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The challenge is, what comes next?

Helmut Sorge | Posted : November 27, 2020

As President elect Biden prepares for the enormous responsibility of becoming President of the United States (US), there is one question I want to ask him, writes Stephen Young, Washington Representative and Senior Analyst of the ”Union of Concerned Scientists” on November 7th, 2020: “Sir ,are you a fan of nuclear arms race? Because you are being handed one, a burgeoning nuclear and technology arms race waged by Russia, China and the United States.” Two weeks after Joe Biden will been sworn into office (January 20) the new head of state has, reports Stephen Young, “a golden opportunity” to make the world safer and more secure, by extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Start), which will expire on February 5th, 2021, if time doesn’t run out for the current extension negotiations between Russia and the United States. New START is the last remaining bilateral arms agreement between the US and Russia, limiting the number of US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear war heads to 1550 each. Donald Trump was set to end the agreement because China was categorically opposed to joining the treaty as Washington suggested. Joe Biden, it seems, is inclined to negotiate with Moscow, however analyst Stephen Young also judges Joe Biden not as “someone who will be naturally inclined to push for major changes in US nuclear policies, even if they would make us safer. Too much campaign money is linked to defense contractors, and too many Democrats are afraid to appear weak on defense”.

Fortes impressions d’Egypte dans les mémoires de Barack Obama

Sabine Cessou | Posted : November 27, 2020

« Une terre promise » (Fayard), livre événement de Barack Obama, couvre sa campagne et les trois premières années de sa présidence. L’Egypte est le pays d’Afrique dont il parle le plus – et pas seulement à cause du Printemps arabe.

What Could President-Elect Joe Biden’s African Strategy Be?

Souha Majidi | Posted : November 26, 2020

The Trump Administration “America First” policy changed U.S. foreign policy towards the African continent. Trump opposed trade agreements with several countries, considering them to be unfavorable to the U.S., given the nature of the African market. He shifted the U.S. concern in Africa from fighting against violent extremism and terrorism to a direct competition with other great powers—China and Russia—which had already extensively implemented African strategies. He endeavored to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Africa, and to reduce American financing of the international organizations on which Africa largely depends. Even he wanted to reduce U.S. direct foreign aid assistance, though the U.S. Congress did not accept that decision. Trump’s Administration was less interested in creating a tactical strategy to deal with Africa’s political challenges and issues, but focused rather on African nations as a factor in China-U.S. competition.

Le RCEP et le « Quad », deux coups de tonnerre

Dominique Bocquet | Posted : November 25, 2020

Coup sur coup, deux accords géants sont venus marquer l’actualité internationale. L’un, est économique et sonne comme un coup de tonnerre : c’est le RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), vaste accord commercial asiatique, signé le 15 novembre 2020. Cette date restera dans l’histoire comme ayant associé la Chine à un ensemble de pays asiatiques. Il inclut l’ASEAN (Association des Nations d’Asie du Sud-est, à l’initiative de la démarche) mais, aussi, le Japon et la Corée du Sud, alliés traditionnels des Etats-Unis. 

Quantitative Easing in Emerging Market Economies

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : November 19, 2020

 “This time was different” in terms of the monetary policy responses to capital outflow shocks felt by emerging market economies (EMEs), as pointed out by a November 12 Bank for International Settlements bulletin. The pandemic-related global financial shock that hit in March and April led to close to $100 billion leaving EMEs (see my previous article). This was answered by local monetary authorities in ways different from previous episodes.

This time there was even the use of quantitative easing (QE) in some EMEs. That is, the expansion of the central bank balance sheet via acquisition of public or private securities as an additional monetary-financial management tool. Such asset purchase programs may either aim at simply stabilizing asset markets or easing financial conditions (with the term ‘easing’ becoming more applicable in the latter case).

BREXIT: Why it is likely to reach an agreement to the finish

Dominique Bocquet | Posted : November 18, 2020

On the eve of the final negotiations on ‘‘future relations’’, an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) seems likely.

First of all, London sees American support vanishing: unlike Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden is against Brexit. He announced that a USA-United Kingdom trade agreement would be ruled out if a ‘‘hard border’’ was re-established between the two Irelands. However, this is precisely what an exit without an agreement would imply: Northern Ireland would become a non-EU territory subject to customs controls for its trade with Dublin.

After the Election

Helmut Sorge | Posted : November 16, 2020

Though Donald Trump lost the U.S. presidential election, it didn’t stop him claiming victory soon after the vote closed, and asserting that the counting should be stopped. It was abundantly clear that millions of ballots all around the nation were still being processed but nevertheless the president appeared in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 4, speaking at a podium in front of a Trump/Pence banner. “This is a fraud on the American public,” he said. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win the election. Frankly, we did win this election”. Trump’s accusation of rigged elections were “a worst case scenario for the country”, noted Susan Glasser in the New Yorker. The president’s questioning of the basic institutions of the U.S. government aimed at “the desired result [of] a superpower no longer trusting of its own democracy”. Trump’s attempted victory declaration was nothing less, declared Late Show host Stephen Colbert on his talk show, than “a power grab by a terrified strongman in the dead of night”.

BREXIT : Pourquoi un accord au finish est probable

Dominique Bocquet | Posted : November 13, 2020

A la veille des ultimes négociations sur les « relations futures », un accord entre le Royaume-Uni et l’Union européenne (UE) paraît probable.

D’abord, Londres voit s’envoler l’appui américain : contrairement à Donald Trump, le président élu Joe Biden est défavorable au Brexit. Il a annoncé qu’un accord commercial USA-Royaume-Uni serait exclu si une « frontière dure » était rétablie entre les deux Irlandes. Or, c’est justement ce qu’impliquerait une sortie sans accord : l’Irlande du nord deviendrait un territoire extra-communautaire soumis à contrôles douaniers pour ses échanges avec Dublin.

Biden : la mécanique du succès

Dominique Bocquet | Posted : November 02, 2020

La perspective d’une victoire de Joe Biden s’est heurtée, jusqu’au bout, au scepticisme des observateurs, en raison du précédent de 2016 : ils n’avaient, alors, pas vu venir la défaite d’Hillary Clinton et le triomphe de Trump, en retard dans les sondages. Mais, l’élection de 2020 n’est pas celle de 2016.

The World is Facing a Maddening Bottleneck

Helmut Sorge | Posted : October 29, 2020

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, there is unlikely to be a quick return to normality. Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading expert in infectious diseases dared a prediction: “We will know whether a vaccine is safe by the end of November, the beginning of December. The question is, once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as quickly as possible? You’ll have to wait several months into 2021 when you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamic of the outbreak. That very likely will not be into the second or third quarter”. Nine candidate vaccines are currently being evaluated for inclusion in the international COVAX Facility, which eventually will organize the global distribution and financing of chosen vaccines. But none of the giants, such as U.S. group Moderna (Phase III), Germany’s CureVac (Phase I), Institut Pasteur/Merck/Themis, an Austrian-American-French consortium (preclinical), or China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals (Phase I) have confirmed that their vaccine is ready to be distributed around the globe. “Rapid responses by governments, academia and industry”, noted Nature, “have already resulted in the production of more than 180 vaccine candidates, 42 of which are being tested in humans at the time of writing”.