ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 09/07/2019

Euractiv – Georgi Gotev / Chizhov: Washington chose to act unilaterally to abrogate nuclear arms treaty (interview with Vladimir Chizhov, Russian ambassador to the EU)

  • “We had ample evidence of US violations. But instead of sitting together and discussing a possible way out, Washington chose to act unilaterally and abrogate the [INF] Treaty … If INF becomes history, then we would be left only with the sole remaining strategic offensive weapons treaty [New START], which expires in less than 2 years … If nothing happens by February 2021, then the world will become a less safer place.”
  • “From many aspects it appears to be the case [that Emmanuel Macron was the winner of the recent EU summit]. He was very vocal against the Spitzenkandidat system, which was dropped and might not reappear again … Of course the EU is not a state, it’s not even a confederation, ultimately important solutions rest with member states, which does not mean that we should neglect the EU institutions.”
  • “The new [Ukranian] President has yet to produce a concise platform of his own … Before the elections he said his main goal was to achieve peace, and that he was prepared to talk to leaders of the two self-proclaimed Donbass republics. Now he says he won’t.”
  • “[Turkish Stream] will go either to Bulgaria or Greece. Or both, provided the route is cleared by the European Commission … The problem, as we all know, is not Bulgaria, but Ukraine. By the way this doesn’t mean we intend to cut Ukrainian transit completely, as some of our partners, for example Moldova, depend on it. More generally, our predictions are that for next decades consumption of gas in EU will continue to grow, also because the EU’s own production will fall.”

Financial Times – Gideon Rachman / Xi Jinping faces his moment of truth in Hong Kong

  • The mass demonstrations that are taking place on the streets of Hong Kong represent the biggest challenge to the Chinese Communist party since the Tiananmen uprising of 1989. Ordinary Hong Kongers have no desire to live in an authoritarian one-party state.
  • For President Xi Jinping, the ultimate danger is that the contagion of dissent spreads from Hong Kong to the mainland. The demonstrations are already being portrayed in China as whipped up by the west. And the demonstrators themselves will be depicted as unpatriotic and violent.
  • But framing the Hong Kong issue as a question of national pride creates its own dangers for Xi. It means that any setback there could be perceived as a national humiliation. Rather than being the leader who wins back Taiwan (as he hopes), Xi would risk becoming known as the man who lost Hong Kong.
  • If the demonstrations continue, the alternative to reform is repression. That is also a dangerous path. Nonetheless, everything we know about Xi suggests that he will ultimately use force rather than tolerate a persistent challenge to the authority of the Communist party.

The Economist / If capitalism is broken, maybe it’s fixable (interview with Joseph Stiglitz)

  • “Since Trump … the splits between the [two main US] parties have grown ever larger, with the Republicans arguing for policies that would increase inequality and slow growth, as they increase the profits and power of corporations and further eviscerate that of workers and ordinary consumers.”
  • “[What we need is] a new social contract, a new balance between the market, the state and civil society, based on what I call ‘progressive capitalism’. It channels the power of the market and creative entrepreneurship to enhance the well-being of society more generally.”
  • “[Progressive capitalism] entails increased government investment in technology, education and infrastructure—advances in science and technology and our ability to cooperate at scale … [And] with climate change providing an existential threat, both public programs and regulations have to be directed at creating a green economy.”
  • “There is something distinctly un-American about our un-level playing field … Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support the policy positions which I advance in the book, and they want a restoration of true democracy.”

Politico – Judith Mischke / Berlin rejects US call for ground troops in Syria

  • The German government said yesterday it had no plans to send ground troops to Syria, responding to US calls for it to step up its military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State.
  • “We want ground troops from Germany to partially replace our soldiers” in Northern Syria, said US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey, with reference to Washington’s recent plans to partly withdraw from the region.
  • Any sort of change in Germany’s military mandate would require approval by the Bundestag. The current mandate for Germany’s participation in Syria runs out on October 31.
  • Some 80 countries are currently involved in the anti-ISIS coalition, with Germany contributing Tornado reconnaissance jets, a refueling aircraft and military trainers stationed in Iraq.

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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