ESADEgeo Daily News Digest, 17/04/2017

Foreign Affairs, M. J. Koplow: After Erdogan’s Referendum Victory

  • Although the Yes vote passed, many in the opposition are taking solace in the results in Turkey’s largest cities, including Erdogan’s hometown of Istanbul.
  • But Erdogan will not show a willingness to compromise because of the current climate of polarization. In fact, he will seek to deepen this polarization. The legitimacy of the new regime will be questioned by No campaigners.
  • Narrow electoral victories are not new for Erdogan, and he has always responded by “search[ing] for monsters to destroy”.

The Guardian, J. McCurry: Mike Pence warns North Korea: ‘Era of strategic patience is over’

  • US Vice President Mike Pence has warned today [echoing Rex Tillerson] that the “era of strategic patience is over” with North Korea. He also urged China to use its “extraordinary levers” to pressure Kim Jong-un’s regime.
  • The comments came during Pence’s visit to the Korean peninsula, which took him to the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
  • This warning comes days after US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster stated that tensions on the Korean peninsula were “coming to a head”.
  • Daniel Pinkston, expert in North Korea at Troy University in Seoul: “I have no reason to believe North Korea will cease testing until they have high confidence in the reliability of the nuclear warheads. And I have no reason to believe they will cease missile flight-tests. Missile development requires flight testing.”
  • Officials in Washington played down claims that the recent missile test by North Korea failed because of a US cyber attack.

The New York Times, D. E. Sanger & W. J. Broad: A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion’ in North Korea

  • According to Robert Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, recent developments in the Korean peninsula resemble a “Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.”
  • The authors point out that “the slow-motion part appears to be speeding up”, although H. R. McMaster has suggested that pre-emptive strikes are off the table, at least for now.
  • Despite labeling the historical analogy as imprecise, authors believe that “one parallel shines through. When national ambitions, personal ego and deadly weapons are all in the mix, the opportunities for miscalculation are many.”
  • US cyber-attacks seem to be behind the failure of North Korean missile launches, but these programs can only buy time, and not provide long-term solutions.
  • In North Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis is not used as an analogy as much as the case of Libya. They note that Muammar el-Qaddafi agreed to give up his nascent nuclear program in return for unrealized promises from the West of economic integration and acceptance.

POLITICO, N. Vinocur: Meet Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s army of abstainers

  • Even if Mélenchon does not make it into the run-off, he is becoming a problem for pro-EU candidates. 42% of his supporters, according to Ifop (Institut français d’opinion publique), say they would abstain if he were no longer in the picture.
  • This would likely benefit Marine Le Pen. Jérome Fourquet, Ifop: “What’s clear is that the tactical voting we saw in 2002 that kept Jean-Marie Le Pen out of power is not going to work as well this time.”
  • Mélenchon, regarding Macron: “In 2008 we both had a membership card for the Socialist Party. I turned my card in to defend my ideas. He turned his card in to join the Rothschild bank. That’s about as much as you need to know.”

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