The Bertelsmann Foundation, the only non-partisan pan-European think tank in Washington, DC, presented its Trans-Atlantic Briefing Book for the Obama administration on Thursday, November 13, 2008.
The Briefing Book is a policy blueprint that describes the go and no-go areas of major foreign-policy issues and offers strategies for transatlantic foreign-policy cooperation.
Among the many challenges the new administration faces, the foundation has chosen to offer suggestions for policies involving Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Russia, the Middle East, climate change and, most pressing, the international financial crisis.
Here is a quick look at the book's "First Action Items" for these focus topics:
- Prepare immediately for the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit.
- Consider an approach to Afghan politics for the year ahead.
- Open trans-Atlantic working groups on the deeper challenges.
- Look actively at regional dynamics. Commit new resources and attention to Pakistan.
- Reach out immediately to European capitals to discuss how to engage Iran.
- Develop an approach on when to engage Iran, given the upcoming elections.
- Look for additional levers: Reach out to build a broad international coalition on Iran.
- Open the difficult conversations about developing additional leverage.
- Keep Iraq on the list of talking points with Europe.
- Discuss shared interests rather than shared burdens.
- Use European capacity-building expertise.
- Support the handoff of authority to the Iraqi government.
- Reach out to Russia early.
- Make use of Europe's advantage in and insight into Russia.
- Keep practical channels with Russia open.
- Catch up with today's Russia.
- Find a joint trans-Atlantic approach for financial regulation on the international level.
- Use the TEC as a forum to coordinate trade, investment and financial policies.
- Launch preparations for the Copenhagen UNFCCC conference in December 2009.
- Deepen climate dialogue with Europe at the expert level.
- Israel/Palestine:Keep the door open. Make an early public commitment to continue negotiations when the parties are ready.
- Israel/Palestine: Use the time while awaiting leadership changes to consult with Quartet partners about picking up on Annapolis or otherwise re-opening talks. Identify quick-impact initiatives that can affect daily lives and bring them to the table.
- Syria/Israel: Engage Europeans early in expert-level conversations to about Syria. Don't miss a window of opportunity on the peace track if one presents itself.
- Lebanon: Make a commitment to continue support.Work closely with invested European partners.
- Regionally: Break the ice on talking to Europeans about bilateral relationships in the Gulf.