EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 20/01/2020

Foreign Policy – Mario Esteban & Miguel Otero-Iglesias / Washington’s war on Huawei is causing angst in Madrid

  • Spain’s long-standing partnership with Huawei puts the country in a difficult situation. Madrid has always been a security ally of Washington. It has two U.S. bases on its territory, and many of its foreign-policy elites have strong trans-Atlantic links. However, for decades Spain has also been keen to present itself as China’s best friend in Europe, and the country even maintained its cooperation with Beijing after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
  • The Spanish government is aware of the geostrategic and geoeconomic dimensions of 5G technology, which will be key in the next phase of the digital revolution. This is precisely why the Spanish authorities are in favor of more European strategic autonomy and tech sovereignty, especially in critical infrastructure. Moreover, the Spanish authorities do not want to take sides between the USA and China.  
  • There is growing worry in Spain about entering into a protectionist spiral. If the EU follows the USA and bans Huawei, China might retaliate and ban European cars—and this would be very damaging for the EU and for Spain, which post-Brexit will be the second-largest exporter of cars in Europe after Germany.
  • Financial Times – Nic Fildes / Can the 5G network be secured against spying?

The New York Times – Katrin Bennhold & Melissa Eddy / International powers call for cease-fire in Libya’s long Civil War

  • Russia, Turkey and a dozen other international powers with competing interests in oil-rich Libya called on Sunday for a cease-fire and an arms embargo, committing to end their own interference on the ground to give Libyans space for a political reconciliation.
  • In a modest breakthrough, both leaders of Libya’s two warring factions, the head of the UN-backed government and a former Libyan army general, agreed to send representatives to another meeting in Geneva, where they will soon begin working out what a solution might look like. However, expectations remain low that these talks will lead to any kind of a lasting peace on the ground in the near future.
  • Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said that Sunday’s talks represented a return to European engagement in the region. But for the endeavor to succeed, he said, Europe must find a unified voice and position and remain actively engaged to prevent the crisis in Libya from destabilizing the entire Mediterranean region.
  • Foreign Policy – Anas El Gomati / Russia’s role in the Libyan Civil War gives it leverage over Europe

The Washington Post – Anthony Faiola / Maduro says he’s still in control of Venezuela, ready for direct talks with the United States

  • Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro suggested a bonanza could be waiting for U.S. oil companies in this OPEC-member state should President Trump lift sanctions and press the reset button on U.S.-Venezuelan relations. Yet if anything, his words revealed the vast gulf that still exists between his authoritarian government and the opposition along with U.S. officials who call him a dictator.
  • President Maduro suggested that his opponents have vastly underestimated him. One significant claim: Maduro said he had learned of the April 30 conspiracy to oust him 10 days before it was sprung. He allowed it to play out anyway, he said, encouraging key loyalists to pose as potential turncoats to discover the extent of the sedition against him.
  • President Maduro said he remained willing to sit down with Guaidó — but he seemed to dismiss the opposition’s key demand: that he exit in favor of a transitional government that would renovate the Supreme Court and national election councils to call new elections. He also stated that “Guaidó is responsible for having lost the National Assembly. He and his mistakes. Don’t blame me now. He’s the one that now has to answer to the United States.”

The Guardian – Phillip Inman / IMF boss says global economy risks return of Great Depression

  • The head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability. While the inequality gap between countries had closed in the last two decades, it had increased within countries, she said, singling out the UK for particular criticism.
  • Moreover, she stated that: “If I had to identify a theme at the outset of the new decade, it would be increasing uncertainty.” Georgieva said uncertainty affects not only businesses but individuals, especially given the rising inequality within many countries.  
  • While government spending to help those at the bottom is key, she added: “Too often we overlook the financial sector, which can also have a profound and long-lasting positive or negative effect on inequality.” In a new study, the IMF highlighted how access to the financial sector in China and India in the 1990s “paved the way for enormous economic gains in the 2000s”. But she cautioned against the excesses that led to the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Project Syndicate – Joseph E. Stiglitz / The truth about the Trump economy

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.

Política Internacional |