EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 26/11/2019

The Washington Post – Adam Taylor / Germans are deeply worried about the U.S. alliance, but Americans have hardly noticed

  • The relationship between Berlin and Washington is, historically, one of the most important and stable ones, with Europe’s largest economy not only proving an important political and trade partner but also hosting roughly 38,000 U.S. troops across a number of military bases. However, just several weeks before a potentially contentious NATO meeting in London, a new poll suggests that the two largest nations in the alliance in terms of economy and population have different views of their relationship.
  • The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center and the German firm Körber-Stiftung in September, found that while three-quarters of Americans see relations with Germany as good, almost two-thirds of Germans say that the relationship is bad. The responses also suggested that the two nations placed different levels of importance on the alliance. The poll found that Americans are more likely to prioritize greater cooperation with Germany, with 69 percent in favor, compared with 50 percent of Germans who say the same.
  • If Trump’s negative reputation among Germans makes them skeptical of the alliance, Merkel’s positive reputation may boost it among Americans: 55 percent of Americans felt positive about the German leader. However, this situation may change with Merkel’s departure.
  • The Guardian – Patrick Wintour / Nato to consider expert panel after Macron brain-dead claim

Brookings – Bruce Riedel / Would a Democratic president mean the end of the US special relationship with Saudi Arabia?

  • Last week, at the Democratic presidential debate, Joe Biden defended that the United States should make Saudi Arabia “pay a price” for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just over a year ago. Moreover, he promised an end to arms sales to the Saudis and singled out the Saudi war in Yemen as a humanitarian catastrophe where the Saudis are “murdering children.” None of the other candidates in the debate quarreled with the vice president or came to the defense of the Saudis.
  • These remarks are an important declaration about the state of the American relationship with the kingdom. Even after the Saudi embargo of oil sales to the U.S. in 1973, President Richard Nixon traveled to the kingdom to praise King Faysal and the relationship. President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia four times as president, despite some chill in the relationship after the Arab Spring.
  • Biden’s comments follow Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s extraordinary trip to Jordan after the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s critical oil facilities at Abqaiq in September. The condemnation of two senior Democrats is unprecedented. The future of the Saudi American relationship is in more doubt today than ever. It has lost bipartisan support. Next November, it may be on life support.

Euractiv – Jorge Valero / Member states green-light Commission without UK member

  • The member states of the EU gave their blessing on Monday to the new European Commission to start functioning without the UK representative, despite the legal challenges the new executive could face for being unlawfully forged. Early this month, Boris Johnson declined to send a Commissioner to Brussels, contrary to what he had initially said and what the EU rules dictate.
  • An EU official admitted that some of the Commission’s decisions in the field of competition or trade could be challenged before the EU Court based on the legality of its constitution. However, the EU executive was “very confident” that the EU judges would validate the decision to start functioning without the UK Commissioner, the source said.
  • While the confirmation process of the new Commission advances, the Commission launched in parallel early this month an infringement procedure against the UK for refusing to nominate a Commissioner. Even if the UK exits before the infringement procedure is concluded, the Commission could still pursue the case until the end.
  • European Parliament News / Parliament to vote on new European Commission
  • Financial Times – Gideon Rachman / Brexit has destabilised the Franco-German couple

The Washington Post – Brady Dennis / In bleak report, U.N. says drastic action is only way to avoid worst effects of climate change

  • According to new findings from the United Nations, global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius. The United Nations’ annual “emissions gap” report assesses the difference between the world’s current path and the changes needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord.
  • Should that pace continue, scientists say, the result could be widespread, catastrophic effects: Coral reefs, already dying in some places, would probably dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Some coastal cities, already wrestling with flooding, would be constantly inundated by rising seas.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent each year beginning 2020 — a rate currently nowhere in sight — to meet the most ambitious aims of the Paris climate accord, the report issued early Tuesday found. Its authors acknowledged that the findings are “bleak.”
  • The Guardian – Jillian Ambrose / Global use of coal-fired electricity set for biggest fall this year

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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