ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 23/05/2018

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Financial Times – Mehreen Khan / How Zuckerberg in Brussels went from coup to car crash

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s attendance should have been a coup for the European Parliament (EP). But the clumsy format — where all questions were grouped — left the parliament red-faced and MEPs wanting more.
  • Unlike their US counterparts, MEPs were tough and incisive — asking questions that ranged from Facebook’s use of shadow accounts, its willingness to tackle its monopoly power in the EU, and whether users are able to opt-out of targeted advertising.
  • However, in the 25 minutes that he was given to answer, Zuckerberg repeated much of the testimony delivered last month to senators in Washington.
  • The EP’s civil liberties committee has asked Sheryl Sandberg and other top Facebook officials to attend a more traditional parliamentary quizzing in June.

The New York Times – Alan Rappeport & Emily Flitter / Congress approves first big Dodd-Frank rollback

  • Congress agreed on Tuesday to free thousands of small and medium-sized banks from strict rules that had been enacted as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which sought to prevent another financial crisis.
  • In a rare demonstration of bipartisanship, the House voted 258-159 to approve a regulatory rollback that passed the Senate this year, handing a significant victory to President Trump. 33 Democrats voted in favor of the partial rollback of the signature Obama-era law.
  • The legislation will leave fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to stricter federal oversight. And yet, Republicans saw Tuesday’s vote as merely the beginning, not the end, of the Dodd-Frank legislative rollback.
  • “The legislation unfortunately leaves intact the bulk of Dodd-Frank, including its most crushing burdens on consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs,” said John Berlau, a senior fellow at the Conservative Enterprise Institute.

Foreign Policy – Terence McNamee / Forget the Libya model. South Africa shows the path to peace with Pyongyang.

  • If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decides to dismantle his country’s nuclear arsenal, history will record him as only the second leader of an isolated rogue state to do so. The first was South Africa’s last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk.
  • For all the talk of the “Libya model,” it is worth recalling that Tripoli was five to 10 years away from building its first bomb when Muammar al-Qaddafi abandoned its program. Getting rid of fully built and functional nuclear weapons, as de Klerk did, is another thing entirely.
  • De Klerk rightly saw South Africa’s secret but widely rumored nuclear arsenal as an obstacle to political reform and gaining international trust.
  • Reports at the time suggested that the US and Israel feared that if Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) government inherited a nuclear weapons capability, they might sell off the technology to anti-Western regimes.
  • For the North Korean ruling elite, the nuclear arsenal may strengthen perceptions of regime permanence and security against external forces. However, as in apartheid South Africa, the main threat to the Kim regime could be internal, in which case the weapons have no utility.

Project Syndicate – PS Editors: Podcasts / Richard Haass on Trump’s North Korea strategy

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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