ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 06/09/2018

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South China Morning Post – Andrew McCormick / Subs, ships and aftersales service: how Russia’s military is making Moscow a player in the Asia-Pacific

  • When Russian troops stage their biggest military exercise in decades in the country’s far east later this month, Chinese counterparts will be there alongside them. Russia’s invitation to China is a strong step forward in the already close military relationship between the two countries.
  • Moscow isn’t only reaching out to Beijing. Across the Asia-Pacific, Russian military engagement is on the rise, from revived defense ties with Vietnam to arms sales as far afield as Fiji. At the same time, Russia is bolstering its own forces in its eastern bases.
  • As Russia finds itself increasingly isolated from the West, Moscow is using its military to tap a wealth of diplomatic and economic opportunities in the Asia-Pacific. While the US often imposes policy expectations on would-be partners or clients, Russia has few preconditions about other countries’ domestic affairs.
  • “Russia has no more interest in China dominating the Asia-Pacific than it does the US,” said Bobo Lo, former director of the Russia and China program at Chatham House. According to Lo, Beijing could quickly squeeze Moscow out of the regional picture if it became too strong.
  • Moscow likely has a “tripolar-plus” model in mind, in which Russia tries to elevate itself to the level of the US and China and position itself as “the great balancer” between the West and the East, Lo added.

Washington Post – Brett J. Kyle & Andrew G. Reiter / Brazil’s most popular politician, Lula, won’t be on the October presidential ballot. Here’s what comes next.

  • The Brazilian Superior Electoral Tribunal last week barred Brazil’s most popular politician — former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula” — from running for president in this fall’s national elections.
  • If Lula appeals the electoral tribunal’s ruling, the case would land in the hands of Brazil’s Supreme Court, which must announce its decision on his candidacy by September 17. The first round of the election will take place October 7.
  • Many Brazilians are ambivalent about democracy: Half are open to some form of authoritarian rule. Brazilian voters are thus turning toward far-right candidates. Among those is Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party, a former army captain who has openly promised a return to military rule if elected.
  • In head-to-head matchups with other candidates, Bolsonaro outpolls each of his potential rivals. With Lula off the ballot, more turmoil is to be expected from Brazil’s already chaotic political environment.

Project Syndicate – Joseph E. Stiglitz / Beyond secular stagnation

  • The term “secular stagnation” became popular as World War II was drawing to a close. Alvin Hansen (and many others) worried that, without the stimulation provided by the war, the economy would return to recession or depression.
  • Yet Hansen got it wrong, and today there is still nothing natural or inevitable about secular stagnation in the level of aggregate demand at zero interest rates. In 2008, demand was also depressed by the huge increases in inequality that had occurred over the preceding quarter-century.
  • We would have had a stronger recovery if we had had a bigger and better-designed stimulus. We would have had stronger aggregate demand if we had done more to address inequality, and if we had not pursued policies that increased it. And we would have had a more stable financial sector if we had regulated it better.

The Guardian – Adam Vaughan / World’s largest offshore windfarm opens off Cumbrian coast

  • The world’s biggest offshore windfarm – called Walney Extension and developed by the Danish energy firm Ørsted – has officially opened in the Irish Sea, amid warnings that Brexit could increase costs for future projects.
  • UK energy minister Claire Perry said the scheme would help the UK, the world’s number one in offshore wind installations, to consolidate its leadership and create thousands of high-quality jobs. Offshore windfarms provide nearly a tenth of the UK’s electricity.
  • The supersizing of windfarms around the British coastline means Walney Extension will not hold its title for long. ScottishPower’s East Anglia One will be bigger when it opens in 2020. Ørsted itself has even larger schemes in the works.
  • Matthew Wright, the UK managing director of Ørsted, warned that leaving the EU posed the risk of short-term disruption, and seamless borders and free-trade were important to Ørsted. But he added that any form of Brexit would not change the firm’s interest in the UK.

The New York Times / I am part of the resistance inside the Trump Administration

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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