The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 30/05/2017

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The New York Times—P. Krugman / Trump’s energy, low and dirty

  • Trump’s belief that lifting environmental restriction will bring back jobs to the coal-mining industry is false.
  • As Gary Cohn, Trump’s own chief economist, said last week, coal “doesn’t really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.”
  • Trump isn’t offering coal country real help, just a fantasy about turning back the clock. The fantasy won’t even last that long if he goes along with the Paris accord.
  • In the G7, Trump was the only leader not to support the Paris agreement. And by failing to endorse Article 5 in last week’s NATO meeting in Brussels, Trump repudiated the central plank of America’s most important alliance.

Financial Times—G. Rachman / Angela Merkel, Donald Trump and the end of the west

  • It is appropriate to blame Trump, but despite her cautious phrasing in her beer hall speech on Sunday, Chancellor Merkel also behaved irresponsibly—making a statement that threatens to widen a dangerous rift in the Atlantic alliance into a permanent breach.
  • Merkel cannot be put on the same moral and political level as Trump, but her statement is a blunder for five reasons.
  • First, Trump may be an aberration and leave office soon.
  • Second, Trump was actually right about most European countries’ failure to meet NATO military spending targets.
  • Third, Merkel compounded the error made by Trump when he did not endorse Article 5.
  • Fourth, Merkel was unwise and unfair to bracket the UK—which sided with the EU in climate discussions, and is committed to NATO—with Trump’s America, and her words can create more mistrust between the EU and the UK.
  • Fifth, by bracketing the UK and the USA with Russia, Merkel displayed an uncharacteristic deafness to the echoes of history.

POLITICO—N. Vincour / Macron and Putin’s awkward first date

  • In his first meeting with Putin, new French President Emmanuel Macron said, on the subject of election hacking, that Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik “did not behave like press outlets, but behaved like agents of influence and propaganda” which spread “serious falsehoods.”
  • The two leaders said they had agreed to restart talks on Ukraine in the “coming days and weeks” under the so-called Normandy format — referring to four-way consultations between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.
  • “No essential topic can be addressed without dialogue with Russia,” said Macron. The two Presidents flagged enhanced cooperation in Syria to combat Islamic State.
  • Putin defended his meeting with Marine Le Pen ahead of the French elections.
  • Macron said France would “remain vigilant” on human rights issues including abuses of gay people in Chechnya and the treatment of non-governmental organizations in Russia.
  • According to a Macron aide, “we’re here to act as a safety net, to make sure Europe doesn’t turn into a centrifuge that encourages Putin to pivot further toward Asia, and so on […] We are not playing the isolation card.”

South China Morning Post / ‘Shocked’ South Korea leader Moon orders probe into why US delivered four extra THAAD launchers without telling him

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered a probe into the introduction of four THAAD anti-missile launchers in addition to two deployed by the US military before his election.
  • Moon was “shocked” to hear that the four additional THAAD launchers, deployed to counter the North Korean missile threat, were brought in without being reported to the new government or to the public.
  • Moon has pledged to seek a parliamentary review of the THAAD system, and sent his representative, Lee Hae-chan, to China to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping this month.
  • Xi told Lee that China wanted to put ties with South Korea back on a “normal track.”
  • All sides have expressed opposition to North Korea’s most recent missile test. If the test had been as precise as North Korea’s state-controlled news agency claims, it would have represented a significant advancement in North Korea’s missile programme.

 The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo.

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