ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 24/01/2018

Politico – Cristiano Lima / Tillerson: Russia ‘bears responsibility’ for suspected chemical attack in Syria

  • Rescue teams and activists said Monday that Bashar al-Assad’s government used a poisonous gas on Syrian civilians in an attack that affected at least 20 individuals.
  •  “Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria,” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • President Trump also appeared to toughen his tone on Putin last week. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting,” Trump said regarding North Korea. “In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”

Project Syndicate – Zhang Jun / China’s great city rivalries

  • In China, jobs and growth have become increasingly concentrated in some high-productivity megacities, which have attracted skilled labor and venture capital – while hubs of traditional industries have fallen behind.
  • The ongoing competition among megacities to generate stronger growth than their counterparts has played a driving role in China’s rapid industrialization and structural transformation.
  • This contest has been sustained by the political incentives the central government has long provided to local officials.
  • Of course, such competition carries risks – in particular, short-sighted efforts to boost growth in ways that exacerbate misallocation of resources, overcapacity, and high financial leverage. But some local governments are attempting to mitigate these risks, by shifting their focus to ensuring higher-quality growth.

Project Syndicate – Anne-Marie Slaughter & Adrienne Klasa / Can Ramaphosa Fix South Africa?

  • The new leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, is likely to also replace Jacob Zuma as South African President in 2019, if not earlier.
  • But Ramaphosa’s reform agenda faces many challenges. South Africa’s state capture is deeply embedded. Unlike in a tightly controlled dictatorship, cutting off the head will not kill the monster.
  • Moreover, Zuma is weakened but not gone. Zuma’s faction has notionally retained control of the ANC’s 86-member National Executive Committee.
  • Ramaphosa himself may well be conflicted. While he is viewed as clean despite his lavish lifestyle, he has certainly benefited from ANC patronage.
  • If international investors and stakeholders who support Ramaphosa’s agenda are too impatient, he will be unable to bring about the economic growth that will bolster his support among South African voters.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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