and combat terrorism. However, U.S. and European approaches to these issues differ. While the United States has embarked on a wholesale reorganization of its domestic security and border protection institutions, European countries have largely preferred to work within their existing institutional architectures to combat terrorism and...

Kosovo's Future Status and U.S. Policy

This report discusses the issue of Kosovo's future status; that is, whether it should become an independent country, or have some form of autonomy within Serbia.

Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11 Commission Recommendations and U.S. Policy

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) issued its final report on July 19, 2004. A major recommendation in the report was that the U.S. government should identify and prioritize actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries and, for each, to employ a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power. U.S. strategy to combat global terrorism, even prior to 9/11, included efforts to deny sanctuary to terrorist groups by isolating and applying pressure on states that sponsor or...

Ukraine's Political Crisis and U.S. Policy Issues

In 2004, many observers believed that Ukraine was at a key period in its transition that could shape its geopolitical orientation for years to come, in part due to presidential elections held on October 31, November 21, and December 26, 2004. In their view, Ukraine could move closer to integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions, real democracy and the rule of law, and a genuine free market economy, or it could move toward a Russian sphere of influence with “managed democracy” and an oligarchic economy. For the past decade, Ukraine’s political scene had been dominated by...

Trade Legislation in the 108th Congress

When the 108th Congress convened in January 2003, few observers predicted that trade would be a top legislative concern. Congress, just six months earlier, had passed by a narrow margin the Trade Act of 2002 ( P.L. 107-210 ), the first major piece of trade legislation in almost a decade. Nevertheless, trade remained a top-level domestic and foreign policy issue in 2003 and 2004. The 108th Congress completed work on a number of major trade bills. Most notably, bills to implement free trade agreements (FTAs) with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Morocco, and to enhance trade benefits for...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 109th Congress

The 109th Congress will likely address a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense and trade issues. This report identifies the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, and provides information and analysis to support Congress in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues. The report also provides lists of selected CRS products that provide more detailed analysis. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has increasingly been confronted with issues relating to the war on terrorism and homeland security. Congress will likely be particularly interested in...

Europe and Counterterrorism: Strengthening Police and Judicial Cooperation

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States gave new momentum to European Union (EU) initiatives to combat terrorism and other cross-border crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and financial fraud. For many years, EU efforts to address such challenges were hampered by national sovereignty concerns, insufficient resources, and a lack of trust among law enforcement agencies. However, the terrorist attacks and the subsequent revelation of Al Qaeda cells in Europe changed this status quo as it became increasingly evident that the EU's open borders and different...

Armenia Update

Armenia has experienced domestic political turmoil since independence. Since political assassinations in October 1999, President Robert Kocharian has outmaneuvered his opponents and secured his March 2003 re-election amid accusations of electoral irregularities. The economy is rebounding, except a majority of the people remain poor. A cease fire holds in the war with Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In general, Armenia relies on Russia for security and on the United States for economic aid. Its relations with neighboring Iran are good, but those with Turkey are troubled....

The Baltic States: U.S. Policy Concerns

This report provides background and analysis on the political and economic situations on Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia (commonly collectively referred to as the Baltic states), their foreign policies, and U.S. policy toward them. The Baltic states achieved their long-held dream of full independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the failed August 1991 coup by Soviet hard-liners. Since 1991, the these three countries have made great strides in building democracies and free market economies. They have also sought integration into Western economic and security structures, in...

The Former Soviet Union and U.S. Foreign Assistance in 1992: The Role of Congress

In 1992, Congress played a vital and creative role in what many considered to be the year's most important foreign policy issue -- the question of U.S. assistance to Russia and the other new republics of the former Soviet Union. It approved a series of bills, most prominent of which was the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1992. The Freedom Support Act authorized U.S. foreign assistance to the new states and established the policy framework that laid out the criteria for assistance as well as the types of programs and projects to be...

Transnational Organized Crime: U.S. Policy, Programs, and Related Issues

Transnational organized crime presents a serious threat to U.S. national security and global stability. Organized criminal groups have benefitted from the demise of legal structures following the collapse of the Soviet Union and in many failed states. They have been able to expand their networks across national borders. Globalism serves these groups which increasingly rely upon advanced technology and the global financial system to accumulate wealth from their illicit activities. These groups engage in a wide array of criminal activities across national borders that include the illicit...

Northern Ireland: The 2003 Election

On November 26, 2003, voters in Northern Ireland went to the polls to elect a new Assembly, which has been suspended since 2002 because of ongoing difficulties in the peace process. Hardline political parties on both sides of the unionist-nationalist divide surpassed their more moderate rivals, dimming the prospects for restoring Belfast's devolved government soon. This report will not be updated. See also, CRS Report RS21333 , Northern Ireland: The Peace Process, and CRS Report RL30368, Northern Ireland: Implementation of the Peace Agreement during the 106th Congress .

Russian Oil and Gas Companies and Central and Eastern Europe

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, and of the Soviet Union itself in 1991, heralded a major reduction in Russian influence in Central and Eastern Europe during the 1990s. Russia's armed forces and the Russian economy went into steep decline. In recent years, one key sector of the Russian economy, the Russian oil and gas sector, has shown signs of revival. The Russian energy sector occupies a central place in Russia's economy and political system. In 2000, the energy sector accounted for 16% of Russia's GDP, 29% of the gross value of industrial output, 45%-48% of Federal budget...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 107th Congress, 2001-2002

During the 107th Congress, 354 nominations to executive department full-time positions were submitted to the Senate. Of these nominations, seven were submitted by President Clinton before he left office and were withdrawn by President Bush on March 19, 2001. President Bush submitted 347 nominations, of which 297 were confirmed, two were withdrawn, 35 were returned to him at the August 2001 recess, one was returned to him at the adjournment of the first session, and 12 were returned to him at the end of the 107th Congress. President Clinton made eight recess appointments during the...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 108th Congress

The 108th Congress will be faced early on with a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues. This report provides background information on the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, analyzes the congressional role in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues, and lists CRS products that provide more detailed discussion and analysis. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon dramatically altered the U.S. political environment, pushing issues of war and homeland security to the top of the policy agenda. Of particular concern to...

Iraq: The Turkish Factor

European Counterterrorist Efforts: Political Will and Diverse Responses in the First Year After September 11

The attacks of September 11 prompted the Bush Administration to improve law enforcement and other coordination between the United States and European governments dealing with international terrorism. European governments have also taken measures to enhance cooperation among themselves. Most notable are European Union efforts to enhance cross-border sharing of intelligence and police information, extend the reach of warrants, and strengthen external border controls. Some European countries have a long history of fighting terrorism, and have refined existing practices as part of their...

France: Election by Default, 2002

On May 5, 2002, the French people re-elected Jacques Chirac president, and on June 16 gave him a center-right parliamentary majority. The tumultuous two-round presidential elections saw the elimination of Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round, and left the racist, extreme right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen as Chirac's opponent in the second round. Chirac won by a wide margin, but many voters, perhaps a majority, were voting against Le Pen. Chirac and Le Pen both ran on a campaign to quell "insecurity," a euphemism for a rising crime rate. Many observers believe that the...

Belarus: Country Background Report

This short report provides information on Belarus's history, political and economic situation, human rights record, foreign policy, and U.S. relations with Belarus. It will be updated when necessary.

Moldova: Basic Facts

This short report provides information and analysis on Moldova, including its history, political and economic situation, foreign policy, and U.S. policy toward Moldova. This report will be updated as events warrant.

Moldova: Basic Facts

Croatia: Basic Facts

This short report provides background and analysis on Croatia, including its history, current political and economic situation, foreign policy, and U.S. policy toward Croatia. This report will be updated as events warrant.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Background on U.S. Policy Concerns

In 1995, after over three years of conflict, the United States brokered the Dayton Peace Accords, ending the war in Bosnia. The accords retained Bosnia as a single country, divided into two largely-autonomous "entities." A NATO-led peacekeeping force and other international organizations are trying to help implement the accord and bring stability to the country. During the Clinton Administration, the premise of U.S. policy in Bosnia and the region was that the stability of the Balkans is important to stability in Europe as a whole, which the Administration viewed as a vital U.S....

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 106th Congress, 1999-2000

This report focuses on presidential nominations and Senate confirmations to the 330 full-time positions in the 14 executive departments to which the President makes appointments, with the advice and consent of the Senate. During the 106th Congress, President Clinton submitted 136 nominations and made 18 recess appointments to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed 108 nominations and returned 24; the President withdrew four nominations. On average, the Senate took 105 days (three and a half months) to confirm a nomination. Sixty-eight nominations (63%)...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Policy: Key Issues in the 107th Congress

Among the 107th Congress' first orders of business will be dealing with the initiatives--both domestic and foreign policy--proposed by President Bush throughout his presidential campaign. The 2000 congressional campaigns suggested that the agenda of the 107th Congress will be largely domestic: Social Security, health care, education, taxes, and military pay were prominent in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, many issues discussed in this report will be affected by the resolution of a contentious battle for the presidency. In the Congress, the 50-50...

France and the United States: Allies and Rivals

France, while a key ally, has developed policies in pursuit of its national interests that challenge the United States on issues of importance to both countries. The end of the Cold War has altered a balance that once placed security above political and economic competition. The leading European Union members, including France, are enhancing political cooperation, raising questions about traditional areas of U.S. leadership in Europe. At the same time U.S. and French interests often intersect, and the two countries cooperate in important endeavors. France, like the United States,...

Kosovo: Lessons Learned from Operation Allied Force

The March-June 1999 NATO war over Kosovo raised questions about many issues affecting the future of NATO. Questions arising from the conflict about political objectives, strategy, command arrangements, NATO-Russian relations, allied capabilities, future enlargement, allied unity, non- Article V operations, and the response of potential adversaries remain under debate. This report provides brief "lessons learned" from Operation Allied Force . NATO had limited political objectives in the conflict, most of which were at least partially met. Key considerations, such as avoiding civilian...

Kosovo: Historical Background to the Current Conflict

This short report discusses the historical background to the current conflict in Kosovo. It also includes a short suggested reading list. For background and current developments on the Kosovo issue, see Kosovo and U.S. Policy , by Steven Woehrel and Julie Kim, CRS Issue Brief 98041, updated regularly. For a discussion of military operations in Yugoslavia during World War II, see Yugoslavia: World War II resistance operations and their implications for the current war , by Robert L. Goldich, CRS Report RL30177. A complete list of CRS products on Kosovo can be found at...

NATO: Congress Addresses Expansion of the Alliance

On April 30, 1998, the Senate gave its consent to the amendment of the North Atlantic Treaty to admit Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary by a vote of 80-19. The President signed the Resolution of Ratification on May 22, 1998. On March 12, 1999, the three countries formally joined the alliance. On July 8, 1997, NATO named Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary as candidate states for admission to the alliance. On June 3, 1997, Representative Benjamin Gilman and others proposed the European Security Act of 1997 ( H.R. 1758 ). It was engrossed in H.R. 1757 , the Foreign Relations...

Foreign and Defense Policy: Key Issues in the 106th Congress

When the 106th Congress comes to work in January, its first order of business will be to deal with the impeachment of the President of the United States. The 1998 congressional campaigns and elections suggested that the agenda of the 106th Congress also will be largely domestic in its focus: Social Security, health care, and education were the order of the day in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, of the issues discussed in this report, only increased defense spending to address military readiness and retention of trained military personnel has been...

Bosnia Stabilization Force (SFOR) and U.S. Policy

In December 1995, a NATO-led implementation force (IFOR) was deployed to Bosnia to enforce the military aspects of the Bosnian peace agreement. President Clinton said the deployment would last "about one year." IFOR successfully completed its main military tasks, but implementation of the civilian aspects of the accord, for which IFOR did not have direct responsibility, was at best a mixed success. Faced with the possible collapse of the peace agreement if IFOR pulled out, on November 15, 1996, President Clinton pledged to keep U.S. troops in Bosnia as part of a NATO-led Stabilization...

Democracy-Building in the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union: Progress and Implications for U.S. Interests

Since the end of the Cold War and the advent of independence for the former Soviet republics, these new independent states (NIS) have made varying progress in implementing democratic reforms. Some NIS such as Russia appear to be making some progress, a few such as Kyrgyzstan appear to be faltering, and several such as Turkmenistan appear to be making scant progress. Successive U.S. Administrations have fostered democracy-building in the NIS as a primary foreign policy objective. Broadly, U.S. policymakers have stressed that the containment policy of the Cold War has been replaced with...

NATO: A Brief History of Expansion

NATO has admitted new members on three different occasions. Depending on the countries admitted, debates in Congress have concentrated upon strategic and political issues, including burdensharing. From NATO's origins, Congress has shown strong interest in sharing the strategic and economic responsibilities in providing for Europe's defense. NATO admitted Greece and Turkey to the alliance in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982.

Bosnian Muslim-Croat Federation: Key to Peace in Bosnia?

The Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina was established in March 1994, with U.S. mediation. It aims to unite areas held by the largely Bosniak (Muslim) pre-war republic government with areas held by Croats. The Bosnian peace agreement, signed in Dayton in November 1995, recognized the Federation and the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska as two largely autonomous entities within a weak, but sovereign Bosnia and Hercegovina union. Real political, economic and military integration of Bosniak and Croat-held areas has been slow to materialize. The United States has played a key role in setting up...

Kosovo and U.S. Policy

Kosovo and U.S. Policy

Bosnia War Crimes: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and U.S. Policy

War crimes were an integral part of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Bosnian Serb militias drove hundreds of thousands of non-Serb civilians from their homes, committing tens of thousands of acts of murder, rape and torture, in a systematic policy of "ethnic cleansing." Most observers believe most war crimes committed by the Bosnian Serbs from 1992 until the end of the war in 1995 were a vital part of the political and military strategy of Bosnian Serb leaders. Although Serbs are seen by many observers as the main culprits, Croats and Muslims also committed substantial numbers of war crimes...

NATO Enlargement and Russia

NATO Enlargement and Russia

Bosnia Stabilization Force (SFOR) and U.S. Policy

In December 1995, a NATO-led implementation force (IFOR) was deployed to Bosnia to enforce the military aspects of the Bosnian peace agreement. After fierce debate, the House and Senate passed separate resolutions in December 1995 expressing support for the U.S. troops in Bosnia, although not necessarily for the mission itself. Legislative efforts to bar funds for the deployment of U.S. troops to Bosnia were narrowly rejected. In the 105th Congress, similar efforts to bar a U.S. deployment after June 1998 were also rejected, although the FY 1998 defense authorization and appropriations...

Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace Agreement

Since Dayton Peace Accords, the civilian side of peace implementation has been challenged by the scope of the tasks, and by the lack of commitment demonstrated by the Bosnian parties to various aspects of the peace agreement. In addition, issues such as International Framework for peace implementation, formation of governmental institution, election, civil police task force and displaced persons are discussed in this report.

Bosnia: Civil Implementation of the Peace Agreement

The long and brutal war in Bosnia came to an end in December 1995 with the signing of the Dayton peace agreement. The agreement paved the way for the deployment of a 55,000-strong NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia for one year. While IFOR's military tasks focused on keeping the peace and providing for a secure environment, the implementation of many other civil tasks, coupled with an inflow of humanitarian and reconstruction aid, was seen as essential to building a lasting peace in Bosnia. NATO deployed a smaller Stabilization Force (SFOR) in December 1996 in order to continue to...

Turkey: Situation Update

This report briefly discusses recent political, economic, and security issues in Turkey, especially relating to Turkey's relationship with Greece, the European Union, and the United States.

Turkey: Situation Update

Turkey's year-long experiment with Islamist-led government ended in July, when a multi-party secularist coalition headed by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz took office for what is viewed as a transition to early national elections sometime in 1998. The political situation is fluid. The government is addressing some economic problems and redirecting Turkey's foreign policy back toward the West and toward Turkic kin in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. There are problems in Turkey's relations with the European Union, with efforts to reach an international settlement on Cyprus, and in Turkish-Greek...

Greece and Turkey: Aegean Issues -- Background and Recent Developments

For many years, NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been adversaries in bilateral disputes which have produced crises and even brought them to the brink of war. One series of disputes involves Aegean Sea borders. The two disagree over the border in the air, continental shelf, and territorial sea, over the status of islands in the Sea, and over the ownership of Aegean islets. In the aftermath of a January 1996 crisis over the sovereignty of the Imia/Kardak islet, various dispute resolution initiatives were undertaken. NATO proposed military-related confidence-building measures, some of...

NATO: Article V and Collective Defense

Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty does not guarantee the use of force to assist an ally under attack. Nonetheless, the U.S. pledge of collective defense has been the core of the alliance. NATO views collective defense, and not collective security, as its core function. This study will not be updated.

NATO Enlargement: The Process and Allied Views

In December 1996, NATO countries expressed the intention to name one or more candidate states for membership at the alliance summit in Madrid on July 8-9, 1997. Designation of candidates would be the first significant step in the process of admitting central European countries. NATO has set a target date of April 1999 for completion of current members' constitutional processes to revise the North Atlantic Treaty to incorporate new members. Expansion of the alliance has triggered a broad debate about NATO's purpose and future. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO's missions have been...

German Military Presence in the United States: The Case of Holloman Air Force Base

For four decades, Germany has sent pilots to the United States for training. On May 1, 1996, this bilateral military cooperation took an important step forward when Defense Secretary Perry and German Defense Minister Rühe activated the German Air Force Tactical Training Center (TTC) at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico. By October 1999, the Germans plan to have 24 F-4 Phantom and 42 Tornado jets, together with roughly 900 German Air Force staff members at Holloman. The two governments praised this undertaking as another sign of their continuing, strong alliance. Many analysts...

Greece and Turkey: The Rocky Islet Crisis

The dispute between Greece and Turkey over the sovereignty of Imia/Kardak islet escalated rapidly because bilateral relations are hampered by historic distrust and unresolved issues, and because both countries have weak governments. Each marshalled legal arguments to support its position. The United States acted to defuse the crisis and restore the status quo ante, but some State Department comments complicated U.S.-Greek relations. In the aftermath, a politically damaged Greek government temporarily distanced itself from the United States and sought support from its European Union...

NATO: Origins of the Enlargement Debate in Central Europe

At the December 1994 NATO Ministerial meeting, the Clinton Administration will propose that the allies begin to draw criteria for possible new members. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia are the likely initial candidates. Russia is not under consideration. Proponents of NATO expansion, or "enlargement," believe that it could serve to stabilize Central European states seeking to build democracies and free-market economies; promote U.S. investment and trade in the region; lend stability to the whole of Europe; and serve to contain Russia, should it become...

Partnership For Peace

NATO's Partnership for Peace program seeks to encourage eligible states, above all the states of the former Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet Union, to build democracy and undertake greater responsibilities in international security. The program could open the door to, but does not promise, NATO membership. U.S. and NATO relations with Russia are likely to be the determining factor in deciding whether states move from Partnership to NATO membership. The Partnership program, established at NATO's summit of January 10-11, 1994, does not extend the Alliance's mutual security commitment to...