Archivo de la categoria ‘Lecturas’

La cooperación e integración internacional no puede beneficiar solo a la élite global

Larry Summers, antiguo Secretario del Tesoro de Estados Unidos, publica el artículo “It can be morning again for the world’s middle class“ en el Financial Times, alertando sobre la necesidad de actuar sobre el principal desafío económico al que nos enfrentamos: la necesidad de hacer partícipe a la clase media de los beneficios de la cooperación e integración internacional.

Este dato es revelador al respecto: “Si Estados Unidos tuviera hoy en día la misma distribución de ingresos que en 1979, el 80% con menor renta de  la población tendría 1 billón de dólares más, o 11,000 $ más por familia. Y el 1% de los que más ingresan, entre 1 billón de dólares y 750,000 $ menos”.

Solo si los ciudadanos ven beneficiosa la economía global, y no como una amenaza para la integración y bienestar de la sociedad, se podrá conseguir una economía global abierta. Algo que debiera estar bien presente en la cumbre de Davos esta semana.

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Los Obama y el racismo

The Obamas: How We Deal with Our Own Racist Experiences

La cita es de Michelle Obama, de una entrevista que el matrimonio concedió la semana pasada a la revista People para hablar de sus experiencias personales con el racismo:

The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced. It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress

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Turquía: cómo la reforma del servicio militar obligatorio puede cambiar el Ejército

Turquía quiere reformar el servicio militar obligatorio. La reforma, que entraría en vigor a partir del año que viene, supondrá que las personas que tengan 30 años o más podrán abonar 30.000 liras para abandonar el Ejército. Los turcos que lleven trabajando en el extranjero por lo menos tres años podrán pagar sin límite de edad. Hasta ahora, el servicio militar era obligatorio para todos los varones de entre 24 y 41 años.

El Ejército turco, con 750.000 soldados, es el segundo en número de efectivos de toda la OTAN.

Hay un interesante análisis en Stratfor que analiza las posibles consecuencias:

A large, conscripted military may no longer be the most appropriate way for Turkey to protect its interests and defend against external threats. Ankara appears to have acknowledged as much Oct. 21, when it voted to reduce the length of time conscripted soldiers are required to serve. The measure, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, will effectively shrink the military by 70,000 members. This is no small diminution, considering that Turkey, with its 750,000 soldiers, has the second-largest military among NATO members. Political and economic considerations may have informed Ankara’s decision, but ultimately the move was made to reflect the changing geopolitical conditions under which Turkey now finds itself.

Se puede leer entero en el siguiente enlace: Turkey: How Conscription Reform Will Change the Military.

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Lleguemos a un acuerdo con Irán

Hoy, 20 de noviembre, los negociadores del E3+3 (Alemania, Francia y Reino Unido, los tres europeos, más Rusia, Estados Unidos y China) vuelven a reunirse en Ginebra.

Merece la pena leer estos cuatro artículos que se publican hoy para entender la trascendencia de la reunión. 

Como señalé recientemente en este artículo en El País, analizando los posibles obstáculos para lograr el acuerdo, ‘la oportunidad es única y requiere visión a largo plazo por parte de todos, anteponiendo los intereses generales a los electorales. Otro conflicto en Oriente Próximo es la peor de todas las opciones. Pese a las reticencias, la negociación y la diplomacia son la única manera segura de resolver la cuestión nuclear iraní. Para ello, sin lugar a dudas, es ahora o nunca’


United Arab Emirates — The Middle East once again proves that if you eat right, exercise regularly and don’t smoke, you’ll live long enough to see everything, including a day when the Jews controlling Jerusalem and the Sunni Saudi Custodians of the Great Mosques of Mecca and Medina would form a tacit alliance against the Shiite Persians of Iran and the Protestants of America — with the Hindus of India and the Confucians of China also supporting America, sort of, while the secularist French play all sides.

I’ve now seen everything.

Sigue leyendo en The New York Times.


It should have come as no surprise when talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Geneva two weeks ago ended without an interim confidence-building agreement—apparently because the Islamic Republic could not accept a revised draft agreement that did not recognize its “right to enrich.” Negotiations with Iran have always been difficult, protracted affairs—in this case, made more fraught by differences between France and the other members of the P5+1. Diplomacy has been further complicated by the fact that Tehran hopes to use negotiations to confirm (if not legitimize) its status as a nuclear threshold state, while preserving a degree of ambiguity regarding its actual capabilities—an outcome that the P5+1 is not likely—or at least should not—agree to. Finding a way through these thickets will be key if nuclear diplomacy with Iran is to succeed.

Sigue leyendo en The National Interest.


The Obama administration faces pressure from Congress for more sanctions against Iran. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani faces increasing pressure from hardliners who oppose negotiations with the US. But a diplomatic deal is still clearly preferable for all sides.

Sigue leyendo en The Christian Science Monitor.


  • Alireza Nader: ‘We’re Close to a Good Deal with Iran. Why Sabotage It?’. The National Interest:

The details of a first step in a comprehensive deal with Iran have not been made public. Both the P5+1 (U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran have managed to keep them a secret, fearing that hardliners on both sides may try to sabotage the deal before an agreement is signed. However, this has not prevented those with maximalist positions on the nuclear program, including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from opposing the first step. Netanyahu, among others, has demanded that the entire Iranian nuclear program be dismantled, and has encouraged the U.S. Congress to pass more sanctions against Iran. According to media reports, it appears that Iran and the P5+1 are close to agreeing for Tehran to suspend major aspects of its program, including the enrichment of uranium to a medium level of 20 percent, and installation of more advanced centrifuges, in return for reversible and limited easing of sanctions, including allowing Iran to export petrochemicals and access oil revenue frozen by sanctions.

Sigue leyendo en The National Interest.


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Europe’s Smart Pivot: The European Union in the Asian Century

World Politics Review

By Javier Solana

One of the key differences between Western and Asian cultures is their view of time: Whereas history is linear and consequential as seen from the West, Chinese and other Asian cultures perceive time as being cyclical. In the latter view, the emerging Asian century is simply a natural phase within this recurring flow. As renowned economist Angus Maddison showed, China and India were the world’s largest economies for centuries. Only upon the dawn of the Industrial Revolution did Western Europe and the “Western offshoots”—Maddison’s term for the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada—catch up and overtake the Asian giants. The weight of the continents effectively changed as the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution shrank the relative effect of population size with respect to productivity and output.

Today, we are witnessing another such tipping of the scales. Asia is returning to its place in history, “re-emerging,” as it were, with China currently holding second place in the ranking of world economies and poised to take the lead in the near future. The wealth of opportunities and challenges surrounding these changes can only be managed through strategic thinking and cooperation on the part of all parties involved.

Article published on World Politics Review, 25 June 2013. To read the full article, click here (be sure to log in to Twitter first).

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Pekín (3). Un vistazo a la actualidad internacional

Sigo en Pekín. He podido sacar un rato para echar una ojeada a la actualidad internacional, y estos son algunos de los artículos que más me han interesado. Merecen una lectura para luego reflexionar.

Martin Wolf: ‘How austerity has failed‘. The New York Review of Books.

  • ‘Austerity has failed. It turned a nascent recovery into stagnation. That imposes huge and unnecessary costs, not just in the short run, but also in the long term: the costs of investments unmade, of businesses not started, of skills atrophied, and of hopes destroyed. What is being done here in the UK and also in much of the eurozone is worse than a crime, it is a blunder’.


  • ‘Why is strong fiscal support needed after a financial crisis? The answer for the crisis of recent years is that, with the credit system damaged and asset prices falling, short-term interest rates quickly fell to the lower boundary—that is, they were cut to nearly zero. Today, the highest interest rate offered by any of the four most important central banks is half a percent. Used in conjunction with monetary policy, aggressive and well-designed fiscal stimulus is the most effective response to the huge decrease in spending by individuals as they try to save money in order to pay down debt. This desire for higher savings is the salient characteristic of the post–financial crisis economy, which now characterizes the US, Europe, and Japan. Together these three still make up more than 50 percent of the world economy’.
  • ‘Of course, some think that neither monetary nor fiscal policy should be used. Instead, they argue, we should “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” In other words, sell everything until they reach a rock-bottom price at which point, supposedly, the economy will readjust and spending and investing will resume. That, according to Herbert Hoover, was the advice he received from Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary, as America plunged into the Great Depression. Mellon thought government should do nothing. This advice manages to be both stupid and wicked. Stupid, because following it would almost certainly lead to a depression across the advanced world. Wicked, because of the misery that would follow’.
  • ‘The right approach to a crisis of this kind is to use everything: policies that strengthen the banking system; policies that increase private sector incentives to invest; expansionary monetary policies; and, last but not least, the government’s capacity to borrow and spend’.
  • ‘Failing to do this, in the UK, or failing to make this possible, in the eurozone, has helped cause a lamentably weak recovery that is very likely to leave long-lasting scars. It was a huge mistake. It is not too late to change course’.

David Gardner: ‘Qatar shows how to manage a modern monarchy‘. Financial Times.

  • ‘The Emir of Qatar’s decision to abdicate voluntarily in favour of his 33-year-old son may well be a first in Arab dynastic politics. The new emir – Sandhurst-educated Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Khalifa – has had a solid 10-year apprenticeship, grounded in the army and security services, the institutional teat of Arab rulers’.
  • ‘The Hashemites of Jordan, like the Alaouites of Morocco, claim descent from the Prophet. Saudi kings emphasise they are the custodians of Mecca and Medina – the holy mosque cities of pilgrimage – making them the nearest modern equivalents to Caliphs of Islam. They are not just monarchs’.
  • Saudi Arabia is still ruled by Ibn Saud’s sons, the latest of them the infirm King Abdullah, who has been predeceased by two crown princes in the past two years. Over-dependent for its legitimacy on the reactionary Wahhabi clerical establishment, the House of Saud faces a succession crisis as an absolute monarchy with no absolute monarch, as al-Saud factions jostle for position. Even Saudi officials liken it to the gerontocracy of the Soviet politburo after Leonid Brezhnev’.
  • ‘Republican tyrants, once like Shelley’s Ozymandias in their sneering pride, are almost dust (think Saddam Hussein railing against the Gulf’s “throne dwarfs”). The Saudis need to skip a generation, like Qatar. A bonus for Sheikh Hamad is that he cocks a snook at both camps’.
Discurso del Presidente Obama sobre su nueva política contra el cambio climático, ayer en la Universidad de Georgetown, Washington D.C. Se puede leer entero aquí. Con una parte importante de su legado, la política de inmigración, moviéndose relativamente bien en el Congreso, Obama es un poco más libre para centrarse en cambio climático. Sin embargo, todo lo que anunció ayer está diseñado para no requerir la aprobación del Congreso, donde sería bloqueado por la mayoría republicana.

Las cinco propuestas más importantes:

  1. Working with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to implement limits on the carbon dioxide output of new and existing power plants.
  2. Increasing production of renewable energy on public lands.
  3. Increasing energy efficiency standards.
  4. Adaptation of American cities and communities to the effects of climate change (storm surges, salination).
  • Internacionalmente: cooperación bilateral con grandes emisores en asuntos específicos. Por ejemplo, Obama y Xi Jinpin decidieron trabajar juntos para reducir la producción y el consumo de hidrofluorocarburos (HFCs) en su última reunión en California. También se anunció el fin de las ayudas públicas a nuevas plantas de carbón en el exterior, salvo las más avanzadas o los países más pobres. Por último señaló la importancia de continuar apoyando un ambicioso e inclusivo acuerdo global contra el cambio climático para 2020, en el contexto del United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Para más información, hay un buen análisis en el Council on Foreign Relations, de Michael Levi: Reading Between the Lines of Obama’s Climate Change Plan
  • Una cita del discurso: ‘As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act. I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing. And that’s why, today, I’m announcing a new national climate action plan’
 Jorg Bibow: ‘Euro Crisis Sees Reloading Of Germany’s Current Account Surplus’. Social Europe Journal.
  • ‘Who is running the largest current account surplus in the world? China? Saudi Arabia? Both wrong! These are only the number two and three countries. China had a record $420bn surplus in 2008, but that imbalance has more than halved since. As a share of GDP China’s external imbalance is down from ten to two-and-a-half percent since the global crisis – evidence of a remarkable rebalancing. The oil price would need to be significantly higher still to make Saudi Arabia the number one. So for 2012 the number one prize actually goes to: Germany! The world champion of 2012 ran up a current account surplus of almost $240bn. At a rocking seven percent of GDP’

No os perdáis tampoco este largo ensayo en Brookings titulado A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan & India. William Dalrymple, el autor, ve peligro de escalada del conflicto India-Pakistán, dos potencias nucleares que pueden poner en peligro la paz regional y mundial.

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¿Qué hay detrás de la protesta contra el matrimonio gay en Francia?

View from Montmartre. Attribute to Flickr user ‘biggertree’ (creative commons)

Francia se ha convertido en el país número 14 en legalizar las bodas entre parejas del mismo sexo. No deja de resultar curioso, para un observador externo, el revuelo organizado por la oposición al matrimonio homosexual en dicho país. Sólo Italia, de entre los grandes Estados europeos, sigue sin reconocer algún tipo de unión civil para parejas homosexuales, y es un asunto que se acepta cada vez con naturalidad y normalidad en el mundo occidental.

Hoy se publica en Financial Times un interesante artículo que indaga en las verdaderas causas de las protestas en Francia. No sólo es el matrimonio homosexual, dice, sino que tras la oposición a la ley subyace una creciente inquietud por el futuro del país.

El motivo principal es político. La derecha está evolucionando como pocas veces antes. El Frente Nacional de Marine Le Pen está esperando su turno, dice el artículo, y subiendo en intención de voto. La UMP, por su parte, está paralizada por la sucesión del expresidente Sarkozy. El partido está dividido en dos, la corriente dura y anti-islamista de Jean François-Copé y la corriente centrista que apoya al ex Primer Ministro François Fillon.

Además, apunta, hay sectores católicos que desean que Francia vuelva a la senda de la virtud cristiana. Para ellos, señala el autor, el matrimonio homosexual sería la señal de alerta de los peligros que encierra el secularismo de la República.

Pero es mucho más que un examen de conciencia. Lo que se pone en duda es la labor de la élite gobernante que Charles de Gaulle creó tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial para restaurar la democracia. Esto se pone de manifiesto, dice el artículo, en lo poco que se habla sobre el bajo rendimiento de la educación superior. El debate, por el contrario, se centra en lo que pueda perjudicar a la Francophonie la enseñanza universitaria en inglés.

A todo lo anterior se suma la situación de Europa. La crisis ha provocado una amplia desafección ciudadana en Francia. La población cree que el país, que junto con Alemania había sido esencial en la integración del continente, queda ahora relegado a un segundo plano.

Poca gente quiere señalarse como extremista aludiendo la Francia de Vichy, sostiene el autor, pero la derecha sí utiliza el lenguaje de colaboración-resistencia de la guerra contra el actual gobierno de la República. De acuerdo con esa lógica, la administración de Hollande debe ser resistida en nombre de los valores franceses. A las alusiones históricas se añade lo que de verdad cuenta para oposición, continúa el autor, que es un peligro existencial de índole moral y una catástrofe demográfica que lleva a unir la lucha contra el matrimonio gay y la lucha contra el Islam.

Las marchas contra el matrimonio homosexual están cargadas, termina el artículo, de símbolos y temores que tienen su origen en la el declive de la importancia global de Estados como Francia.

Para remediarlo sólo hay una solución: la integración política de nuestro continente a través de la Unión Europea.


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