Turkey’s Purchase of a Russian Missile System, Explained
Russia sent Turkey a seventh batch of components for the S-400 missile defense system over the weekend. According to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, all S-400 missiles will be deployed by April 2020.
Erdoğan has also said he is planning to send specialists to Russia for training on how to operate the S-400s.
The deal has met stiff resistance from NATO allies, who are threatening to kick Turkey out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. So why is it going ahead with the purchase? Read more
Germany Seeks Active Role to Ensure Inclusive Afghan Peace Process
A week after a Taliban attack in Kabul left six people dead and over a hundred wonded, an all-Afghan peace summit is due to start in Doha on Sunday. Germany is co-sponsoring the meeting with Qatar.
Markus Potzel, Germany’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, made the announcement and said, “only Afghans themselves can decide the future of their country.”
Potzel has become a familiar face in Afghanistan. Just a few weeks ago, he held meetings with key stakeholders across the Afghan political spectrum. In May, he had at least two meetings with the Taliban.
Germany wants to play an active role in the peace process and ensure that it is inclusive. The Afghan government’s exclusion from bilateral talks between the Taliban and the United States is a concern in Berlin. The Germans believe only an all-Afghan process can pave the way to a sustainable settlement. The hope is that the Doha meeting will be a step in that direction. Read more
Russian Missile Treaty Violation Is a Wakeup Call for Europe
Last month, NATO allies issued a warning to Russia, urging it to destroy a new missile system that could threaten Europe or face a “defensive” response.
The warning is a final opportunity for Russia to respect the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. If it doesn’t — and Russia claims the system in question has a range of only 480 kilometers — it will be another wakeup call for Europe. Read more
Different Player, Same Game
Donald Trump has not exactly shied away from advocating for better American relations with Russia. During his presidential campaign, he argued that “Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other toward defeating terrorism and restoring world peace.” He has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and accepted his denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
But even Trump’s Russophilia is no match for geopolitical reality. Read more
German Policymakers Worry About Losing Afghan Gains
Despite American president Donald Trump earlier ruling out negotiations with the Taliban, recent talks in Qatar could pave the way for a Western withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The prospect is welcomed by many here in Germany, although policymakers worry about the impact on civilian engagement and developmental assistance. Read more
With German Support, A European Army Looks More Likely
It looks like a European army might really happen.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, endorsed the call of French president Emmanuel Macron for an EU fighting force.
She praised the 25 member states — Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom are not participating — that committed last year to enhance interoperability, pool their defense procurement and improve military logistics under the so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
But a proper army, she said, would make war in Europe impossible and “complement” the NATO alliance. Read more
Nine EU Countries Establish Joint Military Intervention Force
Nine European countries have agreed to establish a joint military intervention force. The proposal came from French president Emmanuel Macron.
The European Intervention Initiative is separate from the EU and NATO, allowing the United Kingdom, which is leaving the European Union, to take part.
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain will also provide troops.
Italy, under a new populist government, has backtracked on its initial support but not ruled out joining later. Read more