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[Pedro Baños, The World Domain. Elements of power and geopolitical keys. Ariel. Barcelona, 2018. 366 p.]

 

review / Manuel Lamela

  World domination. Elements of Power and Geopolitical Keys

If your previous submission, The Keys to World Domination, served as a guide to introduce us to the vast world of geopolitics and international relations, in his new work, Colonel Pedro Baños Bajo, unveils us and gives us a glimpse of the sample the key elements and instruments for world domination and how these are used by the various actors in their constant struggle for power on a global scale. We are on the verge of a paradigm shift on the international scene, and this process, as the author explains, will be led by demography and technology.

In his business In order to democratize geopolitics, Pedro Baños uses clear and precise language to facilitate the understanding of the work. There will be numerous illustrations present in the book that will be accompanied by brief explanations to get a broader vision of the topic to be treated.

The Elements of World Power is the name given to the first half of the book, it is divided into nine different parts that according to the author are key when it comes to understanding the global power game. In this first half, issues of rigorous relevance and tremendously important on the international scene will be discussed. From the hybrid threat, which represents a new way of waging war, to the role of intelligence services today, to the transcendental importance of natural resources and demographics. It is certainly a fairly comprehensive analysis for those looking for a brief explanation of the greatest challenges that threaten to destabilize our current social order. It is true that some of the explanations can be defined as simple, but this does not have to be understood as a pejorative characteristic. The author's ability to synthesize extremely complex issues can encourage the reader's curiosity and make the leap to other great works where they can delve into more specific topics.

In the second part of the book we find a more concrete analysis in which the author focuses on only two factors: technology and demographics. The population imbalance, the large migratory flows and what some call the fourth industrial revolution are some of the issues that Colonel Baños highlights in his analysis. In the author's opinion, the transformations to which these two elements will be exposed will mark the course of humanity in the coming years. In this more incisive study, the author sample how vulnerable human society is to the future changes that are to come and how this alleged weakness will make conflicts difficult to avoid in the near future. Pedro Baños argues that despite the belief we have of living in a perfectly organized and structured society, the reality is far from the latter, since it is a small group The human being charged with directing and leading the destiny of all humanity as a whole.

Despite distilling a certain pessimism throughout the work, Pedro Baños decides to conclude his analysis with a message of hope, advocating for a united humanity. manager and in solidarity with their environment.

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

The cancellation of the new CDMX airport, already more than 31% built, sows doubts about the economic success of the new administration.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador arrives to the presidency of Mexico facing the economic world, to which he has put up a fight with his advertisement to paralyze the works of the new airport of the capital, despite the fact that a third of the works have already been carried out. The desire to make clear to the economic power who rules the country and to bury what was to be an emblematic bequest of the PRI -whose historical hegemony he hopes to replace with his own party, Morena- may be behind the controversial decision.

Image of the projected NAICM created by Fernando Romero Enterprise, Foster and Partners

▲ Image of the projected NAICM created by Fernando Romero Enterprise, Foster and Partners.

article / Antonio Navalón

The Mexican PRI returned to the presidency of the country in 2012, led by Enrique Peña Nieto, with the promise of making a major investment in public infrastructure that would put Mexico in the world's showcase. The stellar work chosen was the construction of a new airport, whose project was commissioned to architect Norman Foster and which the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) saw as the inheritance that would always be attributed to it.

This great project was to overshadow any negative bequest of Peña Nieto's term, which has been especially marked by corruption cases and historic record violence figures. Although useful for political marketing, increasing the air traffic capacity of Mexico City (CDMX), whose metropolitan area has 23 million inhabitants, is a necessity for boosting the national Economics .

The US$13.3 billion project was one of the largest investments in the country's history. Named Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de Ciudad de México (NAICM, later simplified as NAIM) and located at area in Texcoco, a little further away than the current facilities in use, the new infrastructure was to be developed in two phases. The first phase consisted of the construction of a large terminal and three runways, which were initially planned to be ready by 2020, but whose entrance in service had been postponed to 2022 due to construction delays. The second phase would see the construction of three additional runways, plus a second terminal, which would be ready for operation from 2035.

Plans called for NAICM to have the capacity to transport between 70 and 135 million passengers annually, thanks to an operating volume of between 115 and 135 slots per hour. These figures gave a long-term deadline potential benefit of more than $32 billion, according to government estimates.

The project sought first of all to solve the serious air saturation problem suffered by the current Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, caused by the low performance capacity of the two runways that operate simultaneously. In addition, the construction of the NAICM was based on the hope of turning CDMX into a world logistics hub, with the potential to multiply the current airport's cargo transport capacity fourfold.

The level of freight transport in this macro project would be able to reach 2 million tons per year, thus becoming, as its promoters assured, the main distribution center in Latin America. NAICM's ambition, therefore, was to become a reference not only in the American continent but also worldwide, both in the transfer of tourists and in the transport of goods.

NAICM construction began in 2015 and to date 31% of the work has been completed. Although this Degree of completion represents a slight delay compared to the original schedule, the foundation and channeling works are already finished and high Structures intended to hold the wide roof can be seen on the surface. However, despite this progress and the investment already made, the country's new president has announced that he is completely burying the project.

Elections and enquiry

The presidential elections of July 1st were won by the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (inaugurated on December 1st). Former leader of the PRI, thanks to which he served as mayor of the capital, over time he drifted to the left: he first joined the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and, after losing two elections for the presidency of the country, he created the National Regeneration Movement (Morena). In July, Morena won a majority in both chambers of congress and also conquered the CDMX government, giving AMLO, as the new president is commonly known, broad powers to carry out his policies. While he fell 17 votes short of a qualified majority in the Senate that could change the Constitution, he could gain allies for that purpose.

During the election campaign, Lopez Obrador defended the cancellation of the new airport project alleging its high cost, and raised the possibility that, as an alternative, some improvements could be made to the current airport and the Santa Lucia airport, a military base in the area of the Mexican capital that could be enabled for international flights. But Morena's candidate assured that he would make a enquiry to know the opinion of the Mexican people and that he would abide by the results.

Without waiting to take office as President, Lopez Obrador had Morena carry out this enquiry, which was not organized by the Government but by a political party, and furthermore did not take place in the whole country but in 538 municipalities out of the 2,463 that exist in Mexico. The ballot boxes, set up between October 25 and 28, voted "no" to NAICM: with a participation of only 1% of the national electoral body, 69% voted for the alternative of Santa Lucia and 29% voted to continue the works in Texcoco. López Obrador announced that, in application of result, he will halt the works for the new airport, despite the investment already made.

Some popular movements and also naturalists calling for the preservation of the natural environment applauded the advertisement, but there were also protest marches against the decision in the streets of downtown CDMX. The private sector has greatly regretted the purpose decision to cancel the NAICM project . Leading businessmen in the country and organizations such as the Confederation of Mexican Industrial Chambers (CONCAMIN), which represents 35% of Mexican GDP and 40% of employment in the country, came out in defense of the original project and asked López Obrador to reconsider his decision. Their argument is that any alternative will fall short of the demands of growing air traffic, weighing down the country's development . They also argue that any decision other than continuing with the construction of the NAICM will be more expensive than completing the planned airport [1].

 

Airport Infrastructure Proposals

 

Economic impact

For CONCAMIN, "the current airport lacks the infrastructure and any improvement would not fix the fundamental problems it has", and a bet on the Santa Lucia base "would be a waste of time and money, which will create problems rather than solve them", according to the president of this business association , Francisco Cervantes.

José Navalón, of CONCAMIN's Foreign Trade and International Affairs Commission, of which he is a member, warns that López Obrador's decision will be a major blow to Mexico's macroeconomic and financial system. In his words, "it is still too early to assess possible consequences, but it will be necessary to see if Mexico has the appropriate airport infrastructure, in terms of competitiveness and connectivity, for what is the second largest Economics in Latin America". In any case, for the moment "there has been a problem of lack of confidence in the markets, which has been immediately reflected in the fall of the peso and the markets" [2].

Indeed, while López Obrador was greeted in July with a rise in the markets, because his resounding victory seemed to augur stability for Mexico, his inauguration in December is being accompanied by an "exodus" of investors. The peso has fallen nearly 10% against the dollar in August, the stock market is down 7.6% and in October alone investors sold 2.4 billion dollars in Mexican bonds.

"The main questions that investors are asking today," Navalón continues, "is whether it is safe to invest in Mexico and how often this subject of decisions that do not follow any subject of legality will be taken," as important companies will be affected by the cancellation of a project in progress. He also warns that "the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil, whose profile is a magnet for foreign investment, may directly affect investment in Mexico".

The big question is why López Obrador maintains his decision against the new airport, in spite of the economic penalty it will mean for the Government and the risk of investor flight. We must understand that Mexico has always been a country that has been led by economic power. With its attitude towards NAICM, it aims to clearly mark the line of separation between political and economic power, making it clear that the era of economic power is over. A second reason is that NAICM was going to be the PRI's inheritance and López Obrador probably seeks to destroy any subject of association of this macro project with the party he intends to bury.

 

REFERENCES

[1] CONCAMIN Document "Airport Proposals" 2018.

[2] Personal interviews with Francisco Cervantes and José Navalón.

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

[Justin Vaïsse, Zbigniew Brzezinski. America's Grand Strategist. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, 2018. 505 p.]

 

review / Emili J. Blasco

Zbigniew Brzezinski. America's Grand Strategist

Zbignew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter, is one of the great names in American foreign policy in recent decades. In some respects comparable to Henry Kissinger, who also went directly from the University – where both were colleagues – to the Administration, the latter's greater renown has sometimes obscured the degree program by Brzezinski. Justin Vaïsse's biography, written with access to documentation staff by Brzezinski and first published in French two years ago, highlights the singular figure and thought of someone who had a continuous presence in the discussion about U.S. action in the world until his death in 2017.

Born in Warsaw in 1928 and the son of a diplomat, Brzezinski moved with his family to Canada during World War II. From there he went to Harvard and immediately rose to prominence in the academic community of the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen and lived the rest of his life. If in the 1940s and 1950s, the leading positions in the Administration were nurtured by an older generation that had led the country into war and established the new world order, in the following decades a new world order emerged. group of statesmen, in many cases coming out of the main American universities, who at that time had acquired an unprecedented preeminence in the gestation of political thought.

This was the case of Kissinger, who was born in Germany and also emigrated during the war, who was first National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, and also under Gerald Ford. The next president, Jimmy Carter, brought Brzezinski, who had advised him on international issues during the election campaign, to the White House. The two professors maintained a respectful and at times cordial relationship, although their positions, ascribed to different political camps, often diverged.

For biographical reasons, Brzezenski's original focus—or Zbig, as his collaborators called him—to overcome the difficulty of pronouncing his surname– was in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. From relatively early on he came to the conclusion that the USSR would be incapable of maintaining the economic pulse with the West, so he advocated "peaceful engagement" with the Eastern bloc as a way to accelerate its decomposition. That was the doctrine of the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations.

However, since the mid-1970s, the USSR faced its evident decline with a flight forward to try to re-establish its international power, both in terms of strategic weapons and in its presence in the Third World. Brzezinski then moved to a tougher stance on Moscow, earning him frequent clashes with other figures in the Carter administration, especially Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Carter had arrived at the White House in January 1977 with some speech appeasement, while remaining belligerent in terms of human rights. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 reinforced the thesis by Brzezinski.

Carter's short presidency left little room for the committee Homeland Security will score special wins. The greatest, although joint work of the presidential team, was the signature of the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt. But the fiasco of the attempted rescue of the hostages at the Tehran Embassy, which was not Brzezinski's direct responsibility, weighed down an administration that cannot have a second term.

Situated on the right of the Democratic Party, Brzezinski is described by Vaïsse as a "fellow traveler" of the neoconservatives (the Democrats who went over to the Republican side demanding a more robust defense of U.S. interests in the world), but without being a neoconservative himself (in fact, he did not break with the Democratic Party). In any case, he always stressed his independence and was difficult to pigeonhole. "He was neither a warmonger nor a pacifist. It was hawk and dove at different times," says Vaïsse. For example, he opposed the first Gulf War, preferring extreme sanctions, but was in favor of intervening in the Balkan War.

After leaving the Administration, Brzezinski joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington and maintained an active production of essays.

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

essay / Manuel Lamela

The skill to communicate, to weave alliances, to generate a narrative... These are characteristics of what is understood today as public diplomacy. Although it covers a wide variety of topics and areas, we can say that we are referring to power in its communicative facet, for which States compete in a degree program of ideas in order to appropriate the "story" and generate greater influence on a global scale. This struggle for the dominance of thought is not new, but in the last half of the twentieth century, concepts were generated to illustrate this conflict between states, which perhaps before the Cold War was in the background, and they appeared programs of study To analyze this subject of strategies. Despite this, it is enough to take a look at the classics to see clear references to what we currently understand as Public Diplomacy; thus, in works such as Sun Tzu's "Art of War", great importance and value is given to information, both internal and external, and its control is presented as synonymous with triumph in most cases.

Despite the novelty of the concept, Public Diplomacy has undergone several changes and transformations with the entrance of the new century. Along with the importance of non-state actors already present in the past century, we now find a significant increase in the weight that individuals have when it comes to shaping or influencing the policies of their states. The increase is undoubtedly due to the emergence and "democratization" of the internet and, more recently, to the total dependence that exists in populations on the use of social networks. Leaving aside the discussion On whether social networks bring benefits or rather their uncontrolled use generates deficits, which is not relevant in this analysis, what is clear is that social networks create a clear status of vulnerability conducive to state intervention and control, both domestic and foreign.

Given this metamorphosis in terms of diplomacy, various concepts have begun to be coined, such as diplomacy in the United States. network, cybersecurity diplomacy, etc., which are currently present in most State strategies and which encompass the phenomena discussed in the previous paragraph. Within these new strategic plans, think tanks acquire great relevance and importance as generators of ideas and shapers of public opinion, given their hybrid nature of bringing together internship with theory and its mission statement to bring the foreign policy of its various states closer to the general public. Think tanks are, without a doubt, a clear example of soft power exercise. They position themselves as ideological pillars in the construction of new narratives, generating a competitive advantage over the rest.

Anglo-Saxon History and Leadership

Anglo-Saxon hegemony in cementing the values and ideas that constitute the liberal international order is closely related to the origins of the first think tanks and their role within those societies. Modern think tanks emerged during World War II as safe rooms where the U.S. military could develop and plan war strategies. Rand Corporation was founded in 1948 with the goal of promote and protect U.S. interests abroad. Funded and sponsored by the Administration, RAND will inspire and serve as an example for the emergence of new think tanks linked to the U.S. government. Although most of the renowned think tanks appeared in the 1950s, there are several previous examples, both in American and British society, that illustrate in a more obvious way the reason for their leadership in the degree program of idea generation.

At the end of the 19th century, the Fabian Society was founded in the United Kingdom, a syndicalist organization that laid the foundations for the creation of the Labour Party. On the other side of the Atlantic, examples abound: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, created by former President Herbert Hoover, emerged prior to the 1920s and exemplify the importance of this subject of associations in American society. But if there is one case worth highlighting, it is that of the Brookings Institution, which was founded in 1916 under the name of the Institute for Government Research (IGR). This philanthropic corporation is one of the first private organizations dedicated to the study and analysis of public policies at the national level; Over the years, its importance and relevance will increase until it becomes the most prestigious and influential think tank in the world.

From the 1980s onwards, the phenomenon of the think tank multiplied and expanded to continental Europe, where associations dedicated to analysis and analysis began to be created. research in those fields. Intellectual production in the old continent had been worryingly scarce after the war. So the need to get the machine of ideas back into operation was vital to make sense of the new united Europe and to gain some independence from the Anglo-Saxon world. Today, 55% of the world's think tanks are spread across the US and Western Europe.

With the entrance In the turn of the century, we have seen a significant increase in the issue think tanks on the Asian continent, with the mission statement to rename and redirect Western ideas and even to generate their own ideas, which is popularly known as the "Asian Way". Undoubtedly, the emergence of China as a major world power is essential in the growth of think tanks in Asia. The "sleeping dragon" seeks to consolidate its global position with the creation of a new diplomacy that exports the statement of core values China to all corners of the world, a process in which the New Silk Road will play a fundamental role as a distribution channel. Along with China, the other threat to Western dominance is Russia, which, thanks to its high quality in terms of human capital in matters of intelligence and diplomacy, always positions itself as a fierce competitor, despite the fact that its material resources are smaller. In the case of Latin America and Africa, their contribution continues to be residual and with limited influence at the regional level; the issue think tanks on these two continents account for less than 20% globally.

Types of think tanks

Two different forms of think tanks have already been mentioned in this analysis: the case of RAND as a association closely linked to the U.S. government and the case of Brookings as an independent organization. Within the think tank community there is a great diversity and we can categorize them according to their funding, whether or not they present ideology, their composition, their approach discipline... Today, the most important ranking of think tanks is the one provided annually by the University of Pennsylvania with its report "Think Tanks and Civil Society Program". This report is dedicated to evaluating and classifying the different think tanks that exist today.

The report It provides the following categories:

 

 

Think tanks linked to the university or government sphere continue to account for the majority of cases, while think tanks linked to the university or government continue to account for the majority of cases. research profit-making companies are a growing minority.

The Influence of Ideas on U.S. Politics

It is interesting to analyze how Robert D. Kaplan's book "Balkan Ghosts" decisively influenced the American intervention in the Balkan war, and paradoxically led years later, in 2003, to the invasion of Iraq. Kaplan himself, in another of his great works, "The Revenge of Geography," blames the upper echelons of American society for being infected by an unbridled idealism that resulted in underestimating the transcendental role that history and physical geography play in determining the future of nations.

The role played by the various pressures exerted by American think tanks in the invasion of Iraq is the perfect example to illustrate the capital importance that ideas can have when it comes to conducting a state's foreign policy.

Originally, think tanks were born as advisory bodies aimed at providing financial aid and committee to the U.S. government. With the advance of the Cold War and later with the Internet revolution, the need for ideas and independent policy-making became a primary necessity for the United States, which saw in think tanks the best possible solution to nourish itself from the Internet. committee of experts.

The ability to generate new and original ideas away from the political stratum, together with the educational capacity, are two of the main factors that have led to think tanks being considered as benchmarks when it comes to shaping US foreign policy. The direct influence they have is one of the fundamental characteristics that distinguishes them from those existing in other regions, such as Europe, where they are more tied to the academic field; In the U.S., think tanks have a real impact on state policies. It is in these "factories of thought" that the values and ideas with which they will try to sweeten foreign policy and thus expand their sphere of influence to all corners of the globe are built. The mission statement Identifying and solving future problems and conflicts is another of the main tasks of think tanks. They do not always consider themselves government allies and often lead the fiercest criticism; In any case, the autonomy they enjoy is what makes them perceived as a highly valuable asset within American society.

 

Think Tanks in the world

 

The export of the model to Europe

In Europe, the issue think tanks have multiplied since the 1980s, but their issue and relevance are still very distant from the Anglo-Saxon world. In the list of the most important think tanks created by the University of Pennsylvania, only two belong to the European Union: the Institut Français des Relations Internationales and the Belgian Bruegel. The model The American think tank has been both praised and criticized, and the option of imitating it has been discussed in many countries and carried out in many others. Critics of its implementation believe that history and tradition play a fundamental role in making it extremely difficult to export the product. model.

Traditionally, in Europe, universities have been responsible for developing the statement of core values European, and in the past they were very successful in making Europe the vanguard of humanity. Today, however, Europe does not enjoy the leading role it had in other historical periods; the fact is that it has been ideologically outmaneuvered by the United States and has had no choice but to commune with the latter in order to confront greater threats. The latter, together with the greater complexity of the problems in the current panorama and the status In the European Union, it is necessary to renew the European social contract and generate a new narrative that brings European citizens together around a new cause, with the spirit of the Treaties of Rome as a great reference and starting point.

To carry out such an arduous task, think tanks are presented as one of the possible solutions and tools of financial aid. Given its nature of bringing together academia and politics, the creation of new ideas and values that revitalise European society will allow us to aspire to higher qualities. Another key factor is the flexibility of the model think tank, which will generate greater accessibility within civil society, making citizens feel involved and that, ultimately, written request, political participation increases, so that bonds of trust are strengthened rather than broken, as is predicted to happen. As we mentioned in the U.S. case, the value of educational it is another of the main characteristics and will serve as a solution to several of the problems that plague Europe today, such as the rise of extremist parties of different stripes.

Europe has a duty to generate a narrative with which its citizens can identify, and without a doubt the power of ideas will play a fundamental role in the success or failure of this task.

The think tank phenomenon is already one of the models on which the public diplomacy of various States gravitates. The eternal conflict to dominate the world's spheres of thought will continue to be present, so think tanks will continue to grow and develop, gaining more and more relevance at the international level. In the hierarchy of dominance, ideas occupy the last rung, behind individuals, physical geography, and history; However, since ideas are a pure human intellectual creation, they constitute a force of control and movement of the first step, the individuals.

 

Bibliography

Diego Mourelle. (2018). Think tanks: the diplomacy of ideas. 4/11/2018, from The World Order website.

Cristina Ariza Cerezo. (2016). The American Ideological Landscape: The Case of the Foreign Policy Board. 1/11/2018, from IEEE website.

Katarzyna rybka-iwanska . (2017). 5 reasons why Think tank are soft power tools. 1/11/2018, from USC Center for Public Diplomacy website.

Robert D. Kaplan. (1993). The Balkan Ghosts: A Journey to the Origins of the Bosnia-Kosovo Conflict. United States: S.A. Ediciones B.

Robert D. Kaplan. (2012). The Revenge of Geography. United States: RBA Books.

Pedro Baños. (2018). World Domination: Elements of Power and Geopolitical Keys. Spain: Ariel.

Pedro Baños. (2017). This is how the world is dominated. Unveiling the keys to world power. Spain: Arial.

Hak Yin Li. (2018). The evolution of Chinese public diplomacy and the rise of Think tanks. 1/11/2018, from Springer Link website.

Lars Brozus and Hanns W. Maull. (2017). Think tanks and Foreign Policy. 1/11/2018, from Oxford politics website.

James G. McGann. (2018). 2017 Global Go To Think tank Index Report. 1/11/2018, from University of Pennsylvania website.

Sun Tzu. (2014). Art of War. Spain: Plutón Ediciones.

Categories Global Affairs: World Order, Diplomacy and GovernanceGlobal Essays

Against a backdrop of rising populism, the standoff between Brussels and Rome is decisive for the future of the EU

In a measure unparalleled in the history of the Union, the European Commission has rejected the national budgets presented by the populist Italian government, because they do not tend to meet the deficit targets set. Neither Brussels nor Rome seem to have any intention of abandoning their positions, so an institutional confrontation threatens the European horizon.

'Tragicommedia, made in Italy': institutional clash in the European Union

▲ Giuseppe Conte, President of the Italian Government, with Vice-Presidents Luigi di Maio (left), leader of the 5-Star Movement, and Mateo Salvini (right), leader of the Northern League [Government of Italy]

article / Manuel Lamela

After seven months in government, the coalition formed by the 5-Star Movement and the Northern League have fulfilled what they promised and initiated, with the presentation of the budget of the Italian Republic, a process of confrontation and defiance with the European Union (EU). The authorities in Brussels accuse Italy of irresponsibly breaking the bonds of trust that forge and give meaning to the country. project European.

On October 16, Giuseppe Conte's executive presented a budget with a deficit forecast of 2.4%; While it is true that the figure is below the 3% limit set by the rules and regulations triples the amount previously agreed between Rome and the EU. Moreover, if Italy's public debt is 131% of GDP, making it the second highest in the monetary union, surpassed only by Greece, the new budget It will only increase it, as it aims to significantly increase the expense public.

The rise of the expense it seems to obey the populist interests of the leader of the Northern League and Minister of the Interior, Mateo Salvini, who has made no secret of his intention to seek support in the most fractured sectors of Italian society. Cultivating victimhood vis-à-vis Europe may yield a certain political return, but the example of Greece sample That attitudes of that subject they often end in tragedy, greatly weakening the state in the face of another possible debt crisis.

At the end of October, the European Commission rejected the draft Italian Budget –refund the budget of a Member State was an unprecedented act – and urged Rome to send a revised version within three weeks at the latest. The decision does not close the door to dialogue and negotiations, as indicated in his explanation of what happened by the Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici; "Today's opinion should come as no surprise, as the project of budget of the Italian Government represents a clear and intentional departure from the commitments made by Italy last July. However, our door is not closed. We want to continue our constructive dialogue with the Italian authorities. I welcome Finance Minister Giovanni Tria's commitment to this end and we must move forward in this spirit in the coming weeks."

But Conte's government assures that there is no plan B and that there is no chance of Italy taking a step backwards. Both Mateo Salvini and the leader of the 5-Star Movement, Luigi di Maio, both vice-presidents of the government, defended the Italian position and attacked Brussels claiming that it is normal for it to be unhappy, since it is the first time that Italy has freed itself from the clutches of the Eurogroup when it comes to deciding its economic policy. They also stated that, in their reply, the high school of Commissioners directly attacks the Italian people. And they accused Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of "only talking to drunk people", something that no doubt sample little respect for institutions.

The tactic of simulating strength and determinism, which both Italian political formations used during the election campaign, is being reciprocated by the rest of the European leaders with an exercise of real power. The request of the Italian Minister of Finance, Giovanni Tria, for Italy to be able to enjoy the same opportunity that Portugal had in the past, when Brussels accepted that the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, did not apply the volume of cuts desired by the Commission, will be stifled by the reckless ways employed by the political leaders of the Italian Republic.

If Italy refuses to follow the recommendations given by the EU, there is a possibility that the Commission will consider imposing fines, which can amount to 0.2% of GDP, for failing to comply with the Stability and Growth Pact. But apart from sanctions, the EU has no veto power, nor does it have any other right skill To avoid entrance in force of the budget Italian. As several experts indicate, it will be the pressure of the markets that will make the Italian measure correct, thus avoiding a direct confrontation between Rome and Brussels that would damage both parties equally. Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that "Italy's debt needs to get worse in order to exert adequate pressure and force the government to opt for other rhetoric."

Even if the European Commission manages to avoid a confrontation with Italy, it could be exposed to the campaign of victimhood by Italian populist groups, a tactic they already used successfully in the last elections. This is a tactic that is not of Italian creation, since since the crisis of 2008 various groupings and parties emerged with a position clearly opposed to Brussels, accusing the EU institutions of all the ills suffered by European societies. There are several examples; Brexit may be the most notorious given its relevance at the European and international level, but we must not forget the rise of formations such as the National Front in France, the Freedom Party in Austria or Podemos in Spain, the latter party that had its great public launch as a result of the 2015 European Parliament elections.

So far, Europe has not been able to find a way to prevent or neutralize the campaigns of demagoguery that proliferate in Europe today. Although some progress is being made in terms of the EU's communicative power, it is incomprehensible that Brussels is unable to effectively explain the project to the citizens of the Union. This is a deficiency that the project It has been the cause of many of the ills that have affected regional unity in recent decades. In this case, Europe has to contribute data that they are easy to understand for the average Italian citizen and that make him see that the measures adopted by his government will be harmful to Italian society in the near future, no matter how much they are sweetened by messages that respond to empty promises and messianic policies.

Another factor of concern within the Commission is the risk of contagion of the virus generated within the third Economics of the EU (excluding the United Kingdom). At first glance, it may seem possible that other Member States will be attracted to follow in Italy's footsteps; However, European officials say they firmly believe that their tough response to Rome will strengthen the monetary union and even increase integrity in areas such as banking unity. Externally, the decision will show that the EU's budgetary rigour is being met, generating confidence and security in the markets, and finally demonstrating that there is no respite from populist formations within Europe.

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

ESSAY / María Granados

Most scholars and newspapers (1) claim that the inequality gap is widening across the globe, but few provide an explanation as to why this apparently growing concern occurs, nor do they look into the past to compare the main ideologies regarding potential solutions to such problems (i.e.: the Austrian School of Thought and Keynesianism). The following paper attempts to do so by contrasting interventionist and libertarian approaches, to ultimately give an answer to the question.

Alvin Toffler predicted and described what he called 'The Third Wave', a phenomenon consisting of the death of industrialism and the rise of a new civilisation. He focuses on the interconnection of events and trends, (2) which has often been ignored by politicians and social scientists alike. Notwithstanding, J.K. Galbraith points out that the economy is shaped by historical context, and attempts to provide an overview of the main ideas that have given birth to current economic policies; (3) while Landes's focus on the past suggests inequality is not a new phenomenon. (4) Hence, its evolution cannot be overlooked: On the one hand, it led Marx to proclaim that private capital flows invariably lead to property concentration in consistently fewer hands; on the other hand, it led Kuznets to believe that modern economic growth would make developed countries to reach out geographically, spreading process to developing countries thanks to major changes in transport and communication. (5) First and foremost, we shall delve into the why question, sustained by the premise that there is, in fact, inequality, which sets up the foundation for economic studies. (6) Piketty asserts that 'arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities' are generated 'when the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income'. An advocator for open markets and the general interest, he rejects protectionism and nationalism, (7) but is it possible to establish justice through capitalism?, and, more importantly, is capitalism the most suitable system to do so?

Famous liberal philosopher Adam Smith wrote on the matter of state intervention that public policy should only be used insofar as it stimulates economic growth. (8) Freedom of trade made economies specialise through the division of labour, and so it resulted on low prices and an abundant supply of marketable products. The critique on corporations, state-chartered companies, and monopolies, made him conclude that the State should control (9) common defence, the administration of justice, and the provision of necessary public works. Contrary to popular belief, he was also in favour of a proportionate income tax. (10) David Ricardo added that a tax on land rents was necessary to prevent landowners from an increase share of output and income. In the nineteenth century, Marx pursued the destruction of the inevitably accumulated private capital. In the same period, realist theories (11) were embraced by Müller and List, among others, who viewed the state as a protector for the citizens, the equality provider. What all of the aforementioned theories have in common is that the State does play a role to a certain extent on the prevention of 'unfairness'. (12) Although thinkers may well be a product of their times, John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Von Hayek have heavily influenced current policies regarding inequality. Arguably, their thoughts stem from the above-mentioned ideas: the input of Marx's Capital in the Keynesian welfare state is contrasted with Smith's liberal approach ('let the invisible hand be') Hayek embraced. During the Great Depression, the preference for liquidity made Keynes focus on the shortage of the demand, to suggest that the corrective action of the government, borrowing and spending funds, was the best way out of the crisis. Several concepts were born or renewed, such as public work, or the social security system, and, more importantly the 'deliberate deficit'. His theory regarded the deliberate unbalance of public budget so that more money would flow into the economy, sustaining demand and employment. (13)

Libertarians would argue that Ricardo failed to foresee that technological progress was going to diminish the dependence on agriculture, therefore decreasing and stabilising land price. Marx also rejected the likelihood of a long-lasting technological development. The latter challenged his ideas, since an increase in productivity and efficiency led to higher salaries and better living conditions, providing more opportunities for the workers. Indeed, with industrialisation came an improvement in the essentials of life. Mitchell, Schumpeter and Robbins, who studied the business cycle, theorised that the economy was a tendency whose problems had no prevention or cure. Thus, inequality had to be allowed to run its course, since it would eventually decrease. In the Post-Keynesian Revolution, the interaction of the wage-price spiral caused inflation. Hayek rhetorically asked the interventionists: 'in our endeavour consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?' (14) The OPEC crisis in 1973 made governments apply the Austrian School to WIN, (15) removing any obvious impediments to market competition (i.e.: government regulation). Milton Friedman, in favour of the classical competitive market system, followed Hayek's liberalism. He did write about the negative income tax, consisting of securing a minimum income for all by controlling money supply; nonetheless, he agreed with what Hayek stated in 1945: The more the state organises, plans and intervenes, the more difficult it is for the individual to choose freely, to plan for itself. For Hayek, private property was 'the most important guarantee of freedom'. The division of the means of production amongst independent citizens was his concept of fairness. (16) Professor of Economics Walter E. Williams introduces The Road to Serfdom explaining Hayek's underlying three premises: If using one individual to serve the purpose of another is morally wrong (slavery), taking money from one individual to serve the purpose of another is just as wrong; collectivists or interventionists cannot ignore that free markets produce wealth; and men cannot know or do everything, thus, when the government plans, it assumes to know all the variables. (17)

In 1945, when Hayek challenged the Keynesian perspective, multilateralism arose, giving birth to institutions at the global and regional levels. (18) Currently, whilst there is a tendency to focus on 'global' problems and solutions, Piketty (19) asserts that globalised capitalism can only be regulated through regional measures, stating that 'unequal wealth within nations is more worrisome than unequal wealth between nations.' Specifically, he proves that salaries and output do not catch up with past wealth accumulation. He believes that taxing capital income heavily could potentially kill entrepreneurial activity, and decides that the best policy would be a progressive annual tax on capital. Despite Hayek's premise being the unknown, thereof disgraceful consequences of interventionism; Stiglitz disbelieves that trickle-down economics will address poverty, considering that it is precisely the lack of information what makes the 'invisible hand' fail. Neoliberal assumptions are heavily critisised by Stiglitz, who evaluates the role of the IMF and other international economic institutions' performance, concluding that their programs have often left developing countries with more debt and a more corrupt, richer, ruling government. Moreover, good management ultimately depends on embracing the particular and unique characteristics of each country's economy. (20) At this point, one could ask itself, is justice a biased concept of the west? Landes claims the rich (in IPE, developed countries) will solve the problem of pollution, for instance, because it is them who have more to lose. (21) This could result in a natural redistribution of wealth. By contrast, he demonstrates that the driving force of progress was seen as 'Western' on the realms of education, thinking and technique; until the uneven dissemination made people reject it. (22) The egalitarian society is seemingly in between both of the main economic branches previously discussed: It includes the free will of the rich to tackle current problems the so-called globalization poses; (23) the free-will of developing states to apply national solutions to national problems, and the impulse of international cooperation and regional political integration.

To conclude, history evidences most economists, thinkers and scholars resort to the state to try to distribute wealth evenly. The way they portray the same problem makes them disagree on the way to solve it, but there is an overall agreement on the need to intervene to a certain extent to prevent the inequality gap from broadening. In Galbraith's words: 'Economics is not, as often believed, concerned with perfecting a final and unchanging system. It is in a constant and often reluctant accommodation to change.' (24) On this quest for justice, it may be worth realising that the concept of unfairness cannot be taken for granted.

 

References

1. E.g.: Lucas Chancel in The Guardian in Jan. 2018, Piketty (2014), Ravenhill (2014), David Landes (1999).

2. Toffler, Alvin (1980). The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.

3. Galbraith, John Kenneth. (1987). Economics in Perspective. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Trade and Reference.

4. Landes, David. (1999). The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. London: Abacus.

5. Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, publisher Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.

6. The aim of the subject being the allocation of scarce resources (according to e.g.: L. Robbins).

7. Piketty, Thomas. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, US: Harvard University Press. p. 7

8. Galbraith, John Kenneth. L.C. F.F. 8

9. E.g.: through the imposition of tariffs or taxes following the canon of certainty, convenience, and economical to assess and raise.

10. Read Smith, A. (1776). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. 1998 edition. Milano: Cofide. Book V: On the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth; Chapter II: On the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society; Part II: On Taxes. I.

11. For more on the theories that shaped economic thought, read Paul, Darel, and Amawi, Alba, (Eds.). 2013. The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See p. 16-19 and p. 153 for Realism, p. 95 and 102 for Friedrich List.

12. Note: Even in socialism, prior to the State's dissolution, workers had to become the ruling government to ensure the process ensued.

13. Keynes, John Maynard. (1936). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. Cambridge: Palgrave MacMillan.

14. Hayek, Friedrich A. (1945). The Road to Serfdom. Reader's Digest. Combined edition, 2015: The Institute of Economic Affairs. p. 40

15. Whip Inflation Now

16. Ibid., p. 41

17. Ibid. Introduction

18. Read Ravenhill, John. (2014). Global Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

19. Pikkety, Thomas. L.C., pp. 303-304, 339 f.f.

20. Stiglitz, Joseph. (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin.

21. Landes, David. L.C. p. 516

22. Ibid., p. 513

23. Hirst develops the following points: In the 1870-1914 period there was as much economic integration as now; most transnational corporations are not truly 'global'; the Third World is becoming marginalised with regards to the movement of capital, employment and investment; and supranational regionalisation is a more relevant trend than that of Globalization. Hirst, Paul, et al. (2009). Globalization in Question. Oxford: Polity.

24. Galbraith, J.K. l.c. Chapter 22, p. 326.

 

Bibliography

Chancel, Lucas (coordinator). World Inequality Report. Wid.world: Executive report. World Inequality Lab, 2018, pp. 4–16.

Galbraith, John Kenneth. (1987). Economics in Perspective. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Trade and Reference.

Hayek, Friedrich August (1945). The Road to Serfdom. Reader's Digest. Combined edition, 2015: The Institute of Economic Affairs.

Hirst, Paul, et al. (2009). Globalization in Question. Oxford: Polity.

Keynes, John Maynard. (1936). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. Cambridge: Palgrave MacMillan.

Landes, David. (1999). The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. London: Abacus.

Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, publisher Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.

Paul, Darel, and Amawi, Alba, (Eds.). 2013. The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Piketty, Thomas. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, US: Harvard University Press.

Ravenhill, John. (2014). Global Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, A. (1998). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Scotland.

Stiglitz, Joseph. (2003). Globalization and its Discontents. London: Penguin.

Toffler, Alvin (1980). The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.

Categories Global Affairs: World order, diplomacy and governance Global Testing

[Jorge Orlando Melo, Historia mínima de Colombia. El high school de México-Turner. Bogotá, 2018. 330 p.]

 

review / María Gabriela Fajardo

Minimal history of Colombia

This history of Colombia written by Jorge Orlando Melo stands out for its evident effort of political neutrality. The processes, continuities and historical ruptures of the nation are mentioned without revealing any partisan tendency subject . The author tries to remain impartial in narrating the events that have brought Colombia to where it is today. This makes the work of Melo - born in Medellin in 1942, historian at the National University of Colombia and presidential advisor for human rights in 1990 - especially suitable for readers without a special knowledge of Colombian history, as they can judge for themselves the evolution of the creation of a nation where the State was first. This is precisely the purpose of the collection of "minimal histories" commissioned from the high school of Mexico.

A large part of the book is devoted to the colonial period, thus highlighting the importance of the historical report in the process of training of the country and in its current changes. It is not, therefore, the usual linear route through political events, but rather focuses on the cultural evolution of that report forged early and developed in successive social dynamics.

On the other hand, the role of the regions is an element core topic in the training of the colonial society, whose bequest is an inefficient central power, in a country where there are laws that seem to be negotiable, the society is divided into different social strata, the land belongs to a few and there is a constant political polarization at the hands of clientelist governments.

This happens in a Colombia in which the role of geography has been a determining factor in the processes of development of the nation. Melo speaks of isolated areas of difficult access, of very diverse subject: "islands of prosperity, security or healthiness in the middle of an ocean of poverty, violence and disease". That ocean has diminished today, but there are islands that continue to be the perfect route for drug trafficking.

The ideological struggles in Colombia have been intense: the Conservative Hegemony, of 32 years, was followed by the Liberal Hegemony, of 13; then came the era of the National Front, during which Conservatives and Liberals alternated in each period, creating an atmosphere of equilibrium and relative tranquility for a short deadline period of time. "The struggle between liberals and conservatives was, more than a political confrontation for electoral triumph, a holy war for different social models," writes Melo. However, this generated political exclusion and led to the training of groups outside the law, raised against the government and financed by drug trafficking. The confrontation made the institutional weaknesses visible and left little room for justice. Violence then became routine and ended up being Colombia's greatest historical failure, with special responsibility of those who promoted violence as an effective tool for social change. 

For Melo, it is "human agency"-that is, the way in which people use their resources to adapt to circumstances-that defines history; it is men and women who, in their joint action, generate change and are the builders of their history. Unlike the most common position on Colombian history, Melo does not fall into determinism: he does not make reference letter to a culture of innate violence that naturally condemns Colombians to fight each other. On the contrary, he makes it clear that events such as April 6, Rojas Pinilla's coup d'état in 1953 or the bloody seizure of the Palace of Justice in 1985, must be seen in perspective and considered as moments of a social process. 

The Colombian state did not achieve nationhood properly until the end of the 20th century, when the "dream of the creators of the nation" of having the whole territory covered by law, a single market and a political system was achieved. Colombia's unique history began with the Patria Boba, as the stage between the cry for independence and the battle of Boyacá, when the Creoles effectively achieved independence, is usually called. Since then there was a great lack of unity, manifested in an endless number of revolutions, reforms and constitutions. Colombia underwent an exhausting, exhausting and at the same time violent process aimed at achieving political, legal, economic and cultural cohesion throughout this extremely diverse country, with a geography that segmented it into regions, with varied and dispersed human groups.

But this past does not prejudge the future. The reader arrives at the end of this "Minimal History of Colombia" with the awareness of an open future for the great South American country. Colombia, once one of the most violent countries, now has a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is in a post-conflict process and has begun to be taken into account to a greater extent by the international community for its great progress.

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

[Robert Kaplan, The Return of framework Polo's World. War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century. Random House. New York, 2017. 280 pp.]

 

review / Emili J. Blasco

The Return of framework Polo's World

The signs of "imperial fatigue" that the United States is giving—a less willingness to provide world order—contrast with the destiny of projection on the globe that its nature and size imprint on it. "The United States is doomed to lead. It's the sentence of geography," writes Robert Kaplan. "No. The United States is not a normal country (...), but it has the obligations of an empire."

Between the reality of a great power whose foreign policy has entered a new phase – a certain withdrawal on the international scene, begun by Barack Obama and continued by Donald Trump – and the demands of its national interest, which in Kaplan's opinion requires an assertive presence in the world, moves the new book by this well-known American geopolitical author.

Unlike his previous works – the most recent is Earning the Rockies. How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World (2017) – this time it is a volume that collects his essays and articles published in different media over the last few years. The longest, which gives degree scroll to the compilation, was commissioned by the Pentagon; The headline of another of the texts, also from 2016, heads these lines.

Eurasia

When Kaplan talks about returning to the world of framework Polo is meaning two things. The main one is the new link that is emerging between China and Europe thanks to the increased trade, symbolized by the new Silk Road, which gives rise to a long essay about the materialization of what until now was only an idea: Eurasia. The other meaning, which he develops further elsewhere in the book, has to do with the new international order we are moving towards, which he calls "competitive anarchy": an era of greater anarchy compared to the time of the Cold War and the one we have known since then (the Cold Age). average of framework Polo was also a time of multiple powers.)

Kaplan is one of the authors who is most concerned about the emergence of Eurasia. The arrival of Syrian migrants in Europe has made it dependent on the vicissitudes in the Middle East, showing that the internal borders of the supercontinent are fading. "As Europe disappears, Eurasia becomes cohesive. The supercontinent has become a fluid and comprehensive unit of trade and conflict," he writes. And with the cohesion of Eurasia, the specific weight of the world shifts from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific or, as Kaplan also calls it, the Great Indian Ocean.

Realism, Morals and Values

Among the many strategic aspects that Kaplan considers in relation to Eurasia, perhaps one important caveat can go unnoticed: much of China's success in its Belt and Road course depends on Pakistan acting as the leader of the Belt. core topic which, in the middle of the arch, gives it completion and at the same time sustains it. "Pakistan will be the main recorder of China's ability to link its [land] Silk Road through Eurasia with its [maritime] Silk Road through the Indian Ocean," Kaplan said. In his view, Pakistan's instability, even if it does not end up causing the country's collapse, could well limit the effectiveness of the great project Chinese.

Outside of that Eurasian chapter, the book is an argument, sober and calm, with Kaplan's always elegant prose, of the principles of realism, understood as "a sensibility rooted in a mature sense of the tragic, of all the things that can go wrong in foreign policy, so that caution and caution knowledge of history are embedded in the realistic way of thinking." For a realist, "order comes before freedom and interests before values," because "without order there is no freedom for anyone, and without interests a state has no incentive to project values."

Kaplan discusses these considerations in articles dedicated to the thought of Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer, all of them realists of different stripes, of which he is close, especially the first: Kissinger's reputation will only increase over the years, he says. On the other hand, he rejects that Trump's foreign policy can be framed in the realist doctrine, because the American president lacks a sense of history, and that is because he does not read.

Kaplan presents realism as a sensibility, rather than a guide with recipes for acting in crisis situations, and certainly on various pages he enters into the discussion on whether the external actions of a State should be guided by morality and the defence of values. "The United States, like any nation – but especially because it is a great power – simply has interests that are not always consistent with its values. This is tragic, but it is a tragedy that has to be embraced and accepted." "Because the United States is a liberal power, its interests – even when they are not directly concerned with human rights – are generally moral. But they are only secondarily moral."

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

Limiting attention with China and controlling the arrival of Venezuelan refugees, among the measures promoted by the winner in the first round.

With a support of more than 46% of the voters, the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro won a wide victory in the presidential elections of October 7, which will nevertheless require a second round at the end of the month. His direct opponent, Fernando Haddad, of the Workers' Party, barely reached 29% of the votes, which complicates that in three weeks the correlation of forces could be turned around. A Bolsonaro presidency, therefore, is possible, and this makes it advisable to examine what foreign policy the new stage will bring.

Jair Bolsonaro, at an election campaign rally.

▲ Jair Bolsonaro, at an electoral campaign rally [PSL].

article / Túlio Dias de Assis

One of the best known sayings Brazilians have about their own country is that "O Brasil não é um país para principiantes" (Brazil is not a country for beginners ). Of course, such a saying would be very apt when describing the country's current status . The Latin American giant is reeling from the instability caused by a truly unprecedented electoral campaign and the possibility of the victory of a divisive candidate .

The electoral campaign has been anything but "conventional", with one candidate trying to promote the vote from his cell in the federal prison of Curitiba, in Paraná, and another being stabbed in plenary session of the Executive Council political act in the streets of Juíz de Fora, in Minas Gerais. The first, former president Luís Inácio "Lula" da Silva, finally had to cede the post to another leader of his party, Fernando Haddad, due to his criminal status ; the second, Jair Bolsonaro, was favored electorally by the stabbing and the greater dispersion of the vote due to the forced withdrawal of Lula.

The elections had a motley group of candidates representing the most disparate types of ideologies. In this Sunday's vote, as predicted by the polls, the race was reduced to two presidential candidates, located at the antipodes of the political spectrum: Bolsonaro and Haddad, candidates of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) and the Workers' Party (PT), respectively.

Thus, Bolsonaro obtained more than 46% of the votes, far exceeding the polls' forecasts, while Haddad received the support of 29% of the voters. As neither candidate surpassed 50% of the votes on October 7, the two most voted presidential candidates will go to a second round, which will take place on October 28.

Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the "Brazilian Trump".

Bolsonaro is undoubtedly the biggest surprise of these elections, since his positions, very reactionary in some issues, are completely out of the mostly socialist political spectrum to which Brazil had become accustomed since the beginning of the century. He is a military man in the reservation who for the last decades served as federal deputy for the state of Rio de Janeiro. During his work in the Chamber leave, many of his statements, often homophobic, racist and sexist, went viral. Much of the Brazilian press has labeled him as extreme right-wing and has carried out a harsh campaign against him, similar to what happened with Donald Trump in the USA.

The controversy has benefited Bolsonaro, expanding his electoral base. After the attack in Minas Gerais, he saw his popularity increase(rising in the polls from 22% to 32%) and somewhat mitigating the rejection he provokes among part of the population.

On domestic political issues, the PSL's candidate is characterized by controversial statements in favor of the revocation of the disarmament statute (issued during the Lula administration), a reduction of the state bureaucratic apparatus, the liberalization of the Economics, the privatization of public companies and agencies, the reduction of the age of criminal majority, the establishment of higher and harsher penalties for serious crimes and the militarization of the police in their confrontations against the criminal gangs dominant in the favelas. In addition, it flatly rejects, among other issues, gender ideology, gender and racial quotas -in all subject of public agencies- and political movements of Marxist ideology.

Foreign policy. In terms of international policy, Bolsonaro has mentioned that he intends to strengthen Brazil's relations with the US -given his sympathy towards President Trump's policies-, the EU and democratic countries in Latin America; while he has radically positioned himself against rapprochement with countries with dictatorial regimes, among which he has included China, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. He defends Israel's policies and has promised to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, as President Trump did almost a year ago. Finally, he rejects the uncontrolled flow of Venezuelan immigrants entering Brazil through the state of Roraima, and has warned that he would take drastic measures to control it, since the number of migrants from Venezuela already exceeds 50,000.

Fernando Haddad, the heir of Lula's bequest

Haddad has been mayor of the city of São Paulo and minister of Education during Lula's government. He initially opted for the post of vice-president, accompanying Lula in the PT candidacy. But when Lula saw his options closed final by the Supreme Electoral Court, as he was imprisoned under a 12-year sentence for corruption, he designated Haddad as presidential candidate, well into the electoral campaign.

Before the annulment of his candidacy, Lula was clearly leading in the polls and could even win in the first ballot. This support was mainly among the population that benefited from his highly successful socialist policies during his two terms in office (2003-2006 and 2007-2010), including the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) program, which aimed to end hunger in Brazil; Primeiro Emprego (First employment), a program focused on eliminating youth unemployment; and the better known Bolsa Família, a continuation of Fome Zero in the form of family benefits, which successfully lifted several million Brazilians out of poverty.

This social success, which mainly affected the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, where there is a larger population below the poverty line, gave the PT a solid electoral base, although linked to Lula's leadership. With the change of candidate, the PT's popularity declined and its voting intentions were distributed among the other presidential candidates. As candidate, Lula surpassed 37% in the first polls; however, Haddad did not reach 30% in the first round.

Foreign policy. The PT is a left-wing party that is quite aligned with the Latin American political doctrine of the so-called Socialism of the 21st Century. Its program in international politics is to maintain good relations with the members of the BRICS -especially the cooperation with China- and MERCOSUR, and to continue actively participating in the UN, specifically in bodies such as the committee of Human Rights (HRC) or the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), today presided over by Lula's former minister manager of the Fome Zero program, José Graziano da Silva. Haddad has not taken a specific position on the Venezuelan regime, unlike Bolsonaro; however, he has mentioned the need to help in the mediation for the resolution of internal conflicts in the neighboring country, without condemning the Chavista government at any time.

Second round

The Brazilian scenario is undoubtedly very peculiar and there is an awareness that these elections could define the course of the tropical giant for some time to come. Bolsonaro starts with a decisive advantage for the second round on October 28. Haddad will probably be able to count on the support of several of the trailing candidates, such as Ciro Gomes, from PDT, or Marina Silva, from REDE (both former ministers of Lula's government), due to the radical difference of Bolsonaro's policies with the "conventional" candidates.

The possibility of a final victory of the military man in the reservation may mobilize part of the electorate, increasing the participation among those who want to prevent his entrance in Brasília. The vote of fear of Bolsonaro that the PT will promote and the "normality" with which the controversial candidate will want to accentuate his candidacy will decide this final stretch.

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

WORKING PAPER / Marianna McMillan

ABSTRACT

In appearance the internet is open and belongs to no one, yet in reality it is subject to concentrated tech firms that continue to dominate content, platform and hardware. This paper intends to highlight the importance in preventing any one firm from deciding the future, however this is no easy feat considering both: (i) the nature of the industry as ambiguous and uncertain and (ii) the subsequent legal complexities in defining the relevant market to assess and address their dominance without running the risk of hindering it. Thus, the following paper tries to fill the gap by attempting to provide a theoretical and practical examination of: (1) the nature of the internet; (2) the nature of monopolies and their emergence in the Internet industry; and (3) the position of the US in contrast to the EU in dealing with this issue. In doing so, this narrow examination illustrates that differences exist between these two regimes. Why they exist and how they matter in the Internet industry is the central focus.

 

Who Owns the Internet? A Brief Overview of the US Antitrust Law and EU Competition Law in the Internet IndustryDownload the document [pdf. 387K]

Categories Global Affairs: European Union North America World Order, Diplomacy and Governance Documents of work