Global Spectator

«Global Spectator» is a biweekly contribution on current international affairs by Andrés Ortega for the Elcano Blog.

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Deep tech: the return of the grand projects of bits and atoms

In the last few days two prominent entrepreneurs, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the Blue Origin aerospace business, have boarded their respective companies’ rockets for commercial –or promotional– voyages with private passengers. It is symptomatic of the privatisation of the space race, [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega European digital sovereignty: the EU had it, but did not retain it

Let’s go back to the 1990s. It was a time when the EU dominated the mobile phone industry (2G and 3G), had pre-eminent manufacturers of handsets –Nokia was a world leader–, built PCs and accounted for 30% of global manufacturing output of semiconductors, the essential silicon chips. In 2000, [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Does China pose a challenge to our liberal democracies?

The US is embarking upon a strategy of definition against China, based on a broad domestic consensus predating Biden, but that now draws heavily on domestic policy. Beyond this, however, China is the only country with the potential for competing at all levels of power with the US and [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega New global public goods and evils

Although its origins go back earlier, the idea of global public, or communal, goods has sparked new interest and relevance with the pandemic, especially in the context of vaccines, but also given the new impetus aimed at restoring the environment and securing a fairer global taxation system for large [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Re-globalisation with hiccups

It was once thought that globalisation would integrate everything into complex and varied supply chains, thereby avoiding the need to stockpile parts and materials. It was the age of “just-in-time”, invented by Toyota. But with the pandemic and other catalysing factors, the situation has changed: we are no longer [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega If Le Pen wins

Far from being a fanciful notion, there is a serious possibility that Marine Le Pen could win the presidential election in France in spring 2022. The centre-left Jean Jaurés Foundation, in a report on the subject based on various indicators, deems it ‘not insignificant’. It is an eventuality that [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega From Afghanistan to China: the pathology of victory

On September 11 this year the longest war ever waged by the US will come to an end, in a phase involving both the US and NATO, following the withdrawal announced by Biden, 20 years after the al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Lest there be [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega The fall and stagnation of the global middle class

A great revolution of recent decades has been the powerful emergence of a significant global middle class. Among the destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest is its worldwide decline and the growth of those in poverty, except in China. According to a Pew Research Center [...]

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