The Guardian – Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart / Javid resigned after Johnson pushed him to sack advisers
- Boris Johnson has moved to seize control over the Treasury in an unexpectedly brutal reshuffle that forced out his chancellor. Johnson staged the power grab over No 11 by issuing an ultimatum to Sajid Javid to fire all his advisers – a move that Javid later said “no self-respecting minister” could accept.
- Several Whitehall sources told the Guardian that Johnson and Cummings want No 10 to consolidate its grip over the Treasury and Cabinet Office in preparation for wider machinery of government changes they want to make in the next year.
- In the short term, the reshuffle is likely to mark a shift towards greater spending and possibly tax rises at the budget, which is due to take place on 11 March if it is not delayed. The departure of the chancellor weeks before such a major fiscal event left the Treasury in shock and No 10 unable to confirm the budget would definitely go ahead on that day.
- Javid’s resignation letter to Johnson contained a number of parting shots at the No 10 operation, including a veiled warning to Johnson about the influence of Cummings. He issued a plea for the Treasury to retain its “credibility”, and advised the prime minister that leaders needed to have “trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with”.
- Financial Times – The Editorial Board / The dangers of Boris Johnson’s power grab
- Bloomberg – Therese Raphael / Boris Johnson really has seized control now
Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / The world’s most dangerous people? They’re in office.
- As the biggest minds on global security policy gather for the Munich Security Conference this week, EU leaders won’t quite fit in with many of the other top leaders present — for better or worse, Brussels still doesn’t have the hard power to kill anyone.
- While this year’s theme is “Westlessness” — a collective fretting about the decline of the West — analysts say a broader, more pernicious collapse is underway, one that includes growing disregard of long-standing international legal conventions on how armed conflicts are fought, as well a dangerous new way of talking about, even celebrating, deadly military strikes.
- Together, these changes mark an erosion of the “just war” tradition of military ethics, and raise some uncomfortable about whether the EU is at all prepared to deal with increasingly murderous geopolitical partners, and in the longer term if the EU’s own push for greater military and defense capabilities, perhaps including the development of an EU army, is really in keeping with the bloc’s core aims of peace and prosperity.
- Security analysts point to two causes of the increasing sense of lawlessness: the rise of China, which does not share the Western view of human rights and democratic freedoms (as evidenced by its treatment of Uighur Muslims and democracy protesters in Hong Kong); and Washington’s steady retreat from the role of global policeman that it had played, however reluctantly, since the end of the Cold War.
- The Atlantic – Michael Gerhardt / Madison’s nightmare has come to America
The Washington Post – Eugene Scott / The challenge of Joe Biden’s message to black voters holding
- Former vice president Joe Biden’s poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire have given rise to legitimate concerns. Biden, for his part, maintains he is the most electable Democratic candidate — in part because he has the most consistent demonstrated support from people of color.
- It is true that Biden polls better than anyone with black voters, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who won New Hampshire and finished with the second-most delegates in Iowa. Since shortly after entering the presidential contest, Biden has held a significant lead with black voters over other candidates.
- But the lead has shrunk to less than 10 percentage points, according to the most recent national Quinnipiac poll released before Iowa and New Hampshire. Mike Bloomberg has invested heavily in television ads in South Carolina. As a result, Bloomberg is trailing Biden with black voters by only five points.
- The New York Times – Charlie Warzel / Mike Bloomberg is hacking your attention
Bloomberg – Charlotte Ryan and Siddharth Vikram Philip / With the 737 Max grounded, Airbus can’t build planes fast enough
- For decades, Airbus SE and Boeing Co. have been fighting each other for orders. With Boeing in crisis after two fatal crashes in five months, Airbus supplied 483 more planes than Boeing in 2019, the biggest margin in their 45-year battle. Airbus secured more than 700 net orders for narrowbody aircraft, while Boeing lost more deals than it won, ending the year down 51 narrowbody orders.
- Airbus’s biggest challenge is less about winning orders than about finding space and parts to build more planes. Airbus makes about 60 A320 planes a month and has announced that it will increase production to as many as 67 a month by 2023. The European planemaker said Thursday that it expects to hand over about 880 jets in 2020, building on record output last year.
- Buying a plane, however, isn’t like buying a smartphone or a car. Airbus and Boeing are in a duopoly, meaning alternatives are limited. Waiting lists for the most popular aircraft stretch out for years, so pulling out of a Max order means joining the end of a long Airbus line. The question for Boeing is how quickly it moves away from the 737, whose reputation is now tarnished.
- Politico – Christian Oliver, Simon van Dorpe and Giorgio Leali / Europe under siege – from within
Further reading for the weekend:
- Foreign Affairs – Stephen D. Krasner / Learning to live with despots
- Politico – Matthew Karnitschnig / Europe’s geopolitical year ended before it began
- The New York Times – Paul Krugman / Bernie Sanders isn’t a socialist
- The Economist / Irish unification is becoming likelier
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.