The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 27/07/2017

The New York Times—S. Lee Myers, et al. / How India and China have come to the brink over a remote mountain pass

  • The standoff between China and India –one of the worst border disputes between them in 30 years—began last month when Bhutan, a close ally of India, discovered Chinese workers trying to extend a road in a contested area. India responded by sending troops and equipment to halt the construction.
  • Few countries have been eager to confront China’s regional ambitions as directly with military forces, which has made India’s response to the construction so striking and, according to analysts from both countries, so fraught with danger.
  • India’s national security adviser is expected to attend a meeting in Beijing this week, which analysts say could signal whether any face-saving compromise is possible. But few believe that President Xi, ahead of the 19th Party Congress, will do anything that would seem weak in response to India’s moves.

POLITICO—A. Gurzu & L. Bayer / Commission succeeds in blunting US sanctions on Russia

  • Before Juncker started making tough public statements, EU civil servants lobbying in Washington managed to tone down the initial scope of the proposed US sanctions on Russia.
  • And in the run up to Tuesday’s House vote, the EU managed to “directly” add language to the amended text that calls on the US president to uphold unity with European partners through the implementation of sanctions.
  • The EU managed to raise the threshold so sanctions only kick in if Russian stakeholders have a participation of 33% or more in joint project with European companies.
  • Another alteration is designed to ensure allies would be consulted before any penalties are imposed that could hurt German access to natural gas from Russia.
  • Despite the softer tone of the proposed sanctions, many projects and companies could suffer. And the fight isn’t over: after obtaining House approval, now the Senate must pass the bill too.

Foreign Affairs—P. Barbieri & S. Vallée / Europe’s Hamilton moment

  • German reluctance to undertake reform of the euro is profound, but not insurmountable. In an age of Brexit and waning trans-Atlanticism, Europe is more valuable to Germany than ever before.
  • In the US, the building of common debt through the assumption of state debt in 1790 was a means to a higher political objective—namely the kernel of a U.S. federal government with tax-raising capabilities and its basic relations with states.
  • It is striking that the model that Germany has tried to promote for the eurozone, resting on tight budgetary constraints at the local level and limits on transfers from a federal structure, seems hard to sustain even inside its own federation.
  • Both the American and German experiences suggest that only a central budget with spending and borrowing capabilities allowing transfers and stabilization makes a union economically durable.
  • Today, Europe has a chance to build a new framework consistent with the history of federalism elsewhere: simple rules, but also a common budgetary authority with democratic legitimacy.

Foreign Policy—T. Herr & L. K. Bate / The Iranian cyberthreat is real

  • The GCC rift shows how future crises can be sparked by cyberoperations to manipulate information.
  • The next hack in the Gulf might not simply exploit Iran’s reputation as a regional boogeyman — it might be launched by Iran itself.
  • The country has demonstrated growing maturity in offensive cybersecurity, conducts extensive espionage against its neighbors, and is actively engaged in harassing Israeli government websites.
  • In the years after Stuxnet, the US-Israeli effort to stymie Iranian nuclear enrichment efforts, Tehran began making repeated efforts to gather information on industrial control systems in both countries.

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

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