Offhand, it’s hard to imagine a less propitious time and place for a NATO summit than the present gathering in Chicago.   From the start, of course, the event has been designed as an election boost for President Obama.   Why else Chicago, halfway through a presidential campaign?   Nobody who hasn’t observed this at close hand can comprehend the complexity and cost of setting up secure accommodations and communications for participants at summits like this. (Chicago was expecting 5000 delegates and their staffs, along with 2000 media.) 

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By Garret Martin, Editor at Large, European Affairs

As talks resume between Iran and the P5 + 1 (the informal group made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the stakes, including war or peace, are high for every one – and not least for EU. European countries have invested much political capital in engaging Iran over the last twenty years, sometimes parting ways with Washington over the issue. In recent years, especially since the last round of talks with Iran broke off 15 months ago, the EU leaders have closed ranks with the U.S., especially the so-called E-3 countries directly involved in the talks – Britain, France and now Germany. Now, with the stark backdrop of the continent’s own economic woes, the EU badly needs a foreign-policy success to keep alive its diplomatic credibility and ambitions to be an influential global actor.

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On April 10th, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation, welcomed The Honorable Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss methods and strategies for breaking the Iranian nuclear impasse.  Emphasizing the need for reciprocal action to form the basis of any agreement, the Deputy Minister explained that rebuilding trust between the P5+1 and Iran is crucial to any prospects for successful negotiations.  He also stressed Russia’s intent to recognize Iran as a full member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty only when it submits to IAEA inspectors and proves its intention to pursue entirely peaceful nuclear technology.  Pointing to the resumption of talks in Istanbul planned for April 14th, Deputy Minister Ryabkov stated that the P5+1’s varied approaches could be beneficial, presenting Tehran with “a menu of ideas” which may inform negotiations.  The discussion included an opening statement by Dr. Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism, and was moderated by Michael Adler, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Middle East Program.

On December 15th, in cooperation with NATO, The European Institute held a luncheon  meeting to discuss U.S.- EU-NATO relations. Panelists included: Antonella Cerasino, Head of the Countries Section, Public Diplomacy Division, NATO; Ambassador Robert Hunter, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Security Studies in the Institute for National Strategic Studies as the National Defense University; Ambassador Kurt Volker, Managing Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Brigadier General Bruno Caitucoli, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of France; and Rory Domm, Political Counselor at the Delegation of the European Union. The discussion was moderated by Leo Michel, Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University. This is part of a series of events the Institute will hold in the walkup to the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012.

On September 27, 2011, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and NATO Deputy Secretary General Designate discussed the  continuing  evolution of U.S. defense policy, lessons learned from the Alliance's intervention in Libya, and the need to strengthen the European-American partnership on multiple fronts in order to meet common security challenges.