EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 10/02/2020

Project Syndicate – Josep Borrell / Embracing Europe’s power

  • The European Union must adjust its mental maps to deal with a world of geostrategic competition, in which some leaders have no scruples about using force, and economic and other instruments are weaponized.
  • Many say that EU foreign policy will never succeed, because Europe is too weak and too divided. It is, of course, true that if member states disagree on key lines of action, the Union’s collective credibility suffers. Member states must realize that using their vetoes weakens not just the Union, but also themselves.
  • Europe’s problem is not a lack of power, as it can capitalize on Europe’s trade and investment policy, financial power, diplomatic presence, rule-making capabilities, and growing security and defense instruments. The problem is the lack of political will for the aggregation of its powers to ensure their coherence and maximize their impact.
  • Diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. Beyond addressing crises in Europe’s neighborhood, there are two other key priorities: framing a new, integrated strategy for and with Africa; and devising credible approaches to dealing with today’s global strategic actors: the United States, China and Russia.
  • Politico – Nathalie Tocci / Europe needs boots on the ground in Libya

Politico – Naomi O’Leary / Sinn Féin surge makes Irish political history

  • Sinn Féin won the popular vote on 24.1 percent, ahead of Fianna Fáil on 22.2 percent and Fine Gael on 22.1 percent of first preference votes. The party beat both Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and opposition leader Micheál Martin into second place in their home constituencies in Dublin and Cork.
  • Not expecting to do this well, it only ran 42 candidates, well short of the 80 needed for a majority. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she would first try to cobble together a coalition with smaller left-wing parties before exploring other options.
  • It is the first time Sinn Féin has rivaled the two traditionally dominant parties, who have taken turns in power since 1920. Exit polls suggested that the party benefited from a surge in support among voters under 35, championing increased spending, rent freezes and a massive public housing program, in an election defined by frustration with strained public services, infrastructure and housing.
  • In the past, Irish unification was Sinn Féin’s defining policy. Even though this was not a prominent subject in the campaign, its surge in support reflects increased expectations of a unity referendum in the wake of Brexit, which unpicked the complex consensus over Northern Ireland’s status reached in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
  • Foreign Policy – Dan Haverty / Will Irish elections lead to unification?

Financial Times – Guy Chazan / Merkel’s heir apparent quits as CDU leader

  • The race to succeed Angela Merkel as German leader was thrown wide open this morning as Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the woman long seen as her anointed heir, said she would not run for chancellor in next year’s election. She is also to stand down as leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
  • Though seen as Ms Merkel’s favoured successor, a series of gaffes gradually eroded her authority and sent her poll rating into a tailspin. The act of insubordination of CDU politicians, which acted against Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s wishes by voting with the AfD for an FDP candidate in Thuringia, underscored her waning authority in the party.
  • The contest to replace Ms Merkel, who will retire from politics after her fourth and final term expires next year, is expected to be a three-way contest between Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, and Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the CDU parliamentary group. Markus Söder, Bavarian prime minister and leader of the CSU, could also be a potential candidate.
  • A victory by Mr Merz or Mr Spahn, both conservatives, would mark a watershed for the CDU, which has moved to the centre ground of German politics under Ms Merkel. Many in the party would like to see it shift to the right again once Ms Merkel exits the political stage.
  • Euractiv – Sarah Lawton / Thuringia reeling from post-electoral hangover after far-right alliance fiasco

The New York Times – Reid J. Epstein et al. / How the Iowa caucuses became an epic fiasco for Democrats

  • The widespread lack of faith in the Iowa results has shaken many Americans’ confidence in their electoral system. While Mr Trump has reveled in the meltdown, Democrats have proposed abolishing caucuses and ending Iowa’s time at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.
  • An analysis by The New York Times revealed inconsistencies in the reported data for at least one in six of the state’s precincts. Those errors occurred at every stage of the tabulation process: in recording votes, in calculating and awarding delegates, and in entering the data into the state party’s database.
  • In the aftermath of the disaster, state and national party leaders are pointing fingers at one another. Some of the roots of the Iowa debacle stretch to 2016, when Mr. Sanders finished a fraction of a percentage point behind Mrs. Clinton in the state’s caucuses. Their caucus-night data indicated he had won the popular vote, but there was no way to prove their case.
  • In the Times review of the data, at least 10 percent of precincts appeared to have improperly allocated their delegates, based on reported vote totals. Given the slim lead Mr. Buttigieg now holds over Mr. Sanders in state delegate equivalents, a full accounting of these inconsistencies could alter the outcome. But without access to the precinct worksheets, it is difficult to determine whom the errors hurt or favored.
  • The Washington Post – Cleve R. Wootson Jr. et al. / Biden, Warren battle for third place in New Hampshire
  • The New York Times – Alexander Burns and Nick Corasaniti / Sanders and Buttigieg clash, aiming for a two-person race

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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