Sunday Readings

A Defense Of The European Union – From The Right
There are many criticisms of the European Union from its tendency to favor agricultural protectionism and support for a single currency to its present incompetence in terms of responding to the refugee crisis. While critics all make valid points, Dalibor Rohac of Foreign Policy magazine says skeptics should not allow those faults blind them to recognizing its real successes.

“By historical standards, the era of European integration is the closest that European nations have come to a limited, constitutional, democratic government. For all its ‘socialist’ excesses, the degree of economic openness in the EU is without precedent. The EU has helped post-communist countries establish democratic institutions, liberalize their markets, and offer a safeguard against Russian expansionism,” he writes.

Rohac goes on to defend the EU also stresses that there is a real danger created if the EU were to be dissolved, including the likelihood its collapse “would drive its more vulnerable member states into Russia’s firm embrace.”

Obama Administration Expresses Openness To Dealing With Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that the administration is willing to negotiate the conditions and timing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power. Kerry’s outreach comes a day after President Obama gave the okay for Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on Friday to mediate a dialogue on Syria with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu, reports the New York Times.

Speaking at a news conference after meetings with counterparts on the refugee crisis, Kerry said, “We’re prepared to negotiate, [but] is Assad prepared to negotiate? Really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table and actually find the solution to this violence?” he asked.

“We’ve made it very clear. We’re not being doctrinaire about the specific date or time,” he added. “We’re open. But right now, Assad has refused to have a serious discussion.”

Forcing Russia’s Hand On Ukraine
Far more than Western military assistance or Ukrainian reforms, the factor that will determine the immediate future of the conflict in Ukraine’s east is Russia’s behavior, argues Samuel Charop in Foreign Affairs magazine.

“Rather than pushing for a frozen conflict scenario that will likely never materialize, then, the United States, the European Union, and Ukraine should do all they can to minimize the economic and human costs of this more probable outcome,” he writes.

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