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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 13/06/2022

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 13/06/2022

The Washington Post – Chris Megerian and Josh Boak / Biden seeks unity, finds discord at Summit of the Americas

  • President Joe Biden tried to present a unifying vision for the Western Hemisphere on Thursday but the Summit of the Americas quickly spilled into open discord, a telling illustration of the difficulties of bringing together North and South America around shared goals on migration, the economy and climate.
  • “There is no reason why the Western Hemisphere can’t be the most forward looking, most democratic, most prosperous, most peaceful, secure region in the world,” Biden said at the start of the summit. “We have unlimited potential.”
  • Quick on the heels of Biden’s remarks, Belize’s prime minister, John Briceño, publicly objected to countries being excluded from the summit by the United States and to the continued U.S. embargo on Cuba.
  • “This summit belongs to all of the Americas — it is therefore inexcusable that there are countries of the Americas that are not here, and the power of the summit is diminished by their absence,” Briceño said. “At this most critical juncture, when the future of our hemisphere is at stake, we stand divided. And that is why the Summit of the Americas should have been inclusive. Geography, not politics, defines the Americas.”
  • Council on Foreign Relations – Various authors / A region divided: what did the Summit of the Americas accomplish?

Politico – Clea Caulcutt / French far-left firebrand puts Macron’s majority on the line in parliamentary vote

  • Less than two months after he was re-elected, Emmanuel Macron faces the prospect of a hobbled presidency due to a surge in support for the far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
  • According to official results, the left-wing NUPES alliance backed by Mélenchon is neck and neck with Macron’s Ensemble! coalition, at 25.66 percent and 25.75 percent, respectively, in the first round of the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday.
  • The vote to elect representatives to the National Assembly, the parliament’s lower chamber, takes place in two rounds, with most seats set to be decided in a runoff vote next Sunday. The strong showing for the hard left in the first vote therefore won’t entirely translate into seats since the two-round system generally favors more centrist candidates.
  • But it nevertheless is set to eat into Macron’s parliamentary power: The president needs 289 seats to get an outright majority and be able to push through his controversial program of reforms. Currently, his coalition boasts 345 seats and projections suggest he will not only lose many of these, but is also at risk of losing his majority. While seat projections have to be taken with a pinch of salt due to the two-stage format, polling institute Ipsos predicted Macron’s coalition would get 255 to 295 seats, with 150 to 190 going to NUPES.
  • The Guardian – Marion van Renterghem / As France goes to the polls, voters are asking: who really is Emmanuel Macron?

Financial Times – Kathrin Hille and Demetri Sevastopulo / China fires back at US claims of aggression as it admits to developing new weapons

  • China’s defence minister has strongly pushed back against US accusations of aggression, and sought to present Beijing as a responsible power and western countries as outsiders undermining stability in Asia.
  • The stance came as Beijing tried to avoid a further escalation in tensions over Taiwan, after a meeting between General Wei Fenghe and US defence secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday that was dominated by discussions about the island that were described as “frank, positive and constructive”.
  • Austin had also warned Beijing against “a steady increase in provocative and destabilising military activity near Taiwan”, telling the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore on Saturday that the US would maintain “our own capacity to resist any use of force” against the country.
  • In his own address on Sunday, Wei said China aimed to be “a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a protector of the international order and a provider of public goods”, using a keynote phrase coined by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
  • Project Syndicate – Various Authors / Is Taiwan next?

Politico – Doug Palmer / Globalization’s gut check: World Trade Organization gathering offers a test of free trade system

  • The future of globalization faces a major test as the World Trade Organization kicks off its first big decision-making meeting in five years in Geneva on Sunday.
  • The immediate issues on the table involve Covid-19 vaccine patents, environmentally harmful fishing subsidies and global food security concerns heightened by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • But the bigger question looming over the gathering is whether the WTO can still forge international cooperation at a time when multiple crises and increasing frictions between the United States and China are upending the world order. Those crises have spurred a widespread re-think of globalization: Countries are increasingly turning their economic focus inward, looking to protect and promote their own industries — often at the expense of the open trade system that the WTO was designed to promote.
  • The WTO’s ministerial meeting, slated to run June 12 to June 15, will try to tackle some of those trends — albeit at the margins. If the organization can’t reach a consensus on even low-hanging fruit like easing fishing subsidies and maintaining a ban on e-commerce tariffs, there is little hope it can accomplish more challenging objectives such as contributing to the fight against global climate change or shoring up food systems as global hunger skyrockets.
  • Financial Times – Andy Bounds / The WTO’s lonely struggle to defend global trade

Today’s longer reads:

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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