ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 13/11/2017

Project Syndicate—Moon Jae-in / Toward a people-centered ASEAN community

  • ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together, endorsed by ASEAN leaders at their 27th Summit in November 2015, states that the group strives to be a “people-centered, people-oriented community” that seeks to build a caring, sharing and inclusive society.
  • “My vision is to create, in cooperation with ASEAN, a ‘peace-loving, people-centered community where all members are better off together.’ This can be summed up in ‘three Ps’: People, Prosperity, and Peace.”
  • “We should also work to build a community of peace where people are safe. In Asia, we all are facing the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, as well as non-traditional security threats, including terrorism, violent extremism, and cyber-attacks.”
  • “Creating a structure for mutual prosperity requires lowering regional and transnational barriers to facilitate the flow of goods and promote people-to-people interactions.” That is why “we will [...] accelerate the pace of negotiations for the further liberalization of a Korea-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA).”

Brookings–Adel Abdel Ghafar / Muhammed bin Salman and the push to establish a new Saudi political order

  • The recent purge in Saudi Arabia has targeted three groups: (1) princes, (2) technocrats and non-royal officials, and (3) businessmen and corporate leaders.
  • By targeting senior and prominent princes, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is signaling to the House of Saud and its estimated 15,000 princes that the old, consensus-based order and previous power-sharing arrangements amongst the various branches of the ruling family are effectively over.
  • The arrest of technocrats and businessmen is a signal to the public and private sectors that no one is above the law.
  • Finally, the arrests send a powerful signal to a key constituency for MBS: Saudi youth. To this constituency, economic problems—including unemployment and corruption—and the kingdom’s social conservatism are key issues. That is why MBS has also shown his willingness to take on the religious establishment.
  • So far, the arrests have been met with approval from youth and the population at large. However, according to Brookings’ Bruce Riedel, the breakdown of consensus within the royal family is likely to create “a much less stable kingdom with increasingly impulsive and erratic policies.”

Politico—Harry Cooper / Guy Verhofstadt struggles to herd Cat(alan)s in fractious party

  • The disputed Catalan independence vote — and Madrid’s response to it — has sparked an internal spat at ALDE, in particular between Ciudadanos and pro-independence MEP Ramon Tremosa.
  • Verhofstadt has sided with the seven pro-union Spanish MEPs in the group.
  • The desire to protect its numbers — which dictate funding, committee chairmanships and speaking time — can  sometimes lead to contradictions in ALDE’s professed pro-EU stance.
  • Andrej Babiš, whose party belongs to ALDE, is set to become the Czech prime minister after running a campaign that appealed to voters’ hostility to joining the eurozone — something Verhofstadt regards as sacrosanct.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has so far declined to align his La République en Marche with ALDE, and has flirted with Ciudadanos, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel — parties with 10 MEPs that currently belong to ALDE.

Politico—Sara Stefanini / Climate activists sour on Paris accord

  • The climate pledges countries have so far submitted under the Paris deal would actually make a temperature increase of at least 3 degrees by the end of the century “very likely,” U.N. Environment said last week.
  • The COP 23 talks in Bonn are stuck on complex rules that fail to spark much public or political excitement.
  • It’s very difficult for countries to pull back from the intricacies of negotiating global accounting standards and look at the broader picture of whether the Paris process is going to end up being enough to bring global warming under control.

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

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