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Russia’s Relations With The USA And Europe Are At The Worst In 20 Years

Interview with CSIS President Dr. John Hamre: “Russia’s relations with the USA and Europe are at the worst I have seen in 20 years”

Dr. Hamre, the Faces of Democracy initiative wants to support a better understanding of democracy in Germany, Europe, and around the world. How significant are democracy and democratic values to you personally?

I have spent my personal and professional life in the national security field to protect democracy and democratic values during the Cold War. Unfortunately, the challenge to democracy from authoritarian countries has returned, and it must again be my primary conviction for the rest of my professional life.

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Terrorism, cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare: The global security architecture is facing a range of new challenges. How do you assess the current security situation?

The current era poses far more complex security challenges than did the Cold War. The prospect of major war for the United States is low, though we are back into a world of peer competitors. The more likely security threats come from hybrid warfare and cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks are the most challenging single problem, in my view. The cost for the attacker is quite low and there are serious problems of attribution. Most modern societies are quite vulnerable because of the large installed base of software that was not designed with security in mind.

In a global environment marked by disintegrating structures and numerous conflicts, NATO is an anchor of stability. How united and cohesive is the Alliance in 2018?

Russian aggression in the Ukraine has brought a focus back to NATO. For many years, NATO was drifting, but Russia’s actions have again brought clarity to its role and purpose. European defense capabilities are still very uneven, and should be a focus as we strengthen NATO together.

The cohesion of the European Union - one of the most successful supranational peace projects in the history of humanity - is diminishing. What happens if Europe fails?

In my view we can’t let the European Union fail. It is seriously challenged, to be sure. But it is absolutely critical for the success of Western values. The United States needs to be supportive of efforts to strengthen the EU, but it is primarily Europe’s responsibility to modernize the structure and strengthen its legitimacy with citizens.

The US is considering a withdrawal from the INF Treaty on the abolition of nuclear medium-range missiles. What does this mean for security in Europe? Is there a threat of a new arms race?

Since you sent this e-mail, President Trump has indicated his plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty. There is a procedure for this. There is a remote possibility that Congress will block this in some way, but I suspect it will not. Russia has been violating the INF Treaty for several years. Personally, I wish we had mounted a more vigorous effort to confront Russia with the violation and hold on to the Treaty. But it appears we are walking away from it. I do not think it will trigger a new arms race.

“Trident Juncture 2018” is NATO’s biggest exercise since the end of the Cold War. Has the likelihood of a case for the alliance increased with the annexation of the Crimea? Is a new Cold War imminent?

Unfortunately, Russia's relations with the USA and Europe are at the worst I have seen in 20 years! Russia has chosen a path of covert interference in the political institutions of Europe and America. That is very real and sustained. We are in a long-term competition with them again.

Dr. Hamre, our seventh question is always a personal one: what do you like to do most of all in your leisure time and what objectives have you set yourself for the next years - professionally and privately?

Woodworking is my hobby. I am now building clock cases and giving them away to friends. There is something timeless about mechanical clocks, and I want to thank people who have meant so much to me in my life with a gift that will outlive all of us.

Dr. Hamre, thank you very much for the interview!

Article source: Faces of Democracy

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Sven Lilienström

Founder of the Faces of Democracy initiative

Since the establishment of the Faces of Democracy initiative, more than 250,000 people have - true to the motto “Sign for Democracy” - signed the voluntary commitment to protect and strengthen the fundamental values of a democratic civil society. More than 45 prominent figures from the world of politics, business and society are now committed to our democratic achievements including pluralism, diversity and freedom of expression, such as the President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, President of the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Andreas Voßkuhle and the retired Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe Ben Hodges.

The Faces of Democracy:

  • Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
  • LTG Ben Hodges, Retired Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe
  • Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Dr. Peter Frank, Federal Public Prosecutor General at the Federal Court of Justice
  • Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
  • Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia
  • Fabrice Fries, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AFP
  • Dr. Ulf Poschardt, Editor-in-Chief WELT
  • Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North-Rhine-Westphalia
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Voßkuhle, President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
  • Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection SupervisorKersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia
  • Wolfgang Bosbach, CDU expert on internal security
  • Shirin David, YouTube star and “Germany's Got Talent” jury member
  • Dr. Richard Lutz, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bahn AG
  • Olaf Schubert, Comedian and cabaret artist
  • Aiman Mazyek, Secretary-General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany
  • Jörg Biallas, Editor-in-chief of „Das Parlament“
  • Hans-Ulrich Jörges, Editor-in-chief of „Stern“
  • Stephan-Andreas Casdorff, Editor-in-chief of the leading Berlin newspaper “Der Tagesspiegel”
  • Prof. Dr. Heribert Prantl, Member of the Chief Editorial Team of „Süddeutsche Zeitung“
  • Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Martina Larkin, Head of Europe and Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum Davos
  • Piotr Cywinski, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial
  • Christian Lindner, Leader of the Free Democratic Party in Germany (FDP)
  • Martin Schulz, Leader of the German Social Democratic Party and chancellor candidate 2017
  • Prof. Dr. Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute
  • Daniela Katzenberger, Soap opera star
  • Christiane Grün, Managing Director 3M DACH countries
  • Thomas Geisel, Mayor of Düsseldorf - the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Dr. Bruno Kahl, President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND)
  • Tom Gerhardt, Actor and comedian
  • Dr. Peter Frank, Federal Public Prosecutor General at the Federal Court of Justice
  • Dr. Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany
  • Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • John Harris, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of POLITICO
  • Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor
  • Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney
  • Annalena Baerbock, Chairwoman of the Green Party of Germany