ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 24/07/2019

The Guardian – Heather Stewart & Jessica Elgot / Ambition fulfilled for Boris Johnson. But what next for Britain?

  • Boris Johnson swept to a convincing victory over Jeremy Hunt in the tory leadership race, and will become the next British Prime Minister. Johnson won 66% of the votes – 92,153, to Hunt’s 46,656. Turnout was 87.4% among the Tory party’s 159,320 eligible members.
  • Johnson faces a dilemma about how to deal with his defeated rival. Friends of Hunt said he would not accept any job that smacked of demotion. The result was closer than David Cameron’s victory over David Davis in 2005, after which Davis remained in post as shadow home secretary.
  • In his acceptance speech, Johnson said his task would be to “reconcile two noble sets of instincts – between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support and security and defense between Britain and our European partners; and the simultaneous desire, equally heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country.” Johnson insisted he would “get Brexit done by 31 October” with a “new spirit of can-do”.
  • His attempt to strike a moderate tone was dealt a blow by Donald Trump, however. “He’s tough and he’s smart …They’re calling him Britain Trump. And people are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there,” Trump said.

The New York Times – Helene Cooper / Mark Esper confirmed as Trump’s defense secretary

  • The US Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Mark T. Esper as secretary of defense on Tuesday, ending the longest period by far that the Pentagon had been without a permanent leader.
  • Mr. Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for the military contractor Raytheon, replaces Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria.
  • In receiving the lopsided 90-to-8 Senate nod, Mr. Esper succeeded where Patrick M. Shanahan, President Trump’s original pick to replace Mr. Mattis, did not. Five of the eight senators —Democrats — voting against Mr. Esper are presidential aspirants: Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Washington Post – Gerry Shih / China takes aim at US, Taiwan in new military blueprint

Foreign Policy – FP Editors / Why India is mad at Trump

  • Donald Trump has claimed that Indian President Narendra Modi asked him to be a mediator in Kashmir, which has been denied by Indian officials. The opposition, nonetheless, demanded Modi to clarify the conversations between him and Donald Trump at the G-20 summit.
  • Indian diplomats have long made clear to their counterparts that they don’t want international interference in Kashmir. Part of the reason why New Delhi prefers to contain Kashmir as a local issue is that international mediation could lead to adverse outcomes for India, including a potential Kashmiri plebiscite.
  • The president of Pakistani Kashmir explained why Pakistan is in favor of a plebiscite across Kashmir, citing Indian “coercion or state terrorism to subjugate the Kashmiri people.” But, he said, “Brussels, London, Washington—they are silent.”
  • Relations between India and the USA have gotten closer in the last two decades—irrespective of the governments in power on either side, but the two countries have several long-running trade disagreements, including for example about Indian price controls on medical devices. Moreover, the simmering issues boiled over this spring when Trump canceled India’s preferential trade status with the United States.

Euractiv / France, Italy, Denmark back European-led naval mission for Hormuz

  • France, Italy and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, proposed after Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, three senior EU diplomats said on Tuesday
  • The cautious backing at a meeting of EU envoys in Brussels contrasts sharply with the lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, when countries feared they could make US-Iranian tensions worse.
  • Britain tested the idea to senior EU diplomats at a meeting in Brussels, saying it would not involve the European Union, NATO or the United States directly, the diplomats said. It was the first formal European meeting since British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt outlined the plans to parliament on Monday to protect the Strait.
  • British foreign ministry and defence officials have also discussed a possible mission, which would likely involve not just ships but aircraft too, directly with their Italian, Spanish, French and German counterparts.

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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