Policy Roundup: Episode 22, May 29-June 2, 2017

  1. US Intelligence Leaks and implications for the “Five Eyes” and NATO Allies

Recent US intelligence leaks including classified information shared with Russian officials in the Oval Office followed by the leaking of sensitive information from the UK investigation of the Manchester bombing has had repercussions.

Israeli Defense chief Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel has since tweaked its intelligence-sharing protocols with the US.

Additionally, UK police have since stopped sharing information with the US following the media leak related to the recent Manchester bombings.

Such changes to intelligence sharing with the US has implications for how members of the “Five Eyes” and other NATO allies communicate with each other. In the current US political environment, such leaks also highlight tensions between the intelligence community and the media.

Knowing how important the Five Eyes relationship is to the UK and the US, it speaks volumes when UK officials express public frustration with intelligence leaks. It is however, a relationship that is likely to endure such incidents.

2. Checking in with the NATO Summit

Last week, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, updated NATO Allies on two major agenda items: stepping up NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism and fairer burden sharing within the Alliance.

One new development is the introduction of a new terrorism intelligence cell in Brussels, with the aim of improving intelligence sharing, including on foreign fighters. NATO also plans on joining the Global Coalition fighting ISIS to send a strong political message and unified front against terrorism.

Lastly, it is important to note NATO’s growing expansion eastward, especially meaningful for countries fearful of Russian aggression. Montenegro’s accession to NATO as the 29th ally signals greater support for the Alliance in Eastern Europe.

3. China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative

Earlier this month, Beijing launched the “One Belt, One Road” initiative better known as the New Silk Road project. This signals a growing participation of China in the global economy which was also reflected by Xi becoming the first Chinese head of state to attend the World Economic Forum.

The goal of this Belt is to run through Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe and South East Asia, South Asia, Africa and Mediterranean. Both sets of roads end in Western Europe and in essence connect China to Rome via the Middle East. As the US and UK retreat from their leadership of a liberal world order, China’s newest initiative implies that it is ready to fill the vacuum and defend globalization, though likely for its own survival.

China expects to invest up to $1.3 trillion dollars into this project. With China looking to become a greater influence in the world with such an initiative, some have raised the point that such projects can lead smaller nations to end up in commercial relations with China which they cannot sustain.

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