The DailyBrief

Tuesday May 16, 2017

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this newsletter we said that Emmanuel Macron was “anti-globalization”. We have corrected this to read that he is seen as an ally to China “against an anti-globalization US.”

America’s phase zero: US leaders often appear so confident of winning in wartime that they are myopic about what happens during peacetime – the so-called “phase zero” in US military terms. However, writes Grant Newsham , impressive and alarming improvements in China’s naval and air forces over the the last decade have happened faster than all but a handful of US analysts predicted.

Silk Road gold: President Xi Jinping invokes Ming dynasty heroes, geopolitical development strategies and wild Asian geese analogies to portray China’s New Silk Roads initiative as the flagship of a trade-focussed new world order. Pepe Escobar writes that the big question now is how skillfully China can deploy soft power to rewrite the rules of the global trade game without upsetting other key players.

Pakistan market boom: Investors loaded up on blue chip counters in Karachi’s KSE100 Index ahead of an expected announcement from global benchmark provider MSCI that it would upgrade the country to emerging market status. Nick Westra reports that the index jumped 1.55% to a record high of 52,555.07 in MOnday morning trading, with more than 670 million shares changed hands in a rally last week.

Two Chinese cities: For Beijing, Macau is the model post-colonial child while neighboring Hong Kong has turned out to be China’s anti-patriotic enfant terrible, writes Kent Ewing. On July 1, President Xi will visit Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule and Beijing looks set to be increasingly intolerant of more dissent and protests.

China’s Macron fascination: People in China are fascinated by France’s new president and his marriage to Brigitte Trogneux, his former teacher and 25 years his senior. More significantly though, writes Xuan Loc Doan is how Emmanuel Macron is seen as a friend to China, through his interest in China’s history, and as an ally against an “anti-globalization” US.