ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 12/04/2019

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Washington Post – Kevin Sieff, Arelis R. Hernández & Gabriela Martínez / In Ecuador, Assange’s expulsion reflects desire for better relations with the U.S.

  • The decision to grant refuge to Julian Assange in 2012 was made by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a leftist whose relationship with the US had grown increasingly contentious. Yesterday, the gambit collapsed with Assange’s expulsion under Correa’s more moderate successor, Lenín Moreno.
  • For a while, an oil boom helped buoy Ecuador’s economy. But the price of oil fell, and by the time Moreno was elected president in 2017, he was forced to reckon not only with the geopolitical legacy of his predecessor but also with an economic recession.
  • Seeking help, Moreno signed a $4.2 billion loan agreement with the IMF and inched closer to the US. After Assange’s expulsion and arrest Thursday, Correa tweeted that Moreno, his former Vice President, was “the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history.”
  • Members of Ecuador’s parliament were divided over the decision Thursday, but most supported the move. Political scientist Alejandro Olivares said that expelling Assange is unlikely to be unpopular. “It’s more of an issue between those who support Correa and those who don’t.”

South China Morning Post – Dani Rodrik / Capitalism with US and Chinese characteristics can peacefully coexist – if we give up on ‘hyper-globalism’

  • The world economy needs a plan for “peaceful coexistence” between the US and China. Both sides need to accept the other’s right to develop on its own terms. International economic integration – today’s “hyper-globalism” – should yield priority to domestic economic and social objectives in both countries, and in others.
  • The objection that such an approach would open the floodgates of protectionism is based on a misunderstanding of what drives open trade policies. World trade expanded, relative to global output, at a more rapid clip in the 3½ decades after the Second World War than it has under the post-1990 hyper-globalist regime.
  • Similarly, one could argue that, thanks to its unorthodox growth policies, China today is a larger market for foreign exporters and investors than if it had stuck to WTO-compliant policies.
  • China’s entry into the WTO was predicated on the idea that it had become a Western-style market economy, or would become one soon. Yet there is no good reason to expect that it will or should. A global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world’s largest trading economy – China – is a regime in urgent need of repair.

The Economist / Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s strongest warlord, makes a push for Tripoli

  • A week ago, General Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who controls much of Libya, launched an offensive to seize the country’s capital, Tripoli. But Haftar’s move is starting to look like a big miscalculation.
  • A UN-sponsored peace conference was cancelled due to Haftar’s attack, though the general would have entered the conference in an enviable position, holding most of Libya’s land and oil wells.
  • Instead, his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) is now bogged down on several fronts. The general risks losing not only the battle for Tripoli but many of his other gains as well.
  • Haftar’s offensive is embarrassing his numerous foreign allies. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have provided air support. France has special forces deployed in the east. Russia has sold him weapons.
  • An LNA retreat seems unlikely. It would be out of character, and humiliating, for General Haftar. But a long battle could spell final ruin for Libya and reduce global supplies already squeezed by sanctions on Iran and turmoil in Venezuela.

The Guardian / Donald Trump floats idea of third North Korea summit despite failed Hanoi talks

  • US President Donald Trump has said he is considering a potential third nuclear summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
  • Trumps’s announcement came as North Korea replaced its long-serving nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, with a close aide to leader Kim Jong-un who was placed on a US sanctions list last year for alleged human rights abuses.
  • Although the broader sanctions should “remain in place,” Trump said he opposes any further tightening and noted that he had stopped planned new measures.
  • Shortly after the latest Trump-Kim summit, a series of satellite images emerged suggesting increased activity at the North’s Sohae rocket site, triggering international alarm that the nuclear-armed state might be preparing a long-range or space launch.

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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