Financial Times – Valentina Pop / How Germany’s chancellor candidates square on Europe
- Germany’s Bundestag election is open like rarely before, and it is hard to say with any certainty who will end up in government by the end of it. Below is a breakdown of how each of the three chancellor candidates has been faring and what their election would mean for the EU.
- For Europe and foreign policy, Scholz would likely represent business as usual. After hailing the EU’s Covid-19 recovery plan as a “Hamilton moment”, he has since backed away, and expressed a clear disinclination for loosening of debt regulations.
- Son of a coal miner, Laschet was an advocate for the coal industry, and helped negotiate Germany’s planned 2038 coal exit, seen as very late by environmentalists. There is no reason to expect ambitious climate policy from him.
- She would also mean a lot of change for Europe. She is the only candidate who advocates relaxing debt brakes for public and green investments in Germany and the EU. And despite her party’s pacifist roots, she is also, in many ways, the most hawkish on foreign policy, taking a far tougher line on China and Russia.
- Politico – Johanna Treeck / Germans ponder ‘sea change’ on tax, spending policies ahead of election
South China Morning Post – Catherine Wong and Amber Wang / China offers US$31 million in aid to Afghanistan
- China announced on Wednesday that it would donate 200 million yuan (US$31 million) worth of aid, including food and coronavirus vaccines, to Afghanistan.
- The commitment came on the same day that Beijing said it was ready to maintain communication with Kabul after the Taliban took “a necessary step” by naming an interim government.
- Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the donation in a meeting with counterparts from Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Wang said China would work with countries in the region to help Afghanistan rebuild its economy and society, as well as fight terrorist groups and the illegal drug trade.
- The Taliban on Tuesday announced an all-male, ethnic Pashtun-dominated cabinet featuring senior figures notorious for their hardline rule in the 1990s and responsible for attacks against US-led international forces over the past two decades.
- Euractiv – Georgi Gotev / Chizhov: Russia is well-placed to play a constructive role in Afghanistan
Foreign Policy – Michael Hirsh / How the U.S. got 9/11 wrong
- Despite the terrible trauma of what happened later that morning—the worst-ever attack on U.S. soil—Washington’s response over the next two months only reaffirmed U.S. dominance.
- After the Taliban refused to surrender the culprit behind 9/11, al Qaeda, the United States attacked Afghanistan—but in a new way that utterly baffled the militants.
- Armed with GPS navigators and laser-targeting equipment with which to “paint” Taliban troops on the ground, a handful of CIA officers and special operations forces guided in powerful smart bombs that decimated the Taliban.
- Distracted by their plans to invade Iraq and determined to keep a “small footprint” in Afghanistan, the White House and U.S. Defense Department refused to rush in troops to encircle the trapped al Qaeda terrorists, in what Afghanistan expert Peter Bergen later wrote was “one of the greatest military blunders in recent U.S. history.”
- Project Syndicate – Joseph S. Nye, Jr. / What difference did 9/11 make?
The Guardian – Jillian Ambrose / Global windfarm installations expected to surge after Covid drop, says report
- Windfarm installations are expected to double to record global levels this year, after a short-lived Covid-19 slowdown, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
- The group’s annual report found that the world’s offshore windfarm capacity grew by 6.1GW last year, down slightly from a record 6.24GW in 2019, but would rebound to more than 12GW in 2021 powered by an offshore wind boom in China.
- China led the world in new installations for the third year in a row with more than 3GW of offshore wind grid connected in 2020, and remains on track to surpass the UK as the world’s biggest offshore wind market by the end of the decade.
- The world’s biggest economy connected more than 3GW of offshore wind to its electricity grid last year, almost half the global total, while installations in smaller Asian countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam stalled due to Covid-19 delays.
- The New York Times – Ivan Penn / From 4% to 45%: Energy Department lays out ambitions blueprint for solar power
- The Atlantic – Sarah Zhang / The plan to stop every respiratory virus at once