ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 30/10/2018

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Euractiv / Merkel’s move poses risk of paralysis for the EU, analysts say

  • Angela Merkel’s decision to step down as CDU chair this year, to quit as German chancellor in 2021, and to not run for an EU position afterwards spells uncertainty and possibly paralysis for the EU, according to some analysts.
  • “Nobody is going to listen to her anymore in Europe. She has taken herself immediately out of the game,” said Sebastian Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute. “There is the risk of paralysis at European level,” argued Julian Rappolt, an analyst for the European Policy Centre.
  • But the European Commission disagreed that Merkel’s announcement would lead to paralysis, a commission official said. “Angela Merkel’s decision was expected. She had foreseen it and it changes nothing. The chancellor will not leave right away.”
  • “If Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer assumes the party chairmanship, there’s still a chance the chancellor can stay on the job until 2021,” Rappolt said. If not, “it will be the end.”
  • The New York Times – Melissa Eddy / Who could possibly replace Merkel? Here are some names that stand out

The Times – Niall Ferguson / America is edging closer to civil war

  • Just how close is the US to the kind of internecine slaughter that began when Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in April 1861? There is a kind of cultural civil war already being fought on social media, although, to be fair, this culture war is no more a real war than the trade war Donald Trump has launched against China.
  • But when historian Victor Davis Hanson, of the Hoover Institution, warns that we are “at the brink of a veritable civil war”, we all need to pay attention. Hanson’s argument is that the tensions arising from globalization, the internet, campus leftism and illegal immigration have led to an ideological split that is also geographical, creating a toxic environment.
  • The extreme right and the extreme left may be two minorities. However, Hanson argues that “zealous and sometimes warring tiny minorities can escalate tensions, nullify opposition and bully the silenced majority to sanction — or at least not object to — violence”.
  • Last week, someone made a troubling analogy between the 2020 presidential election and that of 1860. The implication is not comforting, for the election of 1860 made clear that the divisions over the issue of slavery had become unbridgeable. Who drew this analogy? None other than Steve Bannon.

Al-Jazeera / Top Palestinian body calls for suspension of Israel recognition

  • The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) – a body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization – authorized the PLO to suspend recognition of Israel and stop security coordination with Tel Aviv.
  • The PCC said the suspensions should be in place until Israel recognizes the Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Moreover, the PCC decided to revoke the validity of the Oslo Accords, “in light of Israel’s continued denial of the signed agreements”. The decision must be approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO Executive Council.
  • Speaking on Sunday, Abbas again vowed to block any peace plan led by US President Donald Trump. Abbas compared the expected Trump peace plan to the 1917 Balfour Declaration: “If the Balfour Declaration is passed, this deal will not pass.”

The Hill – Jason Bordoff / Khashoggi affair exposes myth of US energy dominance

  • By resurrecting the specter of the oil weapon, the US-Saudi crisis exposes the myth of the Trump administration’s agenda of American “energy dominance.”
  • In the days following Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, a senior Saudi official said, “The kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy.” This veiled threat was widely seen as referring to its oil supplies.
  • Saudi Arabia understands that any disruption in oil supply would do far more lasting harm to itself than to the US, as it would undermine its reputation as a reliable supplier, spur the transition to alternative fuels, trigger a release of strategic oil stocks and complicate Trump’s efforts to reduce Iran’s oil exports.
  • While a disruption in Saudi oil supplies is therefore unlikely, the threat was a stark reminder that no matter how much oil the US produces or how little it imports, prices at the pump will still spike if there is a disruption in any global oil supply.
  • As a result, the best way to reduce the risk to consumers at the pump from global oil supply disruptions is to reduce how much oil we use in the first place. Yet the Trump administration is moving in the opposite direction.

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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