EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 18/02/2020

Financial Times – Christian Shepherd and Laura Pitel / The Karakax list: how China targets Uighurs in Xinjiang

  • Note: Uighur activist Abudewli Ayup, exiled in Norway, filtered the records of imprisoned Uighurs in re-education camps in China to several German media outlets and the Financial Times in November 2019. Since then, the data on these records have been authenticated through procurement documents, satellite imagery, interviews with former residents in the area and on-the-ground reporting.
  • The leaked list contradicts Beijing’s claims that its “re-education” programmes in Xinjiang are voluntary and target violent extremists. Justifications for imprisonment include praying at home, keeping in touch with relatives overseas and having more children than allotted by the state.
  • The files detail how individuals move through the mass detention system, from initial evaluation and surveillance, to internment and “graduation” — the term used for their release into “monitoring and control” at home or involuntary labour in industrial parks. The 137-page file contains personal data on more than 300 individuals in Karakax with relatives abroad. Details about family members, social circles and religious beliefs, as well as perceived misdemeanours, are also in the file.
  • The purpose of the file appears to be to record judgments on whether an individual should remain in one of four camps in the county or be moved to another part of the system. In some entries, the word “agree” was written beside a judgment, suggesting the files were used by government officials to communicate and approve decisions.
  • Deutsche Welle – William Yang and Sandra Petersmann / Exclusive: China’s systematic tracking, arrests of Uighurs exposed in new Xinjiang leak

Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi / Albanian PM plays down hopes of start to EU accession in March

  • Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said he was “expecting nothing” from a summit in March at which EU leaders are due to return to the issue of enlargement and his country’s accession to the bloc. “Let’s not speak about dates and months. March does not exist,” he told journalists in Brussels.
  • Rama was in the European capital to attend a donors conference to raise funds for the reconstruction of parts of the country following an earthquake in November that killed more than 50 people. Ask to comment on Macron’s block on further EU enlargement, Rama called him “a great friend of Albania” and added that French troops had done a “fantastic job” rescuing victims from the rubble.
  • Rama acknowledged that Macron had legitimate arguments on changing the enlargement process. Nevertheless, he also emphasized that the halt on Albania’s accession had been “a political earthquake,” stressing the judicial reforms that the country had already made. Earlier this month, Paris signaled its support for a reformed accession process that addresses Macron’s complaint.
  • Euractiv / Donors pledge an ‘overwhelming’ €1.15 billion for Albania quake recovery

Financial Times – Rana Foroohar / One world, two systems in the 5G race

  • I recently had the pleasure of hosting a State Department led delegation of young international leaders at the Financial Times’ office in New York. The group, which included economists, government officials, journalists, NGO workers and private sector folks from over a dozen countries, were visiting as part of a US government sponsored economic co-operation programme.
  • I asked the group what they considered to be the most under-reported story by American media. The consensus: how China is filling the diplomatic and economic vacuum created by America in places like Africa, eastern Europe, south-east Asia, and so on. They shared a variety of fascinating examples, from ports built by the Chinese to vocational training offered by Beijing.
  • But the most important influence was around the rollout of Chinese equipment and standards in 5G — several participants had stories about how China’s technology was being adopted in their own countries. I have been writing about decoupling for some time, and was one of the first to bet that the US and China would create separate technology ecosystems.
  • The Guardian – Dan Sabbagh / Huawei row: Trump chief of staff to meet Dominic Cummings

The Washington Post – Kimberly Kindy / Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to fight climate change

  • Jeff Bezos announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund on Monday, saying it will provide $10 billion in grants to scientists and activists to fund their efforts to fight climate change. The Amazon founder and CEO said the grants, which will be issued this summer, will go to individuals and organizations from around the globe.
  • Bezos signed the pledge one day before company employees planned to walk off the job in protest, saying the retailer and tech giant needs to do more to reduce its carbon footprint. Amazon has a massive environmental imprint, delivering what some experts estimate is more than 1 billion packages a year to customers in the United States.
  • The fund builds off prior commitments that Bezos has made in recent years to reduce Amazon’s impact on the environment, including signing a “climate pledge” last year that commits the company to operate on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Amazon has committed to ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, which it expects to start using by 2021, and it has donated $100 million to reforestation efforts.
  • Financial Times – Robert Armstrong and Oliver Ralph / Climate change: will the insurance industry pick up the bill?

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, 17/02/2020

Foreign Policy – Noah Barkin / The U.S. and Europe are speaking a different language on China

  • The Americans came on strong at the Munich Security Conference. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned America’s that it was time to “wake up” to the Chinese threat. Mike Pompeo declared that the West was “winning” the conflict with China. Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Chinese telecommunications group Huawei as an “insidious form of aggression.”
  • But most of these warnings fell on deaf ears. What all the panels, breakfast meetings and side discussions about China revealed most was that Washington and Europe are speaking a completely different language when it comes to China. And so long as they do, developing a transatlantic agenda to respond to China’s rise will be very difficult, perhaps impossible.
  • Europe and the United States do agree on what they don’t like about China’s development under President Xi Jinping. That includes a Chinese market that has not opened up to foreign investment, the emergence of a dystopian surveillance state that is now being exported to Africa and Latin America, the detention of over a million Muslims in Xinjiang, and China’s intimidation tactics in Hong Kong, Taiwan and beyond.
  • Where they don’t agree is on how to define this competition. And in the end, this will be crucial if they are to move beyond the loose cooperation on China that exists today and develop the kind of transatlantic agenda that people were buzzing about in Munich. The Americans should tone down their “with us or against us” rhetoric, and Europe should make a concerted effort to forge a common, coherent and firm policy towards China.
  • The Economist / America urges Europe to join forces against China
  • Politico – Matthew Karnitschnig / Trump camp finds no appeasement at Munich

The New York Times – Keith Bradsher / Slowed by the coronavirus, China Inc. struggles to reopen

  • The world’s second-largest economy practically shut down three weeks ago as a viral outbreak sickened tens of thousands of people, unexpectedly lengthening a Chinese holiday. The freeze set off warnings that the global economy could be in jeopardy if the world’s pre-eminent manufacturing powerhouse stayed shut for long.
  • China’s efforts to contain the virus are clashing with its push to get the country back to work, requiring the country’s leaders to strike a balance between keeping people safe and getting vital industries back on track. Quarantines, blocked roads and checkpoints are stopping millions of workers from returning to their jobs.
  • With the exception of factories producing medical protective equipment, which the Chinese government has asked to run around the clock, few businesses seem to be returning yet to their previous pace. The reopening of businesses means trying to bring together again much of China’s 700 million-strong labor force after what had become a nearly three-week national holiday.
  • Restarting China’s factories is only part of the challenge. The country has a huge services and consumer sector, including shops and restaurants enjoyed by an increasingly affluent middle class. Those businesses have also been devastated by the outbreak, which has kept many Chinese families confined to their homes.
  • Financial Times – Sun Yu / Coronavirus fears force China into mass chicken cull

The Washington Post – Holly Bailey / Campaigns warn of chaos ahead of the Nevada caucuses

  • Campaigns said they still have not gotten the party to offer even a basic explanation of how key parts of the process will work. Volunteers are reporting problems with the technology that’s been deployed at the last minute to make the vote count smoother. And experts are raising serious questions about a tool assembled to replace the one scrapped after the meltdown in Iowa.
  • Adding to the challenge is the complexity of Nevada’s caucuses. Nevadans have the option of voting early. State party officials have issued a series of memos trying to explain how things will work. But the party has left crucial questions unanswered, 2020 campaign aides say. Volunteers also have begun sounding the alarm, saying party officials have left them unprepared.
  • Experts also have raised serious concerns about the state party’s plan for tallying votes on caucus night. Nevada officials have been using a Google-based form, pre-installed on party-purchased ­iPads, to register voters when they arrive during early voting. Those voters are then given a paper ballot to rank their candidate choices.
  • Those ballots will be verified and scanned at processing centers before they are somehow transmitted to precincts for the in-person caucuses. On caucus night, caucus administrators will access the early vote data through the Google Forms web application the party has referred to as a “Caucus Calculator” on party-issued iPads.
  • The Guardian – David Smith / Why Joe Biden needs ‘a political miracle’ to stay in the race to face Trump

Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi and Andrew Gray / Top EU general: Libya mission is key test

  • The European Union’s top general has warned that not reviving a military mission to implement an arms embargo on Libya would mean the EU has failed a test of its new geopolitical ambitions. General Claudio Graziano, the head of the EU’s military committee, also declared he had never seen “real war so close to the door of Europe” in his decades-long career.
  • On Monday, EU foreign ministers will discuss how to revive Operation Sophia, the naval mission in the Central Mediterranean tasked with overseeing the arms embargo and fighting human trafficking. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and many EU governments favor restarting the mission.
  • Austria has led opposition to the proposal, with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arguing the mission encouraged people-trafficking and illegal migration, as migrants knew they stood a chance of being rescued by EU ships and taken to Europe. If the plan to revive Sophia doesn’t succeed, it would send “an extremely negative message,” Graziano said, as it would mean the EU is “not able to find a solution.”
  • Yet Graziano said he was “very optimistic” a solution would be found because the EU is now much more focused on security and defense than it was even a few years ago. Graziano argued that even during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, when war raged inside Europe, the threat to the Continent was not as complex or as serious as it is today.

Euractiv – Alexandra Brzozowski / In Munich, diplomats reaffirm push for peace in Libya

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, 14/02/2020

The Guardian – Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart / Javid resigned after Johnson pushed him to sack advisers

  • Boris Johnson has moved to seize control over the Treasury in an unexpectedly brutal reshuffle that forced out his chancellor. Johnson staged the power grab over No 11 by issuing an ultimatum to Sajid Javid to fire all his advisers – a move that Javid later said “no self-respecting minister” could accept.
  • Several Whitehall sources told the Guardian that Johnson and Cummings want No 10 to consolidate its grip over the Treasury and Cabinet Office in preparation for wider machinery of government changes they want to make in the next year.
  • In the short term, the reshuffle is likely to mark a shift towards greater spending and possibly tax rises at the budget, which is due to take place on 11 March if it is not delayed. The departure of the chancellor weeks before such a major fiscal event left the Treasury in shock and No 10 unable to confirm the budget would definitely go ahead on that day.
  • Javid’s resignation letter to Johnson contained a number of parting shots at the No 10 operation, including a veiled warning to Johnson about the influence of Cummings. He issued a plea for the Treasury to retain its “credibility”, and advised the prime minister that leaders needed to have “trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with”.
  • Financial Times – The Editorial Board / The dangers of Boris Johnson’s power grab
  • Bloomberg – Therese Raphael / Boris Johnson really has seized control now

Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / The world’s most dangerous people? They’re in office.

  • As the biggest minds on global security policy gather for the Munich Security Conference this week, EU leaders won’t quite fit in with many of the other top leaders present — for better or worse, Brussels still doesn’t have the hard power to kill anyone.
  • While this year’s theme is “Westlessness” — a collective fretting about the decline of the West — analysts say a broader, more pernicious collapse is underway, one that includes growing disregard of long-standing international legal conventions on how armed conflicts are fought, as well a dangerous new way of talking about, even celebrating, deadly military strikes.
  • Together, these changes mark an erosion of the “just war” tradition of military ethics, and raise some uncomfortable about whether the EU is at all prepared to deal with increasingly murderous geopolitical partners, and in the longer term if the EU’s own push for greater military and defense capabilities, perhaps including the development of an EU army, is really in keeping with the bloc’s core aims of peace and prosperity.
  • Security analysts point to two causes of the increasing sense of lawlessness: the rise of China, which does not share the Western view of human rights and democratic freedoms (as evidenced by its treatment of Uighur Muslims and democracy protesters in Hong Kong); and Washington’s steady retreat from the role of global policeman that it had played, however reluctantly, since the end of the Cold War.
  • The Atlantic – Michael Gerhardt / Madison’s nightmare has come to America

The Washington Post – Eugene Scott / The challenge of Joe Biden’s message to black voters holding

  • Former vice president Joe Biden’s poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire have given rise to legitimate concerns. Biden, for his part, maintains he is the most electable Democratic candidate — in part because he has the most consistent demonstrated support from people of color.
  • It is true that Biden polls better than anyone with black voters, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who won New Hampshire and finished with the second-most delegates in Iowa. Since shortly after entering the presidential contest, Biden has held a significant lead with black voters over other candidates.
  • But the lead has shrunk to less than 10 percentage points, according to the most recent national Quinnipiac poll released before Iowa and New Hampshire. Mike Bloomberg has invested heavily in television ads in South Carolina. As a result, Bloomberg is trailing Biden with black voters by only five points.
  • The New York Times – Charlie Warzel / Mike Bloomberg is hacking your attention

Bloomberg – Charlotte Ryan and Siddharth Vikram Philip / With the 737 Max grounded, Airbus can’t build planes fast enough

  • For decades, Airbus SE and Boeing Co. have been fighting each other for orders. With Boeing in crisis after two fatal crashes in five months, Airbus supplied 483 more planes than Boeing in 2019, the biggest margin in their 45-year battle. Airbus secured more than 700 net orders for narrowbody aircraft, while Boeing lost more deals than it won, ending the year down 51 narrowbody orders.
  • Airbus’s biggest challenge is less about winning orders than about finding space and parts to build more planes. Airbus makes about 60 A320 planes a month and has announced that it will increase production to as many as 67 a month by 2023. The European planemaker said Thursday that it expects to hand over about 880 jets in 2020, building on record output last year.
  • Buying a plane, however, isn’t like buying a smartphone or a car. Airbus and Boeing are in a duopoly, meaning alternatives are limited. Waiting lists for the most popular aircraft stretch out for years, so pulling out of a Max order means joining the end of a long Airbus line. The question for Boeing is how quickly it moves away from the 737, whose reputation is now tarnished.
  • Politico – Christian Oliver, Simon van Dorpe and Giorgio Leali / Europe under siege – from within

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.

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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 13/02/2020

Project Syndicate – Ngaire Woods / When viruses turn political

  • The first challenge is that politicians are torn between looking decisive and adopting science-based measures that require careful explanation to a skeptical public. Closing off China might seem justified. But doing so unilaterally, without building trust with other governments, makes it likelier that other countries – such as China’s smaller neighbors – will not notify the world when the virus spreads to them, owing to fear of being closed off and the massive economic costs this would imply.
  • The second challenge for governments relates to communication. Accurate, trusted information is vital in fighting a pandemic. As citizens do not trust politicians to tell the truth, they turn instead to social media, which can facilitate greater transparency and instant reporting, which governments must not quash, but social media also gives rise to “infodemics” of fake news and rumor that endanger public health.
  • Equally, politicians and social media companies need to combat xenophobic reactions, which pandemics spur all too easily. There are already reports of a wave of discrimination against East Asians since the COVID-19 outbreak. Stigma and discrimination make it harder to combat infectious diseases, because they increase the likelihood that affected people will avoid seeking health care.
  • Finally, preparedness is key. Governments must commit resources ahead of time and have a ready-to-go command structure in the event of a global public health emergency. But politicians often are loath to invest in disease prevention, finding it much easier to claim credit for a shiny new hospital. More insidiously, they can cut funding for preventive programs in the knowledge that future governments will face the consequences.
  • The Guardian – Mark Sweney / Mobile World Congress axed after firms quit over coronavirus fears

Foreign Policy – Michael Hirsh / Biden’s world experience proves a lead balloon

  • As Biden frequently (and truthfully) tells voters about his vast and unmatched experience, especially in foreign policy: “I’ve dealt with every one of the major world leaders that are out there right now, and they know me. I know them.” And those same leaders, he said at another point, were phoning him and begging him to run, to save the world from Donald Trump.
  • None of it seems to be working. Democratic voters in this election season don’t appear to value experience, particularly on the world stage. Indeed most signs are that Biden’s experience, and his often halting efforts to explain it on the stump, may well have been working against him. Biden’s performance at the polls already has many electoral experts suggesting that the once front-runner may be on his way out of the race.
  • Biden has faced other difficulties on the campaign trail, many of them self-inflicted. At 77, he has proved uneven at best as a campaigner—most recently when he bizarrely called a young woman in New Hampshire a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier”. Biden staffers also admitted that his son Hunter had created a serious conflict-of-interest issue for him by taking a well-compensated job with a Ukrainian energy company. Biden’s foreign-policy experience has also proved a double-edged sword, since his many votes and policy stances have left him vulnerable to criticism—none more so than his vote to authorize the Iraq War in 2002. 
  • The Washington Post – Hugh Hewitt / Trump vs. Sanders is the main event. Everything else is an undercard.

The Economist / Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s ex-dictator, could at last face justice

  • Mr Bashir, who seized power in 1989, languishes in a Sudanese prison after being swept from office last April in a popular uprising. The decision to let him appear before the ICC was taken by the country’s new joint military and civilian council during talks with Darfuri rebel groups. Handing Mr Bashir over to the ICC has been one of the rebels’ long-standing demands.
  • But how exactly Mr Bashir and those indicted with him are to appear before the ICC has yet to be worked out. The transitional government is sensitive to the national humiliation some Sudanese would feel if Mr Bashir were sent to The Hague, where the ICC sits. Instead, officials are exploring ways in which Mr Bashir and the others could appear in front of ICC judges, or perhaps a hybrid court, in Sudan itself. It will be up to the ICC to decide whether such a court in Sudan would be sturdy enough.
  • The court’s legitimacy in Africa is not as shaky as it seems. Though Burundi has left, South Africa has not followed through; the Gambia changed government and rapidly changed its mind. Other African countries came to the court’s defence. Nigeria, the most populous, vocally supports it. The new Sudanese government’s co-operation with the ICC would be a remarkable further step.
  • The New York Times – Reuters / Fuel shortages put squeeze on Sudan’s transitional government

Project Syndicate – Michael Spence / The challenging arithmetic of climate action

  • The newfound sense of urgency on climate change comes at a time when the corporate community is increasingly pledging to shift toward a multi-stakeholder model of governance – a transition that would create space for more climate-conscious ways of doing business. But the challenge of creating a sustainable global economy remains monumental.
  • Reducing the global economy’s energy intensity depends on two levers: improving energy efficiency and expanding the use of clean energy. There are reasons to believe that substantial gains can be made on both fronts.
  • Our best bet may be a global carbon-trading system in which “carbon credits” decline over time, until they reach an agreed long-term target. This would yield a uniform global carbon price that would move as the targets were tightened, leading to effective and efficient international mitigation. But implementing such a system would require allocating credits or licenses to countries.
  • The fairest way to do that would be on the basis of per capita emissions, which would imply potentially large transfers of income from richer to poorer countries. This, however, may well prove to be an insurmountable barrier, especially at a time when even many rich countries are experiencing rising inequality in income, wealth, opportunity, and economic security.

Financial Times – Anjli Raval / Can the world kick its oil habit?

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, 12/02/2020

Foreign Policy – Elizabeth Tsurkov / Desperate, thousands of Syrians flee towards Turkish border

  • The wintry weather, along with the bloody onslaught by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has turned the flight of displaced civilians in Idlib and Aleppo toward the Turkish border into the biggest humanitarian crisis yet in a war that for almost a decade has normalized mass atrocities.
  • Since Dec. 1, 2019, 689,100 civilians have been displaced by the government’s offensive against Idlib, most of them women and children. Some 100,000 have been displaced only in the past week. The rapid progress of regime forces and waves of displacement it produced escalated tensions between Turkey and the Syrian forces backed by Russia.
  • The fate of Idlib’s 3 million to 4 million residents now depends on Turkey’s ability to deter further regime advances. Another five Turkish soldiers were killed in recent days in an attack carried out by Assad’s forces. Russia and the Assad regime still control the skies and use this dominance to destroy hospitals, bakeries, and other civilian areas.
  • To makes matter worse, Iran became much more actively involved in the campaign against the last rebel-held pocket in January, though the regime’s advances also stemmed from Russian support. Russia is determined to achieve a decisive military solution for Idlib and told Turkey it would not accept a cease-fire even if the rebels made significant concessions.
  • Financial Times – David Gardner / Europe could soon feel the fallout from Idlib

The New York Times – Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns / Bernie Sanders scores narrow victory in New Hampshire primary

  • Senator Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, consolidating support on the left. Mr. Sanders had about 26 percent of the vote with 90 percent of the ballots counted, while former Mayor Pete Buttigieg was a close second. Senator Amy Klobuchar finished in third, while Senator Elizabeth Warren finished a distant fourth and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. finished fifth.
  • The results raised immediate questions about how much longer Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren, onetime front-runners, could afford to continue their campaigns. Mr. Sander’s grip on progressive carried him to the top of the field in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but in both states he captured less than 30 percent of the vote.
  • The rise of Mr. Sanders has distressed many centrists and traditional liberals at a time when Democratic voters are united by a ravenous desire to defeat President Trump. Mr Trump’s impeachment acquittal, the chaotic vote-counting in Iowa and the fractured Democratic field have many in the party worried that they are endangering their opportunity to win back the White House.
  • Mr. Buttigieg was the leader among moderate and conservative voters on Tuesday and, without naming Mr. Sanders, he urged voters to reject a political approach that demanded revolution or nothing. He also subtly underscored the generational gulf between him and Mr. Sanders: “I admired Mr. Sanders when I was a high school student, (…) I respect him greatly to this day.”
  • The Washington Post – Aaron Blake / Winners and losers from the New Hampshire primary

Haaretz – Jack Khoury and Noa Landau / U.S. Envoy at UN: Trump Mideast Peace Plan is subject to changes

  • A senior Trump administration official said after the UN Security Council session on Tuesday that Washington is “willing to have an honest and open discussion on [the plan] as a possible basis to restart negotiations for a realistic two-state solution.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s plan seeks to “put an end to the question of Palestine.”
  • Mr. Abbas described the Palestinian state envisioned by the plan as “Swiss cheese”. In a joint press conference with Mr. Abbas, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Abbas is Israel’s only partner for peace, praising him for fighting terrorism and stating that an Israeli-Palestinian peace requires direct negotiations between the two sides.
  • Steps toward annexation of parts of the West Bank would have a “devastating effect” on the prospect of the two-state solution to the conflict, said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Mideast envoy. He reaffirmed the UN’s official position that peace can only be achieved with a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
  • Al-Monitor – Mazal Mualem / Can Netanyahu spin right-wing annexation war to his advantage?

Euractiv – Frédéric Simon / EU working on plans to expose climate impact of natural gas

  • The European Commission is preparing a strategy to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, including fracked LNG imported from the US. But the timing is uncertain because officials are still busy collecting data on which to base a credible policy.
  • Methane has a global warming potential that is over 80 times more powerful than CO2 during the first 20 years after release, according to the Environmental Defence Fund, a green pressure group. Human-made methane emissions account for about 25 per cent of today’s warming, a third of which comes from the oil and gas sectors, according to the EDF’s estimates.
  • The gas industry itself admits there is a knowledge gap. “We recognize indeed, there is a need for better measurements” of methane leakage across the gas supply chain, said James Watson, secretary-general of Eurogas, an industry association. “Now is the time to act,” he added, saying he hoped a “baseline measurement” could be adopted soon. As Europe imports increasing amounts of American LNG, it will have to take account of the climate impact of imported US gas, most of which is obtained through fracking.
  • The Guardian – Phillip Inman and Fiona Harvey / Global economic growth will take big hit due to loss of nature

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, 11/02/2020

Foreign Affairs – Elizabeth Economy / The coronavirus is a stress test for Xi Jinping

  • Several calls for the resignation of Xi Jinping have popped up on the Chinese Web in recent weeks, from citizens who accuse the country’s leadership of bungling the state’s response to the deadly coronavirus. These critical posts have disappeared almost immediately.
  • The coronavirus outbreak is on track to become the worst humanitarian and economic crisis of Xi’s tenure, but the Chinese president is certainly not likely to resign. In fact, Xi has spent seven years in power building a political system designed to withstand such a crisis.
  • Beijing has worked hard to bring the international community into line, responding to global anxieties with its trademark mix of diplomatic confidence and coercion. At Beijing’s direction, the WHO has refused to allow Taiwan to participate directly in briefings on the coronavirus.
  • Beijing remains as committed to stemming the free flow of information as it is determined to fight the actual virus, even when these are in clear conflict. Its determination to control the flow of information between China and the rest of the world led it to reject several offers of help made by the international community.
  • Financial Times – Nic Fildes / Coronavirus cancellations rock world’s biggest smartphone event

The Economist / The risk of Britain leaving the EU with no trade deal remains high

  • According to Michel Barnier, the EU is ready to offer a zero-tariff, zero-quota free-trade deal, if Britain observes EU rules on state aid to companies and on environmental, workplace and labour standards, allows EU access to British fishing waters and accept a dispute settlement mechanism with the ECJ in it.
  • Boris Johnson dismissed these demands in muscular terms. He wants a free trade-deal like Canada’s. But just as Canada is not bound by stringent level playing-field conditions, Britain should not be. If a Canada-style deal cannot be negotiated, then Britain would be happy to trade with the EU like Australia (ie. no-deal and WTO terms).
  • The question is whether reaching a deal is possible, even if both sides prefer a deal to no-deal. Geopolitics urges a deal too: nobody in the EU wants Britain to drift off across the Atlantic or towards Asia. Despite chatter from some of his allies, there is little sign that Mr Johnson favours either.
  • The Washington Post – Andreas Kluth / Germany is one of the biggest Brexit losers

Politico – David M. Herszenhorn and Simon Marks / African leaders call for home-grown counterterrorism force

  • African leaders from the violence-scarred Sahel region agreed to work to create their own joint counterterrorism capabilities – an initiative that highlights the growing discomfort with the presence of French troops in the region.
  • The idea reflects a deepening resolve, expressed by the African Union’s leadership, that African nations must handle their own affairs. Leaders lamented the lack of coordinated counterterrorism capabilities, particularly in the Sahel. Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa announced that the AU will hold a special summit in his country in May dedicated to ending armed conflicts on the continent as well as to combatting terrorism.
  • Assembling an effective force to counter the terror threat in the region will be challenging. Troops often have poor training, low wages and dwindling morale due to the growing number of casualties. Andrew Lebovich, a visiting fellow at the ECFR, also mentioned logistical obstacles, like better cooperation and interoperability between forces, as well as security sector reform.
  • The Guardian – Jason Burke / Civilian deaths and atrocities escalate as chaos builds in Sahel

Financial Times – David Sheppard / Global CO2 emissions static for first time in 10 years

  • The head of the International Energy Agency is “hopeful” global carbon dioxide emissions have peaked after global output flatlined in 2019 for the first time in a decade. Carbon emissions from energy fell in advanced economies, where the use of coal declined by between 15 and 25 per cent.
  • Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, said the new numbers were evidence that the world’s governments are capable of doing more. Emissions fell by almost 3 per cent in the US, in spite of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, helped by cheap natural gas prices. Overall emissions fell by 5 per cent in the EU.
  • Emissions outside developed countries are still rising rapidly, however, threatening the reductions. Almost 80 per cent of the increase in emissions in 2019 came from rapidly developing countries in Asia, where cheap coal has continued to gain use as a fuel source in the power sector.
  • The Guardian – Stephen Burgen / ‘We have nothing to keep the sea out’: the struggle to save Spain’s Ebro Delta

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, 10/02/2020

Project Syndicate – Josep Borrell / Embracing Europe’s power

  • The European Union must adjust its mental maps to deal with a world of geostrategic competition, in which some leaders have no scruples about using force, and economic and other instruments are weaponized.
  • Many say that EU foreign policy will never succeed, because Europe is too weak and too divided. It is, of course, true that if member states disagree on key lines of action, the Union’s collective credibility suffers. Member states must realize that using their vetoes weakens not just the Union, but also themselves.
  • Europe’s problem is not a lack of power, as it can capitalize on Europe’s trade and investment policy, financial power, diplomatic presence, rule-making capabilities, and growing security and defense instruments. The problem is the lack of political will for the aggregation of its powers to ensure their coherence and maximize their impact.
  • Diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. Beyond addressing crises in Europe’s neighborhood, there are two other key priorities: framing a new, integrated strategy for and with Africa; and devising credible approaches to dealing with today’s global strategic actors: the United States, China and Russia.
  • Politico – Nathalie Tocci / Europe needs boots on the ground in Libya

Politico – Naomi O’Leary / Sinn Féin surge makes Irish political history

  • Sinn Féin won the popular vote on 24.1 percent, ahead of Fianna Fáil on 22.2 percent and Fine Gael on 22.1 percent of first preference votes. The party beat both Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and opposition leader Micheál Martin into second place in their home constituencies in Dublin and Cork.
  • Not expecting to do this well, it only ran 42 candidates, well short of the 80 needed for a majority. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she would first try to cobble together a coalition with smaller left-wing parties before exploring other options.
  • It is the first time Sinn Féin has rivaled the two traditionally dominant parties, who have taken turns in power since 1920. Exit polls suggested that the party benefited from a surge in support among voters under 35, championing increased spending, rent freezes and a massive public housing program, in an election defined by frustration with strained public services, infrastructure and housing.
  • In the past, Irish unification was Sinn Féin’s defining policy. Even though this was not a prominent subject in the campaign, its surge in support reflects increased expectations of a unity referendum in the wake of Brexit, which unpicked the complex consensus over Northern Ireland’s status reached in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
  • Foreign Policy – Dan Haverty / Will Irish elections lead to unification?

Financial Times – Guy Chazan / Merkel’s heir apparent quits as CDU leader

  • The race to succeed Angela Merkel as German leader was thrown wide open this morning as Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the woman long seen as her anointed heir, said she would not run for chancellor in next year’s election. She is also to stand down as leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
  • Though seen as Ms Merkel’s favoured successor, a series of gaffes gradually eroded her authority and sent her poll rating into a tailspin. The act of insubordination of CDU politicians, which acted against Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s wishes by voting with the AfD for an FDP candidate in Thuringia, underscored her waning authority in the party.
  • The contest to replace Ms Merkel, who will retire from politics after her fourth and final term expires next year, is expected to be a three-way contest between Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, and Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the CDU parliamentary group. Markus Söder, Bavarian prime minister and leader of the CSU, could also be a potential candidate.
  • A victory by Mr Merz or Mr Spahn, both conservatives, would mark a watershed for the CDU, which has moved to the centre ground of German politics under Ms Merkel. Many in the party would like to see it shift to the right again once Ms Merkel exits the political stage.
  • Euractiv – Sarah Lawton / Thuringia reeling from post-electoral hangover after far-right alliance fiasco

The New York Times – Reid J. Epstein et al. / How the Iowa caucuses became an epic fiasco for Democrats

  • The widespread lack of faith in the Iowa results has shaken many Americans’ confidence in their electoral system. While Mr Trump has reveled in the meltdown, Democrats have proposed abolishing caucuses and ending Iowa’s time at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.
  • An analysis by The New York Times revealed inconsistencies in the reported data for at least one in six of the state’s precincts. Those errors occurred at every stage of the tabulation process: in recording votes, in calculating and awarding delegates, and in entering the data into the state party’s database.
  • In the aftermath of the disaster, state and national party leaders are pointing fingers at one another. Some of the roots of the Iowa debacle stretch to 2016, when Mr. Sanders finished a fraction of a percentage point behind Mrs. Clinton in the state’s caucuses. Their caucus-night data indicated he had won the popular vote, but there was no way to prove their case.
  • In the Times review of the data, at least 10 percent of precincts appeared to have improperly allocated their delegates, based on reported vote totals. Given the slim lead Mr. Buttigieg now holds over Mr. Sanders in state delegate equivalents, a full accounting of these inconsistencies could alter the outcome. But without access to the precinct worksheets, it is difficult to determine whom the errors hurt or favored.
  • The Washington Post – Cleve R. Wootson Jr. et al. / Biden, Warren battle for third place in New Hampshire
  • The New York Times – Alexander Burns and Nick Corasaniti / Sanders and Buttigieg clash, aiming for a two-person race

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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