• Words Matter: The Bucharest NATO Summit and Its Contentious Promise

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    Words do matter. Even when we think we have said something casually, or of not great importance, they can come back to haunt. Item 23 of the final declaration of the 2008 NATO Ministerial summit in Bucharest said: “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO.  We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”  10 years later, speaking at a meeting with Russia’s ambassadors and permanent representatives, President Vladimir Putin warned about the eventual membership: “We will react to such aggressive steps, which pose a direct threat to Russia...”

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  • The Hybrid of High and Low Politics

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    The term hybrid is all the rage in the strategic community: hybrid warfare combines hard equipment such as aircraft carriers and physical troops with cyber warfare and drones. But what are hybrid politics? How are politicians supposed to plan policies to deal with increased Russian aggression on its borders or Chinese overflights of Taiwan’s airspace while at the same time dealing with rising social movements, often violent such as the Proud Boys, within the country?

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  • Finally, Speaking Truth to Power

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    Someone, finally, spoke truth to power by confronting financial gurus in their own back-yard, or at least asked them some powerful questions. The head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) courageously challenged heads of finance at a recent meeting in Geneva. “My question is: have you recanted the Milton Friedman of 50 years ago?” he interrogated the local bankers. “Just make money?” he went on. “Have you had your epiphany of your animal spirits being tamed in that regard?”

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