Real Risks, no more “Trending Topics”
(Gonzalo de Cadenas-Santiago, executive director of MAPFRE Economics)
I have the growing feeling that a large part of the media spectrum we're part of tends to legitimize the presentism with which current decisions are made. Each of the elements of an “excite and calm” agenda that current policy seems to activate to steer us through our lives without looking at what's happening outside of this swamp in which what seems to matter most are things like the lifestyles of politicians and the televised decomposition of our social structure.
They don't allow us to see the myriad of international risks and issues that put us in danger or where we might have something to contribute. The news constantly filters out relevant issues that would make us look outside of our borders to seek social pacts and stability in order to be able to dedicate our efforts to participating preventively to a greater degree in what’s happening internationally. Recognizing that the first step we need to take is to enrich the information on what’s happening internationally, beyond the latest celebrity news we see these days, I’ll give you the latest news. In case you're interested.
- In security and defense news, the U.S. government has announced a $2.6 billion aid package to Ukraine for its spring offensive, a boost for defense contractors. Meanwhile, tensions between Taiwan and China have risen even further, as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's recent visit to Congress emphasized the need for military training in the event of a Chinese attack. President Tsai also spoke of a $19 billion delay in arms procurement, including HIMARS, F-16s, Javelins, Stingers and Harpoons, which has drawn condemnation from China.
- In a surprise move, China brokered a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia, causing concern among national security experts. In addition, the United States is considering measures to address potential foreign technological threats, with the introduction of the RESTRICT Act. This law would give the U.S. government the ability to take a variety of actions, from transparency policies to bans, if a national security threat is identified, specifically targeting the influence of TikTok, a potential partner.
- In an attempt to bring accountability to human rights issues, the Democratic representative from New York is advocating a review of the human rights records of countries to which the U.S. sells arms, which could affect arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Safeguarding Human Rights in Arms Exports Act of 2023, introduced by Democrats, has gained support, but faces potential challenges in the House due to a lack of Republican signatories.
- Belarusian President Lukashenko confirmed reports that Russian nuclear weapons could be on their way to Minsk, raising concerns about the situation in the region. In another development, Finland has cleared the final hurdle to NATO membership, with the Turkish Parliament unanimously ratifying its accession, making Finland an official member as of Tuesday, April 4. Sweden is also expected to join NATO this summer, but efforts by Poland and the Baltic countries to accelerate Ukraine's accession have been met with reluctance by the United States, Germany and Hungary.
- Cybersecurity remains a major concern, and North Korea is suspected of attempting a SolarWinds-style cyberattack. In the technology industry, the debate over artificial intelligence (AI) continues, with calls to curb its development to avoid potential risks. Italy has banned ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI, under the GDPR, which could have implications for the future of AI in Europe. EU consumer groups are calling for an investigation into ChatGPT, and whether the GDPR is being used to regulate AI, which could set a precedent for data protection rules to apply to AI, which would affect AI companies and tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Meta.
Let’s keep our finger on the global pulse and team up. There are too many challenges to continue wasting time.