ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 12/07/2018

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Politico – Louis Nelson / Trump suggests NATO allies should double defense spending target to 4 percent

  • “During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
  • Trump’s comments, made behind closed doors at a meeting of NATO leaders, do not appear to represent an official US position. Instead they seem more likely a negotiation tactic.
  • A NATO official in Brussels, recalling Trump’s remark at Wednesday’s meeting, said the U.S. president had been half-joking, saying something to the effect of “I know I should ask you for the 4 percent but I ask you only for the 2.”
  • While Trump claimed earlier this week that the US already spends 4 percent of its GDP on defense, the US actually falls short of that figure. The US spent 3.57 percent of its GDP on defense last year.

Financial Times – FT View / EU’s waning influence opens a dangerous vacuum in the Balkans

  • The Western Balkans summit that took place in London did little to advance prospects for Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania of achieving EU membership.
  • West European capitals are frustrated with Balkan states’ slow progress. But the more distant the prospect of EU entry is, the less motivation there will be for difficult reforms within those countries.
  • Meanwhile, Western Balkan states were among 16 central and eastern European countries invited to a summit with China in Bulgaria last Saturday, where Beijing lavished pledges of investment. Russia, despite cultural and religious ties with parts of the region, is relying more on mischief-making.
  • The EU should be more ready to criticise, and penalise, steps away from democracy by Balkan leaders, convincing populations in the region that it is really on their side.
  • Euractiv – Georgi Gotev / Macedonia’s roadmap to NATO accession explained

Foreign Policy – Ivan Krastev / 3 versions of Europe are collapsing at the same time

  • Europe has repeatedly failed over the past 70 years, and those failures have been the building blocks of Europe’s success. But things are different today.
  • Three different versions of Europe constitute the one that we know today: the postwar Europe after 1945, the post-1968 Europe of human rights, and then the united Europe that emerged after the end of the Cold War. All three Europes are now cast into doubt.
  • In the way 9/11 pushed Americans to change the lens through which they see the world America has made, the migration crisis forced Europeans to question some of the critical assumptions of their previous attitudes toward globalization.
  • Post-1989 Europe is failing because Eastern Europeans no longer want to imitate the West and be judged by the West but rather want to build a counter-model. Imitators are never happy people. They never own their successes — they only own their failures.

Foreign Affairs – Nicholas Wright / How Artificial Intelligence will reshape the global order

  • By allowing governments to monitor, understand, and control their citizens far more closely than ever before, AI will offer authoritarian countries a plausible alternative to liberal democracy, the first since the end of the Cold War.
  • Just as competition between liberal democratic, fascist, and communist social systems defined much of the twentieth century, so the struggle between liberal democracy and digital authoritarianism is set to define the twenty-first.
  • The rise of an authoritarian technological model of governance could, perhaps counterintuitively, rejuvenate liberal democracies. The human tendency to frame competition in us versus them terms may lead Western countries to define their attitudes to censorship and surveillance at least partly in opposition to the new competition.
  • Western countries should work to influence how states that are neither solidly democratic nor solidly authoritarian implement AI and big data systems, and they should promote international norms that respect individual privacy as well as state sovereignty.

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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