The DailyBrief

Monday July 17, 2017

Pyongyang, what hope? Some influential minds in Washington are beginning to think that nothing can be done about North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long range missiles and that the US needs to “get used to it.” Grant Newsham writes that this line of thought says sanctions haven’t worked, China won’t help and, as war is too horrific to contemplate, the only sound course of action is to allow Kim Jong-un to arm himself and hope for the best.

Sun King Macron: The French establishment’s new golden boy, President Emmanuel Macron, is ready to occupy any vacuum, writes Pepe Escobar. It’s why he embraced America so warmly when Donald Trump visited Paris last week and, by positioning himself in these talks as Europe’s prime interlocutor, he has caused considerable alarm to the rest of the European Union.

Asia’s smoke-free future? Philip Morris International is trying to make in-roads on selected Asian markets with its smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes. Company CEO Andre Calantzopoulos explains to Kenny Hodgart how the industry is about to be turned on its head and argues that smoke-free products really are a gateway out of — and not into — smoking.

Taiwanese or Chinese? With the passage of time, the political and social gap has widened across the Taiwan Strait. On the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial rule in Taiwan, Liu Hsiu Wen examines the Republic’s political tensions and horizons and asks inhabitants how they see themselves and their country.

New great game? The current standoff in Sikkim between China and India is not so much about territory incursions but instead comes from a ‘great game’ type conflict over who controls Bhutan, reports MK Bhadrakumar. Bhutan is in debt to India and seems to be viewing China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ as a possible salvation and this could prove to be a significant geopolitical problem for Delhi.