Another club emerges


The US unveiled the ‘Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation’ (PAC) on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly on Monday, bringing together 32 Atlantic countries from across Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

It’s basically a forum for cooperation across three fronts:

  1. 🚢 Economic – The 32 countries all share the world’s most heavily travelled ocean that’s home not only to major shipping routes, but also cross-border challenges like trafficking and illegal fishing.
  2. 🐠 Environmental – The Atlantic now has a “plastic smog” comprising trillions of particles, plus there’s evidence the ocean’s currents are changing, with implications for sea life and weather.
  3. 🔬 Science and Tech – The initiative pledges to bridge the tech gap among its members, by sharing more research and establishing a scholarships and exchange program for young Atlantic scientists.

The PAC also includes a commitment to uphold international law and keep the Atlantic free from aggressive action, though it’s not a security forum.

Intrigue’s take: As always, there’s signalling at play here:

  1. The US is saying that its focus on rivals like Russia and China doesn’t mean it’s neglecting everyone and everywhere else
  2. Building on #1, the PAC’s geographic branding signals a focus on practical shared interests rather than broader ideological divides, and
  3. By launching at the UN, it’s signalling that the PAC is designed to support (rather than undermine) the multilateral system.

But signalling aside, the very existence of these kinds of ‘plurilateral’ initiatives is probably another sign that countries are losing faith in the ability of broader forums (like the UN) to get stuff done.

Also worth noting:

  • The 32 PAC members include countries as varied as Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Gabon, Morocco, Norway, and Senegal.
Latest Author Articles
US allies hold breath as House readies vote on security assistance bills

After months of deadlock, US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says he’ll bring a key $95B military aid package to a vote as soon as tomorrow (Saturday).

19 April, 2024
Microsoft invests $1.5B in UAE AI firm after secret US government talks

US tech giant Microsoft has announced it’ll invest $1.5B in G42, the leading artificial intelligence (AI) firm in the UAE. The “strategic investment”, which gives Microsoft a minority stake in the company, aims to further the UAE’s ambitions as an AI hub while bringing yet another leading AI firm into Washington’s orbit.

17 April, 2024
Modi unveils election manifesto as ~1 billion Indians prepare to vote

Few world leaders enter a re-election campaign as sure of winning as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but that’s no excuse to slack off. So last Sunday, just before voting kicks off this Friday, his Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party, or BJP) unveiled its election manifesto named Modi’s Guarantee.

16 April, 2024
Could the US let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walk free? 

President Joe Biden just said the US is “considering” Australia’s request to end the pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a move that could close over 14 years of legal and diplomatic drama. 

12 April, 2024