• The New Silk Road
    On Tuesday, June 23rd, Javier Solana facilitated a discussion with Bruce Jones of the Brookings Institution and Tao Wang of the Carnegie-Tsinghau Center for Global Policy regarding the New Silk Road and its geopolitical and business implications for Europe.

    Bruce Jones argued that we are going to see both integrating and conflicting US and Chinese strategies. Both sides are developing these strategies based on a zero sum game, which in reality, this scenario is not. Currently, China cannot integrate or develop because the US is controlling its access points. Jones spoke of two risks associated with the New Silk Road: (1) this could be the beginning of the breakdown in East Asian peace and (2) the political willingness of the US to have a more integrated economic strategy with China will most likely erode.

    Jones pointed out that there are some shared interests between the US and China; however, they are not succeeding in lowering strategic tensions. As an example, although not explicit, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is built up to constrain China. The hope is that cooperation will balance security issues. Although there is no evidence of this thus far, Jones believes the US and EU should collaborate and cooperate on security issues related to the New Silk Road, rather than having the EU stuck in the middle.

    Tao Wang delved into a discussion about the economic slowdown in China, specifically the reduction in energy consumption as well as the decrease in crude oil and natural gas demands. Meanwhile, the scale of investment overseas is huge, particularly in the oil and gas industries of Russia, Venezuela and other Latin American countries, and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of security, Wang projected that the New Silk Road could integrate the region and soften conflict.  

    Wang argued that there is a strong role for the EU to play as China rises into a Eurasian power and looks for stronger cooperation. The EU can expect huge investments from China, particularly because China wants to develop a stronger technology relationship with the EU.

    Javier Solana advised that there is too strong a focus on tactics, and a lack of focus on strategy related to the security issues that accompany the development of the New Silk Road. Solana recommended that debates on the topic continue, especially in Spain, where they are lacking, in order to foster understanding of these megatrends.  

    This event was part of ESADEgeo’s Mainstreaming EU Knowledge in Business Studies and Strategy (MEKBiz) project funded by the European Commission.     [read more]
  • Discussions with Samina Ahmed
    In both Barcelona and Madrid, ESADEgeo gathered a small group of experts to discuss conflict risks in Southwest Asia with Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group. As the Project Director of South Asia and the Senior Asia Adviser, Samina Ahmed oversees the International Crisis Group’s work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nepal. The topics discussed included pipeline politics in Pakistan, political power in Afghanistan; the relationship between Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia; and India’s expected lack of tolerance to Pakistani-linked terrorist attacks, among other current issues facing the region.

    Having nearly exhausted natural gas resources in Baluchistan, Pakistan is experiencing power shortages. The government is currently debating between financing an economically costly pipeline, the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, that would transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India, or a politically costly pipeline, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, that would deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, but through Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan that is experiencing civil unrest, partially stemming from Pakistan’s historical use of Baluchistan’s natural gas resources without proper reparations.

    In Afghanistan, what is often perceived to be ethnic tensions is actually tension arising from the non-equitable distribution of political power. To remedy this situation, Ahmed argues that the Afghan constitution should be reformed to decentralize power. The completion of a third credible and democratic election raises the possibility that, if the Afghan army survives the next two fighting sessions, there is hope for continued democratic improvement in Afghanistan.

    Additionally, Ahmed argued that a repeat of the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani-linked terrorists would cause India to take decisive action against Pakistan. The likelihood of this attack is heightened as long as Saudi Arabia continues to support radical madrassas in Pakistan.[read more]
  • Political Risks in Europe
    Eurasia Group discusses today's political risks for European businesses with ESADEgeo.[read more]
  • MEKBiz Teaching Session on Global Risks
    Introduction: MEKBiz Teaching Session on Global Risks for EU Firms, by Ángel Pascual-Ramsay[read more]