EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 13/07/2020

Bloomberg – Marek Strzelecki and Maciej Martewicz / President Duda has unassailable lead in pivotal Polish vote

  • Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is poised to win a highly-charged election after a bitter battle that pitted the conservative incumbent against a pro-European challenger.
  • Five years into a nationalist makeover, Duda and his allied Law & Justice party have transformed Poland from a nation hailed as a model of post-communist change to one battling against the European Union’s values. With another term, the government could erode the rule of law so much that Poland’s remains out of the EU mainstream for years.
  • “This is heading for the courts due to the scale of irregularities and the small margin between the candidates,” said Anna Materska-Sosnowska, a political scientist at Warsaw University. “Regardless of the final result, we have a completely split country and both candidates realize this.”
  • The victory sends a difficult message to Brussels and Berlin. Germany pays the biggest chunk of the bills and Poland is the biggest net beneficiary of EU funds. While the financial relationship is clear, the ideological drift has been just as apparent.
  • The Guardian – Christian Davies / Future of ‘Third Republic’ defines run-off vote in Poland

The Washington Post – Ishaan Tharoor / The trouble with making Hagia Sophia a mosque again

  • For a leader who has championed the steady reassertion of his nation’s Islamic heritage, restoring Turkey’s most famous site of worship to the Muslim faithful would be a powerful legacy.
  • A 1934 decree by Turkey’s secularist modern founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, made Hagia Sophia into a museum that commemorated the depth of its history, which predates the advent of Islam. It became a monument to a universal legacy that transcends religion and underscored Istanbul’s place at the heart of different cultures and faiths
  • Some critics lamented what they saw as a blow to Turkish secularism. “To convert it back to a mosque is to say to the rest of the world unfortunately we are not secular anymore,” Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk told the BBC on Friday.
  • The country’s opposition parties haven’t made too much of a fuss. “Turkey is a country where religion and nationalism intersect, so that many of the staunchly anti-Erdogan camp would back the principle of Turkish sovereignty over the monument,” observed Louis Fishman, a professor at Brooklyn College.
  • Haaretz – Louis Fishman Erdogan turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque: Islamists rejoice, Trump is silent and Turkey’s opposition won’t be distracted 

Financial Times – Max Seddon Russian Governor’s arrest sparks anti-Putin protests

  • Sergei Furgal, a former MP who won against a Kremlin-backed candidate in 2018 to become governor of the Khabarovsk region, is the latest target of a recent wave of searches and detentions.
  • Analysts say the arrests indicate that Mr Putin’s show of force in the highly stage-managed constitutional vote rests on shaky ground. The Kremlin has hailed the vote outcome, with over 70 per cent in favour of the changes. But it came as the Russian president’s approval ratings have sunk to record lows and living standards have stagnated.
  • On Saturday, about 35,000 people, the largest show of discontent in the region’s history according to local media, forced through barriers set up by police under the pretext of disinfecting Khabarovsk’s main square. They chanted “Putin must resign!” and “Down with Moscow!”
  • The investigation appears to have begun after Mr Furgal refused to drop out in favour of Khabarovsk’s Kremlin-appointed governor and rode his candidacy to victory in 2018. Investigators said four people were arrested last November in relation with the case and had given evidence implicating Mr Furgal in the murders.
  • The New York Times – Andrew Higgins / Protests rock Russian Far East with calls for Putin to resign

Politico – Christian OliverCorruption crisis puts Bulgaria’s Borissov on the ropes

  • For more than a decade, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other center-right EU leaders have never wanted to peer too deeply into how their faithful Bulgarian ally Boyko Borissov runs his country. They will now finally have to lift the lid on his premiership.
  • Since Thursday night, the Balkan nation has erupted in the biggest wave of anti-government protests in seven years. The immediate focus of the current protests is on two powerbrokers who shun the daily limelight: Ahmed Dogan, former head of the country’s ethnic Turkish party, and his ally Delyan Peevski, a media baron. 
  • The trigger point came on July 7 when Hristo Ivanov, a former justice minister and leader of the anti-corruption Yes Bulgaria party, pulled off a successful video stunt by filming his landing in a rubber dingy on a Black Sea beach. While the beach is theoretically public land, Ivanov was set upon by security guards because the stretch of coast is the basecamp of Dogan.
  • For Borissov, the overarching threat is indeed that patience is wearing thin with his party. Tsvetan Tsvetanov, GERB’s former No. 2 who has split off and wants to form his own political group after being caught up in a housing scandal, has warned that half of the party’s voter base could peel away amid the current showdown.
  • Al Jazeera– Mariya Petkova Bulgaria Rocked by Protests amid coronavirus fears

Today’s long reads:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/07/2020

File:Paschal Donohoe TD.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Politico – Bjarke Smith-Meyer / With Eurogroup, Donohoe wins the tough job of economic recovery

  • Paschal Donohoe’s prize for clinching the Eurogroup presidency: the daunting task of leading an economic recovery from the coronavirus while bridging a north-south divide on fiscal policy.
  • His start comes during a potentially tense series of talks among EU leaders over the European Commission’s proposed €1.85 trillion budget-and-recovery package.
  • Donohoe’s victory strengthens the EPP’s role in the EU after the party lost their near-total grip on institutional power last year. The conservative group went from holding the presidencies of the Commission, Council and Parliament to just the Commission.
  • “I will be working very hard with all of my colleagues to ensure that the Eurogroup plays a very constructive and positive role in reaching an agreement on the recovery fund,” he said by videoconference from the ministry in Dublin.
  • Euractiv – Jorge Valero / Donohoe wins Eurogroup presidency

The New York Times – Choe Sang-Hun / Seoul mayor is found dead after harassment complaint is filed

  • The mayor of Seoul, the country’s second-most powerful official and a potential presidential candidate, was found dead just days after a secretary in his office told the police that he had sexually harassed her since 2017, the authorities said on Friday.
  • A Seoul police officer confirmed early Friday that the body of the mayor, Park Won-soon, had been discovered on a hill in northern Seoul, several hours after his daughter had reported him missing.
  • Word of the mayor’s death and its possible links to sexual misconduct sent shock waves across the country, not only because Mr. Park was a political star but also because he had long been seen as a champion of women’s rights.
  • Mr. Park, 64, had canceled his official schedule and called in sick to City Hall on Thursday, the day after the secretary had filed her complaint. His daughter told the police that he had left home after leaving a cryptic, “will-like message.”
  • Al-Jazeera / Missing Seoul mayor Park Won-soon found dead

Bloomberg – Thomas Mulier and Corinne Gretler / WHO launches review of Covid-19 pandemic response after Trump criticism

  • The World Health Organization named leaders of an independent panel to review its response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has been criticized by the U.S. The panel will present an interim report in November.
  • Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, were selected as co-chairs, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a meeting with member-states. 
  • WHO has come under fire for its response to the coronavirus outbreak from President Donald Trump who is pulling the U.S. out of the global group, saying that it’s too close to China.
  • “It’s time for a very honest reflection,” Tedros said in the meeting. “All of us must look in the mirror. The WHO, every member state, all involved in the response, everyone. Are we ready to learn the big lessons?”
  • The Washington Post – Paul Schemm and Adam Taylor / Tearful WHO director calls for global unity to fight the virus following U.S. pullout

South China Morning Post – Catherine Wong / US-China competition in Indo-Pacific a ‘marathon, not a spring’, acting assistant secretary of defence says

  • Washington needs long-term strategies and “like-minded partners” to compete with Beijing in a “marathon” race to lead the international order, according to a senior US defence official.
  • “Together, we must be resilient as we face this long-term challenge by continuing to uphold and represent core principles such as respect of sovereignty, transparency, peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight.”
  • Helvey said Hong Kong’s sweeping national security law was the latest example of a pattern of behaviour by Beijing which “bends, disregards or rewrites rules in its favour in the pursuit of domestic and geopolitical ends”.
  • Liu Weidong, an expert on international relations with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Trump administration was now strengthening its efforts to rally allies and partners in containing China.
  • The Guardian – Verna Yu / ‘This is intolerable’: fearful Australians in Hong Kong hasten plans to leave city

Further reading for the weekend:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 09/07/2020

Archivo:Taipei Skyline 2015.jpg - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Foreign Affairs – Michael Green and Evan Medeiros / Is Taiwan the next Hong Kong?

  • U.S. policymakers must consider more than Hong Kong when formulating their response. A tepid U.S. reaction could leave Beijing with the impression that it can proceed with relative impunity on other contentious issues in Asia. 
  • The shadow of Taiwan looms large in this context. Unless the US demonstrates the resolve and ability to resist Chinese coercion and aggression, China’s leaders may eventually conclude that the risks and the costs of future military action against Taiwan are low.
  • There isn’t a straight line from Hong Kong to Taiwan. A Chinese assault on the island is neither imminent nor inevitable. But Beijing’s recent actions in Hong Kong—and elsewhere in Asia—raise worrying questions about its increasing willingness to use coercive tactics. 
  • Hong Kong and Taiwan have more in common than many analysts appreciate, both in the view of Beijing and in the sentiments of their citizens. The democracy movement that has so united the citizens of Hong Kong and Taiwan has allies in other parts of Asia too.
  • Foreign Policy – Lev Nachman, Nathan Kar Ming Chan and Chit Wai John Mok / Hong Kongers say Taiwan is their first choice as exile looms

Euractiv – Vlagyiszlav Makszimov / ‘Uncensored’ debate features three speeches and no dissenting voices

  • Leaders of Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia spoke of the threat of regional conflicts and the need to reestablish the power-balance in Europe in the wake of Brexit and COVID-19 crisis during an online conference on Wednesday (8 July).
  • The debate — described as being “without useless political correctness, without taboos, completely uncensored” by the organiser — was moderated by François-Xavier Bellamy, a philosophy teacher from Versailles who became an EPP MEP.
  • Vučić expressed his support for further European defence integration, saying that “in the future, Serbia, will be very ready to be supportive and to be a part of a bigger united European military strength than it used to be, than it is.”
  • Brexit was high on the agenda for Slovenia’s anti-immigration prime minister, Janez Janša, who said that “Brexit is a strategic catastrophe.” Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also pointed to a shift in the power balance in Europe with the UK’s departure.
  • The Guardian – Shaun Walker / Violence at Belgrade protest over government’s handling of lockdown

Financial Times – Janan Ganesh / The real threat to liberalism will come after Trump

  • That Mr Trump’s successors will retain the substance of his views, even harden them, is plain enough. A base that is still mesmerised by his nativism will punish much deviation from it.
  • If anything new does emerge, however, it will be an emphasis on governmental competence. Its absence has been the salvation of liberals in recent years.
  • Those who are expected to jostle for the Republican candidacy in 2024 are of Mr Trump’s persuasion, but not of his background. Most are more culturally conservative than the president and all are better-equipped to turn their instincts into law.
  • This, far more than Mr Trump, is the liberal nightmare: a populist agenda in the hands of insiders. The trouble starts when those with institutional knowledge embrace the same programme. And that trouble is coming.
  • The Atlantic – Michael Schuman / Why China wants Trump to win

Politico – Arthur Neslen / How Europe could help save the Earth by selling it

  • As the EU aims to become climate-neutral by 2050, the bloc is looking for ways to reduce emissions, or even remove them from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration, and therefore some see healthy soil as key.
  • A solution for reaching Europe’s Green Deal goals could be right under Brussels’ nose — or rather, its feet. One concept literally gaining ground worldwide is carbon farming, where farmers use certain techniques to capture and store more carbon in their soil.
  • Schemes to financially reward farmers for doing so are already being tested in some European countries, some through nongovernmental initiatives.
  • Around 51 billion tons of CO2-equivalent is stored in the topsoil of the EU’s farms and fields. By comparison, the bloc’s total annual emissions of CO2-equivalent amount to 4 billion tons.
  • The Guardian – Damian Carrington / Spreading rock dust on fields could remove vast amounts of CO2 from air

Today’s long read:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 08/07/2020

20/03/2020 Presidente da República, Jair Bolsonaro e Minis… | Flickr

The New York Times – Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado / President Bolsonaro of Brazil tests positive for coronavirus

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has railed against social distancing measures and repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as the epidemic in his country became the second-worst in the world, said Tuesday that he, too, had been infected.
  • Critics at home and abroad have called Mr. Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic cavalier and reckless, allowing the virus to surge across Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation. At one point he dismissed it as “a measly cold.”
  • When asked in late April about the rising death toll, he replied: “So what? Sorry, but what do you want me to do?” Brazil now has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 65,000 deaths — more than any country except the United States.
  • As the caseload has skyrocketed, Mr. Bolsonaro has shunned masks, attended mass rallies of his supporters, insisted that the virus poses no threat to healthy people, championed unproven remedies and shuffled through health ministers who disagreed with him.
  • Foreign Affairs – Catherine Osborn / Bolsonaro made Brazil a pandemic pariah

The Washington Post – Emily Rauhala, Karoun Demirjian and Toluse Olorunnipa / Trump administration sends letter withdrawing U.S. from World Health Organization over coronavirus response

  • The Trump administration has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, a move that could hurt the U.N. agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and reshape public health diplomacy.
  • The notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, was sent Monday to United Nations Secretary General. Under the terms of a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1948, the United States must give a year’s notice and pay its debts to the agency to leave.
  • Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Guterres, said the secretary general was “verifying with the World Health Organization whether all the conditions for such withdrawal are met.”
  • It is not clear whether the president can pull the United States out of the organization and withdraw funding without Congress. When Trump first threatened to withdraw, Democratic lawmakers argued that doing so would be illegal and vowed to push back.
  • Politico – Brianna Ehley / US official touts global cooperation as Trump makes WHO exit official

The Economist / The bitter dispute over Africa’s largest dam

  • The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is Africa’s largest, with a reservoir able to hold 74bn cubic metres of water, more than the volume of the entire Blue Nile. Once filled it should produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity, double Ethiopia’s current power supply.
  • Millions of people could be connected to the grid for the first time. It is a source of national pride. For Egypt, however, it seems a source of national danger. Over 90% of the country’s 100m people live along the Nile or in its vast delta.
  • The river, long seen as an Egyptian birthright, supplies most of their water. They fear the dam will choke it off. Pro-regime pundits, not known for their subtlety, have urged the army to blow it up.
  • Both sides have tried diplomacy, but years of talks failed to produce a deal on how Ethiopia would fill and operate the dam. Diplomats say most of the issues are resolved. But the outstanding one is big: how to handle a drought.
  • Al-Monitor – Amr Emam / Ethiopian refugees caught in middle of Nile dam row between Cairo, Addis Ababa

Financial Times – Roula Khalaf and Martin Arnold / Lagarde puts green policy top of agenda in ECB bond buying

  • Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, has opened the door to using its €2.8tn asset purchase scheme to pursue green objectives, promising to examine changes to all of its operations in the fight against climate change.
  • It is the first time that the ECB president has committed to examine “greener” changes to all of the central bank’s operations. “I want to explore every avenue available in order to combat climate change,” she told the Financial Times in a video interview.
  • The ECB “has to look at all the business lines and the operations in which we are engaged in order to tackle climate change, because at the end of the day, money talks”, Ms Lagarde said.
  • The move would make the ECB the first main central bank to use a flagship bond-buying programme to pursue green objectives. Critics say it is up to politicians, not central banks, to decide which companies to favour and which to penalise.
  • Bloomberg – Piotr Skolimowski / Lagarde says ECB has time to assess stimulus effectiveness

Today’s further reading:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 07/07/2020

File:Harvard University Widener Library.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Financial Times – Aime Williams / US says foreign students must leave if classes go fully online

  • Foreign students at US universities and schools will no longer be eligible to stay in the country if their courses move fully online due to coronavirus, US immigration authorities said on Monday.
  • Students holding visas for either academic or vocational courses that have moved fully online should either depart the country or transfer to a school with in-person teaching to “remain in lawful status”.
  • Failure to do this could result in deportation proceedings. The tightening of visa restrictions for foreign national students comes after the Trump administration suspended a range of different guest worker visas.
  • According to the Institute of International Education, there were nearly 1.1m international students in the US in the 2018-19 academic year, making up 5.5 per cent of the higher education population.
  • Project Syndicate – Kenneth Rogoff / Will universities learn from lockdowns?

Foreign Policy – Amy MacKinnon / Global poverty rampant despite sunny talk, U.N. finds

  • A scathing new report published on Monday by Philip Alston in his parting shot as the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights paints a world where poverty is rampant—yet undercounted.
  • The report comes at a critical juncture, as the coronavirus pandemic is set to push half a billion people into poverty and is expected to double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265 million. 
  • The number of people living below the $1.90 threshold is down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 734 million in 2015, but even those who eke their way past the extreme poverty line may still struggle to secure basic necessities, such as food and housing.
  • Alston described the threshold of $1.90 per day as “scandalously unambitious”. In 2018, almost half of the world’s population lived on less than $5.50 per day, the World Bank’s poverty line for upper-middle-income countries.
  • Financial Times – Martin Wolf / ‘Democracy will fail if we don’t think as citizens’

Politico – David M. Herszenhorn and Cristina González / Von der Leyen admits ‘mistakes’ in Croatian campaign video

  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s soundbite for a Croatian political campaign video lasted all of two seconds. But the repercussions have already lasted much longer and won’t be over anytime soon.
  • Questions about code-of-conduct violations took up nearly half an hour during the midday news conference on Monday and are certain to persist, after an ethics complaint and demand for an investigation over her use of official resources for political purposes.
  • The Commission’s spokesperson said mistakes had been made. It was not quite clear who made the mistakes, or even how many mistakes there had been, or whether those mistakes indeed reflected a “breach” of the conduct code.
  • Nor was it clear precisely what the Commission had done, or would do in response — though it was certain that von der Leyen does not want whatever happened to ever happen again.
  • Euractiv – Sam Morgan / The Brief, powered by BSEF – Ursulala Land

The Economist / A musician’s murder sparks mayhem in Ethiopia

  • Across Addis Ababa, cars and petrol stations were burnt; shops and businesses were looted and vandalised; homes and banks were robbed. At least ten people were killed in clashes between rioters and the police in the city. Many more were injured.
  • Similar confrontations took place in towns throughout Oromia. In the country as a whole at least 166 people were killed, making this one of the deadliest episodes in Ethiopia’s already bloody transition from authoritarian rule.
  • The spark was the murder on June 29th of Hachalu Hundessa, a popular Oromo musician and activist. Oromos, who make up roughly a third of the population, are the largest and recently the most rebellious of Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups.
  • The violence escalated after a dispute with officials over where the singer’s body should be buried, as demonstrators tried to prevent its being removed from the capital and taken to Ambo, his home town.
  • The Wall Street Journal – Jared Malsin / As Ethiopia prepares to fill Nile dam, Egypt appeals for international help

Today’s op-ed:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 06/07/2020

File:Grande cour de l'Hôtel Matignon Sep 2017.jpg

Politico – Rym Momtaz / Picking low-profile French PM, Macron bets big on himself

  • Emmanuel Macron appointed low-profile conservative Jean Castex as his prime minister on Friday, in a move that means the French president is effectively betting the house on himself.
  • In choosing such a little-known figure to replace Edouard Philippe as head of his government, Macron indicated he will be taking even greater charge of policymaking for the remaining two years of his term.
  • Castex, who is the mayor of the small town of Prades in Southern France, had previously been given the delicate task of handling the government’s plan for exiting the coronavirus lockdown.
  • “I’m not here seeking the spotlight, I’m here seeking results,” Castex said in his first interview after taking office on French TV. “Until today I wasn’t a national politician,” he added, highlighting his local roots.
  • The New York Times – Adam Nossiter and Aurelien Breeden / Macron replaces France’s Prime Minister in bid to reinvigorate his government

Euractiv – Tea Trubic Macan / Croatia’s ruling HDZ scores unexpected win in parliamentary elections

  • Croatia’s ruling conservative HDZ (EPP) became the unexpected winner of parliamentary elections held in the newest EU member on Sunday (5 July) despite the renewed rise of coronavirus infections.
  • According to the first preliminary results, HDZ won 63+3 seats (3 from the diaspora) in the 151-seat parliament, while Opposition Restart coalition led by SDP (S&D) won 41 seats, its lowest result since 1995.
  • Rightwing Homeland Movement, led by former folk singer Miroslav Škoro, won 16 seats, while the Bridge party won eight and the green-left platform, We Can, obtained seven seats. The pro-business liberal platform STRIP will have three seats and HNS one.
  • Due to the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, turnout was only 45.7%, one of the lowest since Croatia’s first democratic elections in 1990. Polls had predicted Sunday’s elections to be a neck-and-neck race between the HDZ and Restart.
  • The Times – Tim Gosling / Ursula von der Leyen is accused of meddling in Croatian election

The Guardian – Martin Chulov / ‘It feels like a failed state’: Lebanon’s crisis deepens as it awaits bailout

  • Lebanon’s catastrophic economic collapse is gathering pace, with its currency shedding value daily, prices of essential foods out of the reach of many and talks that could unlock a desperately needed bailout crippled.
  • The country’s collapse has led to meat and chicken prices tripling over the past fortnight, and scarcities of fuel and flour – amplified by the sale of state-subsidised supplies to neighbouring Syria where they get a better price for it, and sharply increasing hunger.
  • Overhauling patronage systems that entrenched warlords at the end of a 15-year conflict and have turned all state institutions into fiefs, has been a central demand of the IMF and international community.
  • The precipitous collapse in the local currency, the lira, continued unabated on Friday, reaching as low as 10,000 to one US dollar, compared with the pegged rate of 1,500 to the dollar, which had been fixed since 1991.
  • Financial Times – Chloe Cornish / Lebanon’s once-lauded bankers under fire as economic crisis deepens

The New York Times – Vivian Wang, Elaine Yu and Tiffany May / Hong Kong, changed overnight, navigates its new reality

  • In recent days, as China took a victory lap over the law it imposed on the city Tuesday, the defiant masses who once filled Hong Kong’s streets in protest have largely gone quiet.
  • Seemingly overnight, Hong Kong was visibly and viscerally different, its more than seven million people left to navigate what the law would mean to their lives. 
  • That the lines of criminality had been redrawn became clear on Friday, when the authorities charged a 24-year-old man with terrorism and inciting separatism — the first person to be indicted under the new law. 
  • With a “Liberate Hong Kong” flag mounted on the back of his motorcycle, the man careened into a group of police officers on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China from British rule.
  • Financial Times – Kathrin Hille and Nicolle Liu / Taiwan eyes Hong Kong exodus warily

Today’s perspective:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 03/07/2020

The Economist / Joe Biden has a good chance of becoming a surprisingly activist president

  • America’s youngest senator then is now its oldest ever presumptive nominee as a presidential candidate, running in a campaign as far removed from his debut in 1972 as 1972 was from Calvin Coolidge’s campaign of 1924.
  • His age, at times, has been painfully apparent on the campaign trail: his loquacity is less bounded, his stories meander without necessarily reaching their conclusion. His primary campaign was, for the most part, poor.
  • Yet as things stand he has a good chance of winning November’s election. If so he may, more through circumstance than design, bring real change to a country long gridlocked and polarised.
  • Mr Biden believes the world’s democracies want America to reassert itself in the role, abandoned by Mr Trump, of their leader and protector. He is unlikely to prove it so through force of arms. But simply playing the part should prove a first step.
  • Financial Times – Richard Henderson and Colby Smith / Wall Street starts to picture Joe Biden in the White House

Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi / EU criticizes Russia vote that could extend Putin’s rule until 2036

  • The European Union on Thursday criticized a vote in Russia that could allow Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. According to official preliminary results, 78 percent voted in favor of the amendments, versus 21 percent against. Turnout was about 65 percent.
  • “We expect all reports and allegations of irregularities, including voter coercion, multiple voting, violation of secrecy of the vote and allegations of police violence against a journalist who was present to observe, to be duly investigated,” an EU spokesperson said.
  • The EU “regrets that, in the run-up to this vote, campaigning both for and against was not allowed, thereby denying voters access to balanced information,” the spokesperson added.
  • Peter Stano, EEAS spokesperson, said “we are committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine” and thereby “we don’t recognize the vote in Crimea and in the eastern part of Ukraine — it was not even supposed to be organized there.”
  • The Guardian / The only region to say ‘nyet’ to Putin in landslide victory

Foreign Policy – Sheena Chestnut Greitens and Aram Hur / Why Taiwan’s assistance to Hong Kong matters

  • On July 1, Taiwan formally launched a new humanitarian assistance and resettlement program for Hong Kong residents. The move comes as Beijing tightens its grip on the city.
  • Shortly after beginning her second term in late May, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered assistance to people seeking to leave Hong Kong, calling on Taiwan’s legislature to develop a “humanitarian assistance action plan.”
  • Taiwan’s recent move might look like a straightforward humanitarian response to the intensifying crisis in neighboring Hong Kong, but there’s more to the emerging policy framework than meets the eye.
  • In fact, what Taiwan is doing solidifies a particular nationalist path that differs from others in Asia and has the potential to fundamentally alter the region’s power dynamics.
  • South China Morning Post – Sarah Zheng / Taiwan will reopen Guam office, a sign of stronger ties with the US in the face of tension with China

Project Syndicate – Hauke Engel and Mekala Krishnan / Taking climate risk seriously

  • COVID-19 has shown how a long-recognized but underappreciated global risk can suddenly materialize and wreak social and economic devastation in a matter of weeks.
  • While the world is rightly focused on battling the current pandemic, firms and governments must also recognize and plan for other risks, particularly climate change, which, like a pandemic, could upend the global economy if not managed properly.
  • To mitigate the risk that ongoing climate change will jeopardize more communities and economies, businesses and governments must adapt now to the inevitable global warming that will occur over the next decade as a consequence of past emissions.
  • And they must decarbonize to reduce longer-term risks. The pace and scale of climate adaptation will likely need to increase significantly. Priorities should include protecting people and assets, strengthening resilience, reducing exposure to climate risks, and ensuring that appropriate financing and insurance are in place. 
  • Euractiv – Mike Parr and Simon Minett / The energy transition, electricity prices and hydrogen

Further reading for the weekend:

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.

Política Internacional | Permalink