Blogs

Entries with Categories Global Affairs World order, diplomacy and governance .

[Richard Haas, The World. A Brief Introduction (New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2020), 378 p].

review / Salvador Sánchez Tapia

The World. A Brief IntroductionDuring a fishing workshop on Nantucket with a friend and his son, then a computer engineering student at the prestigious Stanford University, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, engaged the young man in conversation about his programs of study, and asked him what subjects he had taken, apart from the strictly technical ones. To his surprise, Haass realised how limited issue of these he had taken were. No Economics, no history, no politics. 

Richard Haass uses this anecdote, which he refers to in the introduction to The World. Education A Brief Introduction , to illustrate the general state of higher education in the United States - which is, we might add, not very different from that of other countries - and which can be summed up in this reality: many students in the country that has the best universities in the world, and which is also the most powerful and influential on the planet, which means that its interests are global, can finish their university-level training without a minimal knowledge - let alone understanding - of the world around them, and of its dynamics and workings.

The World. A Brief Introduction is a direct consequence of the author's concern about the seriousness of this important gap for a nation like the United States, and in today's world, where what he calls the "Las Vegas rule" - what happens in the country stays in the country - does not work, given the interconnectedness that results from an omnipresent globalisation that cannot be ignored.

The book is conceived as a basic guide intended to educate readers - hopefully including at least some of the plethora of uneducated students - of different backgrounds and levels of knowledge, on the basic issues and concepts commonly used in the field of International Office.

By the very nature of the work, informed readers should not expect to find in this book any great discoveries, revolutionary theories or novel approaches to contemplate the international order from a new perspective. Instead, what it offers is a systematic presentation of the essential concepts of this field of knowledge that straddles history, political science, sociology, law and geography.

The book avoids any theoretical approach. On the contrary, its goal is eminently practical, and its aim is none other than to present in an orderly and systematic way the information that the average reader needs to know about the world in order to form a criterion of how it works and how it is articulated. It is, in final, to make him or her more "globally educated".

From his vantage point as president of one of the world's leading global think-tanks, and with the experience gained from his years of service as part of the security establishment of the two Bush presidents, Richard Haass has made numerous important contributions to the field of International Office. In the case of the present book, the author's merit lies in the effort he has made to simplify the complexity inherent in International Office. In a simple and attractive prose, accessible to readers of all subject, Richard Haass, demonstrating a great understanding of each of the subjects he deals with, has managed to distil their essence and capture it in the twenty-six chapters of this brief compendium, each of which would justify, on its own, an enormous literary production.

Although each chapter can be read independently, the book is divided into four parts in which the author approaches status the current world and relations between states from different angles. In the first part, Haass introduces the minimum historical framework necessary to understand the configuration of the current international system, focusing in particular on the milestones of the Peace of Westphalia, the two World Wars, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War world.

The second part of the book devotes chapters to different regions of the world, which are briefly analysed from a geopolitical point of view. For each region, the book describes its status, and analyses the main challenges it faces, concluding with a look at its future. The chapter is comprehensive, although the regional division it employs for the analysis is somewhat questionable, and although it inexplicably omits any reference letter to the Arctic as a region with its own geopolitical identity and set to play a growing role in the globalised world to which the book constantly alludes.

The third part of the book is devoted to globalisation as a defining and inescapable phenomenon of the current era with an enormous impact on the stability of the international order. In several chapters, it reviews the multiple manifestations of globalisation - terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, migration, cyberspace, health, international trade, monetary issues, and development- describing in each case its causes and consequences, as well as the options available at all levels to deal with them in a way that is favourable to the stability of the world order.

Finally, the last section deals with world order - the most basic concept in International Office- which it considers indispensable given that its absence translates into loss of life and resources, and threats to freedom and prosperity at the global level. Building on the idea that, at any historical moment, and at any level, forces that promote stable order operate alongside forces that tend towards chaos, the chapter looks at the main sources of stability, analysing their contribution to international order - or disorder - and concluding with what this means for the international era we live in. Aspects such as sovereignty, the balance of power, alliances and war are dealt with in the different chapters that comprise this fourth and final part.

Of particular interest to those who wish to delve deeper into these matters is the coda of the book, entitled Where to Go for More. This final chapter offers the reader a well-balanced and authoritative compendium of journalistic, digital and literary references whose frequent use, highly recommended, will undoubtedly contribute to the educational goal proposed by the author.

It is an informative book, written to improve the training of the American and, beyond that, the global public on issues related to the world order. This didactic nature does not, however, prevent Haass, at times, and despite his promise to provide independent, non-partisan criteria that will make the reader less manipulable, from tinginging these issues with his staff vision of the world order and how it should be, or from criticising - somewhat veiled, it must be said - the current occupant of the White House's international policy, which is not very globalist. Nevertheless, The World. A Brief Introduction offers a simple and complete introduction to the world of International Office, and is almost obligatory reading for anyone who wants to get started in the knowledge of the world order and the mechanisms that regulate it.

Categories Global Affairs: World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews Global

[Parag Khanna, The Future is Asian. Simon & Schuster. New York, 2019. 433 p.]

review / Emili J. Blasco

The Future is AsianParag Khanna's book can be greeted with suspicion from entrance because of the apparent axiomatic character of his degree scroll. However, the blunt assertion on the cover is softened when one begins to read the pages inside. The thesis of the work is that the world is in a process of asianisationnot of chinisationMoreover, this process is presented as another coat of paint on the planet, not as a colour that will be clearly predominant or definitive.

It is possible that the discussion over whether the US is in decline and will be replaced by China as the pre-eminent superpower obscures other parallel developments. Those watching Beijing's rise in the world order, writes Khanna, "have often been paralysed by two views: either China will devour the world or it is on the verge of collapse. Neither is correct. "The future is Asian, even for China," he asserts.

Khanna believes that the world is moving towards a multipolar order, which is also the case in Asia, even if China's size often dazzles.

The author's Indian background and also his time living in the United States may have influenced this judgement, but he offers figures to support his words. Of the 5 billion people living in Asia, 3.5 billion are non-Chinese (70%): China thus has only a third of Asia's population; it also accounts for slightly less than half of Asia's GDP. Other data: half of outward investment from the continent is non-Chinese, and more than half of outward investment goes to Asian countries other than China. Asia is therefore "more than China plus".

It is not just a question of size, but of wills. "A China-led Asia is no more acceptable to most Asians than the notion of a US-led West is to Europeans," says Khanna. He rejects the idea that, because of China's power, Asia is heading towards a kind of tributary system like the one ruled in other centuries from Beijing. He points out that such a system did not extend beyond the Far East and was based primarily on trade.

The author reassures those who fear Chinese expansionism: "China has never been an indestructible superpower presiding over all of Asia like a colossus". He warns that while Europe's geographical characteristics have historically led many countries to fear the hegemony of a single power, Asia's geography makes it "inherently multipolar", as natural barriers absorb friction. Indeed, clashes between China and India, China and Vietnam or India and Pakistan have ended in stalemates. "Whereas in Europe wars have occurred when there is a convergence in power between rivals, in Asia wars have occurred when there is a perceived advantage over rivals. So the more powerful China's neighbours like Japan, India or Russia are, the less likely they are to conflict with each other.

For Khanna, Asia will always be a region of distinct and autonomous civilisations, especially now that we are witnessing a revival of old empires. Asia's geopolitical future will not be led by the US or China: "Japan, South Korea, India, Russia, Indonesia, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia will never come together under a hegemonic umbrella or unite into a single pole of power".

There will not be, then, a Chineseisation of the world, according to the author, and the Asianisation that is taking place - a shift of the world's weight towards the Indo-Pacific - need not be seen as a threat to those who live elsewhere. Just as there was a Europeanisation of the world in the 19th century, and an Americanisation in the 20th century, we are witnessing an Asianisation in the 21st century. Khanna sees this as "the most recent substratum of sedimentation in the geology of global civilisation", and as a "layer" it does not imply that the world Withdrawal to what came before. "Being more Asian does not necessarily mean being less American or European," he says.

The book analyses the weight and fit of different Asian countries on the continent. Of Russia, he argues that it is strategically closer to China today than at any time since its communist pact in the 1950s. Khanna believes that geography leads to this understanding, as it invites Canada to maintain good relations with the United States; he predicts that climate change will further open up the lands of Siberia, which will integrate them more with the rest of the Asian continent.

As for India and China's relationship, Khanna believes that both countries will have to accept each other as powers more normally. For example, despite India's reluctance towards China's Silk Road and India's own regional connectivity projects, in the end the two countries' preferred corridors will "overlap and even reinforce each other", ensuring that products from inland Asia reach the Indian Ocean. "Geopolitical rivalries will only accelerate the Asianisation of Asia," says Khanna.

In assessing the importance of Asia, the book includes Middle Eastern oil. Technically, the region is part of the continent, but it is such a separate chapter with its own dynamics that it is difficult to see it as Asian territory. The same is true when label is used to refer to Israel or Lebanon. It can give the impression that the author is lumping everything together in order to make the figures more impressive. He argues that the Middle East is becoming less and less dependent on Europe and the United States and is looking more to the East.

Khanna is in a position to reasonably defend himself against most of the objections to his text. Most controversial, however, is his near-defensive justification of technocracy as a system of government. Beyond the descriptive attitude of a model that in some countries has received an important economic and social development , Khanna even seems to endorse its moral superiority.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews

France and Germany move closer to Poland as the third hard core country, rather than adding Italy or Spain.

Leaving aside criticism of Polish judicial reforms in recent years, Paris and Berlin are seeking a special cooperation Degree with Poland so that it does not act as the European gateway to Washington's influence that the UK used to be. For the French and Germans, Poland seems a more reliable partner than Italy and Spain, whose political instability complicates the elaboration of medium- and long-term security and defence strategies deadline.

Macron with the Polish President and Prime Minister during his visit visit to Warsaw in February 2020 [Elysée Palace].

Macron with the Polish President and Prime Minister during his visit in Warsaw in February 2020 [Elysée Palace].

article / Jokin de Carlos Sola

The European committee is perhaps the most important body in the EU. It is in charge of setting objectives, it sets the diary to the Parliament and the Commission. It is in this body that the states are represented as such and where issues such as the weight of each country's population and Economics take on particular importance.

France and Germany thus achieve their high profile on the European committee , where their ideological influence over other European governments also translates into unofficial leadership of the Union. Both countries have sought to establish a special cooperation Degree with Poland in order to gain influence over one of the countries with the next largest population and thereby reduce the presence of the United States in Europe. This three-way partnership is embodied in the Weimar Triangle.

On the other hand, Brexit has opened an unofficial degree program to find out who will be the third most influential country in the European Union. All this at a time when politicians such as Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen are calling for the strengthening of a common foreign policy. The Netherlands, under Mark Rutte, has sought such a position through alliances with ideologically like-minded countries in the so-called New Hanseatic League. However, Poland also seems to have supporters for the post. Two of the larger countries, Italy and Spain, seem to have fallen out of the degree program . 

Recovering a forgotten idea

The Weimar Triangle was born in 1991, with the aim of helping Poland to emerge from communism. goal . In that year a meeting was held between the foreign ministers of the three countries: Roland Dumas, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Krzysztof Skubiszewski. With this meeting, Poland managed to get France and Germany to give it special consideration among the European countries that had been on the other side of the Iron Curtain and were soon to join NATO and later the EU (Poland joined the Atlantic Alliance in 1999 and the EU in 2004).

Since then, representatives of the three governments have met relatively frequently. By 2016 there had been eight summits of heads of state, as well as 23 meetings of foreign ministers and two meetings of defence ministers. In 2013 the three countries decided to form a battalion under EU command (one of 18), under the name group Combat Weimar or Weimar Battalion, composed of officers and soldiers from the three countries.

Since 2015, however, relations began to cool as Poland's more Atlanticist and less tolerant Law and Justice party came to power. In 2016 Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski went so far as to declare that the Weimar Triangle was of no great importance to his country. In the same year there was an attempt to revive tripartite cooperation with a meeting of the three foreign ministers to address issues such as Brexit or the refugee crisis, but without much success.

Over the next three years, cooperation declined and there was French and German criticism of the Polish government. The replacement of Waszczykowski moderated the demonstrations in Warsaw, but relations were not as smooth as they had been at the beginning. Poland's unease towards Berlin was mainly due to the construction of Nord Stream 2 (the doubling of the gas pipeline directly linking Germany and Russia); the distrust of Paris was due to its apparent sympathy with Moscow. For its part, especially after Macron's arrival at the Elysée, France began to distrust Poland because of its close relationship with Washington.

From 2019 onwards, however, a new rapprochement began to emerge. France came to believe that it was better to keep Poland close and thus keep the US at arm's length, while Poland felt that it could actually make its proximity to France and Germany compatible with US military support to defend itself against Russia. In February 2020 Macron visited Warsaw and met with President Duda and Prime Minister Morawiecki to improve relations between the two countries and revive the Triangle idea.

Marginalisation of Spain and Italy

It may come as a surprise that Germany and France look to Poland rather than wanting to rely more on Italy or Spain, countries not only with larger populations but also larger economies. But the reasons are clear. Despite the divergences in foreign policy between France and Poland, it is undeniable that the Slavic country is able to offer something that neither Spain nor Italy can provide: stability. Since 2016, the two Mediterranean countries have been experiencing one domestic political crisis after another, forcing their governments to keep foreign policy issues on the back burner.

In Spain, no government has had an absolute majority in Parliament since 2015, and that is not likely to change. Between 2015 and 2019 there have been four general elections and two prime ministers. This status makes it difficult to pass laws, including the fundamental budget, without which no foreign policy compromise can be expected.

In Italy the beginning of the tornado began with the fall of Matteo Renzi at the end of 2016. Since then the country has seen two prime ministers and three governments. This may not be surprising in the Italian case, but certainly the perceived instability is now greater. Moreover, there is distrust from other European partners over Italy's dealings with China over the New Silk Road, something that is generally more worrying than Poland's flirtations with the US. In geopolitical terms, the possibility of a political crisis making Salvini, who has not been subtle in his admiration for Putin's Russia, prime minister is also a cause for concern. 

In contrast, despite a change of prime minister and cabinet in 2018, Poland has shown a clear foreign policy line since Law and Justice came to power, as well as steady economic growth. After the victory in the 2019 elections, everything seems to indicate that Mateusz Morawiecki will remain prime minister until at least 2023. Such policy durability makes Poland a more attractive ally, despite tensions over Poland's controversial judicial reforms.

Moreover, coordination with Poland offers Paris and Berlin a way to further integrate the former Soviet bloc countries into EU decision-making.

Three visions

However, the desire to create a cooperative body within the Weimar Triangle is a real challenge challenge, as each country represents, in one way or another, one of three of the foreign policy agendas that divide Europe.

At one end of the spectrum is French Gaullism, which advocates an independent Europe and is wary of a US presence in Europe, remembering that France already has a strong military. Paris abandoned this perspective for an Atlanticist one in 2007 under Sarkozy, but it has been regained by Macron. This means that Macron's rhetoric could lead to clashes with the Americans, while he also seeks to mark profile himself against Moscow and Beijing.

In the middle is German pragmatism: Germany does not want to increase conflict and prefers to focus on its Economics. On the one hand it is negotiating with the Russians to receive gas for its industrial activity, and on the other it wants US troops to remain on its territory, as their departure would force it to increase its security expense . In Europe's plans for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany has clearly been more absent, with Macron taking the lead.

Finally, we find Polish Atlanticism. Poland is perhaps the most Atlanticist country in the EU. Even under the Trump Administration there has been a high level of pro-Americanism among the population and the political class . The government has pushed for the hosting of a US base and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has enthusiastically praised the role of the US as a defender of the free world. This is nothing new, as the 2003 invasion of Iraq was supported by Poland in the face of French and German rejection. Poland continues to see Russia as its greatest threat and the US and NATO as guarantors of protection.

The Triangle returns

Its geographical status explains Poland's position and it will not stop wanting NATO's instructions on its territory. However, it understands that it needs close allies with greater internal stability - hence its rapprochement with Germany and France - than that offered by the Trump Administration, whose international image is badly damaged, or a United Kingdom more occupied with managing Brexit than security issues.

On the other hand, Macron wants to avoid Poland replacing the UK as the representative of US policy in Europe, so he has changed his strategy to avoid alienating it by criticising its judicial reforms. Macron did not mention them in his visit to Warsaw in February this year and only encouraged 'respect for European values'. Somehow Macron understands that after Brexit he will need Poland to advance his European foreign policy plans, and that is why it is important to bring it to the conference room helm. Macron went so far as to say in Warsaw that Poland, Germany and France should lead the Union post-Brexit. He also announced the dispatch of 600 more men to Poland, which will bring the number of French soldiers in the country to 5,100.

At meeting, both leaders agreed to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although the limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic have slowed down some contacts, while also waiting for Economics to begin to recover. The newly inaugurated German presidency of committee , moreover, discourages Berlin from appearing overly aligned with a certain European vector. The Weimar Triangle may therefore hibernate temporarily; in any case, although this is a risky formula, if coordinated with the Parliament and the Commission, its consolidation could represent a step forward in European cohesion and governance.

Categories Global Affairs: European Union World order, diplomacy and governance Articles

[Bruno Maçães, History Has Begun. The Birth of a New America. Hurst and Co. London, 2020. 203 p.]

review / Emili J. Blasco

History Has Begun. The Birth of a New AmericaWhat if the United States were not in decline, but quite the opposite? The United States could actually be in its infancy as a great power. This is what Bruno Maçães argues in his new book, whose degree scroll -History Has Begun- In a certain sense, he refutes Fukuyama's end of history, which saw the democratisation of the world at the end of the 20th century as the culmination of the West. Precisely, the hypothesis of the Portuguese-born internationalist is that the US is developing its own original civilisation, separate from what until now has been understood as Western civilisation, in a world in which the very concept of the West is losing strength.

Maçães' work follows three lines of attention: the progressive separation of the US from Europe, the characteristics that identify the specific American civilisation, and the struggle between the US and China for the new world order. The author had already developed aspects of these themes in his two immediately preceding works, already reviewed here: The Dawn of Eurasia y Belt and RoadThe focus is now on the US. The three titles are basically a sequence: the progressive dissolution of the European peninsula into the Eurasian continent as a whole, the emergence of China as the superpower of this great continental mass, and Washington's remaining role on the planet.

As to whether the US is rising or not leave, Maçães writes in the book's introduction: "Conventional wisdom suggests that the United States has already reached its peak. But what if it is only now beginning to forge its own path forward? The volume is written before the coronavirus crisis and the deep unease in US society today, but even before that some signs of US domestic unrest, such as political polarisation or divergences over the direction of its foreign policy, were already evident. "The present moment in the history of the United States is both a moment of destruction and a moment of creation", says Maçães, who considers that the country is going through "convulsions" characteristic of this process of destructive creation. In his opinion, in any case, they are "the birth pangs of a new culture rather than the death throes of an old civilisation".

One might think that the United States is simply evolving towards a mixed culture as a result of globalisation, so that the influence of some European countries in shaping US society over the last few centuries is now being joined by Asian immigration. Indeed, by mid-century, immigrants from across the Pacific are expected to outnumber those arriving from Mexico and Central America, which, although steeped in indigenous cultures, largely follow the Western paradigm. Between the first European and the new Asian heritage, a 'hybrid Eurasian' culture could develop in the US.

Indeed, at one point in the book, Maçães asserts that the US is 'no longer a European nation', but 'in fundamental respects now seems more similar to countries like India or Russia or even the Republic of Iran'. However, he disagrees with this hybrid Eurasian perspective and argues instead for the development of a new, indigenous American society, separate from modern Western civilisation, rooted in new sentiments and thoughts.

In describing this different way of being, Maçães focuses on a few manifestations, from which he deduces deeper aspects. "Why do Americans speak so loudly?" he asks, referring to one such symptom. His theory is that American life emphasises its own artificiality as a way of reminding its participants that they are, at bottom, experiencing a story. "The American way of life is consciously about language, storytelling, plot and form, and is meant to draw attention to its status as fiction." An entire chapter, for example, is devoted to analysing the importance of television in the US. In the midst of these considerations, the reader might think that the reasoning has been drifting towards a cultural essay and out of the realm of International Office, but in the conclusion of the book the ends are conveniently tied up.

With that loose end out of the way, the book moves on to analyse the tug of war between Washington and Beijing. It recalls that since its rise as a world power around 1900, the US's permanent strategic goal has been to prevent a single power from controlling the whole of Eurasia. Previous threats in this regard were Germany and the USSR, and today it is China. employee Normally, Washington would resort to a balance of power, using Europe, Russia and India against China (using a game historically played by Britain for the goal to prevent a single country from controlling the European continent), but for the moment the US has focused on directly confronting China. Maçães sees the Trump administration's policy as confusing. "If the US wants to adopt a strategy of maximum pressure against Beijing, it needs to be clearer about the end game": is it to constrain Chinese economic power or to convert China to the West's model ?, he asks. He intuits that the ultimate goal is to "decouple" the Western world from China, creating two separate economic spheres.

Maçães believes that China will hardly manage to dominate the supercontinent, since "the unification of the whole of Eurasia under a single power is so far from inevitable that in fact it has never been achieved". In any case, he believes that, because of its interest as a superpower, the US may end up playing not so much the role of "great balancer" (given China's weight, it is difficult for any of its neighbours to exercise a counterweight) as that of "great creator" of the new order. "China must be trimmed down in size and other pieces must be accumulated, if a balance is to be the final product," he asserts.

It is here that the US character as a story and narrative builder finally comes back into the picture, with a somewhat flimsy argument. Maçães can see the US succeeding in this task of "great maker" if it treats its allies with autonomy. As in a novel, his role as narrator "is to bring all the characters together and preserve their own individual spheres"; "the narrator has learned not to impose a single truth on the whole, and at the same time no character will be allowed to replace him". "For the United States," Maçães concludes, "the age of nation-building is over. The age of world building has begun".

Categories Global Affairs: North America Book reviews World Order, Diplomacy and Governance

High incidence of Covid-19 in the country contrasts with the government's swiftness in implementing measures

Peru has been an example in the Covid-19 crisis for its speed in applying containment measures and for approve one of the largest economic stimulus packages in the world, close to 17% of GDP. However, the high incidence of the pandemic, which has made Peru the second Latin American country in terms of cases of the coronavirus and the third in terms of deaths, has made it necessary to prolong the restrictions on activity longer than expected. This and lower external demand, weaker than initially predicted, have "more than eclipsed" the government's significant economic support, according to the IMF, which forecasts a 13.9% drop in GDP for Peru in 2020, the largest of the region's main economies.

lecture of the Peruvian president, Martín Vizcarra (r), in the presence of the head of Economics, María Antonieta Alva (l) [Gov. of Peru].

lecture of the Peruvian President, Martín Vizcarra (r), in the presence of the head of Economics, María Antonieta Alva (l) [Gov. of Peru].

ARTICLEGabriela Pajuelo

International media such as Bloomberg y The Wall Street Journal have shown admiration for Peru's young minister of Economics , María Antonieta Alva. At 35, with a master's degree from Harvard and some experience in Peru's own administration, Alva designed one of the most ambitious economic stimulus plans in all of South America at the beginning of the crisis.

"From a Latin perspective, Peru is a clear leader in terms of macro response; I could have imagined a very different result if Toni wasn't there," he said. Ricardo HausmannAlva's Harvard professor, who is leading a team of experts advising Peru and ten other countries on how to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. The minister has also become one of the best-known faces of President Martin Vizcarra's government among the working classes.

Peru was one of the first countries in Latin America to apply a state of emergency, limiting the freedom of meeting and transit in Peruvian territory and restricting economic activity. To prevent mass infection with the virus, the government decreed the closure of borders, restrictions on interprovincial movement, a daily curfew and a mandatory period of national isolation, which has been extended several times and has become one of the longest in the world.

This prolongation, agreed in the face of the high incidence of the pandemic, has damaged the economic outlook more than expected. Moreover, the prolongation of the emergency in countries to which Peru's exports are destined has weakened their demand for raw materials and damaged the resurgence of Peru's Economics . This is the IMF's estimate, which between its April forecast and the one updated in June has added nine more points to the fall in Peru's GDP for 2020. The IMF now considers that Peru's Economics will fall by 13.9% this year, the largest among the region's major countries. Although the ambitious stimulus package will not have prevented this decline, it will boost the recovery, with GDP rising by 6.5% in 2021, the strongest rebound among the largest Latin American economies. With regard to the latter forecast, the IMF specifies that, nevertheless, "there are significant risks to leave , linked to national and global challenges to control the epidemic".

A socio-economic context that does not financial aid to containment

Despite restrictive social distancing measures, the pandemic has had a high incidence in Peru, with 268,602 diagnosed cases (second only to Brazil in Latin America) and 8,761 deaths (behind Brazil and Mexico) as of 25 June. These high figures are partly due to the fact that the country's socio-economic conditions have meant that compliance with containment has not been very strict in certain situations. The social context has made it difficult to respect the mandatory quarantine due to structural problems such as the fragility of health services and infrastructure, the difficulty of efficient public procurement, prison overcrowding and the digital divide.

The high level of labour informalityThe fact that in 2019 it was 72% explains why many people have to continue working to ensure their subsistence, without following certain protocols or having access to certain material; at the same time, this informality prevents greater tax collection that would help to improve budgetary items such as health. Peru is the second Latin American country with the lowest health investment.

On the other hand, inequalitywhich in 2018 was 42.8 in the Gini index, is aggravated by the territorial distribution of expense, linked to the centralisation of employment of the rural population in Lima. During the pandemic, workers from the country's highlands who have migrated to the capital have wanted to return to their places of origin, as many are not on the payroll and have no labour rights, in contravention of the restrictions of mobility.

This social context makes it possible to question some of the economic measures approved, according to some Peruvian academics. The president of high school Peruano de Economics (IPE), Roberto Abusada, warned that Peru's macroeconomic strengths will not help forever. He considered that certain regulations are unenforceableThe "setting parameters such as body mass index (BMI) or an age limit, creates obstacles for this group of people, who could be highly qualified, and could not return to their centre of work".

Economic package

In late April, Minister Alva presented a $26 billion economic stimulus package, representing 12 per cent of GDP. Additional measures a month later raised that percentage to 14.4 per cent of GDP, and even then it would have been closer to 17 per cent. Comparatively speaking, this is one of the largest stimulus packages adopted in the world (in Latin America, the second largest is Brazil, with a stimulus of 11.5 per cent of GDP).

From agreement with the monitoring that the IMF Peru has adopted measures in three different areas: fiscal, monetary and macro-financial, and in terms of the exchange rate and the balance of payments.

First, in terms of fiscal measures, the government approved 1.1 billion soles (0.14% of GDP) to address the health emergency. In addition, various measures have been implemented, among which two stand out: the "Stay at home" voucher and the creation of the Business Support Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (FAE-MYPE).

The first measure, for which the government approved approximately 3.4 billion soles (0.4% of GDP) in direct transfers, is a 380 soles (US$110) voucher targeted at poor households and vulnerable populations, of which there have been two disbursements. The second measure concerns the creation of a fund of 300 million soles (0.04% of GDP) to support MSEs, in an attempt to guarantee credit for capital for work and to restructure or refinance their debts.

Among other fiscal measures, the government approved a three-month extension of the income tax declaration for SMEs, some flexibility for businesses and households in paying tax obligations and a deferral of household electricity and water payments. The whole package of fiscal support amounts to more than 7% of GDP.

On the other hand, in terms of monetary and macro-financial measures, the Central Bank reservation (BCR) reduced the reserve requirement rate by 200 basis points, bringing it to 4%, and is monitoring the evolution of inflation and its determinants to increase monetary stimulus if necessary. It has also reduced reserves requirements , provided liquidity to the system with a package backed by government guarantees of 60 billion soles (more than 8% of GDP) to support lending and the chain of payments.

In addition, exchange rate and balance of payments measures have been implemented through the BCR's intervention in the foreign exchange market. By 28 May, the BCR had sold approximately USD 2 billion (0.9% of GDP) in foreign exchange swaps. International reserves remain significant, at more than 30% of GDP.

On the other hand, in the field of trade relations, Peru agreed not to impose restrictions on foreign trade operations, while at the same time liberalising the loading of goods, speeding up the issuance of certificates of origin, temporarily eliminating some tariffs and waiving various infractions and penalties contained in the General Customs Law. This was particularly the case for transactions with strategic partners, as the European UnionAccording to Alberto Almendres, the president of Eurochambres (the association of European Chambers in Peru). 50% of foreign investment in Peru comes from Europe.

In terms of Peruvian exports, although the emergence of the coronavirus in China at the beginning of the year slowed down transactions with that country, mining and agricultural exports remained positive. in the first two months of the yearas indicated in the high school research and of the Lima Chamber of Commerce. development (Idexcam). Subsequently, exports of raw materials and tourism have been more affected, especially in the case of exports of raw materials and tourism.

Comparison with Chile and Colombia 

The status in Peru can be analysed in comparison with its neighbours Chile and Colombia, which will have a somewhat smaller fall in GDP in 2020, although their recovery will also be somewhat smaller.

issue As for the issue of confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 25 June, Chile (259,064 cases) is similar in size to Peru (268,602), although the number of deaths is almost half that of Peru (4,903 Chileans and 8,761 Peruvians), which corresponds to the proportion of its total population.

In response to the pandemic, Chilean authorities implemented a series of measures, including the declaration of a state of catastrophe, travel restrictions, school closures, curfews and bans on public gatherings, and a teleworking law. This crisis came just months after the social unrest experienced in the country in the last quarter of 2019.

On the economic front, Chile approved a stimulus of 6.7% of GDP. On 19 March, the authorities presented a fiscal package of up to $11.75 billion focused on supporting employment and corporate liquidity (4.7% of OPIB), and on 8 April an additional $2 billion of financial aid to vulnerable households was announced, as well as a $3 billion (2%) guarantee plan from credit . In its June forecast update , the IMF expects Chile's GDP to fall by 7.5% in 2020 and increase by 5% in 2021.

In Colombia, the level of contagion has been lower (77,313 cases and 2,611 deaths), and its economic package to cope with the crisis has also been smaller: 2.8 per cent of GDP. The government created a National Emergency Mitigation Fund, which will be partially financed by regional and stabilisation funds (around 1.5 per cent of GDP), complemented by the issuance of national bonds and other budgetary resources (1.3 per cent). In its recent update, the IMF forecasts that Colombia's GDP will fall by 7.8% in 2020 and rise by 4% in 2021.

Categories Global Affairs: Articles World order, diplomacy and governance Latin America

[Tae-Hwan Kwak and Seung-Ho Joo (eds). One Korea: visions of Korean unification. Routledge. New York, 2017. 234 p.]

review / Eduardo Uranga

One Korea: visions of Korean unificationThroughout the second half of the 20th century, tensions between superpowers in East Asia made this part of the world a hotspot of the International Office. Tensions remain today, such as the trade war that has pitted the United States against the People's Republic of China since 2018. However, over the past 70 years, one territory in particular has been affected by an ongoing conflict that has repeatedly claimed the world's attention. That region is undoubtedly the Korean peninsula.

This book, co-edited by Tae-Hwan Kwak and Seung-Ho Joo and bringing together various experts on inter-Korean relations, discusses the various possibilities for a future reunification of the two Koreas, as well as the various problems that need to be solved in order to achieve this goal. The perspectives of the various world powers on the conflict are also analysed.

The Korean issue dates back to World War II: after the country was occupied by Japan, its liberation ended up dividing the peninsula in two: North Korea (occupied by the Soviet Union) and South Korea (controlled by the United States). Between 1950 and 1953, the two halves fought a conflict, which eventually consolidated the partition, with a demilitarised zone in between known as the 38th Parallel or KDZ.

One of the formulas for Korean unification described in this book is unification through neutralisation, proposal by both Koreas. However, the constant long-range nuclear missile tests carried out by North Korea in recent years present a major obstacle to this formula. In this atmosphere of mistrust, Korean citizens play an important role in promoting cooperation and friendship on both sides of the border with the goal aim of achieving North Korea's denuclearisation.

Another aspect that plays an important role in forcing a change in North Korea's attitude is its strategic culture. This must be differentiated from the traditional Korean strategic culture. North Korea has adopted various unification strategies over the years, while maintaining the same principles and values. This strategic culture blends elements from the country's strategic position (geopolitically), history and national values. All of this is under the authority of the Juche ideology. This ideology contains some militaristic elements and promotes the unification of Korea through armed conflict and revolutionary actions.

Regarding the perspectives of the various world superpowers on future Korean reunification, China has stated that it favours a long-term approach to unification deadline; a short-term process deadline would collide with Chinese national interests, as Beijing would first have to settle its disputes with Taiwan, or end the trade war against the United States. China has stated that it will not accept Korean unification influenced by a military alliance between the US and South Korea.

On the other hand, the US has not yet opted for a specific Korean unification policy. Since the 1950s, the Korean peninsula has been but one part of the overall US strategic policy for the entire Asia-Pacific region.

The unification of the Korean peninsula will be truncated as long as the US, China and other powers in the region continue to recognise the status quo on the peninsula. It could be argued that armed conflict might be the only way to achieve unification. According to the authors of this book, this would be too costly in terms of resources used and human lives lost. On the other hand, such a war could trigger a conflict on a global scale.

Categories Global Affairs: World order, diplomacy and governance Asia Book reviews

[John West, Asian Century on A Knife Edge: A 360 Degree Analysis of Asia's Recent Economic Development. Palgrave Macmillan. Singapore, 2018. 329 p.]

REVIEWGabriela Pajuelo

Asian Century on A Knife Edge: A 360 Degree Analysis of Asia's Recent Economic Development

The degree scroll of this book seems to contribute to the generalised chorus that the 21st century is Asia's century. In reality, the book's thesis is the opposite, or at least puts this claim "on a knife's edge": Asia is a continent of great economic complexity and competing geopolitical interests, posing a series of challenges whose resolution will determine the region's place in the world in the coming decades. For now, argues John West, a university professor in Tokyo, nothing is certain.

The book begins with a preamble on the recent history of Asia, from the Second World War to the present day. Already at the beginning of this period, economic liberalism was established as the standard doctrine in much of the world, including most Asian countries, in a process driven by the establishment of international institutions.

China joined this system, without renouncing its domestic doctrines, when it joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001. Since then, there have been some shocks such as the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which severely affected the US economy and had repercussions in the rest of the world, or the recent tariff tensions between Washington and Beijing, as well as the current global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The principles of protectionism and nationalism deployed by Donald Trump and an increased US resource to the hard power in the region, as well as a more assertive policy by Xi Jinping's China in its geographical surroundings, also resorting to positions of force, such as in the South China Sea, have damaged the multilateralism that had been built up in that part of the world.

The author provides some thought-provoking insights into the challenges that Asia will face, given that the factors core topic that favoured its development have now deteriorated (mainly due to the stability provided by international economic interdependence).

West examines seven challenges. The first is to gain a better position in global value chains, as since the 1980s the manufacture of components and the production of final products has taken place in different parts of the world. Asia is heavily involved in these supply chains, in fields such as technology or apparel production, but is subject to business decisions by multinationals whose practices are sometimes not socially responsible and allow abuse of labour rights, which are important for the middle classes development .

The second challenge is to maximise the potential of urbanisation, which has grown from 27% of the population in 1980 to 48% in 2015. The region is known for its densely populated mega-cities. This brings with it some challenges: people migrating to industrial centres generally move from leave productivity jobs to high productivity jobs, and health care capacity is put at test . But it is also an opportunity to improve environmental practices or encourage innovation through green technologies, even though much of Asia today still faces high levels of pollution.

Another challenge is to give all Asians equal opportunities in their respective societies, from LGBT people to women and indigenous communities, as well as ethnic and religious minorities. The region also faces a major demographic challenge , as many populations either age (such as China's, despite the correction of the "two-child policy") or continue to expand with presumed future supply problems (such as India's).

West also points to reference letter, the barriers to democratisation in the region, with China's notable immobility, and the spread of economic crime and corruption (counterfeiting, piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking, cybercrime and money laundering).

Finally, the author speaks of challenge that Asian countries can live together in peace and harmony, while China consolidates its position as a regional leader: if there is a Chinese commitment to thesoft powerThrough the Belt and Road initiative, there is also a more confrontational attitude on the part of Beijing towards Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea, while actors such as India, Japan and North Korea want a greater role.

Overall, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of Asia's economic and social development and the challenges ahead. In addition, the author offers some thought-provoking insights, arguing that the proclaimed "Asian century" is unlikely due to the region's lagging economic development , as most countries have not caught up with their Western counterparts in terms of GDP per capita and technological sophistication. However, it leaves the future open: if the challenges are successfully met, the time may indeed come for an Asian century.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews

Rice terraces in Vietnam [Pixabay].

▲ Rice field terraces in Vietnam [Pixabay].

COMMENT / Eduardo Arbizu

The combination of a market Economics and an authoritarian regime dominated by the Communist Party of Vietnam (VCP) has led Vietnam, a country of over 90 million people, to become a key player in the future of Southeast Asia.

Today's Vietnam is the consequence of a confusing and contradictory process of change that has transformed not only the country's Economics but has also had a profound impact on social life, urban configuration, environment, domestic and foreign policies and whose final effects will be seen in the long term deadline.

An impressive economic turnaround

The transformation of the economic model in Vietnam derives formally from the decision taken at the VCP's sixth congress in December 1986 to open the country to the market Economics , but its roots lie earlier, in the economic crisis that followed the war, in the collapse of agricultural production that the radical implementation of a communist model brought about in 1979. This debacle forced the private trading of any surplus production that exceeded the targets set by the state for public land or enterprises. This kind of state capitalism paved the way for the liberalisation that followed the death of Stalinist leader Le Duan in 1986. The approval of the do-moi or renovation policy meant the withdrawal of planning and the choice for the free market. It was not an ideological decision but an instrumental one. work If the CP wanted to maintain control of the country it needed to generate one million jobs a year, guarantee food for 90 million people and reduce poverty.

It has been an economic and social success: per capita income has increased dramatically and the population below the poverty line has been reduced from 60% to 20%. The US embargo ended in 1993 and in 1997 the two countries signed a new agreement trade agreement. In 2007 Vietnam was admitted to the WTO. In this context of openness, more than 150,000 new businesses were set up under the new enterprise law and major international companies such as Clarks, Canon, Samsung and Intel set up production facilities in Vietnam.

The achievements of the process, however, should not hide its weaknesses: a state-controlled Economics through joint ventures and state-owned enterprises, a fragile rule of law, massive corruption, a web of families loyal to the VCP accumulating wealth and owning most private businesses, growing inequality and deep ecological degradation.

Agriculture has evolved from the sudden drop in production that followed communist collectivisation to the current status where Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice in the world, a crop that accounts for 20% of its exports. The industrialisation of Economics has meant that agriculture, which used to account for 40% of GDP, is now only 20%. Livelihoods still depend on rice cultivation, still the main source of income for rural households, where half of the population lives. source . Rice exports are managed by a combination of free market and corrupt officialdom, with the negative consequences experienced in the speculative crisis of 2008. There has been an intense migration from the countryside to the big cities where wages are five times higher. The pressure for wealth is converting agricultural land into residential or industrial plots. Every year 10,000 new hectares are re-zoned. The transformation of the rural world is pushing away the old Structures that provided security, meaning and purpose and it remains to be seen how it affects future stability.

Social and environmental change

The construction of proletarian towns after the war, under the communist housing programme, has not prevented overcrowding and the continuation of communal life. Migrants continue to arrive in search of work, money and protection. Tons of industrial waste remains untreated; the rivers around Ho Chi Min City are biologically dead and pollution in Hanoi is well above internationally accepted levels. Problems such as prostitution, with more than 1% of women working in the illicit sex trade, or abandoned children on the streets are a reality. However, while doubling or tripling its urban population, Vietnam has managed these problems better than neighbouring countries, largely avoiding the ghost cities and their problems of crime, extreme poverty and drug addiction so common in the rest of Asia.

Commercial and urban dynamism is reflected in thousands of illegal street food shops and small businesses, pioneers of small-scale capitalism, which are now a tourist symbol of Vietnam. In cities full of young people who identify freedom with a polluting motorbike, youth rebels against years of communist austerity but not against family traditions.

Vietnam is a country where a natural wonder like Ha Long Bay, one of the country's iconic images, is simultaneously a tourist attraction and an environmental disaster. It is also one of the areas most exposed to the effects of climate change, due to its low altitude and reliance on agricultural production in the Mekong Delta and tourism. Respect for wildlife and the environment are issues of high priority for the authorities leave .

The VCP remains in control

There are issues that have not changed with the same intensity. Vietnam still lives under a "natural system of control", the deep surveillance system put in place by the communist regime to control the values and behaviour of its people. A system in which one in six Vietnamese ended up working in the security forces and which resulted in the control of "cultivated families", those who behave in accordance with the values set by the party. agreement . Although it has proven its effectiveness in crises such as avian flu and now partly in the Covid-19 crisis, the system is now controversial due to the spread of the internet and social networks and radical social changes that call for more freedom. Despite this control, corruption is widespread and damaging to the country's future.

The VCP is still in power. Retaining its Leninist roots, it is now an elitist and intelligent organisation in search of its own survival. A new mandarinate that has evolved from a centralised power present in all aspects of public and social life to a fragile and partial control; from a "petty legal system", where decisions were taken directly by the VCP and their compliance with the law was irrelevant, to a "State based on Law", where rules are the tool to supervise entrepreneurs and investors, allowing them to create wealth and employment but simultaneously comply with the VCP's expectations. Similarly, the party controls the legislature, the courts and indirectly the press, media and news coverage, which prevents Vietnam from being considered a truly free country.

Life has been difficult and lonely for those few who tried to oppose the regime and promote real democracy. The name of the Catholic priest Father Ly and his followers, brutally repressed, tried and convicted in March 2007, once the country was admitted to the WTO, casts a shadow over the hope for a transition to effective political freedom.

Foreign policy and the future

Vietnam's foreign policy seeks to strike a balance in its relations with two main actors: the US and China, counterbalanced by a set of alliances with third countries. Overcoming war wounds and establishing trusting cooperation on subject security is the goal of the policy of rapprochement with the US, which is already a significant investor in the country. The special relationship with China, the largest importer of Vietnamese goods, an industrial giant and Asia's largest military, is the other axis of its policy despite long-standing territorial disputes.

The overexploited environment, inequality, elite entrenchment and, above all, uncertainty about the evolution of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the political system are aspects that are weighing on the outlook. However, a young and well-educated population, as well as the inflow of foreign investment, are reasons for optimism about further liberalisation of the country, including political liberalisation.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Comments

[A. Patanru, M. Pangestu, M.C. Basri (eds), Indonesia in the New World: Globalisation, Nationalism and Sovereignty. ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. Singapore, 2018. 358 p.]

review / Irati Zozaya

Indonesia in the New World: Globalisation, Nationalism and SovereigntyThe book consists of fifteen articles, written by different experts, on how Indonesia has dealt with globalisation and what effect it has had on the country. The texts have been coordinated by Arianto A. Patunru, Mari Pangestu and M. Chatib Basri, Indonesian academics with experience also in public management having served as ministers in different governments. The articles combine general approaches with specific aspects, such as the consequences of the opening up to international trade and investment in the mining industry or the nationalisation of foodstuffs.

To explain Indonesia's present-day status , the book occasionally recapitulates periods of its history. In fact, one of the concepts that crops up frequently in the book is that of nationalism: it could be said, according to the authors, that this is what has most marked Indonesia's relationship with the world, beyond who has led this country of 260 million inhabitants at any given time.

The first part of the book reference letter looks more generally at Indonesia's experience with globalisation, nationalism and sovereignty. It begins by showing the colonial era and how, under Dutch and British pressure to open up to the world, a strong nationalist sentiment began to emerge. After the occupation by Japan during World War II, total autarchy was introduced, leading to a problem that is still very present in Indonesia today: internship smuggling. In 1945 the country achieved its long-awaited independence under President Sukarno, who closed Indonesia to the rest of the world in order to focus on reasserting national identity and developing its capabilities. This led to the deterioration of the Economics and subsequent hyperinflation, which ushered in a new era: the New Order.

In 1967, with Suharto's accession to the presidency, a cautious opening to foreign trade and investment flows began. However, Suharto repressed political activity and during his rule the military gained much influence and the government retained control over Economics. Moreover, the end of his presidency coincided with the Asian financial crisis (1997-1998), which led to a fall in the country's economic growth and a slowdown in poverty reduction, and consequently a growth in inequality. The financial crisis undermined confidence in the president and culminated in the collapse of the New Order.

The next period covered is the Reformasi, an era that marked the beginning of a more open and democratic political climate. The next two presidents, Abdurrahman Wahid (1999-2001) and Megawati Soekarnoputri (2001-2004), were more concerned with economic recovery and democratic consolidation, and a protectionist system endured in terms of Economics. The book does not focus much on the next president, Yudhoyono (2004-2014), noting only that he was an internationalist who maintained a more cautious and ambivalent stance on economic issues.

Finally, in the 2014 elections, Joko Widodo came to power and holds the position presidency today. Under him, Indonesia has returned to the path of economic growth and stabilised as a reasonably successful democracy. As the president, commonly known as Jokowi, has taken further steps to emphasise political sovereignty and promote economic autarky and national cultural renaissance, his term has been characterised as 'new nationalism'. In his political speech , Jokowi puts Indonesia as goal of foreign conspiracies and calls for vigilance against such threats. However, the country maintains an ambivalent stance towards international openness and cooperation since, although trade restrictions have increased again in recent decades, Jokowi emphasises global engagement and has revived regional negotiations.

All this has led to public dissatisfaction with globalisation, with up to 40% of citizens believing that globalisation threatens national unity. One of the most negative and important effects in Indonesia is that of workers who have been forced to migrate and work abroad under very poor conditions. However, the later parts of the book also show the positive consequences of globalisation in Indonesia, including higher productivity, increased wages and economic growth. The authors therefore emphasise the importance of constructing a narrative that can generate public and political support for the country's openness and counter the growing anti-globalisation sentiment.

As is the case with a book that is the sum of articles by different authors, its reading can be somewhat tiresome due to a certain reiteration of content. However, the variety of signatures also means a plurality of approaches, which undoubtedly provides the reader with a wealth of perspectives.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews

[Ming-Sho Ho, Challenging Beijing's Mandate of Heaven. Taiwan's Sunflower and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement. Temple University Press. Philadelphia, 2019. 230 p.]

review / Claudia López

Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement achieved international notoriety during 2014, when they challenged the Chinese regime's 'Mandate of Heaven', to use the image that gives degree scroll to the book. The book analyses the origins, processes and also the outcomes of both protests, at a time of consolidation of the rise of the People's Republic of China. Challenging Beijing's Mandate of Heaven provides a detailed overview of where, why and how these movements came into being and achieved relevance.

Taiwan's Sunflower Movement developed in March and April 2014, when citizen demonstrations protested against the approval of a free trade agreement with China. Between September and December of the same year, the Umbrella Movement staged 79 days of protests in Hong Kong demanding universal suffrage to elect the highest authority in this enclave of special status within China. These protests attracted international attention for their peaceful and civilised organisation.

Ming-Sho Ho begins by describing the historical background of Taiwan and Hong Kong from their Chinese origins. He then analyses the status of the two territories so far this century, when Taiwan and Hong Kong have begun to face increased pressure from China. It also reviews the similar economic circumstances that produced the two waves of youth revolts. The second part of the book analyses the two movements: the voluntary contributions, the decision-making process and its improvisation, the internal power shift, the political influences and the challenges of the initiative. The book includes appendices with the list of Taiwanese and Hong Kong people interviewed and the methodology used for the analysis of the protests.

Ming-Sho Ho was born in 1973 in Taiwan and has been a close observer of the island's social movements; during his time as a student of doctorate in Hong Kong he also closely followed the political discussion in the former British colony. He is currently researching initiatives for promote renewable energy in East Asian nations.

Being from Taiwan gave him access to the Sunflower Movement and allowed him to build close relationships with several of its key activists. He was able to witness some of the students' internal meetings and conduct in-depth interviews with students, leaders, politicians, NGO activists, journalists and university professors. This provided him with a variety of sources for his research.

Although they are two territories with different characteristics - Hong Kong is under the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China, but enjoys autonomy management assistant; Taiwan remains independent, but its statehood is challenged - both represent a strategic challenge for Beijing in its consolidation as a superpower.

The author's sympathy for these two movements is obvious throughout the book, as is his admiration for the risk taken by these student groups, especially in Hong Kong, where many of them were convicted of 'public nuisance' and 'disturbing the peace' and, in many cases, sentenced to more than a year in prison.

The two movements had a similar beginning and a similar development beginning, but each ended in a very different way. In Taiwan, thanks to the initiative, the free trade agreement with China failed and was withdrawn, and the protesters were able to call hold a farewell rally to celebrate this victory. In Hong Kong, police repression succeeded in stifling the protest and a final massive raid brought a disappointing end for the protesters. However, it is possible that without the experience of those mobilisations, the new student reaction that throughout 2019 and early 2020 in Hong Kong has put the highest Chinese authorities on the ropes would not have been possible.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews