Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies warned Russia against further destabilizing Ukraine while meeting for a two-day summit in Brussels (FT). The G7 issued a communiqué that threatened to "intensify targeted sanctions" in the future but fell short of specifying triggers for another round of sanctions, which U.S. president Barack Obama had advocated. The Western leaders were meeting for the first time in seventeen years in the reconstituted G7, a move meant to isolate Russian president Vladimir Putin, but the summit highlighted diverging interests within the group. Putin is set to meet with the German, French, and British leaders at events commemorating the Allied invasion of Normandy on Friday (AP), and France is moving ahead with plans to train hundreds of Russian seamen to operate a French-made warship, defying U.S. calls against enhancing Russian naval power (WSJ).
"The rebirth of the G7 reflects understandable Western pique at Russian aggression in Crimea and obduracy over Syria, among other areas. But it would be a mistake to oversell its potential to solve global problems. The enduring lesson of the global financial crisis, which gave birth to the G20 in 2008, is that global stability today depends on coordination among all the world's leading players—advanced and emerging, partners and rivals. To navigate this new world, the Obama administration must learn to play on multiple chess boards at once. It must be nimble enough to work together with Russia, China, and other emerging powers, even as it holds the line against threats to the sanctity of borders or regional balances of power. In short, Washington must learn to compartmentalize," writes CFR's Stewart Patrick.
"Whereas Baltic leaders (and many others) believe that [Putin's] actions have upended the post-cold war security environment in a fundamental way, other European leaders see the actions as a temporary crisis that they hope can soon be resolved through negotiations and de-escalation. These different perspectives matter. A fundamental change in the security environment would require an enduring adaptation in Nato's security posture; a temporary crisis requires no such adaptation and, once resolved, would enable the resumption of business as usual," writes Ivo Daalder for the Financial Times.
"In 2006, the 28 members of the alliance agreed to spend 2 percent, a bare minimum, of their G.D.P.'s on defense. By 2012, only three besides the United States had met even that modest goal: Britain, Greece and Estonia. The burden borne by America has grown so disproportionate—from 50 percent of NATO defense spending during the Cold War to 70 percent today—that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has warned that the alliance itself could be in trouble," notes the New York Times in an editorial.
China Lodges Protest Over U.S. Tiananmen Remarks
Beijing has lodged a diplomatic protest over the White House's call for China to account for those killed (SCMP) in the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
CFR's Elizabeth Economy rounds up competing perspectives on Tiananmen.
Democratization has regressed in Southeast Asia, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
NATO Defense Ministers Discuss Afghan Transition
NATO officials said the total training mission is likely to total some twelve thousand troops as the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., briefed defense ministers meeting in Brussels on transition plans (WaPo). The United States also solicited special operations forces from NATO and non-NATO allies to focus on a counterterrorism mission (Reuters).
Mark Jacobson discusses adaptations in NATO's core mission for the twenty-first century.
The latest round of peace talks, slated to have resumed in Addis Ababa, have faltered (Sudan Tribune). China has shifted toward a more proactive role in mediating the conflict, where it has significant oil interests, Reuters notes. Experts say this could signal a broader shift in its approach to Africa.