ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 02/10/2018

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Washington Post – Erin Cunningham / Iran fires missiles at Islamic State militants in Syria to retaliate for military parade attack

  • Yesterday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said they fired six medium-range missiles into Syria, targeted at “takfiri terrorists,” a term they often use to refer to the Islamic State.
  • The strikes against the Islamic State on Monday came even as Iran had blamed local Arab separatists for last month’s attack at a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz. Both the Islamic State and the local separatists had claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Iran’s show of strength yesterday appeared to be more about sending a message to its adversaries — in the region and abroad — than about targeting those responsible for the assault.
  • Al-Monitor / Intel: Here’s why Iran’s missile strikes in Syria should worry the US

South China Morning Post – Teddy Ng / America accuses Chinese warship of ‘unsafe’ manoeuvres after near collision with USS Decatur in South China Sea

  • A Chinese destroyer nearly collided with a US warship in the disputed South China Sea after making what the Americans described as an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver in an attempt to warn it to leave the area.
  • The American guided-missile destroyer passed through waters off the disputed Spratly Islands on Sunday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs during a 10-hour patrol. Twelve nautical miles is the commonly accepted limit for territorial waters.
  • On Monday, it emerged that Beijing had called off security talks planned for October between US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
  • South China Morning Post – Kristin Huang & Teddy Ng / Beijing faces growing challenges to its South China Sea claims
  • Euractiv – Yun Sun / Djibouti: What Europe should understand of China’s approach to military expansion

Financial Times – Alan Beattie & James Politi / How is Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal different from Nafta?

  • US officials have hailed the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) as a template for future trade deals that will lead to increased wages for Americans, improved worker rights and better protection of intellectual property. But what difference does it actually make compared with NAFTA?
  • The new accord makes rules of origin more demanding for car manufacturers, since it will gradually raise the required percentage of regional auto production from 62.5 per cent to 75 per cent.
  • USMCA is likely to shift some production away from Mexico and towards the US and Canada by stipulating that a minimum input must be added in factories that pay workers at least $16 an hour.
  • Under the new deal, Canada somewhat increases US access to its dairy market, but in exchange a special dispute-resolution panel has been preserved.
  • The old NAFTA had an indefinite time horizon, whereas the USMCA will run out in 16 years.
  • Foreign Policy – Keith Johnson / Is Trump mainly rebranding NAFTA?

Foreign Policy – Robbie Gramer / Putin and Xi outrank Trump in global confidence poll

  • When asked about their confidence in world leaders to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” a median of 30 percent of respondents across 25 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center expressed confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin, compared to only 27 percent who had confidence in US President Donald Trump.
  • Both Trump and Putin lagged behind Chinese President Xi Jinping, who came in at 34 percent. However, a median of 63 percent among all countries preferred the US as the world leader, while only 19 percent preferred China.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron was rated favorably by a median of 46 percent of respondents, while 52 percent of respondents expressed confidence in German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • 80 percent of German respondents said bilateral relations with the US have gotten worse over the past year, and only 4 percent believed they have improved. Among the 10 EU countries surveyed, a median of 82 percent said they have no confidence in Trump to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

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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