ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 05/04/2019

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Foreign Policy – Robbie Gramer & Amy McKinnon / Congress is finally done with the war in Yemen

  • The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to end US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. It marks the first time in history that legislation invoking the 1970s-era War Powers Resolution, aimed at reasserting Congress’s role in US wars abroad, passed both the House and Senate.
  • The Senate had passed the resolution in March by a vote of 54 to 46, well short of the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto.
  • In an April 1 statement, the White House said the resolution “would raise serious constitutional concerns to the extent it seeks to override the President’s determination as Commander in Chief.” If it were presented to Trump, “his senior advisors would recommend he veto the joint resolution.”
  • Even with a veto, some Democrats say the vote reflects mounting Republican anger with the administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. “It’s a step in the right direction that at least on measures such as these, there is some Republican support in Congress,” said one Democratic congressional aide.

The Guardian – Heather Stewart & Daniel Boffey / May asks for Brexit extension to 30 June as Tusk offers up to a year

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 30 June, but with an option to leave earlier if the necessary legislation has been passed.
  • That is the same date requested by the British government last month but rejected by EU leaders in Brussels. This time, May conceded the government would be “under a legal obligation” to hold elections to the European Parliament, scheduled for May 23-26, if it had not left in time.
  • May’s move came as the Guardian reported Tusk was pushing the EU27 to offer her a one-year “flexible” extension to article 50, with an option to leave earlier once the withdrawal agreement was ratified by parliament.
  • The UK would also have to hold elections to the European parliament on 23 May under the Tusk plan, but British MEPs would leave the chamber once the UK had departed from the bloc. MEPs from the other 27 member states would then step in, sources suggested.

Project Syndicate – Volker Perthes / Toward European strategic autonomy

  • How, and to what extent, can Europe rely on itself for its wellbeing, security, and international influence? Much of the discussion has revolved around different terms. EU institutions, as well as Germany, tend to prefer “strategic autonomy,” while France favors the concept of “European sovereignty.”
  • Strategic autonomy may be construed as the ability to set one’s own priorities and make one’s own decisions in matters of foreign policy and security, together with the institutional, political, and material means to realize these choices, either in cooperation with third parties, or alone if need be.
  • This concept of strategic autonomy covers the entire spectrum of foreign and security policies. It is important to note that autonomy does not imply autarky, isolation, or rejection of alliances. In Europe, partners are essential, and the US will continue to be Europe’s most important external ally.
  • In defense, Europe should seek a greater but limited autonomy that allows it to undertake challenging crisis-management and conflict-resolution tasks independently, and to defend the territory and integrity of its member states.
  • These challenges could be addressed by reinforcing NATO’s European pillar – militarily, through larger and more interoperational capabilities, and politically, as a format in which European NATO members prepare Alliance decisions. Moreover, the EU would be considerably more conflict-ready if it expanded the euro’s role as a global reserve currency.

Financial Times – Rana Foroohar / National champions are not the way to compete with China

  • The rise of China, with its model of state-supported capitalism, is the obvious trigger for the current calls for “national champions” in the West. But even before all the concerns about digital competition, state support for individual industries was growing.
  • National growth strategies aren’t a bad thing and smart industrial policy is of value. However, oligopoly isn’t. For example, the German idea of creating an even bigger “too big to fail” bank – through the Commerzbank-Deutsche Bank merger – is all-advised.
  • It is easier to capitulate to populism by supporting national champions than it is to craft smart national growth strategies. The US can block Huawei, but unless the Trump administration can develop a coherent trade and development strategy at home, it will not really matter.
  • While there is nothing illiberal about furthering state intervention, governments should be encouraging investment in human capital, revamping education, rebuilding infrastructure and fostering economic diversity — not making big companies bigger.

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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