ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 08/04/2019

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The Guardian – Oliver Holmes / Netanyahu vows to annex Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank

  • Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has pledged to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if he wins his country’s election tomorrow.
  • Formally declaring the settlements part of Israel would be seen as putting an end to fading hopes for a Palestinian state, as there would be little continuous land on which to create it.
  • Netanyahu’s remarks were criticized by his main election challenger, former military chief Benny Gantz, who branded them calling it an “irresponsible” bid for votes.
  • “Why not ask how in 13 years Netanyahu could have annexed and didn’t?” said Gantz, in reference to Netanyahu’s time as premier. “I think that releasing a strategic and historic decision in an election campaign bubble is not serious and (is) irresponsible.”

Financial Times – William Burns /  US must appreciate merits of a modest deal with North Korea

  • The experience of the Iran nuclear agreement (JCPOA) offers a path forward with North Korea. When successes come, they are usually at the margins, not in dramatic breakthroughs, and never purely the product of personal relationships between leaders.
  • The challenges posed by Iran and North Korea are not perfectly analogous. North Korea already has nuclear weapons, and is expanding its capacity to make more. Nevertheless, an interim JPOA-style deal with Pyongyang would be a modest step forward in a landscape littered with disappointments.
  • Such a deal would formalize the current freeze on nuclear and missile tests and suspend fissile material production. The US should insist on the same kind of monitoring and verification measures agreed with Iran, based on an inventory of nuclear weapons, materials and facilities.
  • Moreover, the US should try to roll back existing capabilities, including a complete shutdown of the Yongbyon facility. In return, the US would have to offer incremental sanctions relief and the possibility of declaring an end to the Korean war.

The New York Times – Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist & Steven Pinker / Nuclear power can save the world

  • Wind and solar power are becoming cheaper, but they are not available around the clock, rain or shine, and batteries that could power entire cities for days or weeks show no sign of materializing any time soon. Today, renewables work only with fossil-fuel backup.
  • There are proven models for rapid decarbonization with economic and energy growth: France and Sweden. They did this with nuclear power. Most of the fastest additions of clean electricity historically are countries rolling out nuclear power.
  • However, new nuclear power plants are hugely expensive. The key to recovering our lost ability to build affordable nuclear plants is standardization and repetition. American start-ups are developing reactors that can be mass-produced, potentially generating electricity at lower cost than fossil fuels.
  • Nuclear power is the safest form of energy humanity has ever used, and have not contributed to weapons proliferation: 24 countries have nuclear power but not weapons, while Israel and North Korea have nuclear weapons but not power.

South China Morning Post – Amanda Lee / China refuses to give up ‘developing country’ status at WTO despite US demands

  • China will refuse to give up the “special and differential treatment” it enjoys as a developing nation at the World Trade Organization, in a rebuke to a US proposal that would pare back the privileges China and other nations enjoy on trade.
  • Chinese Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that China would stand by its position, even as Brazil has agreed to forgo the status in exchange for US support in joining the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • China, India, South Africa and Venezuela have submitted a paper to the WTO saying that the self-classification of developing member status has been a long-standing practice and best serves the WTO’s objectives.
  • The US claims that current WTO rules go too far in allowing China to subsidize its industries, support state-owned firms and discriminate against foreign investors.

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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