Financial Times—FT view/ One rotten dinner must not poison Brexit talks
- The leak of the Downing Street dinner last week does not spell disaster. In fact, it could be a useful reality check against overly optimistic expectations in the British government regarding Brexit.
- However, the leak could embolden hardline conservatives ahead of the General Election.
- A failure in the Brexit talks would not benefit anybody. The UK should not expect to dictate terms and conclude a deal so favorable that it would lead other countries to the exit door. The EU, for its part, should not try to impose the equivalent of a Carthaginian peace on the UK.
- Steps have to be taken now in order to restore confidence and avoid verbal warfare.
South China Morning Post—M. Chan/ The subtle message behind China’s longest round-the-world naval tour
- A flotilla of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ships on a tour that will take it to more than 20 countries linked to the “Belt and Road” international trade initiative.
- The move is aimed at forging links with other navies and reasserting China’s capabilities to protect its overseas interests.
- China wants to send the message that the Belt and Road trade initiative is a peaceful campaign, but supported by a strong military. However, it does not want to flaunt too much force, which could scare small countries.
- Zhou Chenming, analyst at the Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies: “China’s navy is now learning how to use soft power to build communication channels with other navies, even though it’s just a beginning.”
Brookings—A. M. Rivlin/ Seeking a policy response to the robot takeover
- Most Americans stand to benefit from a higher productivity economy linked to increased robotization. However, in the near term, the consequences could be devastating for workers in specific sectors. This reality requires an effective policy response.
- In the case of driverless deliveries, the technology is home grown, and the jobs would simply disappear, not move to another country. Furthermore, the jobs that the development of this technology would make disappear (estimates point to 2.5 million drivers in the U.S., besides associated jobs that would also be affected) are geographically dispersed.
- Some jobs would also be created, but a lot of former drivers would be looking for work and finding their skills and experience ill-suited to available jobs at comparable wages. To make matters worse, the U.S. does not have a good record of constructive policy response to technological unemployment. For political reasons, workers who could prove displacement by trade, rather than technology, tend to get more help.
- Delaying the consequences of this inevitable technological shift is not a sustainable policy response.
- In fact, displaced drivers are not a particularly difficult challenge, and focusing on this sector would be a good place to start. The response could include an early retirement option for older truckers for whom learning new skills might not be a viable option, plus a focused education for truckers under 50.
Chatham House—K. Wolczuk & R. Dragneva/ The Eurasian Economic Union: deals, rules and the exercise of power
- The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was established in January 2015 with the aim of integrating post-Soviet states (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan are its current members) into a new cohesive economic entity.
- The union is mostly based on bilateral deals involving Russia and the other member states. The lack of commitment to deep economic integration is apparent in the institutional architecture of the union and the unravelling of the early success of initial integration – the Customs Union.
- Russia was very keen on establishing the union but is not preoccupied with making the union work.
- Owing to the diverging motives and preferences of member states and weak common institutions, the EAEU is failing to live up to the grand narrative that helped launch it. Yet, the EAEU is unlikely to dissolve, as it remains too important for Russia’s regional and global agenda.