ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 08/05/2019

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Washington Post – Tamer El-Ghobashy / Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear deal

  • On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his country was taking steps to halt its compliance with elements of the deal.
  • Rouhani said that Iran would keep stockpiles of excess uranium and heavy water that is used in nuclear reactors. He gave a 60-day deadline for new terms to the nuclear accord, after which Tehran would resume higher uranium enrichment.
  • There was no immediate reaction from the White House to the Iranian announcement. Rouhani sent a letter notifying the signatories to the nuclear deal of Iran’s reduced commitments on Wednesday, according to IRNA, the official state news agency of Iran.
  • During a visit to Russia on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Iran “will not withdraw” from the nuclear deal”. “This is only an opportunity for the opposite parties to act upon their commitments,” he said.
  • Al-Monitor / ‘Time to set it on fire’: Iranian hard-liners want nuclear deal scrapped

The Guardian – William Gumede / ANC corruption is a major cause of South Africa’s failure – and the polls will show it

  • The African National Congress (ANC) is likely to win the South African elections today, but its majority will take a hit and it may struggle to win, or have to share power in some of the provinces.
  • After 25 years in power, in which corruption has run rampant, the party’s popularity is lower than the personal popularity enjoyed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. If Ramaphosa was not also the head of the ANC, it is very likely that it would be heading for defeat.
  • For years, the ANC held its factions together through state patronage. Now, the gulf between those who benefit from state patronage and those who do not has undermined the ANC’s broad church. To deliver a better life for its voters, the ANC must renew itself, become honest and adopt better policies.
  • Renewing the ANC will mean taking on its corrupt leaders, which may break it into two parties: the Ramaphosa ANC and former President Jacob Zuma’s ANC. If Ramaphosa compromises with the corrupt parts of his party for the sake of ANC “unity”, renewal will be impossible.

The New York Times – Sylvie Kauffmann / Macron puts Germany on trial

  • Two years after the first official meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, progress on better European integration is nowhere to be seen and the charm has given way to exasperation.
  • Recently, Macron openly admitted for the first time that France disagreed with Germany on Brexit strategy, energy policy, climate change, trade negotiations with the US — and the list could have been longer. Macron went on to suggest that “the German growth model has perhaps run its course.”
  • It is precisely because Macron’s house is on fire – due to the “Yellow Vests” movement – that he is losing patience with his biggest, wealthiest neighbor. When it comes to specific policies, Germany’s unilateralism is increasingly at odds with Merkel’s much-acclaimed commitment to multilateralism.
  • A core problem is that French officials think the eurozone is at risk of collapsing if it does not correct its inequalities, while the Germans are happy with the status quo — because they have gained so much from it.

Foreign Policy – Colum Lynch & Robbie Gramer / China rises in UN climate talks, while US goes AWOL

  • The US has yet to say whether it will attend a major UN climate summit in September, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and has opted out of the preliminary negotiations—leaving it to others, including rivals like Beijing, to write the rules.
  • The conference will try to secure agreements to take some form of action on six major areas: promoting a global transition to renewable energy; making urban infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme weather; encouraging the sustainable management of forests, agriculture, and oceans; aiding countries vulnerable to global warming to adapt to the new realities; and securing public and private financing to address the major challenges posed by climate.
  • With Washington on the sidelines, Beijing — at Guterres’s invitation — will co-chair discussions at the UN with New Zealand on “nature-based solutions” to global warming, including management of forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Richard Gowan, of the International Crisis Group: “So much of the current effort to contain China at the UN boils down to bickering over language in not very important resolutions. I think the Trump administration is missing the big picture, which is that for a lot of countries climate diplomacy is the most important part of what the UN does.”

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 07/05/2019

Turkey, Istanbul, Crowd, Tram, Istiklal, Road

The Guardian / Outcry as Turkey orders rerun of Istanbul mayoral election

  • Turkish authorities have scrapped the result of a vote for Istanbul mayor that was lost by the candidate backed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The high election board ruled that a fresh Istanbul mayoral contest must be held on 23 June.
  • The representative of Erdogan’s AK party at the board, Recep Özel, said the decision was based on unsigned results documents from the 31 March poll and the fact that some ballot box officials were not civil servants.
  • The move hit the Turkish lira – which has tumbled more than 10% since a week before the initial election – and drew opposition accusations of “dictatorship“. The Republican People’s party (CHP), which had narrowly won the Istanbul race, spoke of a “treacherous decision” and vowed to fight on.
  • Kati Piri, the European parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said the decision “ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections” in the country.

Washington Post – Carol Morello / Pompeo warns of the dangers of Russian and Chinese activities in the Arctic

  • While the Obama administration viewed the Arctic Council as a venue for talking about the dangers of climate change, the Trump administration has been focusing on the threats to national security.
  • Speaking in Finland at the opening session of the Council, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said member states should not limit their focus to scientific collaboration, cultural matters and “environmental research into events that may or may not occur in 100 years” – an oblique reference to climate change.
  • “We’re entering a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic,” said Pompeo. In his view, new Arctic sea lanes could become 21st-century versions of the Suez and Panama canals.
  • Pompeo warned that Russia’s territorial ambitions could turn the Arctic into another Ukraine. Meanwhile, he was dismissive towards China, which claims to be a “near-Arctic state” and has observer status in the Arctic Council. However, Pompeo said that entitles it to “exactly nothing.”

Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / If nobody knows your Iran policy, does it even exist?

  • It’s possible that the Trump administration’s drama about Iran is mostly posturing designed to keep the Saudis, Israelis, Gulf states, and wealthy Republican donors like Sheldon Adelson happy. However, if this were the case, there would be little point in exacerbating already strained relations with some long-standing allies by threatening to punish them if they keep buying Iranian oil.
  • A second option is that the US is applying “maximum pressure” to force Tehran back to the negotiating table. But that will not work: even weaker states don’t like giving in to blackmail. Moreover, Iran is unlikely to agree to any sort of deal with the same president who tore up the JCPOA.
  • Instead of a new and better deal, the Trump administration may well be genuinely interested in toppling the Iranian regime. That is also unlikely to succeed and, even if it did, it would hardly be a reliable answer to America’s differences with Iran.
  • Another possibility is that the Trump administration is trying to use maximum pressure to goad Iran into restarting its nuclear program, so as to have an excuse for preventive war. That would be another losing bet by the US in the Middle East, and create perverse incentives, as it would highlight the downsides of being a nonnuclear power.
  • The most likely scenario is that the Trump administration is opting for a “containment-plus” strategy. However, the strategy heightens the risk of war even if it’s not what it intends, and it doesn’t point the way toward any long-term solution to regional instability. Fears about Iran are overblown and, if peace in the Middle East were the US objective, a more evenhanded policy would make sense.

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 06/05/2019

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South China Morning Post / Update: China still ‘preparing’ delegation for US trip despite Donald Trump’s threat to increase tariffs

  • China is still preparing to send a delegation to Washington for the trade talks despite the latest threats by US President Donald Trump to increase tariffs. Trump tweeted on Sunday that punitive tariffs on US$200 billion of imports from China will increase from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on Friday.
  • Trump also stated the US may impose extra duties on additional goods shipped from China, with US$325 billion in Chinese goods still untouched by the stand-off set to become subject to the 25 per cent “soon”.
  • Trump’s threat puts the Chinese delegation in a difficult position as any agreement could be perceived by the domestic audience as a capitulation to the White House. Sources suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping vetoed additional concessions proposed by his negotiators.
  • Taoran Notes, a social media account used by Beijing to release trade talk information and to manage domestic expectations, said the hints from the US side that the 11th round of talks are a deadline was “merely smoke and mirrors to exert extreme pressure [on China] … You don’t have to take it seriously.”

Haaretz / Editorial: Why Netanyahu keeps mum

  • In contrast to previous rounds of violence between Israel and Hamas, when all the fatalities were suffered by the latter, four Israelis have been killed in this weekend’s conflagration. The Palestinians, meanwhile, have reported 23 deaths.
  • The Israeli Defence Forces and the Israeli security services could not have been any clearer when for months they warned that the situation in the Gaza Strip was volatile. Israel cannot claim “victory” over 2 million people in dire straits. Now, four Israelis have paid with their lives for Netanyahu’s no-policy policy.
  • While economic well-being cannot replace the Palestinians’ desire for an independent state, it could create a reasonable status quo, like that which for many years characterized the relationship between Israel and the West Bank.
  • But Netanyahu preferred to use the political pressures on him, mainly from the far right, to justify a policy of zero initiative and reliance on Egyptian mediation. The prime minister knowingly lies when he offers military action as the ultimate solution.

CNN – Zachary Cohen & Nicole Gaouette / Exclusive: Images show North Korea missile launch as Pyongyang tests Trump

  • A new satellite image obtained by CNN shows the smoke trail of a Friday rocket launch by North Korea that is likely a short-range missile. The missile test, North Korea’s first since 2017, serves as a clear warning of leader Kim Jong Un’s frustration at the state of talks with the US.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the projectile was “relatively short range” and “landed in the water east of North Korea and didn’t present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan.” Pompeo struck a positive note, saying, “We still believe there’s an opportunity” to achieve “verified denuclearization”.
  • Kim had pledged not to fire long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles, so the launch doesn’t violate the letter of his agreement with Trump, but it does violate an understanding Pyongyang made with Seoul to stop firing missiles as a confidence building measure.
  • Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute sees a historical parallel with a North Korean promise to declare a moratorium on long range missile tests in the early 2000s. When Pyongyang broke that moratorium in 2006, they started with a short range missile test that technically did not break the agreement.

Euractiv / US deploying carrier, bombers to Middle East to deter Iran

  • The Trump administration is deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran and to show the US will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.
  • Though Bolton cited no specific Iranian activities that have raised new concerns, Iran has recently warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using the strategic waterway. About a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes through the strait.
  • A US Navy statement issued early last month said the aircraft carrier and its accompanying convoy of ships had steamed out of Norfolk, Virginia, on April 1 “for a regularly scheduled deployment”, but it did not give any destination at the time. While it is not rare for the US to have aircraft carriers in the Middle East, Bolton’s language could increase tensions.

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 03/05/2019

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Washington Post – Fareed Zakaria / Does a Trump doctrine on foreign policy exist? Ask John Bolton.

  • US National Security Advisor John Bolton believes that to protect itself and project its power, the US must be aggressive, unilateral and militant. While some in the foreign policy establishment believe the challenge lies in a revanchist Russia, a rising China or an ideological Iran, for Bolton it’s all of the above and more.
  • Bolton’s strand of conservatism believes that national interests are worth pursuing not because they are virtuous — about democracy and freedom — but because they are ours. This view originates in a cultural chauvinism and can easily morph into racism.
  • Bolton says that he might well invoke the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine — which asserts that the US can use force unilaterally anywhere in the Western hemisphere. If he does, what is the argument against Russia doing the same in Ukraine, China in the South China Sea, and Iran in Yemen?

Foreign Policy – Paul Musgrave / The slip that revealed the real Trump doctrine

  • According to the US State Department’s director of policy planning, Kiron Skinner, US competition with China will be especially bitter because “it’s the first time that we will have a great-power competitor that is not Caucasian.”
  • To the extent that there is a Trump Doctrine, Skinner nailed it: It’s the belief that culture and identity are fundamental to whether great-power relations will be cooperative or conflictual.
  • After the departure of former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Skinner argued, the administration had distinguished Russia’s role as a great-power competitor from the “more fundamental threat” posed by China.
  • More than 25 years later, the appeal of Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” seems at once mystifying and intuitive. Mystifying, because they proved such a poor guide to the conflicts that actually took place in the post-Cold War era. Intuitive, because Huntington’s essentialism makes for a neat tale—if you don’t look too hard.

The Economist / How to get rid of Nicolás Maduro

  • This week’s events in Venezuela reveal that Nicolás Maduro’s hold on power is weaker than he claims. Juan Guaidó, the US, and the commanders of Venezuela’s security apparatus must work together to put an end to it.
  • Guaidó and the Trump administration will need to induce the top brass to switch sides by making clear that there is a role for them in a democratic Venezuela. Although Maduro and his closest associates need to go, Guaidó should welcome less tainted leaders of the chavista regime into a transitional government.
  • American disdain for Cuba’s regime is justified. Its hundreds of spies in Venezuela help keep Maduro in power. But the ongoing US swipes at Cuba will tighten this bond precisely when America should be trying to prise it apart.

The Guardian / ‘Let’s just not say it’: Jared Kushner says ‘two-state’ label hinders Middle East talks

  • Jared Kushner has revealed aspects of the US peace plan for the Middle East, indicating it would pull back from longstanding mentions of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
  • “If you say ‘two-state’, it means one thing to the Israelis, it means one thing to the Palestinians,” Kushner said. “We said, ‘you know, let’s just not say it. Let’s just say, let’s work on the details of what this means’.”
  • Kushner declined to give extensive details about the plan before its release but, asked if it would cover the final status between Israelis and Palestinians, he said: “That’s correct, we will.”
  • Kushner acknowledged that he might not be the one who finally creates peace in the Middle East, but said he at the very least wanted to “change the discussion”. “Our approach has been, if we’re going to fail, we don’t want to fail doing it the same way it’s been done in the past,” he said.

Euractiv – Georgi Gotev / Pro-European candidates for EU election identify Council as the ‘common enemy’

  • A debate between the lead candidates of the four major pro-European political families at this month’s EU elections took place yesterday in Florence. Frans Timmermans for the Party of European Socialists (PES), Manfred Weber for the European People’s Party (EPP), Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and Ska Keller for the Greens were the participants.
  • Timmermans appeared by far the most solid while his main contender, Manfred Weber, often sounded on the defence. But overall, the tone was polite, and there was a common denominator: all candidates agreed more powers had to be transferred to the European Commission and Parliament, and less to the Council, where member states are represented.
  • Asked whether they would support a right of legislative initiative by the European Parliament, the candidates were unanimous in their answers, saying they were favourable to the idea.
  • Timmermans argued in favour of formalising the nomination procedure of the Commission President under the so-called “Spitzenkandidaten” system. “If you take that away from the European Parliament, you take away something that has become very important,” he said. It is widely expected that EU heads of state and government will disregard the process.

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 30/04/2019

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The Economist / What the change of emperor means for Japan

  • Today, Japanese Emperor Akihito will step down as the head of Japan’s royal family after 30 years on the throne. Akihito’s eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will duly become the 126th emperor of the world’s oldest monarchy.
  • The Oxford-educated crown prince and the empress-to-be—a Harvard graduate and multilingual diplomat before she joined the imperial family—may be more visible on the international stage than Akihito and Michiko.
  • However, it is unlikely that Naruhito will deviate far from the path that his father trod over the past three decades. Akihito’s approval rating hovers around 80%. Naruhito will continue to visit disaster-affected areas, advocate for the disabled and revisit Japan’s wartime past.
  • Although imperial crises loom that not even a popular monarch can fix, a new emperor always means a fresh start. After an era marked by economic downturn and natural disasters, the country is ready to embrace a new era, Reiwa, which means “beautiful harmony”.

BBC / IS leader al-Baghdadi appears in first video in five years

  • The Islamic State group has released a video of a man it says is its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Since the proclamation in Mosul of a “caliphate” in 2014, Baghdadi had not been seen.
  • The 18-minute video addresses the Islamic State’s territorial losses head on. Baghdadi acknowledges defeat at Baghuz, the group’s last stronghold in Syria, adding that the Sri Lanka attacks were carried out as revenge for the fall of the town.
  • Baghdadi says that he has had pledges of allegiance from militants in Burkina Faso and Mali, and talks about the protests in Sudan and Algeria – saying jihad is the only solution to “tyrants”. According to Baghdadi, the group is now fighting a “battle of attrition”.
  • BBC’s Frank Gardner: “The overriding aim of this video is clear: to show that despite its resounding military defeat IS has survived and that its leader, with a $25m bounty on his head, is still at large.”

The New York Times – Barbara Surk / Push for deal between Kosovo and Serbia puts national divisions on display

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France met the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia in Berlin on Monday, reaching toward a large prize: a path to a peace settlement between the two Balkan nations.
  • President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, suggested at a meeting in Austria in August that a final settlement could include an exchange of territory and border changes.
  • However, the proposals are also profoundly unpopular both with Serbs and with Kosovars. Kosovo’s prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, is also adamantly opposed to any territorial concessions. He has described the idea as “a shortcut to tragedy.”
  • Last December, the Kosovo Parliament approved legislation to form an army. Moreover, Haradinaj’s government imposed 100 percent tariffs on Serbian exports to Kosovo in retaliation for Belgrade’s sabotage of the accession of Kosovo to some international institutions. Both decisions were among the most popular by any government in Pristina in the last decade.
  • The Franco-German effort “is an attempt to dispel the narrative that they stand on the opposite sides of a possible solution to the dispute between Kosovo and Serbia,” said Srdjan Cvijic of the Open Society European Policy Institute.

Project Syndicate – Jean Pisani-Ferry / When facts change, change the pact

  • The rules of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact are so hopelessly complex that almost no government minister, let alone member of parliament, can decipher them.
  • A group of French and German economists is working to simplify things, so that there is less micromanagement by EU institutions, more room for national decision-making, and more responsibility for individual governments.
  • Moreover, some the facts have changed since the pact entered into force in 1997. The big change from two decades ago is the collapse in interest rates. As Olivier Blanchard of the Peterson Institute has forcefully argued, there is no compelling economic reason to cut debt when borrowing is costless.
  • The EU sits between a rock and a hard place. It should not let member states make a habit of financing recurring current expenditures with debt. But nor should it prevent them from taking advantage of persistently low interest rates – and it should reform its fiscal framework accordingly.

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 29/04/2019

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Euractiv / In Spain, Socialists pledge ‘pro-European government’ after election win

  • Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party gained seats in one of Spain’s most hotly contested elections in decades, in a result he portrayed as a morale booster for the European Union.
  • “Social democracy has a great future because it has a great present and Spain is an example of that. We will form a pro-European government to strengthen and not weaken Europe,” Sánchez said.
  • Vox secured one in 10 votes and 24 seats, the first far-right party to get a sizeable presence in parliament since the country’s return to democracy. However, it did not get the kingmaker role it was looking for, and its rise splintered the right-wing vote.
  • The Socialists and Podemos are set to fall around 11 seats short of a parliamentary majority and, to form a government, they would need the support of smaller parties to at least abstain. Alternatively, Sanchez could turn to center-right Ciudadanos, but both parties seem to rule out a coalition deal.
  • Foreign Policy – Sohail Jannessari & Darren Loucaides / Spain’s Vox party hates muslims—Except the ones who fund it

Financial Times – Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan / EU backs AI regulation while China and US favour technology

  • Ethical frameworks for AI are being written around the world. In 2018, 26 countries had created national AI strategies, many of which mention ethics. Yet the tension between safeguarding citizens and fostering innovation can pull policymakers in opposite directions.
  • As with data and privacy regulation, the EU is pressing ahead with rulemaking for AI. The guidelines published by the European Commission in April follow the idea of “Trustworthy AI”. They provide clear ethical principles and a checklist to be used when developing AI systems.
  • The EU’s regulatory preparedness contrasts with the countries which are leading in AI research. “The US was on the path to really forward-thinking AI national policy under the Obama administration. Now, we’re not,” says Mark Latonero of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. China’s AI strategy, for its part, has just two passing references to ethics.
  • According to Yoshua Bengio, of the University of Montreal, the pressure of the international order could be an effective means towards establishing a global ethical code. “Just like with climate change, we have to stigmatize countries which don’t want to play by the rules necessary for the benefit of the whole planet.”

The Economist / Military spending around the world is booming

  • According to a new report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending last year rose to $1.8trn—the highest level in real terms since reliable records began in 1988.
  • The spending boom is driven, above all, by the contest between America and China. The US outlay of $649bn was almost as large as the next eight countries combined. In 2018, the US raised its already-gargantuan defense budget for the first time in seven years.
  • China is far behind. It spends somewhere between a quarter and two-fifths of what America does, and its military spending-to-GDP ratio is also lower. Chinese military spending, however, has risen relentlessly for a quarter-century. Its navy has been a particular beneficiary.
  • China’s regional rivals have opened their purses, too. India now outspends every European country. South Korea’s annual increase in 2018 was the highest since 2005. And Japanese spending is set to surge in the next five years.
  • In 2018, NATO’s European allies raised military spending by 4.2% in real terms, according to IISS. Were European spending to be lumped together, the continent would be the world’s second-largest military power, outspending Russia fourfold. In practice, Europe’s armed forces are far less than the sum of their parts.
  • Yet not every country is piling up arms. Military spending in Africa shrank for a fourth consecutive year in 2018. The Middle East also seems to be cooling off after years of frenzied arms-buying. And, despite its theatrical flaunting of new missiles, Russia’s defense budget shrank by 3.5% in 2018—putting it outside the top five for the first time in over a decade.

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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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 26/04/2019

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Financial Times – The Editorial Board / Polarised Spain needs to find a co-operative spirit

  • To a degree unseen since early in its transition to democracy, Spain is polarized into left and rightwing blocs. The election campaign – which has barely addressed any of Spain’s most pressing issues – has been a competition between the three parties to the right of the socialists, each bidding to be the most hardline on PM Pedro Sánchez.
  • Sánchez’s party has a mixed record on the economy and its taint of corruption. He has, however, remained commendably moderate and statesmanlike during the campaign — which should pay electoral dividends.
  • A reformist coalition between the socialists and liberal Ciudadanos might be best for the economy, on paper. But Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera has ruled it out categorically. Rivera is too hardline on the Catalan issue, while Sánchez knows that only dialogue provides a way out of the secessionist impasse.
  • The alternative alliance of the three parties on the right, including Vox, would be riddled with policy contradictions and risk inflaming regional tensions. For Spain to be governable, the politically fragmented nation needs its politicians to rediscover the spirit of co-operation.

Foreign Policy – Keith Jones / Dani Rodrik: ‘The next backlash is going to be against technology’

  • It would be a mistake if we thought about the US economy as being an exemplar of a liberal economy and the Chinese as an exemplar of a mercantilist economy. In the real world, they both have a shifting mix of these different practices.
  • We can have a fair amount of globalization, and in fact healthy and sustainable globalization, by allowing more freedom for countries to solve their own problems, rather than assuming that the global economy and a single set of rules is what they need to adapt to.
  • In the West, the welfare state has reached its limits. We should adopt a productivist policy that intervenes not after firms have produced and investments have taken place, but by reorganizing how production takes place.
  • After the backlash against globalization, the next backlash will be against technology. If we persist on a path that is creating highly divided societies, in terms of income and social status, the pitchforks may be coming out.

The New York Times – Carlotta Gall / Erdogan’s party is deeply divided by push to redo Istanbul election

  • A last-ditch effort by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party to annul the election for mayor of Istanbul has opened wide divisions in the party’s rank and file and with its nationalist allies.
  • Erdogan’s party has mounted an extraordinary appeal to have the Istanbul election canceled and a new election held. Politicians and analysts on all sides predict that a do-over of the election would risk social chaos.
  • Tensions peaked last weekend when a mob assaulted Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, at a funeral for Turkish soldiers. He had to be evacuated by security forces in an armored vehicle.
  • Kilicdaroglu has alleged the attack was planned beforehand and said the aim was to make his party back out of the alliance that brought his party apparent success in the election in Istanbul.

The Economist / Rising oil prices could prevent a world economic rebound

  • One threat to the global economy – which is doing better than expected earlier this year – is that oil prices continue their upward march. On April 23rd, the price of a barrel of Brent crude exceeded $74, the highest level for nearly six months.
  • The latest jump in oil prices has resulted from anticipation of a shock to supply, rather than surging demand. On April 22nd America said that it would end waivers granted to a number of big economies, including China, India and Turkey, which allowed them to import Iranian oil. Their expiry on May 2nd could reduce the global supply of oil by more than 1m barrels per day (about 1% of the total).
  • That is not the only threat to supply. War threatens production in Libya. Sanctions against Venezuela have taken supply off the market. And the head of Iran’s navy said that if it is prevented from using the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the global oil supply flows, it could try to close the waterway for everyone else, too.
  • More expensive oil should bring the benefit of lower carbon emissions (so long as it does not prompt the discovery of vast new oil fields). Yet right now, pricier oil would be bad news for the global economy, as it would hit its weaker spots.

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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