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The ‘What’ Is Always The Easiest Part; It’s The ‘How’ That Paralyzes

In our latest podcast episode, we look at how Covid has thrown a wrench into the machine of international relations. Everything seems to have been put on hold. We also discuss how, if Europe wants to recalibrate its crucial relations with the United States, if will have to step up to the plate. As is usual, formulating an objective – the ‘what’ – is always the easiest part in politics; it’s the question of ‘how’ where unstoppable forces tend to meet immovable objects.

Continue reading The ‘What’ Is Always The Easiest Part; It’s The ‘How’ That Paralyzes

The Back With A Vengeance Edition – Episode 9

It’s been a while, Anchors, and we know it. Covid-19 had a lot do with our unexpected hiatus – that, and some unexpected technical issues. But we’re back! In this episode we look at the havoc that Covid-19 has wrought in the USA and Europe, and how it has thrown international relations into chaos. And because so much has changed, we will be looking at the Atlantic relationship through a new prism. Is there any going back to the way things were, even if a new US president takes office? No. Europe needs to step up to the plate and do its proper part in the relationship.

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.

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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.