The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 20/09/2017

Financial Times—E. Luce / Trump defies spirit of co-operation with America first message

  • In contrast to previous American presidents, in his UN address Donald Trump eschewed calls for the global spread of democracy in favour of an “awakening of nations”.
  • On five occasions he called for a world of “strong, sovereign nations” in which each country would first look to its own interests.
  • Then came his near declarations of war on two of the most sovereign nations in the world — North Korea and Iran – and called for the “full restoration of democracy” in Venezuela.
  • There was a core tension between the world of sovereign, transactional nations Mr Trump desired and his calls for collective action against rogue states, which he dubbed the “scourge of our planet”.
  • Like his “clash of civilisations” speech in Warsaw, Mr Trump’s UN address was written by Stephen Miller, a young aide who holds the torch for the America First agenda. To judge by this speech, we should not read too much into Mr Bannon’s departure.

Brookings—J. A. Bader / Diplomacy toward North Korea: Some good news

  • China has visibly tilted against North Korea. It supported the strongest ever U.N. Security Council resolution that for the first time opens the door to constraints on exports of crude oil to North Korea, a position that Beijing and Moscow have strenuously resisted in the past.
  • Beijing also has ordered its major banks to refuse to open new North Korean accounts, striking at financing of trade.
  • Chinese experts have said that for North Korea to conduct its latest nuclear during the BRICS summit represented a fundamental challenge to Beijing, and Chinese policy would never again be the same.
  • But if capitals interpret Trump’s threats as meaning the United States is more likely to initiate conflict than North Korea, international diplomatic efforts could shift away from degrading the North Korean threat toward containing Washington.

Foreign Affairs—P. Hockenos / The role of the small parties in Germany’s elections

  • Assuming that Angela Merkel’s CDU will win the German elections on Sunday, the surest bet in terms of coalition-building may initially look like a renewal of the “grand coalition” between the CDU and SPD, which has governed Germany for 8 of Merkel’s 12 years in power.
  • That would be Merkel’s preference, but The SPD’s leaders realize that they must remove the party from Merkel’s shadow.
  • Merkel may have to resort to Plan B, which would mean a coalition with either the Greens or the Free Democrats (FDP).
  • Although there would be issues to overcome, the CDU-Green coalitions on state level have worked out admirably, and the Greens would be ideal partners to support Merkel in negotiating a deal with President Macron to fix the eurozone.
  • Today, the FDP poses as the acceptable face of the German right. Still, the FDP’s hard-right views on immigration, EU reform, euro policy, diesel, and renewable energy, would make Merkel’s negotiations with Macron and other EU allies all the more complicated.

Foreign Affairs—N. Danforth & I. Toygur / How to dull Turkey’s autocratic edge

  • The arrangements that have historically anchored the EU’s and the US’s respective ties with Turkey—the promise of Turkey’s eventual EU accession and its military alliance with the US—no longer seem capable of handling President Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian and anti-Western stance.
  • In the US, Erdogan’s provocations have heightened the appeal of a more assertive response. If Erdogan knows that he needs the US, the thinking goes, Washington can take a tougher line with him and secure more cooperative behavior.
  • In the EU, some officials worry that if the current framework is abolished without a replacement, it would strip the EU of the little leverage it still holds over Turkey and break Europe’s connections with Turkish democrats who seek closer ties with the EU.
  • However, the EU’s credibility as a force for responsible governance suffers when it does not speak up against breaches of the rule of law and violations of basic freedoms.
  • Without threatening to abandon or isolate Turkey, the United States and Europe should make it clear that they will significantly scale down important forms of military and economic cooperation if Turkey continues to move in a dangerous direction. Such an approach would be most effective if European and U.S. leaders resist the temptation to accompany it with overly self-righteous rhetoric.

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

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