ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 23/04/2019

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Financial Times – Gideon Rachman / A new era requires an optimistic new model in Japan

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to use the new Reiwa imperial era, which will begin on May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends to the imperial throne, to inject new dynamism into Japan. The success or failure of his efforts will affect the whole world.
  • For Abe, the issues of international resilience and domestic revival are intimately connected. To address Japan’s shrinking population, the Abe government has encouraged immigration. But even the modest measures taken have proved controversial in a country that treasures its cultural homogeneity.
  • Abe is preparing Japan for any future struggle with China. His government has reinterpreted the country’s constitution to allow Japan’s military to fight alongside the US, should US forces be attacked. Defense spending is also rising. And Japan is doing its utmost to cultivate relations with India.
  • Although Abe’s political roots are in Japanese nationalism, he is intelligent enough to understand that in modern Japan a nationalist needs to be an internationalist, building alliances and international links that will allow Japan to thrive, even as China rises.

European Council on Foreign Relations – Ivan Krastev, Mark Leonard & Susi Dennison / What Europeans really want: Five myths debunked

  • The 2019 European Parliament election will be radically different from the tales in the headlines: it will not be a referendum on migration. The big divide is not ‘open Europe’ versus ‘closed nation states’ but between status quo and change.
  • New ECFR/YouGov research reveals huge fluidity in current voting intentions: 70 percent of Europeans certain to vote are yet to make their choice. Nearly 100m swing voters are up for grabs.
  • There is no single issue on voters’ minds; indeed, many are more worried about emigration than immigration. And many are more concerned about: Islamic radicalism (87m, 22 percent of the EU voting population); the rise of nationalism (45m, 11 percent); and the economy (63m, 16 percent).
  • Just under 59m highlight migration as one of the top threats to Europe: only 15 percent of the EU voting population.

The New York Times – Somini Sengupta / Global wealth gap would be smaller today without climate change, study finds

  • Climate change creates winners and losers. Norway is among the winners; Nigeria among the losers. Those are the stark findings of a paper by two Stanford University professors who have tried to quantify the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions on global inequality.
  • Inequality among nations, which has come down a lot in recent decades, would have declined far faster had climate change not been in the mix. The study estimates that the gap in per capita income in the richest and poorest countries is 25 percentage points larger than it would have been without climate change.
  • Between 1961 and 2000, climate change dampened per capita incomes in the world’s poorest countries by between 17 percent and 30 percent. Among the countries hardest hit were also some of the largest. India, for instance, would have been 30 percent richer without climate change.
  • Countries in temperate zones, including China and the US, did not feel much of an effect, the study said.

Foreign Affairs – George Packer / The longest wars: Richard Holbrooke and the decline of American power

  • One of the most celebrated diplomats of his generation, Richard Holbrooke helped normalize US relations with China; served as US ambassador to a newly reunified Germany and then to the United Nations; and, most famously, negotiated the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. But he began and ended his career struggling with how to resolve two American wars: first in Vietnam, then in Afghanistan.

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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