The United States federal government should cease its surveillance of foreign diplomats in the United States and at United States embassies



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Plan

The United States federal government should cease its surveillance of foreign diplomats in the United States and at United States embassies.

EU Relations Advantage

The Advantage is US-EU Relations –

Snowden’s leak exposed secret US surveillance of foreign ambassadors at US embassies – this caused massive backlash to US surveillance policy


MacAskill and Borger 13 (Ewen is the Guardians defense and intelligence correspondent, previously the DC bureau chief and diplomatic editor and Julian is the Guardians diplomatic editor and author of The Butchers Trail, 6/30, “New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies”, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/30/nsa-leaks-us-bugging-european-allies)//cc

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae. Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states. One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals. The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states. The new revelations come at a time when there is already considerable anger across the EU over earlier evidence provided by Snowden of NSA eavesdropping on America's European allies. Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour "was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war" The German magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that some of the bugging operations in Brussels targeting the EU's Justus Lipsius building – a venue for summit and ministerial meetings in the Belgian capital – were directed from within Nato headquarters nearby. The US intelligence service codename for the bugging operation targeting the EU mission at the United Nations is "Perdido". Among the documents leaked by Snowden is a floor plan of the mission in midtown Manhattan. The methods used against the mission include the collection of data transmitted by implants, or bugs, placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation that appears to provide a copy of everything on a targeted computer's hard drive. The eavesdropping on the EU delegation to the US, on K Street in Washington, involved three different operations targeted on the embassy's 90 staff. Two were electronic implants and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions. Although the latest documents are part of an NSA haul leaked by Snowden, it is not clear in each case whether the surveillance was being exclusively done by the NSA – which is most probable as the embassies and missions are technically overseas – or by the FBI or the CIA, or a combination of them. The 2010 document describes the operation as "close access domestic collection".

This surveillance serves no national security purpose – it’s being done exclusively to eavesdrop


Council of Europe 15 (Council of Europe Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. “Mass Surveillance”. 26 January 2015. https://ccdcoe.org/sites/default/files/documents/CoE-150126-MassSurveillance.pdf)//JuneC//

The New York Times revealed that the NSA monitored an American law firm representing a foreign government in trade disputes against the United States53 as well as other countries’ preparations for the Copenhagen Climate Summit, including those by the host country, Denmark.54 The NSA also engaged in targeted surveillance of the United Nations, the European Union, and other international organizations in a variety of ways, including bugging embassy phones and faxes, copying hard disks, and tapping into the internal computer cable network used by collaborators. 55 To cite a few examples out of the many that were revealed, the NSA used operation Blackfoot to gather data from French diplomats’ offices at the New York UN headquarters.56 Operation Perdido targeted the EU’s offices in New York and Washington, while Powell was a codename for the NSA’s scheme to eavesdrop on the Greek UN offices in New York. The NSA’s internal document indicated that its spying had a key influence on “American negotiating tactics at the UN” in connection with the Iraq War. Thanks to the intercepted conversations, the NSA was allegedly able to inform the US State Department and the American Ambassador to the UN with a high degree of certainty that the required majority had been secured before the vote was held on the corresponding UN resolution.57 While the inclusion of traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries were “expected” and more easily explained in light of US anti-terrorism efforts, the inclusion of traditional allies discredits the contention that the purpose of surveillance is the protection of national security.


The largest impact has been in Europe – US surveillance of personnel at our embassies undermines US-EU cooperation on a host of issues – even when cooperation happens, a chilling effect makes it ineffective


EUCE 14 (European Union Center of North Carolina “The NSA Leaks and Transatlantic Relations”. EUCE. 4 July 2014. http://europe.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Brief_1407.pdf)//JuneC//

The diplomatic fallout has been limited, but Snowden's revelations have impacted relations on a deeper level: the bonds of trust between Europe and America have been undermined. The loss of trust has been caused not so much by the mass collection of citizens’ data as by the spying on diplomats and heads of government. In fact, while mass data collections has somewhat soured public perceptions of the US, the fact that European agencies were complicit in the data’s collection has somewhat curbed the fallout. Arguably, mass collection of data has undermined citizens’ trust towards political elites in general: polling carried out by the German Marshall Policy Area: Snowden, the NSA and Europe European Union Center of North Carolina EU Briefings The European Union Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is funded by the European Union to advance knowledge and understanding of the EU and its member countries. Fund of the United States suggests that Europeans are opposed to surveillance carried out by the US and by their own governments alike.16 On the other hand, it may be argued that the bugging of embassies, diplomats and heads of government has significantly undermined the 'special' nature of the transatlantic relationship in the eyes of the political elite, harming US-German relations in particular. The revelation that the US was carrying out monitoring from its Embassy in the heart of Berlin served almost as a visual metaphor for the loss of trust. In her state visit to the US in May 2014, Merkel sought to lessen the tension, but also stated that there were still difficulties to overcome, and that ‘there will have to be more than just business as usual’.17 The fact that initial plans for a no-spy agreement between Germany and the US were shelved is further testimony to the simmering tension. Germans, once enthusiastic of Obama, have now become disillusioned with his foreign policy: the failure to close down Guantanamo, the proliferation of drone strikes and the different attitudes towards intervention in Libya and Syria have all contributed to this perception. The fallout between the US and Germany may not yet have reached its endpoint: on June 4th 2014, the German Federal prosecutor launched an official investigation in the hacking of Merkel's phone, a sign that anger over the spying has prevailed over considerations of the potential damages to the relationship with the US. Throughout Western Europe, with the possible exception of Britain, the NSA revelations have been a significant blow to transatlantic unity. Compared to one year ago, the transatlantic relationship is not markedly weaker, but it now looks self-interested and pragmatic rather than idealistic and selfless. PART III: Future prospects While extensive co-operation between the US and Europe is set to continue, the leaks and the loss of trust they entail are likely to have a series of concrete consequences in the medium term. First of all, it is possible that public concerns over mass data collection will lead to increased pressure on European intelligence agencies to weaken their co-operation with US agencies, potentially undermining collective security: more likely however is that governments will weather this storm and it will be business as usual to a great degree. As far as the TTIP is concerned, negotiations are still ongoing, but it seems increasingly likely that fears over data protection will make it harder to adopt common standards, while fears of backdoor access may lead to resistance to the opening up of European government procurement to US companies. Ultimately, the European Parliament will have to approve the final deal, a potentially difficult hurdle to overcome. To keep abreast with the pace of technical change revealed by the NSA’s techniques, the EU and European governments are set to launch a set of initiatives designed to update the EU's digital infrastructure so that it is better protected from external probing, and to create a stronger regulatory framework for data protection. In this regard, in October the Commission developed proposals for the reform of data protection, ensuring that non-European companies respect EU data protection law and only transfer data outside of the Union in specific circumstances. These combined efforts are likely to result in a strengthened European data protection system and in stronger regulations, which could end up restricting not only American spying but also the operations of US companies in Europe if they fail to comply with European standards. This may actually serve as a stimulus for the US to adopt similar standards. In diplomatic terms, there is likely to be a symbolic push for a formal or informal agreement over spying, and a push to review existing EU-US data transfer agreements. Official limitations on actual spying seems unlikely after the failure of the US-German 'no spy' agreement. Instead of a formal understanding it is likely that the US will refrain from indiscriminate spying in the future, recognizing the potential for diplomatic fallout. In terms of data-transfer agreements, the EU is seeking to strengthen the existing 'Safe Harbor' data transfer framework, ensuring that the US does not abuse the clause allowing extensive transfers for national security reasons. Moreover negotiations are ongoing for an 'Umbrella Agreement' for data transfer in the context of counterterrorism and judicial cooperation: the key point will be securing the right of European citizens to seek redress in American courts in case of improper data transfer. The US is likely to be receptive to these initiatives, realizing that these are conciliatory steps and that indiscriminate spying has the potential to cause serious damage. If current negotiations concerning future co-operation in data sharing succeed, it is possible that Snowden's revelations will eventually come to be seen as having had some positive side-benefits within a wider narrative of treachery: spurring co-operation and playing a role in restoring trust and renewing the transatlantic partnership in the digital age. It will be possible for the US to weather this storm of adverse publicity and diplomatic fallout but if this is the path chosen it will cast a shadow over transatlantic relations: it will be better to offer symbolic reforms to curb the NSA’s perceived excesses.

Failure to reverse status quo embassy spying spills over by generating friction on the overall transatlantic relationship


Young 14 – Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer of National Security Parnters, LLC, served as the Executive Director for the Directorate of Plans and Policya t the United States Cyber Command, and as a senior leader at the NSA (Mark Young, Summer 2014, “National Insecurity: The Impacts of Illegal Disclosures of Classified Information,” 10 ISJLP 367, Lexis)//twemchen

B. European Union. Traditionally, strong diplomatic and intelligence sharing relationships with members of the European Union have also been strained by revelations of programs allegedly collecting the personal [*390] communication of thirty-five heads of state. 92 These reports of U.S. surveillance in Europe are "eating away at the fabric of trust that is part of the alliance." 93 According to the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Charles A. Kupchan, there is a direct relationship between the political discomfort with alleged U.S. intelligence collection and European disappointment about the President's inability to better balance security and civil liberties. 94 Kupchan has noted that many Europeans feel that Obama "has failed to deliver on his pledge to clean up some of the excesses left behind by the George W. Bush administration." 95 German Chancellor Angela Merkel originally defended the apparent intelligence cooperation disclosed by Snowden. She pointed out that Germany had "avoided terrorist attacks thanks to information from allies." 96 But, in the face of new disclosures, she is now discussing limits on privacy intrusions. Merkel has alluded repeatedly to "Cold War" tactics and has said spying on friends is unacceptable. 97 Her spokesman has said a mutually-beneficial transatlantic trade deal requires a level of "mutual trust." 98 Chancellor Merkel has been criticized for her apparently feigned indignation about alleged cooperation with the U.S. Intelligence Community. "Germany has demanded explanations for Snowden's allegations of large-scale spying by the NSA, and by Britain via a programme codenamed 'Tempora,' on their allies including [*391] Germany and other European Union states, as well as EU institutions and embassies." 99 The Head of German domestic intelligence has said he knew nothing about the reported NSA surveillance. 100 Opposition parties believe otherwise. They claimed that, because German intelligence activities are coordinated within the Office of the Chancellor, highlevel officials must have known about speculative NSA activities. 101 Der Spiegel has reported that the NSA monitored about twenty million German phone connections and ten million Internet sessions on an average day and sixty million phone connections on above average days. 102 Thus, unconfirmed U.S. intelligence activities are now an issue that will affect German political leadership and the diplomatic and intelligence relationships between Germany and the U.S. The impact on European Union allies is already seen in the talks being held between European Union member states and the United States about American surveillance tactics that may have included spying on European allies. 103 President Obama assured Germany that the U.S. "takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners." 104 The initiation of a dialogue between the United States and European Union Members about intelligence collection and appropriate oversight 105 will also complicate the transatlantic relationship. Restrictions or legislation that shifts standards of privacy and data protection will diminish American and European Union security.

It’s reverse causal – curtailing embassy spying would restore mutual confidence – ushering in a new era in transatlantic cooperation


Economic Times 13 – (7/8/13, “EU, US set for FTA talks in shadow of spying storm,” http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-07-08/news/40443507_1_eu-offices-fta-negotiations-transatlantic-trade)//twemchen

The European Union and US are set to kick off long-awaited negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) in Washington today despite growing demands to delay the talks until allegations of American spying on EU officials and sweeping surveillance of citizens are cleared. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made a fresh appeal to stick to the road map agreed when the trade talks were formally launched at the G-8 summit in Dublin last month and also to hold parallel discussions to investigate America's unprecedented espionage operations, exposed by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. The trans-Atlantic negotiations to create the world's largest free trade zone should not be dropped in the wake of the US espionage scandal and they must be carried out "well-targeted and without putting the other issues under the table" she told an election campaign rally of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at the weekend in the state of North Rhine Westphalia. Snowden's revelations in the past weeks that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged the EU embassies in Washington and at the United Nations as well as its headquarters in Brussels and systematically collected vast amounts of internet and telephone data of EU citizens had threatened to derail the EU-US FTA negotiations. Merkel criticised the NSA's blanket cyber surveillance and bugging of EU offices and said they cannot be justified with the argument that they are in the interest of protecting Europe and its citizens against possible terrorist attacks. "Eavesdropping among friends cannot be tolerated. The era of cold war is over," she said. However, a "proper balance" must be maintained between protecting citizens against terrorism and safeguarding their personal data, she said. The European Commission confirmed at the weekend that an agreement was reached among the EU member-nations to start the negotiations with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as planned tomorrow and to take up parallel joint investigations into the alleged US bugging of EU offices and snooping into the internet and telephone data. However, the discussions on the espionage scandal will be held only in one joint working group and will be restricted to data privacy and the NSA's surveillance programmes codenamed PRISM. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed the hope that the joint EU-US investigations will provide "sufficient clarifications" on the spying allegations, which are necessary to restore mutual confidence as the two sides prepared to usher in a new era in transatlantic cooperation. An FTA "is not just in the interest of the EU, but it is also clearly in the interest of the US," Barroso said. German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser Schnarrenberger has demanded a detailed clarification from the US on the alleged NSA espionage activities before FTA negotiations can get under way. Peer Steinbrueck, chancellor Merkel's main opponent in the parliamentary election in September, has said that the FTA negotiations should be delayed until the espionage allegations are sufficiently clarified.

Scenario 1: Russia

Renewed US-EU relations is vital to project a unified front in the face of Russian aggression


Cohen 6/25 (Ariel, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, He is also Director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and Principal of International Market Analysis Ltd, 2015, “Hey, Remember Me? It’s Europe. The Transatlantic Alliance is in Trouble” http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/hey-remember-me-it-s-europe)//cc

"We lived next to Russia for 500 years—listen to what we have to say," Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said at the Bratislava Global Security Forum on June 20. He's right. The West needs to pay attention and achieve strategic clarity in Europe and beyond before it's too late. There are no shortage of crises and challenges—ISIS, the refugee crisis involving state failure in North Africa, Syria and Iraq, the rise of China, and Greece's potential exit from the European Union to name a few—facing the United States and its allies, but Ukraine and Russia are among the key tests to the transatlantic relationship. Russia is becoming more authoritarian, nationalist, militarist, and expansionist. Ukraine is inching closer to an economic meltdown which is likely to translate into a greater social crisis. Eighteen months after Russia annexed Crimea, transatlantic unity has held. But Europeans are increasingly looking inward and are in a bad mood. Pew's recent opinion poll confirms that large majorities of Europeans are unwilling to defend NATO allies, while 85 percent expect the United States to come to their rescue if attacked. NATO, the European Union, and national governments need to convince young people that their world and values are worth defending. It's true that Europe needs economic growth to pay for its defense. Not all members are willing to spend two percent of GDP on defense as recommended by the Wales NATO summit. In fact, only five countries do: Estonia, Greece, Poland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Greece's potential exit from the Eurozone may heighten turmoil in the financial markets and slow growth, further diminishing commitments to robust military spending. Europe is also internally conflicted and distracted with other pressing issues. During the Bratislava Global Security Forum, the far right in Slovakia demonstrated against accepting refugees from North Africa. Taking into account the high unemployment rate among the young across Europe, the potential for social destabilization is high and the momentum for Euro-Atlantic values is low. There's also concern about divisions in Central and Eastern Europe. Austria and Hungary want a reliable supply of oil and gas, and Russian cash. Others, like Czech Republic and Slovakia, buy into Putin's tough image and pseudo-conservative narrative and some believe that residual pan-Slavic solidarity still applies to Russia, but not to Ukraine. Estonian President Toomas Henrik Ilves and the former Czech Foreign Minister Alexander Vondra have warned that the European consensus on social values, including overstressing individual liberties, while neglecting one's duties to the society and the country, went over the top. Ilves cautioned in Bratislava that we should not stress the differences between old and new Europe, but find ways to unite Central and Eastern Europe with Western Europe. After all, they were a part of a whole for over 1,000 years. The United States found a competent partner in German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and those favoring a softer approach to Putin's Russia in the German business community have been restrained. But a vocal anti-atlanticist minority in Europe, on the far right and far left, takes the Kremlin's cash and buys Moscow's message. Its message is an anti-American narrative, draped in a pseudo-traditionalist, anti-democratic values that claims to defend Christianity, while promoting homophobia and racism. Berlin, Moscow, and Washington have prevented the conflict in Ukraine from getting out of control, but Moscow's strategic goals are far from clear. It appears that Moscow has abandoned its plans for Novorossiya—the eight provinces in east and south Ukraine. Even though Moscow’s endgame is opaque, the West needs to be prepared for a Russian offensive in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. Massive military exercises suggest that Putin isn’t messing around. He just added forty new missiles to his strategic nuclear arsenal, while Russia's short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad may have received nuclear warheads. By extending the Iskanders’ range, the Kremlin may have violated the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. Russia's incessant prodding of Western air defenses and in Finnish and Swedish waters may hint at how far the Kremlin's ambitions stretch. But it could also be mere posturing. The answers to these questions require more human intelligence gathering and strategic planning that we frankly don't do well. One hopes that the sanctions and lower oil prices will change Russia's behavior in Ukraine and in Europe, but oil is already inching higher, and hope is not a strategy. If the conflict in Ukraine escalates, millions of refugees will stream into Europe, and there will be no sea to stop them. NATO is rightly focused on Russia as never before. Yet it needs to put its money and muscle where its mouth is; it should pre-position military equipment in Central and Eastern Europe, as the United States plans to do, and expand military assistance to Ukraine, including defensive weapons and training. But that's not enough. I just returned five weeks abroad and spoke with foreign leaders and policy experts in China, Israel, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Russia, and Slovakia. There is not enough clarity. Frustratingly, we're still discussing strategic information aspects of Russia's belligerence in the Ukraine conflict. To state the obvious, policy prescriptions often get foggy without a clear strategy.

The threat is real – Russia’s spoiling for a fight – a credible and unified deterrent is key


Morris 6/27 – staff writer at the Valuewalk (Christopher Morris, 6/27/15, “Russia And NATO Prepare For Possible War,” http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/06/russia-and-nato-prepare-for-possible-war/)//twemchen

Tensions continues to ramp up between Russia and the United States, as geopolitical manoeuvers unfold. The uneasy peace between the Eastern and Western superpowers seems to be deteriorating further, with both sides taking action which has resulted in distrust increasing further. Russia Nuclear Weapons Iskander missile launcher Putin increases nuclear warhead haul Just last week, the Russian supremo Vladimir Putin announced that Russia intended to expand its existing nuclear arsenal. This move would see the nation establishing forty new intercontinental ballistic missiles to add to its existing quota. Considering that Russia and the United States collectively have in the region of 15,000 nuclear warheads, one might not unreasonably wonder what is the point of Russia acquiring another forty. There is no doubt that should the United States or Russia ever fire a nuclear weapon at one another, the ultimate result would be unprecedented and unimaginable global devastation. Unfortunately, both Russia and the United States have engaged in actions in recent months which have resulted in the diplomatic situation between the two nations deteriorating. The latest increase in nuclear weapons announced by Russia seems to have led to a new phase of posturing and military manoeuvres, which is the latest in a phase of rising tensions that began with the Ukraine conflict back in 2013. Geopolitical conflict As has been reported previously by ValueWalk, the existing situation must be seen in the slightly geopolitical context. Russia and the US are historical rivals anyway, but the pairing of Russia with China in the new BRICS power bloc places pressure on the traditional US-led hierarchy. The old world order of the Anglo-American and EU / NATO-driven institutions is being challenged by the BRICS, and the powerful organization has already made it a stated goal to play a greater role in existing economic institutions, or if this is not achievable to set up a central bank of its own. ValueWalk reported sometime ago that the BRICS nations have been scheming to create their own central bank, as the major political and business figures from the Eastern world continue to be frozen out of the existing global economic infrastructure. Whether this is a serious intention, or rather a bargaining chip in an ongoing debate and struggle, remains to be seen. But what is certain is that the existing tension between the United States and Russia should be seen as a symptom of this situation. Russia’s replacement strategy According to Adam Mount, a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, the announcement which has recently been made by Putin does not actually signifying a significant change in Russian nuclear policy. Mount suggests that Russia is fully compliant with the New START treaty, which limits strategic launches such as ICBMs. Russia’s existing nuclear capability is indeed dating owing to its Soviet-Europe vintage. Russia must continue to take delivery of forty new weapons every year simply to replicate the existing capability. This is essentially the explanation for the extra warheads which have been ordered by the Russian president, and doesn't really represent an increase in the nation's nuclear capabilities. Regardless of the realities of this announcement, it still presents an opportunity for NATO to ramp up the rhetoric against the nation. Indeed, NATO officials have already expressed concern over the announcement made by Putin, with The Guardian newspaper reporting concern within the military organization of the extent to which such weapons are being utilized in Russian military exercises. US Building Defense System Against Russia Cruise Missile Image Source: Defense One NATO responds in kind NATO has also taken explicitly aggressive steps of its own, by beefing up its Response Force. There are already thousands of soldiers and advanced military technology and weaponry stationed near Russia's borders in response to the Ukrainian situation, and this fighting force has recently been further increased. It already consists of 13,000 troops, but according to reports that emerged this week, NATO may now increase this to as much as 40,000. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has specifically stated that the move isn't intended to increase tensions, and NATO’s official policy is to seek neither confrontation nor a new arms race. Naturally, Russia has been criticized for its policy in the Ukraine, but it is also notable that the United States and its allies have destabilized this relationship and region by directly supporting the overthrow of the Ukrainian government. The subsequent encircling of the nation with a large quotient of military force was only likely to ramp up tensions further. And despite what has been stated about NATO's intentions by the organization itself, it seems that the military alliance that it represents is absolutely prepared to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy. NATO considers this to be a response to Russian aggression rather than a pre-emptive policy, but this will only serve to diminish the diplomatic relations between the Western and Eastern superpowers. Nuclear response reported It was reported again by The World Socialist Website that NATO is even planning to respond to any attempt by Russia to counter the United States with an even more aggressive military strategy. This could even include nuclear weapons. While this is an extremely alarming prospect, and the continuing tensions between Russia and the United States are worrying, it is also important to understand the historical context of this conflict. While no-one wants to believe that either side is capable of utilizing nuclear weapons, as ValueWalk as reported previously, this in fact came incredibly close to occurring during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the two big beasts in world geopolitics continue to saber rattle, one can only hope that ultimately a peaceful solution is sort to these inevitable tensions. In the iconic 1997 publication “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined a shifting in the world order and power base which is unfolding before our very eyes now. Although Brzezinski is, not unreasonably, a reviled figure to many, it is notable that he didn't predict that it would end with armed conflict between Russia, China, the United States and the Western world. With both power blocs continuing to behave with intransigence, one can only hope that this verdict turns out to be accurate.

The impact is extinction


Farmer and Bradshaw 2/20 – Defense Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, citing General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Commander of NATO Forces in Europe, and former Director of British Special Forces, and Michael Fallon, British Secretary of State for Defence (“NATO general: Russia tensions could escalate into all-out war,” Business Insider, 2-20-2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/nato-general-russia-tensions-could-escalate-to-war-2015-2)//twemchen

Tensions with Russia could blow up into all-out conflict, posing “an existential threat to our whole being”, Britain’s top general in Nato has warned. Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of Nato forces in Europe, said there was a danger Vladimir Putin could try to use his armies to invade and seize Nato territory, after calculating the alliance would be too afraid of escalating violence to respond. His comments follow a clash between London and Moscow after the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said there was a "real and present danger" Mr Putin could try to destabilize the Baltic states with a campaign of subversion and irregular warfare. The Kremlin called those comments “absolutely unacceptable". Sir Adrian told the Royal United Services’ Institute there was a danger such a campaign of undercover attacks could paralyze Nato decision making, as members disagreed over how much Russia was responsible, and how to respond. Nato commanders fear a campaign of skilfully disguised, irregular military action by Russia, which is carefully designed not to trigger the alliance's mutual defence pact. He said the "resulting ambiguity" would make "collective decisions relating to the appropriate responses more difficult". But Sir Adrian, one of the most senior generals in the British Army and a former director of special forces, went further and said there was also danger that Russia could use conventional forces and Soviet-era brinkmanship to seize Nato territory. He said Russia had shown last year it could generate large conventional forces at short notice for snap exercises along its borders. There was a danger these could be used “not only for intimidation and coercion but potentially to seize Nato territory, after which the threat of escalation might be used to prevent re-establishment of territorial integrity. This use of so called escalation dominance was of course a classic Soviet technique.” He went on to say that “the threat from Russia, together with the risk it brings of a miscalculation resulting in a strategic conflict, however unlikely we see it as being right now, represents an existential threat to our whole being.” Nato has agreed to set up a rapid reaction force of around 5,000 troops ready to move at 48 hours notice, in case of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Supplies, equipment and ammunition will be stockpiled in bases in the region. Alliance leaders hope the force will deter any incursion. David Cameron warned Vladimir Putin there will be more sanctions and "more consequences" for Russia if the ceasefire in Ukraine does not hold. The Prime Minister vowed that the West would be "staunch" in its response to Russia and was prepared to maintain pressure on Moscow "for the long term". He rejected the findings of a scathing parliamentary committee report that the UK found itself "sleep-walking" into the crisis over Ukraine. The EU Committee of the House of Lords found there had been a "catastrophic misreading" of mood by European diplomats in the run-up to the crisis. Earlier this week, Mr Fallon said the Russian president might try to test Nato’s resolve with the same Kremlin-backed subversion used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. A murky campaign of infiltration, propaganda, undercover forces and cyber attack such as that used in the early stages of the Ukraine conflict could be used to inflame ethnic tensions in Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia, he said. The military alliance must be prepared to repel Russian aggression “whatever form it takes”, Mr Fallon said, as he warned that tensions between the two were “warming up”. His comments were dismissed in Moscow. Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman said the country does not pose a threat to Baltic countries and accused Mr Fallon of going beyond “diplomatic ethics” . Alexander Lukashevich said: "His absolutely unacceptable characteristics of the Russian Federation remind me of last year's speech of US president Barack Obama before the UN general assembly, in which he mentioned Russia among the three most serious challenges his country was facing.” "I believe we will find a way to react to Mr Secretary's statements."

Scenario 2: TTIP

The recent passage of TPA makes domestic passage of a transatlantic trade agreement likely – resolving international differences is key


Heath and Palmer 8/6 – staff writers @ Politico (Ryan Heath and Doug Palmer, 8/6/15, “Merkel optimistic on TTIP deal,” http://www.politico.eu/article/merkel-optimistic-on-tpa-approval-ttip-deal/)//twemchen

ELMAU, GERMANY — German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed optimism Monday that Congress would soon approve trade promotion authority, which she said would set the stage for the conclusion of transatlantic trade talks by the end of the year. “We were pleased the president will get the fast-track,” Merkel said at the Group of Seven leading economies meeting in Germany. “The good news is that after just a few weeks it will be time to focus completely on the EU agreement with the United States.” House Republican leaders are pushing for a vote this week on the “fast track” trade promotion authority bill, which would allow Obama to submit the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without amendment. Merkel’s comment seemed to reflect White House confidence they would win the vote, despite the opposition of most House Democrats. The German leader said both sides acknowledged there were difficult issues left in the TTIP talks, but also “said that by the end of the year we want to come to a successful agreement,” she said.


The sticking point in TTIP negotiations is US embassy tapping – resolving that issue is key to getting Europe to return to the bargaining table


Llana 13 – Monitor's European Bureau Chief based in Paris, masters in journalism from Columbia University, BA in history from the University of Michigan (Sara Miller, “Has NSA spying put US-EU trade deal on the rocks? Revelations of broad US surveillance of EU offices, particularly in Germany, have angered Europe,” Christian Science Monitor, 7/01/13, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2013/0701/Has-NSA-spying-put-US-EU-trade-deal-on-the-rocks) //AD

Revelations that the United States has systematically spied on Europe are threatening what is being billed as a pivotal moment for the transatlantic relationship: the start of negotiations next week for a major trade deal. The latest disclosures from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, came in a report over the weekend in the German daily Der Spiegel, alleging that the NSA bugged European Union offices and that half a billion phone calls, e-mails, and text messages from Germany alone are tapped by the US in an average month – far surpassing the average attention given to other European allies. In fact, Germany is spied on just as often as China or Iraq, the paper claims. If the extent of US surveillance in the world is not surprising to some, it’s still controversial in Europe, especially in countries like Germany that place a high priority on data privacy. But the timing of the revelations, as negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are set to begin July 8, has created a firestorm, says Johannes Thimm, an expert on US foreign policy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. “There are economic interests involved on both sides, and while the [TTIP] is generally in the spirit of cooperation, there are some trade-offs and really hard negotiations ahead,” Dr. Thimm says. American ability to access that communication as it is playing out, he says, gives the US “a huge strategic advantage." The Spanish daily El Pais quoted a slew of EU officials voicing their outrage. The European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, said plainly: "Partners do not spy on each other," she said. "We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators.” The European Parliament's foreign affairs committee head, Elmar Brok, reiterated that view. "The spying has taken on dimensions that I would never have thought possible from a democratic state," he told Der Spiegel. "How should we still negotiate if we must fear that our negotiating position is being listened to beforehand?" The anger has generated not only threats that the TTIP is at risk, but that a cloud looms over the entire transatlantic relationship. Germany Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said the fact that “our friends in the US see Europeans as enemies exceeds the imaginable.” The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said that “if this is true, it’s an immense scandal that could have a severe impact on relations between the EU and the US.”

TTIP is key to NATO cohesion


Poe 15 – Chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee (Chairman Poe, 3/17/15, “House Foreign Affairs, Trade Subcommittee Hearing on National Security Benefits of Trade Agreements with Asia & Europe; Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee hearing on National Security Benefits of Trade Agreements with Asia and Europe,” Academic OneFile)//twemchen

And yet, there are questions of trust and commitment across the Atlantic these days. NATO is perceived in some quarters to be a bit wobbly. TTIP would be the other side of the coin of our commitment to Europe through our -- our military alliance. And I think, particularly, given the issues facing European security these days, this is a vital reassurance of U.S. commitment to Europe. It also would reassure Americans who wonder about the European Union and whether it's inward or outward looking that the E.U. would be a very strong outward looking partner, because TTIP would essentially make that case. The second area is how both of us together relate to rising powers. And Dr. Green mentioned a few of those elements. But I think one has to think about this. Those rising powers are each having debates of how they relate to the international system. Do they challenge it? Do they accommodate themselves to it? And the message we have to those countries as they have those debates is actually quite important. In recent years, we've had different messages, or muddled messages. European message, American message -- we don't have a message. So, TTIP is a single strong message about a robust revitalized West, not defensive, but also not aggressive. About upholding standards, not eroding them. And it has an impact on each of the countries that we could discuss.


Extinction


Brzezinski 9 (Zbigniew, former US National Security Adviser, “An Agenda for NATO”, Foreign Affairs, October 2009, ebsco)//twemchen

NATO's potential is not primarily military. Although NATO is a collective-security alliance, its actual military power comes predominantly from the United States, and that reality is not likely to change anytime soon. NATO's real power derives from the fact that it combines the United States' military capabilities and economic power with Europe's collective political and economic weight (and occasionally some limited European military forces). Together, that combination makes NATO globally significant. It must therefore remain sensitive to the importance of safeguarding the geopolitical bond between the United States and Europe as it addresses new tasks. The basic challenge that NATO now confronts is that there are historically unprecedented risks to global security. Today's world is threatened neither by the militant fanaticism of a territorially rapacious nationalist state nor by the coercive aspiration of a globally pretentious ideology embraced by an expansive imperial power. The paradox of our time is that the world, increasingly connected and economically interdependent for the first time in its entire history, is experiencing intensifying popular unrest made all the more menacing by the growing accessibility of weapons of mass destruction--not just to states but also, potentially, to extremist religious and political movements. Yet there is no effective global security mechanism for coping with the growing threat of violent political chaos stemming from humanity's recent political awakening. The three great political contests of the twentieth century (the two world wars and the Cold War) accelerated the political awakening of mankind, which was initially unleashed in Europe by the French Revolution. Within a century of that revolution, spontaneous populist political activism had spread from Europe to East Asia. On their return home after World Wars I and II, the South Asians and the North Africans who had been conscripted by the British and French imperial armies propagated a new awareness of anticolonial nationalist and religious political identity among hitherto passive and pliant populations. The spread of literacy during the twentieth century and the wide-ranging impact of radio, television, and the Internet accelerated and intensified this mass global political awakening. In its early stages, such new political awareness tends to be expressed as a fanatical embrace of the most extreme ethnic or fundamentalist religious passions, with beliefs and resentments universalized in Manichaean categories. Unfortunately, in significant parts of the developing world, bitter memories of European colonialism and of more recent U.S. intrusion have given such newly aroused passions a distinctively anti-Western cast. Today, the most acute example of this phenomenon is found in an area that stretches from Egypt to India. This area, inhabited by more than 500 million politically and religiously aroused peoples, is where NATO is becoming more deeply embroiled. Additionally complicating is the fact that the dramatic rise of China and India and the quick recovery of Japan within the last 50 years have signaled that the global center of political and economic gravity is shifting away from the North Atlantic toward Asia and the Pacific. And of the currently leading global powers--the United States, the EU, China, Japan, Russia, and India--at least two, or perhaps even three, are revisionist in their orientation. Whether they are "rising peacefully" (a self-confident China), truculently (an imperially nostalgic Russia) or boastfully (an assertive India, despite its internal multiethnic and religious vulnerabilities), they all desire a change in the global pecking order. The future conduct of and relationship among these three still relatively cautious revisionist powers will further intensify the strategic uncertainty. Visible on the horizon but not as powerful are the emerging regional rebels, with some of them defiantly reaching for nuclear weapons. North Korea has openly flouted the international community by producing (apparently successfully) its own nuclear weapons--and also by profiting from their dissemination. At some point, its unpredictability could precipitate the first use of nuclear weapons in anger since 1945. Iran, in contrast, has proclaimed that its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes but so far has been unwilling to consider consensual arrangements with the international community that would provide credible assurances regarding these intentions. In nuclear-armed Pakistan, an extremist anti-Western religious movement is threatening the country's political stability. These changes together reflect the waning of the post-World War II global hierarchy and the simultaneous dispersal of global power. Unfortunately, U.S. leadership in recent years unintentionally, but most unwisely, contributed to the currently threatening state of affairs. The combination of Washington's arrogant unilateralism in Iraq and its demagogic Islamophobic sloganeering weakened the unity of NATO and focused aroused Muslim resentments on the United States and the West more generally.

Scenario 3: France

Spying scandals revealed less than a week ago have dealt persistent and lasting damage to US-France relations


Rose 6/24 (Michael is a correspondent at Reuters Paris,“France's Hollande says U.S. spying unacceptable”, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/24/france-wikileaks-idUSL8N0ZA11T20150624)//cc

French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday branded as "unacceptable" reported spying by the United States on French senior officials and warned Paris would not tolerate actions that threaten its security. Hollande released the statement after an emergency meeting of ministers and army commanders on Wednesday, following WikiLeaks revelations that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on the last three French presidents. "France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests," the president's office said, adding the spying allegations on French interests had been revealed in the past. "Commitments were made by the U.S. authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected." The French Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to discuss the matter, a French diplomatic source said. The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande during the period of at least 2006 until May 2012. Hollande is due to meet members of parliament at his Elysee Palace offices later on Wednesday. "We find it hard to understand or imagine what motivates an ally to spy on allies who are often on the same strategic positions in world affairs," French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told i>TELE television. U.S. media cited a statement from the U.S. National Security Council saying it was not targeting and will not target Hollande's communications. The statement did not deny spying had taken place in the past. Claude Gueant, Sarkozy's former chief of staff and one of the reported targets of the NSA, told RTL radio: "Considering the very close relationship we have with the United States, considering the fact we are extremely loyal allies, I feel like trust has been broken." "These are scary revelations which require explanations from the United States and guarantees that it won't happen again," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on France 2 television Angry and embarrassed, France summoned the U.S. ambassador Wednesday to respond to the revelations by WikiLeaks that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on three successive French presidents and other top officials.


This has resulted in an atmosphere of distrust – even if it doesn’t inflict lasting damage, this chills cooperation over the Middle East


China Daily 6/25 – China Daily European Edition (China Daily European Edition, 6/25/15, “What’s after WikiLeaks revelations of NSA spying on Paris?” Lexis)//twemchen

Facing the National Assembly, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls asked the United States to repair the damage that the tapping has caused. "The US must recognize not only the dangers such actions pose to our liberties, but also do everything, and quickly, to repair the damage it causes to the relations between allied countries and between France and the United States," Valls said Wednesday. "The reported spying creates a discomfort, because there is a breach of trust. But, it is absolutely important and vital for both countries to maintain their partnership, given that there are many sensitive issues such as Ukraine, [and] operations in Iraq which remained unsolved," Ulysse Gosset, journalist specialized in foreign politics told news channel BFMTV. To Edwy Plenel, French political journalist and editor-in-chief of news website Mediapart, which reported WikiLeaks revelations, it is "a real problem of loyalty in international relations between allies". French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoned US ambassador Jane Hartley for an explanation on "Espionage Elysee" of WikiLeaks. Urging a strong answer to United States' spying on Paris, critics from the right and left wing parties called for retaliation. But, according to the ruling Socialists, a diplomatic spat is not in the air. "In the face of threats that we face and given the historic ties linking us, we have to keep a perspective. We're not going to break diplomatic ties," said Stephane Le Foll, the government's spokesman after a weekly cabinet meeting.


US-France cooperation is critical to prevent a complete Iraq collapse


Wright and Richburg 5 – staff writers at Washington Post (Robin Wright and Keith Richburg, 2/9/5, “Rice Reaches Out to Europe; Paris Speech Urges 'New Chapter' in U.S. Alliance,” Wash Post, Lexis)//twemchen

The spokesman, who under French rules speaks anonymously, said Chirac "confirmed that France shares the resolve to support the political process that got underway with the elections" in Iraq "and to promote that country's integrity and stability." Some students in the audience cast doubt on whether Rice would change attitudes among a French public that still largely distrusts U.S. foreign policy aims. "There was nothing new in it for me," said Marie Reynard, 21, an international relations student. "Going to impose democracy overseas is not something we are for. I'm afraid America is going to go into Iran -- and that's not something France is going to accept." Rice's words suggested that the United States was abandoning Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's idea of an "old" and "new" Europe -- countries with long-standing ties that opposed the Iraq war, such as France and Germany, and other countries, including former communist nations to the east, that supported it. As Bush's national security adviser, Rice reportedly called for a policy in early 2003 to "forgive Russia, ignore Germany and punish France" after those three countries blocked a U.N. resolution allowing the use of force against Iraq. Without mentioning Iraq specifically, Rice acknowledged that the United States and unnamed European countries have had serious disagreements. But she said a new spirit of cooperation is particularly crucial now because the "fair wind of freedom is at our back." She made no mention of other issues that continue to divide the two sides, such as the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program and use of the International Criminal Court, a world body aimed at bringing war criminals to justice. Reflecting Bush's inaugural speech, the theme of Rice's address was freedom, the common history of Europe and America in creating modern democracy, and their goal of fostering freedom -- a word she used more than two dozen times in her half-hour speech and several more times in answers to questions from the audience. Some people in the audience said they heard only generalities, without specifics for how to overcome continuing differences. "It was strange because the basic line, apart from freedom and liberty, was let's let bygones be bygones," said Francois Heisbourg, a military and defense expert who had been invited to meet Rice at a small gathering Wednesday morning. "Being against freedom and liberty is like being against motherhood and apple pie." Heisbourg added: "I was rather disappointed. I wasn't getting what I was led to expect." Official France, however, had only praise. At the news conference, Barnier made repeated references to U.S.-French cooperation. He noted that France is the second-largest foreign investor in the United States and cited recent cooperation between the two governments on Haiti, the Balkans and the war on terrorism, despite their differences on Iraq. Barnier said the United States and France now need to "talk to each other, and listen to each other more" to deal with current challenges. "The world works better when America and Europe work together," he said.

Iraq collapse risks nuclear war


Corsi 7 (Jerome, Ph.D. in Political Science – Harvard University, Staff Reporter – World Net Daily, “War with Iran is imminent”, 1-8, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53669)//twemchen

If a broader war breaks out in Iraq, Olmert will certainly face pressure to send the Israel military into the Gaza after Hamas and into Lebanon after Hezbollah. If that happens, it will only be a matter of time before Israel and the U.S. have no choice but to invade Syria. The Iraq war could quickly spin into a regional war, with Israel waiting on the sidelines ready to launch an air and missile strike on Iran that could include tactical nuclear weapons. With Russia ready to deliver the $1 billion TOR M-1 surface-to-air missile defense system to Iran, military leaders are unwilling to wait too long to attack Iran. Now that Russia and China have invited Iran to join their Shanghai Cooperation Pact, will Russia and China sit by idly should the U.S. look like we are winning a wider regional war in the Middle East? If we get more deeply involved in Iraq, China may have their moment to go after Taiwan once and for all. A broader regional war could easily lead into a third world war, much as World Wars I and II began.

More broadly, a Middle East collapse would risk extinction


Primakov 9 (Yevgeny, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Russian Federation, Member – Russian Academy of Science, “The Middle East Problem in the Context of International Relations”, Russia in Global Affairs, 3, July/September, http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_13593)//twemchen

The Middle East conflict is unparalleled in terms of its potential for spreading globally. During the Cold War, amid which the Arab-Israeli conflict evolved, the two opposing superpowers directly supported the conflicting parties: the Soviet Union supported Arab countries, while the United States supported Israel. On the one hand, the bipolar world order which existed at that time objectively played in favor of the escalation of the Middle East conflict into a global confrontation. On the other hand, the Soviet Union and the United States were not interested in such developments and they managed to keep the situation under control. The behavior of both superpowers in the course of all the wars in the Middle East proves that. In 1956, during the Anglo-French-Israeli military invasion of Egypt (which followed Cairo’s decision to nationalize the Suez Canal Company) the United States – contrary to the widespread belief in various countries, including Russia – not only refrained from supporting its allies but insistently pressed – along with the Soviet Union – for the cessation of the armed action. Washington feared that the tripartite aggression would undermine the positions of the West in the Arab world and would result in a direct clash with the Soviet Union. Fears that hostilities in the Middle East might acquire a global dimension could materialize also during the Six-Day War of 1967. On its eve, Moscow and Washington urged each other to cool down their “clients.” When the war began, both superpowers assured each other that they did not intend to get involved in the crisis militarily and that that they would make efforts at the United Nations to negotiate terms for a ceasefire. On July 5, the Chairman of the Soviet Government, Alexei Kosygin, who was authorized by the Politburo to conduct negotiations on behalf of the Soviet leadership, for the first time ever used a hot line for this purpose. After the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli forces, which later claimed the attack was a case of mistaken identity, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson immediately notified Kosygin that the movement of the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean Sea was only intended to help the crew of the attacked ship and to investigate the incident. The situation repeated itself during the hostilities of October 1973. Russian publications of those years argued that it was the Soviet Union that prevented U.S. military involvement in those events. In contrast, many U.S. authors claimed that a U.S. reaction thwarted Soviet plans to send troops to the Middle East. Neither statement is true. The atmosphere was really quite tense. Sentiments both in Washington and Moscow were in favor of interference, yet both capitals were far from taking real action. When U.S. troops were put on high alert, Henry Kissinger assured Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin that this was done largely for domestic considerations and should not be seen by Moscow as a hostile act. In a private conversation with Dobrynin, President Richard Nixon said the same, adding that he might have overreacted but that this had been done amidst a hostile campaign against him over Watergate. Meanwhile, Kosygin and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at a Politburo meeting in Moscow strongly rejected a proposal by Defense Minister Marshal Andrei Grechko to “demonstrate” Soviet military presence in Egypt in response to Israel’s refusal to comply with a UN Security Council resolution. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev took the side of Kosygin and Gromyko, saying that he was against any Soviet involvement in the conflict. The above suggests an unequivocal conclusion that control by the superpowers in the bipolar world did not allow the Middle East conflict to escalate into a global confrontation. After the end of the Cold War, some scholars and political observers concluded that a real threat of the Arab-Israeli conflict going beyond regional frameworks ceased to exist. However, in the 21st century this conclusion no longer conforms to the reality. The U.S. military operation in Iraq has changed the balance of forces in the Middle East. The disappearance of the Iraqi counterbalance has brought Iran to the fore as a regional power claiming a direct role in various Middle East processes. I do not belong to those who believe that the Iranian leadership has already made a political decision to create nuclear weapons of its own. Yet Tehran seems to have set itself the goal of achieving a technological level that would let it make such a decision (the “Japanese model”) under unfavorable circumstances. Israel already possesses nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles. In such circumstances, the absence of a Middle East settlement opens a dangerous prospect of a nuclear collision in the region, which would have catastrophic consequences for the whole world. The transition to a multipolar world has objectively strengthened the role of states and organizations that are directly involved in regional conflicts, which increases the latter’s danger and reduces the possibility of controlling them. This refers, above all, to the Middle East conflict. The coming of Barack Obama to the presidency has allayed fears that the United States could deliver a preventive strike against Iran (under George W. Bush, it was one of the most discussed topics in the United States). However, fears have increased that such a strike can be launched by Israel, which would have unpredictable consequences for the region and beyond. It seems that President Obama’s position does not completely rule out such a possibility.


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