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Transatlantic troubles create room to think: Episode 8

First we lead with the good: The Netherlands reported 0 deaths from COVID-19 on June 22, the day Kaj and Joel checked in to record the latest episode of Atlantic Anchors. Right now, we’ll take any good news, and that is very, very good news.

The news isn’t so good for the Transatlantic relationship. If you’ve subscribed to our newsletter, you already know that on both sides of the Atlantic, foreign-policy thinkers are contemplating the passing of one vision of global society, and coming to grips with the world to come – a world taking shape faster than many of us thought it would.

Crisis creates opportunity, and in this episode, Kaj and Joel announce a deep dive into the building blocks of international relations themselves. We hope you will join us on this stage of the journey. May these times of troubles also be times of invention.

The Transatlantic Relationship Is On Hiatus: Episode 7

As both Europe and the United States continue to be hammered by the health and dire economic effects of the corona virus and the US is engulfed by social protest, Joel and Kaj discuss what this all means for the Transatlantic relationship we hold so dear. Will the relationship recover from all the enmity? Then, Kaj interviews Arjen de Wolff, a Dutchman with a very interesting past in international politics and diplomacy, who lives and works on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. Little does the world know that all those “rocks in the sea”, as De Wolff calls the islands, are crucial for the Transatlantic alliance… And of course, we celebrate Beer Time again!

Pandemics follow action: Episode 6

This week, geopolitical analyst Antonia Colibasanu joins the Anchors to give an Eastern European perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for the broader Transatlantic community.

Colibasanu discusses the growing and devastating impact of the pandemic on economies in Europe, explains Serbia’s posturing, and ponders the future of military preparedness post-COVID.

Be sure to stick around for the beer hour, when we’ll take a trip through time and space, from monastic Belgium to the breweries of Michigan.

Failures to communicate: Episode 5

Leaders the world over face a multifaceted crisis that affects every layer of society. In a situation where there is no pain-free exit, communication is crucial. Joel and Kaj discuss some of the layers of poor communication, including the ongoing saga of the Bonds of Wrath.

More exciting still, our first guest steps onto the deck this week. Kaj speaks with Chatham House research fellow Pepijn Bergsen, previously an economic policy advisor for the Dutch government. They discuss some quieter aspects of Transatlantic cooperation that you might have missed under all of the COVID sound and fury, as well as what it will take for the troubled relationship to see things through.

Finally, you won’t want to miss the return of Beer Time. It’s the pause we all need in these troubled times. Even the socially distanced must sometimes share a sip from afar.

To many Dutchmen, an Italian divorce sounds just fine

As we discuss in our latest podcast episode, Italy is a microcosm of the European Union. The north is one of Europe’s most prosperous regions, a crossroads of trade and industry. The south is a perennial periphery, dogged by persistent poverty and structurally high unemployment. In the north, people ask why they should bail out their southern brethren. Indeed, the populist Lega, one of the country’s most powerful political parties, was originally the Lega Nord, a party that preached secession and practiced the pursuit of autonomy for northern regions. The south holds grudges of its own, caricaturing northern industry as rapacious and exploitative. Sound familiar? It will if you’ve followed the politics of the European Union since 2008. 

Continue reading To many Dutchmen, an Italian divorce sounds just fine

The Misery Is Mutual – Episode 4

The Coronavirus is also causing social distancing on the geo-political front. While some countries are effectively stopping exports of ventilators, masks and other medical equipment, Italy is in dire straits. Joel takes a deep dive into the mood in Italy – and it is not good. Not just because of the virus that’s on a rampage, but also because other EU nation member states seem intent on not giving Italy the help it seeks. Kaj attempts to explain where the North-South divide is coming from.

Whatever solution the EU member states find for their problems, a restoration of national unity is necessary before there can be any talk of a meaningful restart of the trans-Alantic relationship

2020: The Year Of Fear

Fear abounds. If not fear for your health, then fear for the economy – what happens after Covid19 has been put back in its cage. On both sides of the Atlantic, voices of those who believe that the ‘cure is worse than the disease’ are getting louder. On a more meta-level, there is a real fear that the world as we know it is falling apart.

Continue reading 2020: The Year Of Fear

Can you go your own way? – Episode 3

The topic that is on everyone’s mind is fairly obvious, so we scuttled our plans for an engaging chat on Turkey’s politics and its place in the Transatlantic alliance. COVID-19 has sparked a global crisis with systemic implications.

All deference from politicians, pundits and podcasters must go to medical experts at this time. But talking is therapeutic, and with that in mind, Kaj and Joel take this episode to chat about what life has been like on both sides of the Atlantic in the last couple of weeks. Nations are the essential building block of the global system — the actors in politics most closely capable of behaving like an individual. How are our nations handling the outset of this time of uncertainty? Is anyone capable of exerting a global or a regional role, or will our nations go at the crisis alone? We invite you to talk it out with us.

Words have meaning – Episode 2

In the second episode of Atlantic Anchors, Kaj and Joel measure the toll of political fragmentation in Germany. The sudden February crisis within Germany’s powerful Christian Democratic Union party serves as Kaj’s guide as he explains the forces that are straining political parties — and political bodies of all kinds — all across the West. 

Joel in the meantime revisits the Munich Security Conference, which took place in mid-February. The gathering lets us look at how our leaders think about themselves and think about each other. In this case, they seemed to be walking on different planets. Joel dissects the language used by the different leaders to show just how different the topography of those two worlds is right now.

For U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech in Munich, ‘The West Is Winning,’ visit this link. The 2020 Munich Security Report, ‘Westlesness,’ can be downloaded here.

China Wants A Menage A Trois – Episode 1

In this first episode of Atlantic Anchors, Joel Weickgenant and Kaj Leers look at the rifts between Europe and the United States caused by differences of opinion regarding China. The U.S. government doesn’t want European countries doing business with China, and Washington’s motives aren’t clearly understood. We focus on one story about ASML, a Dutch company that is the market leader in devices used to produce high-end computer chips. ASML’s troubles help us tell a broader story about the China-shaped wedge that is opening up between the United States and Europe. In short: The U.S. wants to prevent China from getting its hands on such technology. But why? Should Europe follow the American lead on this?

Continue reading China Wants A Menage A Trois – Episode 1