How Team Trump Sees Britain (It Isn’t Good for Britain)

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

July 12, 2018

How Team Trump Sees Britain (It Isn't Good for Britain)

As President Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, it's clear the "special relationship" between their two countries is in its worst shape in more than half a century, writes Thomas Wright for Politico Magazine. What's also clear? That "the Trump administration views Britain as an easy economic mark, not a strategic partner."
"Contrary to the rhetoric, the Trump administration has pursued a predatory policy toward Britain designed to capitalize on the UK's need for new trading arrangements after Brexit. The United States has sought to exact painful concessions that it was unable to secure when Britain negotiated as a member of the EU," Wright argues.
"The United States is now playing fast and loose with the special relationship and it is having a real impact. A post-Brexit Britain needs close relations with other major countries, and if the United States is difficult to deal with, it will find itself increasingly tempted into a closer economic partnership with China, one that will surely have political consequences."

Why Putin Has Already Won the Summit

President Trump and Vladimir Putin appear unlikely to strike a substantive deal over Crimea or Syria when they meet in Helsinki next week. But that might not matter to the Kremlin, suggests Anna Arutunyan for Time. After all, the Russian President may feel like he has already won.
"The game Putin plays is not so much about practicing diplomacy or striking deals; it is about optics, both at home and abroad," Arutunyan writes. "Trump often seems to be playing a similar game—but Putin is by far the more experienced player. The fact that a state summit—the first between the two—is happening at all allows Putin to portray himself to Russians as indispensable to the US president in resolving the world's crises. Russian state television will revel in showcasing the country's leader—fresh from hosting the World Cup—on an equal footing with the most powerful man in the world."

It's Not Just Trump with Questions About America's Military Role

President Trump may have sent mixed messages over America's commitment to NATO during this week's summit. Germans, in contrast, sent a clearer message in a recent poll: It's time for American troops to think about leaving.

"There was always some public opposition to the US presence, but the open hostility that marked the 1960s and 1970s (and even a bit of the 1980s) eventually turned into the widespread indifference of recent years," notes Rick Noack in The Washington Post.

"Now, in a rather stunning poll, 42 percent of Germans say they want US troops out of the country, compared with 37 percent who want the approximately 35,000 US military personnel to stay."

Still, he adds: "The desire to kick US troops out of Germany is not shared by the country's leadership…After World War II, Germans adopted a strongly pacifist position that has only gradually evolved. Budget expansions for the Bundeswehr, the German military, remain controversial, and the army is chronically underfunded."

You Might Not Have Heard About the Sahel. You Probably Will

With the battlefield defeat of ISIS, the US and its allies might be tempted to pack up and go home. But the group's "brutal ideology is not dead. A form of it is taking root in and around the Sahel," The Economist argues.
"Even at the best of times this arid, sparsely populated belt of land that runs along the southern fringe of the Sahara desert is poor and badly governed. Some countries broadly along this belt, such as Somalia or the Central African Republic, have not seen peace for decades. In the past few years the sparks of jihad have been struck in this tinderbox," The Economist says.
"In lethality, the jihadists in Africa have already overtaken their Iraqi comrades. Last year they killed some 10,000 people, mostly civilians. That compares with about 2,000 civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria. They are also more numerous."

How Trump Has Tied Team Trump's Hands

North Korean officials failed to turn up to a planned meeting with US officials Thursday, according to a senior US official, less than a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed North Korea without meeting Kim Jong Un. Writing in The National Interest, Robert Kelly suggests that Pompeo might have his boss to thank for that.
"The risks of conflict with the North are so high, that talking to them is usually a good choice. But Trump continues to insist that something like CVID [Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement] is at hand, and Pompeo is in a terrible bind, because he likely knows that this is untrue. Kim refused to even meet with Pompeo, suggesting that now, post-Singapore, Kim will only meet with Trump himself. Were Trump to do that, with a rumored White House visit this fall, then it would only normalize North Korea even further, with still no clear denuclearization movement. How much longer can the Trump administration speak as though this is going well?"

The Big Winners of Mexico's Election Were…

The big winner in Mexico's general election earlier this month? Women, notes Robbie Whelan in the Wall Street Journal.
"Women secured 49.2% of Mexico's 128-member Senate—a 50% rise—and 47.8% of the lower house of Congress, both the nation's highest-ever levels of female representation. In Mexico City, voters among the capital's 8.9 million inhabitants elected their first female mayor," Whelan writes.

"The results make Mexico's Senate the upper legislative chamber with the second-largest female representation in the world after Belgium, according to a United Nations study. Mexico's lower house now has the world's fourth-highest percentage of female representatives after Rwanda, Bolivia and Cuba, the U.N. study says. By contrast, the US Senate is 23% female and the House, 19.3%."



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