ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 18/10/2018

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Project Syndicate – Carl Bildt / The end of Scandinavian non-alignment

  • Some 50,000 soldiers, airmen, and seamen will come together in Norway for NATO’s largest military exercise in years. A Swedish-led brigade (comprising Swedish and Finnish units) will join with NATO forces.
  • In both Sweden and Finland, defense spending is increasing, and there is an ongoing debate about whether to upgrade the privileged partnership with NATO to full membership.
  • Whatever the Swedish people were led to believe about their country’s neutrality, the Soviets knew it was a lie. Now the ruse is over: full-scale military integration with NATO is in the offing.
  • Finland has explicitly said that it considers NATO membership to be an important option for its security policy, which is something that the Swedish center-left has not yet been willing to countenance.

Brookings – Samantha Gross / Will the Khashoggi crisis create an oil war?

  • Oil will not be involved in any reaction to the Khashoggi crisis by the US or Saudi Arabia, because that would lead to “mutually assured destruction” for both countries.
  • With the US talking about Iran as the root of all evil in the Middle East, and US oil sanctions against Tehran coming into effect on November 4, Washington cannot afford to sanction Saudi oil production.
  • President Trump cannot have skyrocketing oil prices going into the November midterm elections.
  • It would be counterproductive for the Saudis to cut oil exports. Doing so would hurt them more than it would hurt the US, as it would diminish Riyadh’s market share and undercut the country’s reputation as a market stabilizing force.

European Council on Foreign Relations – Jonathan Hackenbroich / Reality bytes: Europe’s bid for digital sovereignty

  • Can Europeans defend their values in the American- and Chinese-dominated Digital Age? The short answer is: only if they play to their strengths, making use of the European Union’s influence as a regulatory superpower.
  • The World Wide Web is splintering. Broadly, it is bifurcating into a Chinese web, where the state is striving to establish total surveillance of its citizens, and an American web, where private companies are implementing a business model based on something that resembles total surveillance.
  • Europeans need to consider how they can direct the EU’s influence towards governing global data flows and building a digital l’Europe qui protège. The EU’s enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May this year was a milestone in the effort.
  • If it wants the GDPR to be fit for purpose, the European Commission should declare US privacy protections inadequate in its annual review of the EU-US Privacy Shield, which is due to be published today. Yet it is possible that the European Commission will avoid a confrontation, leaving it to the European Court of Justice to strike down the Privacy Shield at some point.

Foreign Policy – Kevin Carrico / I mastered Xi Jinping Thought and I have the certificate to prove it

  • In China, students and workers alike are suffering a new imposition: the need to study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The ideas of Xi, China’s most personally powerful leader since Mao Zedong, are increasingly mandatory and have even been enshrined in the country’s ever-changing constitution.
  • In essence, Xi Jinping Thought is not all that different from his predecessors’. People, development, reform, ecological civilization, innovation, and opening have been familiar terms in China in the last 40 years.
  • It is clear, however, that China is dedicated to enforcing an ever greater degree of ideological purity in higher education. But one cannot simultaneously have world-class universities and rigid ideological servitude.
  • South China Morning Post – Matt Ho / A simple guide to Xi Jinping Thought? Here’s how China’s official media tried to explain it

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.  

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 17/10/2018

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Euractiv – Jorge Valero / Juncker: If we accept the Italian budget, ‘countries would insult us’

  • Following the submission of Italy’s draft budgetary plan for next year, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insisted that Italy should respect its commitments to reduce its massive public debt of 132% of GDP.
  • Italy should have included a structural adjustment of 0.6% of its GDP in next year’s budget. Instead, it submitted an expansionary plan that would increase its budget deficit to 2.4% of its GDP compared with the 0.8% target set by the previous government.
  • “If we accepted the (deficit) overshoot … some countries would cover us with insults and abuse, accusing us of being too flexible with Italy,” Juncker added.
  • European Commission vice-president for the euro, Valdis Dombrovskis, explained that the Commission would request additional information within a week. If Rome continues to exclude any adjustment, the Commission would issue a negative opinion in two weeks. Rome would have three weeks from that moment to rewrite its budget.
  • Financial Times – Mehreen Khan, Arthur Beasley & George Parker / Barnier open to extending Brexit transition by another year

Financial Times – Michael Stothard / Spain pushes boundaries to dominate construction

  • Spanish infrastructure groups have become a dominant force in large-scale global construction projects, with a size and power second only to China.
  • Overall, the international annual turnover of the top 11 Spanish construction groups last year was nearly €60bn, 50 per cent more than the US or French companies and nearly double those of Italy and South Korea.
  • Domestically, the construction sector in Spain was turned on its head in 2007. For those that survived, this ultimately made them stronger. Some companies, particularly the purely national ones, went bankrupt, but the ones that kept going came out the other side less leveraged, leaner, and more international.
  • Regardless of fierce competition, the Spanish groups are in a market that is both vast and growing. A report last year form the G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub said that $94,000bn worth of global infrastructure investment is needed by 2040, a growth of 3.5 per cent a year, to meet demand.

Politico – Mary Lee / US ranks closest to ‘ideal state,’ Germany No. 3: study

  • For the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the US leads the annual World Economic Forum’s study of global rankings.
  • The US achieved the closest to the “competitiveness frontier,” or “ideal state,” with a score of 85.6. Singapore (83.5), Germany (82.8), Switzerland (82.6) and Japan (82.5) rounded out the top five in the rankings.
  • The report uses new methodology to capture the dynamics of the global economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The new tools map the competitiveness landscape through 98 indicators, using a scale from 0 to 100, which are organized into 12 pillars: infrastructure, institutions, the adoption of information and communications technology, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labor market, financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.
  • The report revealed a sobering conclusion: most economies are far from the competitiveness “frontier.” The median score of the 140 countries assessed is 60, with Chad registering at 35.5.

YaleGlobal Online – Bruce Riedel / Murder in the Middle East

  • A 15-man hit team composed of members of the Saudi Royal Guard and other security services reportedly flew into Istanbul the morning of October 2 to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Royal Guard Regiment is under the direct personal command of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), putting his fingerprints all over the crime. At home, Saudi media blame the affair on Qatar.
  • Instead of making Saudi Arabia more stable, the impulsive and poor decisions of MBS are making the nation more fragile. The kingdom is less stable today than at any time during the last half century.
  • Iran is a winner from the crime in Istanbul despite its own awful record of abusing journalists and sponsoring terrorism. And the longer MBS pursues his campaign in Yemen, the more Iran will encourage the Houthis to bleed the kingdom.
  • Saudi Arabia is America’s oldest ally in the Middle East. But no US president has courted the kingdom as avidly and crudely as Trump. The president’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has built his entire plan for Middle East peace with help of Israelis and Saudi Arabia. Having bet his Middle East policy on MBS, Trump is now accountable for his protégé’s record.
  • The US and the United Kingdom have enormous leverage with Saudi Arabia due to the arms relationship. The Istanbul incident is an opportunity to press King Salman to unilaterally cease fire in Yemen.

Foreign Affairs / Has the transatlantic alliance been irreparably damaged?

 

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 16/10/2018

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South China Morning Post – Mimi Lau / How China defines religious extremism and how it justifies Xinjiang re-education camps for Muslims

  • Xinjiang, a region in the far west of China, enacted this week a legislative amendment to recognize its controversial re-education camps, which are referred to as “vocational training centers”.
  • A UN committee said it had received “credible reports” that the camps are holding up to a million ethnic minority Uygurs and other Muslims and subjecting them to enforced political indoctrination.
  • The revision focused on recognizing the use of training centers as part of the Xinjiang authorities’ efforts to eliminate “religious extremism”. There have been reports that those who have worked, studied or simply travelled overseas have been targeted by the deradicalization program.
  • Detainees have described the intense psychological pressure they were placed under and complained of harsh physical punishments such as food and sleep deprivation, as well as beatings.

Al-Monitor – AFP / Australia mulling embassy move to Jerusalem: PM

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he was “open-minded” to proposals to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move his nation’s embassy to the holy city.
  • The surprise announcement came just days before a crucial parliamentary byelection in a heavily Jewish Sydney constituency where the candidate for Morrison’s Liberal party, a former ambassador to Israel, is trailing in opinion polls. A loss in the election would wipe out Morrison’s one-seat majority in parliament.
  • Morrison came to power last month after a revolt by hardline conservatives in the Liberal party ousted his more moderate predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, whose government had explicitly distanced itself from the decision by Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / This is America’s Middle East strategy on steroids

  • Far from disengaging from the Middle East, President Donald Trump has if anything doubled down on US support for America’s traditional client states in the region. This is occurring during a period when each of these allies is becoming less deserving of unconditional US support.
  • Under Trump, the US is jeopardizing relations with long-standing democratic allies in Europe and giving them additional reason to create an alternative to the US dollar-based financial system. It is doing so in order to gratify a set of increasingly problematic Middle East clients. Such a swap makes no strategic or moral sense.
  • Washington should gradually turn European security issues back over to Europeans while remaining diplomatically and economically engaged. However, Trump’s policies are making it more likely that a future split with Europe will be as bitter and contentious as possible.

Brookings – Sharan Grewal & Shadi Hamid / Tunisia just lost its anchor of stability. That’s a good thing.

  • On September 24, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi announced the end of a four-year alliance between his secular party, Nidaa Tounes, and the Islamist party Ennahda.
  • The agreements that the two parties struck in 2013 likely prevented a democratic collapse. However, with over 80 percent of the parliament in the ruling coalition, there has been no real opposition to exert a check on the government.
  • Too much consensus facilitated the counterrevolutionary tendencies and interests of Nidaa Tounes and the remnants of the former autocratic regime. The very instability that Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda had hoped to avoid through consensus is instead manifesting in an even less controllable form through regular protests of angry, frustrated youth.
  • Tunisia’s nascent party system would benefit from having both parties retreat to their voter bases and develop competing political and economic agendas ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.  

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 15/10/2018

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Politico – Ryan Heath / 5 lessons from Europe’s busy electoral weekend

  • As different as Belgium’s local council elections, the national vote in Luxembourg or a regional one in Bavaria were from each other, one common message emerged from all of them: Voters are increasingly saying “no” to establishment parties.
  • Green parties didn’t win any significant election, yet they won the weekend. In Bavaria, the Greens came in first in the state’s seven biggest cities, polling around 30 percent there.
  • Socialists lost nearly everywhere this weekend. In Bavaria, the SPD attracted just one in 10 voters, while the Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party achieved its worst result in a century.
  • Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the Bavarian CSU heavyweight Manfred Weber, who leads the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, are potentially in line for a top job in Brussels next year. The CSU’s drubbing on Sunday doesn’t help Weber’s candidacy.
  • In Germany, the CSU is set to submerge into internal reckoning in the wake of its historically poor performance. The center-left Social Democrats are getting thrashed in national opinion polls and state elections. Taken together, these two factors could lead to changes in Angela Merkel’s coalition government.

Euractiv – Reuters / Brexit talks stall before midweek EU summit

  • EU negotiator Michel Barnier said after meeting British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab that they could still not bridge a gap between the EU’s “backstop” demands that Northern Ireland stay in the EU’s economic zone if there is a risk that border checks with Ireland could revive conflict, and London’s rejection of any checks on trade between the province and the British mainland.
  • Leaders had been due to decide on Wednesday whether enough progress had been made to hold another summit, penciled in for 17-18 November, at which both the treaty on an orderly British withdrawal and a vaguer document setting out future trade relations could be inked in. It is unclear now whether the leaders will call for the November summit this week.
  • Even if Prime Minister Theresa May reaches a withdrawal agreement, she will struggle to get it through parliament and may find opposition from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – which props up her minority government – to other legislation such as the budget.
  • “This backstop arrangement would not be temporary. It would be the permanent annexation of Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom and forever leave us subject to rules made in a place where we have no say,” said Arlene Foster, head of the DUP.

Financial Times – Michael Peel / UK pushes on chemical weapons and cyber sanctions

  • Britain is putting pressure on the EU to name the targets of new chemical weapons sanctions due to be agreed as part of the bloc’s escalating response to alleged malicious Russian activity in Europe.
  • The UK has so far given no details of whom it wants to target with the chemical weapons sanctions, which would typically include travel bans and asset freezes. But it has not ruled out targeting more senior players than the two suspected perpetrators of the Salisbury attack.
  • Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary, will also call for talks on cyber-related EU countermeasures to be stepped up.
  • EU diplomats stress that the proposed new sanctions regimes are not solely aimed at Russia. They could in theory tackle events ranging from chemical weapons attacks in Syria to alleged commercial cyberespionage by China or other powers.

Brookings – Fred Dews / Charts of the week: The “forgotten Americans”

  • In a new essay, Brookings Senior Fellow Isabel Sawhill writes of her meetings with Americans in three cities to discuss potential solutions to the political, economic, and cultural divisions splitting the country.
  • Many of the participants in Sawhill’s focus groups “want better programs and policies, but are wary of the government’s ability to deliver” and “are deeply cynical about their elected representatives.”
  • Some kind of national service was a favorite policy idea that Sawhill proposed to focus group participants, but another popular one was career and technical education linked to jobs in local communities.
  • “People’s top concern was their wages,” observed Sawhill. Wages are low, and are not increasing, a fact felt by many of the study participants.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 11/10/2018

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South China Morning Post – Xie Yu / IMF chief Lagarde dismisses idea Beijing is manipulating the yuan as Washington turns up the heat

  • International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has dismissed the idea that China is manipulating its currency to gain a competitive advantage, as the Trump administration is accusing Beijing of doing.
  • “If you compare the position of the renminbi relative to the US dollar, it has a lot to do with the strength of the dollar,” the IMF’s managing director said. “If you compare [other currencies] to the renminbi, there is a bit of depreciation, but certainly not that much.”
  • The debate over the cause of the yuan’s weakness comes a few days before the US Treasury is due to release its semi-annual exchange rate report. There is growing speculation that it could formally name China as a currency manipulator for the first time.
  • The Treasury’s currency report will be released just a few weeks after the US currency manipulation guidelines were included in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Even though exchange rates are not an issue between the three countries, the move was interpreted as the first step in a US effort to include such language in all new trade deals.

The New York Times – Carlotta Gall / Syrian rebels withdraw heavy weapons to spare Idlib from assault

  • Syrian rebel fighters have pulled heavy weapons from front-line positions in Idlib Province, meeting the deadline for a truce negotiated by Russia and Turkey. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that some of the rebels were hiding these heavy weapons rather than withdrawing them fully.
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to have accepted the agreement, although in comments Monday he said it was only a “temporary measure.” Idlib and other territory under rebel control will eventually fall again under government authority, he insisted.
  • Turkish officials feared a humanitarian disaster in Idlib and warned that they would not be able to stop millions of Syrians trying to escape the carnage from flooding into Turkey. That raised concerns across Europe about a new wave of refugees, similar to that of 2015.
  • The civilian population in Idlib has been surviving on humanitarian aid, but that is dwindling, not least because the US recently cut its assistance to the rebel areas of Syria. In the absence of American support, Syrians in Idlib, rebels and civilians alike, are placing their trust in Turkey.

Foreign Policy – Colin P. Clarke / ISIS’s new plans to get rich and wreak havoc

  • Although the Islamic State has lost nearly 98 percent of the territory it once controlled, the group is ripe for a comeback in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq and Syria. The main reason is its existing war chest, coupled with its skill at developing new streams of revenue.
  • Without access to territory, and thus a significantly reduced revenue stream from taxation, extortion, and the sale of oil, the Islamic State’s funding has already decreased precipitously. The group, however, no longer relies on territory for its economic survival, and the group’s expenses are now minimal.
  • The Islamic State’s surviving leadership may have smuggled as much as $400 million out of Iraq and Syria. The group’s extended network will seek to launder this money through front companies in the region, especially in Turkey.
  • After having collected critical information about the population for years, the group has acquired leverage in intimidating and extorting civilians. In addition, reconstruction aid to war-torn parts of Iraq and Syria, while well intentioned, could provide an attractive target for the Islamic State and potentially help fund its comeback.

The Guardian – Larry Elliott / Climate change will make the next global crash the worst

  • On the day when the IMF issued a warning about trouble ahead for the global economy, the latest report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change said the world had only a dozen years left to take the steps necessary to prevent a global warming catastrophe. The message is clear: get ready for a time when economic failure combines with ecological breakdown to create the perfect storm.
  • Every big recession in the global economy has been prefigured by a jump in the cost of crude. Traditionally, stock markets anticipate trouble, but the mood currently is to dismiss higher interest rates, rising oil prices, Italy and trade wars as somehow unimportant.
  • The threat posed by global warming means the current crisis of capitalism is more acute than that of the 1930s. In their pursuit of growth at all costs, countries may self-immolate, as the US and Australia seem prepared to do.
  • One of the winners of this year’s Nobel prize for economics – William Nordhaus – says a speedy transition to renewables can be achieved, if policymakers get serious about a carbon tax set high enough to price oil, coal and gas out of the market. Here, though, the breakdown in international cooperation and trust becomes really damaging.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 10/10/2018

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The New York Times – Andrew Ross Sorkin / The unknowable fallout of China’s trade war nuclear option

  • Even in the gloomiest of doomsday scenarios, there is one weapon that has long been considered unthinkable: the Chinese, the biggest holder of US foreign debt with more than $1 trillion, publicly taking a step back from buying US Treasuries — or worse, dumping what they own in the open market.
  • China has lately reduced its holdings of United States government debt, and a growing number of financiers, economists and geopolitical analysts are quietly raising the prospect that China may look to its ability to influence interest rates as its ultimate Trump card.
  • China selling Treasuries would thus hurt the US, but it would simultaneously severely damage the value of China’s own Treasury holdings. China’s economy may be too fragile to risk doing anything that would cause instability.
  • If China were to use its nuclear option and the markets didn’t react, it would lose influence in stark fashion. If it worked — but was more effective than expected — China could inflict unintended damage on its own economy.
  • Brookings – Kemal Derviş & Caroline Conroy / What’s behind Trump’s trade war?

Financial Times – Martin Wolf / How to avoid the next financial crisis

  • An analysis of post-crisis performance by the latest IMF World Economic Outlook shows that the 2008 crash was a western financial crisis, but a global economic crisis. China’s stimulus program of about 10 per cent of GDP greatly cushioned the impact.
  • The evidence that output shortfalls are cumulative destroys the argument against strong and sustained policy support in high-income countries. However, stronger fiscal policy responses would have reduced the need for so long a period of unconventional monetary policies.
  • Similarly, the greater the support for the damaged financial sector, argues the WEO, the stronger the rebound. This evidence gives no support to “liquidationism” — the view that banking collapses and depressions are benign purgatives.
  • The October Global Financial Stability Report suggests that we must ignore bankers’ bleating against regulation: above all, we must keep capital requirements up.

Brookings – Kemal Kirişci & Onur Bülbül / What’s behind Erdoğan’s apparent support for the liberal international order?

  • At the United Nations General Assembly last month and in a recent op-ed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan enthusiastically defended free trade, multilateralism, and the international liberal order. But Turkey’s recent record doesn’t match this rhetoric.
  • Given the economic realities that Turkey is facing and the country’s track record on economic and democratic backsliding, President Erdoğan’s embrace of the liberal order sounds more like trying to save the day than a sincere commitment.
  • The litmus test will be if Erdoğan puts his words into action and revives Turkey’s independent regulatory institutions, re-instates the rule of law, and expands democratic governance. Otherwise, it is very difficult to see how he will overcome the irony of maintaining an illiberal rule at home while advocating for a liberal one internationally.

Financial Times – Edward Luce / Nikki Haley’s demise paves the way for unbridled ‘America First’

  • Nikki Haley, who yesterday announced her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, is the most high-profile casualty so far of the infighting skills of National Security Advisor John Bolton. She is unlikely to be the last.
  • Haley’s resignation strips one of the last remaining layers between Trump and an unbridled Boltonian contempt for virtually any international institution.
  • At the very least, Bolton’s tightening grip is likely to result in increasingly sharp US alienation from most forms of international co-operation. Chief targets include the World Trade Organization, NATO and the UN.
  • The upshot will be to give more license to other great powers, chiefly Russia and China, to follow their own paths with greater impunity.


The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 09/10/2018

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Financial Times – Chris Giles / Growth policies and populism threaten global economy, IMF warns

  • According to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook, risks are building in the global economy, with growth supported by increasingly unsustainable policies and global co-operation undermined by nationalist policies.
  • The fund’s comments came as it revised down its economic forecasts modestly for most countries for this year and next. The IMF now expects the global economy to grow 3.7 per cent in 2018 and 2019.
  • The IMF had unusually stern words for the US, its largest shareholder, criticizing the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs and tax cuts near the top of the economic cycle.
  • The fund downgraded its US growth forecast for 2019 by 0.2 percentage points to 2.5 per cent, to reflect the likely damaging effects of tariffs. The eurozone is expected to expand 2 per cent in 2018 and 1.9 per cent next year.
  • South China Morning Post – John Carter / Trade war escalation will hit China harder than the US, IMF says

The New York Times – Steven Lee Myers & Chris Buckley / Interpol chief was China’s pride. His fall exposes the country’s dark side.

  • The detention of the now-resigned chief of Interpol, Meng Hongwei of China, dealt a spectacular, self-inflicted blow to China’s efforts to prove itself ready for more prominent roles in global affairs.
  • Meng’s appointment, like his detention, almost certainly had the approval of Chinese President Xi Jinping himself. The biggest question hanging around Meng’s fate is why Xi’s government approved the downfall of a man it had put forward to lead Interpol.
  • Meng was charged by the National Supervisory Commission, an anticorruption body created in March to intensify the country’s campaign against graft. In China’s system, Meng’s detention is almost tantamount to a conviction.
  • The new National Supervisory Commission has already brought cases that appeared to be only tangentially related to political corruption — which experts agree is rife in China — suggesting that its mandate includes securing the Communist Party’s political control.

The Guardian – Lina Khatib / Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance fits a brutal new pattern

  • The disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has sparked speculation that he has been abducted or killed by Riyadh, as a punishment for criticizing government policy.
  • Since the ascension of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of crown prince and de facto ruler, Saudi Arabia has entered an era in which internal dissent – no matter who is behind it – is met with brutality. International criticism is not tolerated either.
  • Alongside this, the Saudi state has painted itself as the only legitimate orchestrator of change in the country. Modernization initiatives, such as allowing women to drive, are said to come from the top rather than being a response to decades of grassroots activism.
  • Whatever the ultimate fate of Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s new zero-tolerance approach to dissent is being broadcast loud and clear.

Project Syndicate – Dani Rodrik / Will new technologies help or harm developing countries?

  • There are many instances of technology improving the lives of poor people. But for technology to make a real and sustained contribution to development, it must not only provide better and cheaper products; it must also lead to more higher-paying jobs.
  • The introduction of new technologies in production in developing countries often takes place through global value chains (GVCs). In principle, GVCs benefit these economies by easing entry into global markets.
  • However, optimism about the scale of GVCs’ contribution must be tempered. First, the expansion of GVCs seems to have ground to a halt. Second, developing-country participation in GVCs has remained quite limited. And third, the domestic employment consequences of recent trade and technological trends have been disappointing.
  • Trade and technology present an opportunity when they are able to leverage existing capabilities, and thereby provide a more direct and reliable path to development. When they demand complementary and costly investments, they are no longer a shortcut around manufacturing-led development.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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