ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 18/10/2018

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Project Syndicate – Carl Bildt / The end of Scandinavian non-alignment

  • Some 50,000 soldiers, airmen, and seamen will come together in Norway for NATO’s largest military exercise in years. A Swedish-led brigade (comprising Swedish and Finnish units) will join with NATO forces.
  • In both Sweden and Finland, defense spending is increasing, and there is an ongoing debate about whether to upgrade the privileged partnership with NATO to full membership.
  • Whatever the Swedish people were led to believe about their country’s neutrality, the Soviets knew it was a lie. Now the ruse is over: full-scale military integration with NATO is in the offing.
  • Finland has explicitly said that it considers NATO membership to be an important option for its security policy, which is something that the Swedish center-left has not yet been willing to countenance.

Brookings – Samantha Gross / Will the Khashoggi crisis create an oil war?

  • Oil will not be involved in any reaction to the Khashoggi crisis by the US or Saudi Arabia, because that would lead to “mutually assured destruction” for both countries.
  • With the US talking about Iran as the root of all evil in the Middle East, and US oil sanctions against Tehran coming into effect on November 4, Washington cannot afford to sanction Saudi oil production.
  • President Trump cannot have skyrocketing oil prices going into the November midterm elections.
  • It would be counterproductive for the Saudis to cut oil exports. Doing so would hurt them more than it would hurt the US, as it would diminish Riyadh’s market share and undercut the country’s reputation as a market stabilizing force.

European Council on Foreign Relations – Jonathan Hackenbroich / Reality bytes: Europe’s bid for digital sovereignty

  • Can Europeans defend their values in the American- and Chinese-dominated Digital Age? The short answer is: only if they play to their strengths, making use of the European Union’s influence as a regulatory superpower.
  • The World Wide Web is splintering. Broadly, it is bifurcating into a Chinese web, where the state is striving to establish total surveillance of its citizens, and an American web, where private companies are implementing a business model based on something that resembles total surveillance.
  • Europeans need to consider how they can direct the EU’s influence towards governing global data flows and building a digital l’Europe qui protège. The EU’s enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May this year was a milestone in the effort.
  • If it wants the GDPR to be fit for purpose, the European Commission should declare US privacy protections inadequate in its annual review of the EU-US Privacy Shield, which is due to be published today. Yet it is possible that the European Commission will avoid a confrontation, leaving it to the European Court of Justice to strike down the Privacy Shield at some point.

Foreign Policy – Kevin Carrico / I mastered Xi Jinping Thought and I have the certificate to prove it

  • In China, students and workers alike are suffering a new imposition: the need to study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The ideas of Xi, China’s most personally powerful leader since Mao Zedong, are increasingly mandatory and have even been enshrined in the country’s ever-changing constitution.
  • In essence, Xi Jinping Thought is not all that different from his predecessors’. People, development, reform, ecological civilization, innovation, and opening have been familiar terms in China in the last 40 years.
  • It is clear, however, that China is dedicated to enforcing an ever greater degree of ideological purity in higher education. But one cannot simultaneously have world-class universities and rigid ideological servitude.
  • South China Morning Post – Matt Ho / A simple guide to Xi Jinping Thought? Here’s how China’s official media tried to explain it

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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