ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 31/05/2018

Usa, North Korea, Conflict, Trump, Kim Jong-Un, Flag

The Guardian – Associated Press / North Korean official’s US arrival marks highest-level visit in 18 years

  • Kim Yong-chol, the former military intelligence chief and one of the North Korean leader’s closest aides, has arrived in New York in the highest-level North Korean official visit to the US in 18 years.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol planned a “day full of meetings” on Thursday, aimed at determining whether a summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un can be restored.
  • As Kim Yong-chol and Pompeo were meeting in New York, other US teams were meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore and in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. About the date of the proposed summit, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “we’re going to continue to shoot for June 12th.”
  • South Korean media speculated that Pompeo could make a third trip to Pyongyang and that Kim Yong-chol was carrying a personal letter from Kim Jong-un and might push to travel to Washington to meet with Trump.

Financial Times – Edward Luce / Donald Trump is jeopardising the dollar’s supremacy

  • Although the 2008 financial crisis began on Wall Street, the dollar rose. But profligacy cannot go on indefinitely. By his actions, Donald Trump is bringing forward the dollar’s reckoning.
  • If another recession were to occur, US borrowing would have to rise much more sharply than before Trump’s tax cuts. The president has robbed the US Treasury of ammunition it would need to fight a downturn.
  • Investors will keep faith in the dollar only as long as they trust the institutions behind it. The markets want the rule of law, political stability and US global leadership. Trump is putting all three into question.
  • The world could be entering an era of multiple reserve currencies. The transition could even be a smooth one. But it is also possible that the US will have a massive debt shock, caused by a war, or another 2008-scale financial meltdown. A return to protectionism might do similar damage.

Euractiv / Macron urges WTO ‘reform’ as US metal tariffs expected to hit early

  • French President Emmanuel Macron called yesterday for talks on overhauling the World Trade Organisation, as European companies braced for the prospect of punishing US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which could come as early as today.
  • The exemptions granted by the US to the EU run out on Friday, but The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter saying a last minute deal appeared unlikely, and the tariff announcement could come today.
  • Macron said the WTO reform project should be launched by the US, the EU, China and Japan before a G20 summit meeting in Argentina which begins on November 30.
  • “We have no choice but to defend with force and vigour a robust multilateralism, the only thing which can reconcile sovereignty and cooperation,” Macron added.
  • US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “We don’t like endless discussions, we prefer bilateral moves for negotiating … Everyone agrees that the WTO needs to be reformed.”

Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / The world wants you to think like a realist

  • Instead of relying on realism, both Republicans and Democrats tend to view foreign policy through the lens of liberal idealism. When friendly states object to something the US is doing, US leaders tend to assume that critics just don’t understand their noble aims or are jealous of America’s success.
  • The US and Soviet Union could not have been more different in terms of their domestic orders, but their international behavior was much the same. Each led vast alliance networks, toppled governments they didn’t like, assassinated a number of foreign leaders, built nuclear weapons, tried to convert other societies to their preferred ideology, and did what they could to bring the other down.
  • Realists understand that a more powerful China will eventually want to modify any features of the international system that are not in China’s interest, as Beijing has begun to do in recent years.
  • Because the Obama administration did not think like realists, it was blindsided when Putin seized Crimea and derailed the EU/U.S. efforts there. Putin’s response was neither legal nor legitimate nor admirable, but it shouldn’t have been surprising.
  • Striving to build a safer and more peaceful world is admirable, but realism reminds us that the ambitious efforts to remake world politics always create unintended consequences and rarely deliver the promised results.

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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