ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 12/02/2019

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Brookings  Madelyn R. Creedon, Robert Einhorn, Kate Hewitt, Bonnie Jenkins, Bruce Jones, Suzanne Maloney, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Jung H. Pak, Frank A. Rose & Strobe Talbot / Managing risk: Nuclear weapons is the new geopolitics

  • Since the end of the Cold War, nuclear non-proliferation has been given more attention than deterrence, strategic stability and arms control. Due to raising great power competition, there is a renewed focus on stability and arms control.
  • The classic model of arms control such as the INF Treaty is under immense strain due to the security climate, the return of competition among great powers and the new technologies. Nonetheless, arms control continues to be the paramount in reducing the risk of nuclear war.
  • The security environment for a successful non-proliferation regime is deteriorating. This situation mainly occurs because of Russia’s threat of nuclear weapons to achieve geopolitical influence; Chinese raise as a great power; USA unilateral decision to withdraw from the Iran deal and North Korea refusal of complete de-nuclearization in the medium range.
  • Despite that deterioration, Russia, China, and the United States have continued to find areas of cooperation in order to maintain the integrity of the non-proliferation regime, but they are deteriorating.

The New York Times – Edward Wong / Trump pushes Iraq to stop buying energy from Iran

  • American pressure to Iraq not to buy energy from Iran has been a major source of conflict. Due to the fact that Iran is the sole foreign supplier of energy in Iraq, Iraqi leaders are pushing back on the demand, since it can fuel political instability and mass protests.
  • The conflict is rooted in President Donald Trump’s sanctions against Iran, which have been implicitly criticized by Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi: “The people of Iraq have suffered from the blockade and are aware of the harm done to the people by their actions”, referring to the 13 years of American sanctions while Sadam Hussein was in power.
  • The main aim of the American sanctions is to weaken Iran’s economy in order to add political pressure on the regime and trigger political change, which could help to coerce Iranian leaders to dismantle their nuclear programs.
  • This policy has raised concerns worldwide due to the shortage suffered by Iranian population because of the American policy, which has led to a scarcity of medicine, sparking global criticism.
  • The Guardian – Bethan McKernan / US troops do not have permission to ‘watch Iran’, says Baghdad

Project Syndicate – George Soros / Europe, please wake up

  • Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late. If these people do not get up, the European Union will disappear as the Soviet Union did in 1991.
  • The next inflection point will be the elections for the European Parliament in May 2019. Unfortunately, anti-European forces will enjoy a competitive advantage, mainly as a result of an outdated party system, the impossibility of treaty change and the lack of legal measures to discipline states that do not comply.
  • Germany, the dominant country in the EU is not strong anymore because of its political instability. The coalition between the CDU and the CSU is unsustainable and the AfD is threatening CSU’ predominance in Bavaria. The ruling coalition cannot be strongly pro-European since Afd is threatening the right flank.
  • Instability has also been occurring in Great Britain and Italy. Unless pro-European parties put communitarian interests ahead of their own, they will not be able to emerge victorious from May’s elections to the European Parliament.

Financial Times – Courtney Weaver & Demetri Sevastopoulu / US lawmakers announce tentative deal to avoid another shutdown

  • A tentative deal was agreed to avoid another government shutdown, which has raised hopes that the Congress can pass a spending bill before Friday deadline if Trump signs this measure.
  • The deal will provide $1.4 bn in order to construct the wall with Mexico, far less from the $5.7bn promised by Trump during his election campaign in 2016.
  • The agreement has sparked the rage among different conservative figures such as Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who stated: “While the president was giving a great speech in El Paso, Congress was putting together a bad deal on immigration”.
  • However, negotiators have defended that the “agreement in principle” will please the President and the Democratic Party, though Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders also have to approve it.
  • The New York Times – Alan Blinder / Government Shutdown across America.

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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