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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 05/02/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 05/02/2021

Foreign Policy – Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer / Biden taps career diplomat as envoy to Yemen

  • President Joe Biden is set to choose Timothy Lenderking, a career foreign service officer with deep knowledge of the Gulf region, to serve as the administration’s envoy to Yemen, potentially signalling a more concerted effort to end the conflict that has left millions on the brink of starvation. 
  • Lenderking served as a deputy assistant secretary of state focused on the Gulf during the Trump administration. Biden has yet to make other key appointments for ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates.
  • Speaking at a White House briefing on Thursday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden would announce an end to American support for military operations in Yemen. 
  • The United States stopped its policy of refueling Saudi and Emirati warplanes in 2018, but continued providing intelligence support to the coalition despite congressional uproar over the American role in the conflict.
  • Foreign Affairs – Kevin Rudd / Short of war

The Economist / The real revolution on Wall Street

  • Events on Wall Street have become so strange that Netflix is said to be planning a show to immortalise them. But what should be the plot?
  • One story is of an anti-establishment movement causing chaos in high finance, just as it has in politics. Another is how volatile shares, strutting online traders and cash-crunches at brokerage firms signal that a toppy market is poised to crash. 
  • Both gloss over what is really going on. Information technology is being used to make trading free, shift information flows and catalyse new business models, transforming how markets work. And, despite the clamour of recent weeks, this promises to bring big long-term benefits.
  • In recent decades trading costs for shares have collapsed to roughly zero. The first to benefit were quantitative funds and big asset managers such as BlackRock. Now retail investors are included, which is why they accounted for a quarter of all trading in January.
  • Financial Times – John Thornhill / We are entering the era of e-globalisation
  • Euractiv – Samuel Stolton / EU ‘punching well below its weight’ in digital technologies, von der Leyen warns

The Washington Post – Mike DeBonis / House ejects Marjorie Taylor Greene from committees over extremist remarks

  • The House voted largely along party lines Thursday to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committee assignments, a precedent-shattering move by Democrats to rebuke a Republican who has espoused extremist beliefs that she publicly renounced in part just hours before the vote.
  • The vote against Greene reflected deep frustration in the Democratic ranks over the Republican leadership’s reluctance to take its own action to marginalize Greene (R-Ga.), their desire to yoke the entire GOP to her extremism, and their anger over a lack of accountability for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
  • As recently as last year, Greene had been an open adherent of the QAnon ideology, a sprawling and violent web of false claims that played a role in inspiring the Capitol attack.
  • In addition, she had made comments on social media suggesting that some mass shootings were staged by supporters of gun control, that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by government forces and that a Jewish cabal had sparked a deadly wildfire with a space beam.
  • The New York Times – Catie Edmondson / House exiles Marjorie Taylor Greene from panels, as Republicans rally around her

Politico – Karl Mathiesen, Sarah Anne Aarup and Kalina Oroschakoff / EU governments whipsawed by climate and coal lawsuits

  • Fighting climate change could become a sued if you do, sued if you don’t problem for governments. German utility RWE this week slapped the Dutch government with a €1.4 billion lawsuit over its plans to end coal power.
  • But the coal phaseout itself was compelled by the Dutch Supreme Court, which found in 2019 that the government was failing in its duty to protect citizens from climate change and mandated that it speed up emissions cuts.
  • It’s the wicked problem facing EU members. They are under pressure from lawsuits holding them to climate pledges that require huge drops in fossil fuel use, but are all signed up to a 55-country investment protection deal called the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
  • That treaty allows foreign investors in the energy sector to claim compensation for profits deemed unfairly lost due to government regulation. Such lawsuits from utilities could become more common as governments face a growing wave of climate-focused court cases compelling them to cut emissions and shut down fossil fuels faster.
  • Bloomberg – Eric Roston and Leslie Kaufman / Experts tell Biden: your climate goals require a carbon price

Further reading for the weekend:

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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