ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 17/06/2019

Al-Monitor – Ben Caspit / US, Israeli, Russian security chiefs to meet in Jerusalem

  • National security advisers John Bolton of the US, Nikolay Patrushev of Russia and Meir Ben-Shabbat of Israel will convene June 24 in Jerusalem to discuss the post-war order in Syria.
  • There is rare consensus in Israel about the summit being a tremendous achievement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a strategic Israeli message to Iran and the rest of the Middle East. Israeli raids in Syria have made Israel an essential player in regulating the situation.
  • According to various assessments, one possible deal would entail US and Israeli recognition of the regime and a lifting of American sanctions on Damascus. In return, the Russians would have to press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran to bring about an Iranian pullout from Syria.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a year ago that any expectation that Russia could get the Iranians out of Syria was “unrealistic.” Nonetheless, Russia has no problem discussing it. The Russians stopped viewing Iran as a strategic partner long ago.
  • As the reasoning goes, Assad knows the Iranians have done their part and can now leave. If they do, he will rid himself of his Israeli headache and can then apply himself to his country’s rehabilitation with Russian and American help. 

Foreign Policy – Ray Kwong / China is winning the solar space race

  • According to some reports, China is leading the race for the development of space-based solar power. Space solar farms would be located in the geosynchronous orbit, about 22,000 miles above sea level. This would allow the technology to collect energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Chinese Communist Party plans to have a space-based solar power demonstrator online next year. If it were successful, this cheap, emissions-free power would be hard for many countries to turn down. China would thus advance its goal of creating the world’s first global electrical grid.
  • Aside from China, the space agencies of Japan, the EU, and India are working to get their own space-based solar power programs off the ground. However, for a variety of reasons—most, if not all, having to do with a lack of money—there are no active space-based solar power missions on NASA’s books.
  • The country that first harnesses the power of the sun from space wins. While earthbound renewable energy is largely a private sector thing, space-based solar power is set to become a single-source, state-based game-changer that could easily be exploited for geopolitical gain.

Euractiv – Alexanda Brzozowski / US ambassador: Europe should forget Huawei, embrace Western tech

  • Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the EU: “We can’t risk being interconnected with someone who has vulnerable technology. So we’re telling [our friends] ‘this is our perspective, we don’t want you to put yourself in a position where we can’t continue to be closely tied as we are today because you made the wrong technology choice’”.
  •  “The EU is by nature quite protectionist. The EU has a different philosophy on trade than the US does and that some countries do. And in fact, a lot of the member countries themselves, were they able to operate on a bilateral trade basis … would probably have a view more closely akin with that of the US than the EU itself does.”
  • “We are the center of sustainable innovation … Most innovation that occurs, that will create green energy, comes from the US. So we’d rather focus on the results, than clinging to a failed agreement [the Paris climate agreement] that disadvantages certain countries and advantages others.”
  • “If you’re a [NATO] member country and you haven’t hit your 2% but somehow you’re able to find money to do a European project, first pay your bill that you owe and then, if there is money leftover, then go ahead and do it … And once you do spend money on non-NATO types of things, make sure they’re NATO compatible and compliant.”
  • “We received signals that third country participation … in European projects is going to be very problematic … We want our companies to be treated the same way in Europe as European companies are treated in the United States – no better no worse.”

Bruegel – Maria Demertzis, André Sapir & Guntram B. Wolff / A strategic agenda for the new EU leadership

  • The next presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament will inherit a relatively healthy European economy, but will face three formidable challenges in the next five years.
  • First, the incoming presidents must define Europe’s place in an increasingly bipolar world driven by a geostrategic rivalry between the US and China. They should avoid protectionism but must strengthen Europe’s technological, financial and security capacities. They should also continue to support multilateral institutions and stand ready to retaliate against trade aggression.
  • Second, global warming is a reality and temperatures appear to be rising faster than forecast. The new incumbents need to impose higher prices on greenhouse-gas emissions, guide a deep transformation of our economies, minimize the resulting social fallout, ensure border carbon adjustment and globalize the EU’s decarburization.
  • Third, the three presidents need to manage the economy and EU cohesion. The main worry is a deep recession or even a new crisis. By guiding European policymakers on the use of pro-active fiscal policy, the presidents can reform the governance of the euro area and address tax fraud and evasion.

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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