Archive for the ‘Topics’ Category

10
Aug

Nato’s challenge from within

Written on August 10, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in News, Security

At the 1949 signing ceremony for the Washington Treaty that created NATO, a band played show tune selections from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, including “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, what NATO itself calls the cornerstone of the alliance, commits members to come to each other’s defense. Sixty-six years after NATO’s creation, a recent Pew Research Center survey of people in nine NATO nations, representing the lion’s share of NATO defense spending, suggests public commitment to Article 5 “ain’t necessarily so.”At a time of tensions with Russia not seen since the Cold War, many publics in the Western alliance are divided in their support for a potential military confrontation with Moscow over its territorial ambitions. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, NATO’s challenges are now not just “from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” but at home.

Read more…

Published on August 6th by Bruce Stokes in foreign policy.com

28
Jul

El proyecto de reforma financiera emprendido por la Unión Europea tras el estallido de la crisis en 2008, ha venido experimentando diferentes avances. El más significativo hasta la fecha se produjo en 2012, cuando los gobiernos nacionales de los 28 estados miembros decidieron reunirse para formular un marco común de regulación y supervisión bancaria: la Unión Bancaria. Sin embargo, la comisión Juncker ha decidido ir más allá y embarcarse en un nuevo proyecto, que puede calificarse cuanto menos de ambicioso: formar una Unión de Mercados de Capitales en la Unión Europea. La intención de este proyecto es crear un mercado de capitales europeo fuerte y estable, que proporcione financiación al sistema complementariamente al sector bancario.

En Febrero de este año la Comisión decidió publicar un libro verde explicando la idea, con la intención de que los diferentes interesados pudieran transmitir sus objeciones y sugerencias. Hace poco más de un mes que expiró el plazo para expresar opiniones y actualmente dicho organismo está trabajando en la elaboración de un plan de acción que será presentado en septiembre. Jonathan Hill, el comisario europeo de Estabilidad Financiera, Servicios Financieros y Mercados de Capitales de la Unión, ha recalcado en numerosas ocasiones la importancia y los beneficios de este proyecto, que deberá estar completado para 2019.

Bolsa

Los beneficios de la creación de una unión de mercados de capitales para los 28 estados miembros están claros. Las empresas tendrán mayor acceso a numerosas vías de financiación y no serán tan dependientes del crédito bancario, que tanto se ha restringido tras la crisis, para financiarse. Además, el desarrollo de un mercado de capitales común y sólido aumentará la atracción de inversores extranjeros y promoverá una mayor estabilidad financiera. Por lo tanto, la puesta en práctica de este proyecto contribuirá al crecimiento de la Unión Europea y a su estabilidad. Read more…

Publicado el 28 de julio de 2015 en http://blogs.elpais.com.

Carmen Múgica, Master en Relaciones Internacionales en la IE Escuela de Relaciones Internacionales y colaboradora de la Fundación Alternativas.

27
Jul

EL CHACO, Ecuador — Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.

Near the port of Manta on the Pacific Ocean, Chinese banks are in talks to lend $7 billion for the construction of an oil refinery, which could make Ecuador a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.

Across the country in villages and towns, Chinese money is going to build roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of surveillance cameras stretching to the Galápagos Islands. State-owned Chinese banks have already put nearly $11 billion into the country, and the Ecuadorean government is asking for more.

Ecuador, with just 16 million people, has little presence on the global stage. But China’s rapidly expanding footprint here speaks volumes about the changing world order, as Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground.

While China has been important to the world economy for decades, the country is now wielding its financial heft with the confidence and purpose of a global superpower. With the center of financial gravity shifting, China is aggressively asserting its economic clout to win diplomatic allies, invest its vast wealth, promote its currency and secure much-needed natural resources.

It represents a new phase in China’s evolution. As the country’s wealth has swelled and its needs have evolved, President Xi Jinping and the rest of the leadership have pushed to extend China’s reach on a global scale.

China’s currency, the renminbi, is expected to be anointed soon as a global reserve currency, putting it in an elite category with the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen. China’s state-owned development bank has surpassed the World Bank in international lending. And its effort to create an internationally funded institution to finance transportation and other infrastructure has drawn the support of 57 countries, including several of the United States’ closest allies, despite opposition from the Obama administration.

Even the current stock market slump is unlikely to shake the country’s resolve. China has nearly $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves, which it is determined to invest overseas to earn a profit and exert its influence.

China’s growing economic power coincides with an increasingly assertive foreign policy. It is building aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth jets. In a contested sea, China is turning reefs and atolls near the southern Philippines into artificial islands, with at least one airstrip able to handle the largest military planes. The United States has challenged the move, conducting surveillance flights in the area and discussing plans to send warships. Read more…

22
Jul

On Thursday 16 July, Miguel Arias Cañete , EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, was Keynote Speaker at the annual dinner of the IE Managerial Board Room Executive Program at IE Business School. Diego de Alcazar, President of IE Business School, Eduardo Serra, Former Minister of Defense and Member of the IE International Advisory Board, Santiago Iñiguez, Dean of IE Business School and President of IE University, Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of International Relations and a number of key CEOs and Managing Directors of Spanish multinationals attended the event.

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20
Jul

Ukraine is Russia’s identity test

Written on July 20, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in Culture & Society, Europe, Foreign Policy, Op Ed

Ukraine, which has long existed in the shadow of Russia, is sometimes compared to Ireland, which had a similar relationship with England, except scaled down to reflect their relative size.

Both Ireland and Ukraine were for many centuries colonized by their larger, more powerful neighbors. The Irish and the Ukrainians provided the manpower for various wars as well as for settling new colonial territories. The Irish diaspora numbers around 70 million people across the English-speaking world, while Ukrainians live in every part of Russia, from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, having been either given land to move on their own initiative or transported there under guard during Stalin’s terror.

At different times, England and Russia engineered massive famines in Ireland and Ukraine, respectively, from which those countries are yet to recover demographically, physically and psychologically. In the 20th century, as European empires crumbled, Ireland and Ukraine finally won their freedom. Even the dates of their independence are symmetrical: the Irish declared it in 1919, while Ukraine, along with most other ex-Soviet republics, became a sovereign country with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

And now, since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, both former colonial powers are holding on to a piece of territory which belongs to their former subjects.

And yet, one thing is very different. Unlike the Russians, who still claim that Ukrainians are not a nation, the Brits never actually tried to deny a separate ethnic and cultural identity to the Irish – or, for that matter, to the Scots or the Welsh, even though they all speak English and to a casual visitor not attuned to various accents in English, telling them all apart is next to impossible.

The English are highly individualistic. They all but invented individualism, becoming, in effect, a nation of strangers. Modern English is the only European languages not to use a familiar form: lovers, schoolmates and even parents addressing their young kids use the formal you, whereas the personal pronoun I is always capitalized. Britain has a deeply ingrained tradition of eccentricity, in which individuals are allowed to act as they see fit, without conforming to the prevailing notions of “normal” behavior. Even on the crowded London tube, passengers manage to carve out a private space.

Russia, by way of contrast, has always been collectivist. The individual has never meant a thing; he or she is completely insignificant in relation to the state. Those who assert their difference from the crowd, or proclaimed their individuality typically risked expulsion from the community. Why this is the case has been extensively studied and there are plenty of explanations based on history, culture, geography, etc. Be that as it may, collectivism is evident in everyday life – you always see Russians stand on top of each other when they cue up, even if there is plenty of room on the sidewalk – as well as in major historical events, such as Russia’s embrace of communism. On the other hand, eighty years of communist rule, when being a cog in the great machinery of state was proclaimed a huge virtue, reinforced the nation’s natural collectivist tendencies.

To an individualist, the question of identity is pretty straightforward: it is always I. A collective “we” is trickier. You first have to define who else is included into this universe – and, equally important, who is not.

Historically, it has always been difficult for the Russians to define themselves, and the experience of “communist internationalism” made it next to impossible. Early Bolsheviks wanted the collective “we” to be all the workers of the world, then, when world revolution failed to materialize, it became the “Soviet people”, officially consisting of a “fraternal family of Soviet nationalities”. In reality, this collective identity was rife with ethnic enmities and prejudice.

When the Soviet Union fell apart, the Russian Federation attempted to create a new national identity. A new term appeared – rossiyanin – meaning a citizen of the Russian Federation, as opposed to russky, which denotes more narrowly an ethnic Russian. Creating a collective WE of the rossiyanins has not so far been especially successful, and the search for Russian self-identification is ongoing. Read more…

Posted on July 19th in http://www.kyivpost.com/

Alexei Bayer is a New York-based economist and writer. HIs new detective novel, “Latchkey Murders”, set in Moscow in the early 1960s, is coming out in English in early July.

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