Economic Dimension: “The Economic Costs of the Russia-Ukraine War”
While real GDP in the European Union and the United States is returning to pre-pandemic levels, the war in Ukraine has reduced trade and increased prices of food and energy, slowing economic growth around the world by 1.3% below previous estimates. Inflation in the EU and the U.S. has also exceeded expectations, primarily driven by higher energy prices as well as shortened supply and greater demand for commodities as the world continues to recover from the supply chain disruptions of COVID-19. As a result, interest rates have risen and monetary policies in the US and EU have tightened, instigating lower spending and investment within the EU and US and fueling fears of stagflation.
Although the US has failed to substantially re-engage with the World Trade Organization or adopt new tariff policies under Biden, US-EU trade cooperation has improved dramatically in certain areas, such as combating the threat posed by Russia and China. The war in Ukraine has provoked increased transatlantic trade, including a 40% rise in natural gas exports from the US to the EU. The creation of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council has addressed export and licensing policies, worked to secure semiconductor supply chains and developed targeted sanctions against Russia. Yet despite heavy penalties imposed by western nations on Russia, a lack of global unity in imposing sanctions and a continuing European dependence on Russian oil has decreased their effectiveness to create an economic pressure on the nation.
What policies will be necessary to bring the global economy out of stagflation? Are economic sanctions against Russia working? Will western states continue to be willing to bear the costs of sanctions against Russia? What policies are necessary to revive supply chains still recovering from COVID-19 disruptions? Will we see the same solidarity with gas as we have seen with COVID-19 vaccines?
Political Dimension: “Democracy faces Challenges from Authoritarian Politics”
Transatlantic political relations have been on an upward trend as the US and EU recognize their geopolitical rivalry with Russia and China. The War in Ukraine has demanded cooperation in imposing sanctions and providing aid, and has increased US attention towards the needs and priorities of EU allies that have grown in importance. Additionally, policy towards China has improved following the stumble of the AUKUS deal, featuring more frequent working-group meetings, a greater push among reluctant states like Germany to label China a systematic rival, and freezing of the unilateral Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the EU and China.
Has the war in Ukraine diverted too much attention away from countering China? Will factional conflict in the US and EU states weaken the response against Russia? Is there a double standard in European immigration policy? How to counter the rise of populism across the US and Europe? Is the concern over a decline in democratic freedoms in the US justifiable?
Security Dimension: “Securing the World Against Russian Aggression and Blackmailing”
Security cooperation in the European theater has taken center stage with the ongoing war in Ukraine. The US and EU’s united and strong response supplying Ukraine with heavy artillery, intelligence, and other material support has played an important role in preventing the collapse of the Ukrainian state and driving Russian forces back into the eastern regions. With a prolonged conflict expected and Ukrainian forces depleted of reserve supplies, it is critical that the United States and European allies maintain their efforts to support the country. Broader security challenges brought on by the war include global food shortages—especially in the Middle East and Africa—caused by Russia’s withholding of wheat exports, as well as the need to develop alternative energy sources due to expectations that Russia will cut off or severely reduce oil and gas exports to dependent European nations. Furthermore, Finland and Sweden’s applications to NATO mark a historic change in policy towards the defensive pact, as countries bordering Russia fear that Putin’s actions in Ukraine could become a template for their own countries. As a member of NATO with the 2nd largest army and a well-situated capital city of Ankara, Turkey has been playing an important yet often unpredictable role on the global stage.
How will member changes in NATO affect the power balance with Russia? What energy policies are needed to shield Europe from reliance on Russian gas? How can the EU and US address global food shortages? What strategies are necessary to counter increasingly complex disinformation campaigns? But do we respect freedom of speech and expression when we are countering disinformation?