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The Sources of Chinese Conduct

Posted by hkarner - 24. August 2019

Date: 22-08-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs by Odd Arne Westad

Are Washington and Beijing Fighting a New Cold War?

In February 1946, as the Cold War was coming into being, George Kennan, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, sent the State Department a 5,000-word cable in which he tried to explain Soviet behavior and outline a response to it. A year later, the text of his famous “Long Telegram” was expanded into a Foreign Affairs article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” Writing under the byline “X,” Kennan argued that the Soviets’ Marxist-Leninist ideology was for real and that this worldview, plus a deep sense of insecurity, was what drove Soviet expansionism. But this didn’t mean that outright confrontation was inevitable, he pointed out, since “the Kremlin has no compunction about retreating in the face of superior force.” What the United States had to do to ensure its own long-term security, then, was contain the Soviet threat. If it did, then Soviet power would ultimately crumble. Containment, in other words, was both necessary and sufficient.

Kennan’s message became the canonical text for those who tried to understand the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Always controversial and often revised (not least by the author himself), the containment strategy that Kennan laid out would define U.S. policy until the end of the Cold War. And as Kennan predicted, when the end did come, it came not just because of the strength and steadfastness of the United States and its allies but even more because of weaknesses and contradictions in the Soviet system itself. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson’s German and French dealings

Posted by hkarner - 24. August 2019

  Date: 23-08-2019
Source: The Economist

Britain’s prime minister hopes the EU is softening its line on Brexit. It isn’t

WHEN HE became prime minister, Boris Johnson insisted that he would not be a supplicant visiting continental capitals to plead over the terms of Brexit. Unless the European Union agreed in advance to ditch the Irish backstop from the current Brexit withdrawal agreement, he would not talk to his fellow leaders at all. Instead, Britain was ready to leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal. Yet this week he flew to Berlin and Paris to see Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron before going on to the G7 summit in Biarritz.

Beforehand, Mr Johnson wrote to fellow European leaders to repeat that the backstop, intended to avert a hard border in Ireland in all circumstances by keeping the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU, must go. He also insisted that, contrary to promises to adhere to many Brussels rules so as to preserve a level playing-field, Britain must have freedom to diverge from EU regulations. Despite this uncompromisingly hard line, he was politely received by the German chancellor and the French president. Mr Johnson’s supporters promptly talked up the results, claiming that Mrs Merkel had given him 30 days to produce an alternative to the backstop, while Mr Macron had conceded that the withdrawal agreement could be amended. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Deutsches Kanzleramt rechnet zeitnah mit Rezession

Posted by hkarner - 24. August 2019

Die schwache Industriekonjunktur dürfte „weiter anhalten“. Das geht aus einer Vorlage des Kanzleramts hervor, aus der der „Spiegel“ am Freitag zitierte

Die Experten von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) rechnen für die Zeit von Juli bis Oktober mit einem ähnlichen Rückgang wie im Quartal zuvor.

Berlin – Das deutsche Bundeskanzleramt rechnet zeitnah mit einer Rezession. „Für das dritte Quartal zeichnet sich abermals ein leichter Rückgang des Bruttoinlandsprodukts und damit eine technische Rezession ab“, zitiert „Der Spiegel“ aus einer Vorlage des Kanzleramts. Im zweiten Quartal war die Wirtschaftsleistung bereits um 0,1 Prozent gegenüber dem Vorquartal geschrumpft.

Die Experten von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) rechnen nun für die Zeit von Juli bis Oktober mit einem ähnlichen Rückgang. So hatte sich Anfang der Woche auch die Bundesbank geäußert: „Die gesamtwirtschaftliche Leistung könnte erneut leicht zurückgehen“, hieß es. Ausschlaggebend dafür ist demnach der „anhaltende Abschwung in der Industrie“. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain and Italy are now the terrible twins of Europe

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2019

Date: 22-08-2019
Source: The Guardian by Martin Kettle

Poles apart for decades, the similarities are now uncanny as populist governments produce ever more extreme policies

Politically, Britain is becoming more like Italy.’

For most of the time since 1945, the politics and government of Britain and Italy have seemed like polar opposites. True, both were important European powers. True too, each had a place among the world’s major economies. Even now, Britain and Italy will be among the select group of economically powerful nations whose leaders will gather in the Second Empire splendour of Biarritz’s Hotel du Palais this weekend for the latest G7 summit.

In the past, that was where the similarities began to ebb away. In politics, Britain was famously stable while Italy was infamously not. British governments were domestically strong, while Italian governments were weak and short-lived. In Britain, leftwing politics was rooted in industrial unionism, while Italy possessed the largest, most modern-minded and most alluring communist party in the west. When Britain looked in the mirror it saw the embodiment of probity and practicality, while Italy was all too often synonymous with crime and corruption. While Britain maintained its autonomy by refusing to join the eurozone, Italy enthusiastically embraced its upper mid-table place in the EU and its membership of the single currency was shamelessly engineered.

Today, the political comparison is marked not by divergence but by an increasing convergence. Politically, Britain is becoming more like Italy. Like Italy, Britain is an increasingly hard to govern country that makes less and less effort to address its underlying economic, social and political problems. Instead, like Italy, Britain appears to be drifting steadily to the right under skilful populist leaders whom the political institutions are proving unable to control. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rekordgewinne: Arbeiterkammer kritisiert Umgang der Banken mit Geld

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2019

Ausschüttungen seien zu hoch, Rücklagen zu niedrig – Basel IV sorgt für weiteren Druck – Raiffeisen-Experte kontert

Bettina Pfluger, derstandard.at

Geht es nach der AK, haben die heimischen Banken ihre Kapitalpolster zu behutsam angefasst.

Wien – Die heimischen Großbanken haben das Vorjahr mit Rekordgewinnen abgeschlossen. 5,7 Milliarden Euro fuhr der Sektor ein. Damit wurde nach dem bisherigen Rekordjahr 2017 (mit rund 4,9 Mrd. Euro) der höchste Überschuss in ihrer Geschichte erzielt. Dazu beigetragen haben vor allem eine nach der Finanzkrise wieder erstarkte Kreditnachfrage aufgrund einer regen Investitionsnachfrage und geringe Wertberichtigungskosten.

Davon haben auch die Anteilseigner profitiert, denn die Dividendenzahlungen waren entsprechend hoch. So schüttete die Erste Group mit 597,4 Mio. Euro (plus 16,7 Prozent im Vergleich zu 2018) von den im ATX notierten Unternehmen am meisten an ihre Aktionäre aus. Die Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) belegte mit 305,6 Mio. Euro (plus 50 Prozent) Platz drei im Dividendenranking. Auf Platz vier rangiert die Bawag, die 215,2 Millionen Euro an ihre Anteilseigner verteilte. Das ist ein Plus von 269,1 Prozent im Vergleich zu 2018. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Fintech, Fiber-optics, and Financial Inclusion

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2019

Peoples’ connection to new technology is built on the backbone of electrical and fiber-optic cables running beneath our feet—and under oceans.

In 2010, most economies that were not connected to the modern, cabled internet could be found in the Pacific. However, this is no longer the case, and by 2020 the region will be almost completely connected.

Governments could harness technology to improve tax collection, government transfers, trade financing, and land registries.

Our chart of the week shows the technological transformation taking place in the Pacific island countries, where the completion of submarine fiber-optic cables will facilitate technology-enabled financial inclusion. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Manufacturers Want to Quit China for Vietnam. They’re Finding It Impossible.

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2019

Date: 21-08-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Global companies are rushing to seek alternative bases, only to find even promising countries like Vietnam don’t match up

Vo Quoc Thanh and Nguyen The Do, engineers from Omnidex Manufacturing Vietnam, monitor production at a partner factory in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam—With the U.S. and China tangled in a nasty trade fight, this should be Vietnam’s time to shine. Instead, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be years, if ever, before this Southeast Asian nation and other aspiring manufacturing destinations are ready to replace China as the world’s factory floor.

The specialized supply chains that made China a production powerhouse for smartphones and aluminum ladders and vacuum cleaners and dining tables are nowhere near as developed in Vietnam. Factories with U.S.-focused safety certifications and capital-intensive machinery aren’t as easy to find.

And Vietnam, with less than one-tenth China’s population, is already running into labor shortages as global manufacturers rush to set up shop here to avoid U.S. tariffs.

“China has a 15-year head start—whatever you want, someone’s doing it,” said Wing Xu, the operations director for Omnidex Group, which helps make large pumps for Pennsylvania-based industrial equipment manufacturer McLanahan Corp.

Omnidex has shifted some production to Vietnam, but out of more than 80 parts of a pump used in mining operations, factories here have been able to begin work on only 20 so far because molds must be created from scratch.

“You can’t just shift your business to Vietnam and expect to find what you’re looking for,” she said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump Says Jews Who Vote for Democrats Show Ignorance, Disloyalty

Posted by hkarner - 22. August 2019

Date: 21-08-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Jewish voters have long leaned heavily Democratic, with 71% voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON—President Trump on Tuesday questioned how Jewish Americans could vote for Democratic candidates, as he stepped up criticism of a pair of Democratic congresswomen who have been critical of Israel.

“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” the president said in the Oval Office during a stream of comments about Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), the first two Muslim women members of Congress who were last week barred from entering Israel. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Taming the Currency Hype

Posted by hkarner - 22. August 2019

By Gustavo Adler, Luis Cubeddu, and Gita Gopinath

Escalating trade tensions are taking a toll on the global economy and are partly responsible for the recent downward revisions to our growth forecasts for 2019-20.

Facing sluggish growth and below-target inflation, many advanced and emerging market economies have appropriately eased monetary policy, yet this has prompted concerns over so-called beggar-thy-neighbor policies and fears of a currency war. In this blog post, we discuss the implications of recent policy actions and proposals and offer alternative ways to address concerns over trade imbalances that are much more supportive of global growth.

Higher bilateral tariffs are unlikely to reduce aggregate trade imbalances.

Exchange rates can’t do it all

Monetary easing can help stimulate domestic demand, which in turn benefits other countries by increasing demand for their goods. The concern, however, is that monetary easing also weakens a country’s exchange rate, making exports more competitive and reducing demand for other countries’ imports as they become more expensive—a phenomenon known as expenditure switching. With conventional monetary space limited for some advanced economies, this currency channel of monetary easing has received considerable attention. But one should not put too much stock in the view that easing monetary policy can weaken a country’s currency enough to bring a lasting improvement in its trade balance through expenditure switching. Monetary policy alone is unlikely to induce the large and persistent devaluations that are needed to bring that result. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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White House is Occupied by a VERY SICK President

Posted by hkarner - 22. August 2019

Date: 21-08-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: White House Cancels Trump’s Visit to Denmark After Greenland Flap

President cites Danish leader’s unwillingness to discuss purchase of Greenland as reason

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said purchasing Greenland was ‘an absurd discussion,’ though she said a closer relationship with the U.S. was welcome.

WASHINGTON—The White House on Tuesday canceled the president’s planned visit to Denmark after the prime minister said she wouldn’t entertain President Trump ’s proposal to purchase Greenland from the Scandinavian nation.

“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen ’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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