Fareed: The Biggest Casualty of the Kavanaugh Fight

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

October 5, 2018

Fareed: The Biggest Casualty of the Kavanaugh Fight

"The most consequential casualty of the Supreme Court confirmation battle is not Christine Blasey Ford or Brett M. Kavanaugh. It is the Supreme Court and, thus, American democracy," Fareed writes in his latest Washington Post column.
"The court was one of the last bastions in Washington that towered above the political fray. It is now part of the dysfunction that has overwhelmed almost the entire American system.
"For American democracy to work, all of the elements—the three branches of government, the political parties, the states and the center—must find a way to work together. And part of what makes this kind of cooperation possible is the sense that there are some institutions, rules and norms that cannot be thrown into the maelstrom of party politics…And chief among those institutions is the Supreme Court. Or was."

The Awkward Truth About Russia's Intelligence Services

A string of allegations from Western governments of Russian hacking and other actions by its agents are an embarrassment for Vladimir Putin, writes Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg. They could also be politically dangerous for a leader whose time in office may be running out.

"The Russian spy operations are too transparent to Putin's adversaries to be of any help to him. They're so painfully incompetent that they undermine Putin's domestic support, even as many Russians are grumbling about a sharp retirement-age increase he signed into effect," Bershidsky writes.

"The Russian president doesn't have a reputation as a lovable bungler; his propaganda machine has honed an image of ruthless efficiency and cunning. The Russian leader doesn't have the Teflon coating of a Donald Trump, who can make one misstep after another and still keep his support base. The Russian president can't afford to look fallible, but he increasingly does. Simply trying to wait out one unfavorable news cycle after another won't fix the problem."

Brazilians Ready for a Blast from the Past

Right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro is soaring in the polls ahead of Brazil's presidential election Sunday. If he ends up winning, he would be a blast from the country's military past, suggests Brian Winter in the Americas Quarterly. And Brazilians will likely be just fine with that.
"[I]f elected, Bolsonaro will have tremendous power. And—sadly—he will face relatively little pressure from society to respect human rights or democratic rules of the game. After the multiple crises of recent years, just 8 percent of Brazilians now say representative democracy is a 'very good' form of government—the lowest of 38 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center. In contrast, nearly 40 percent of respondents told Pew that military rule would be good for the country."

Why Team Trump Should Offer a Hand, Not a Kicking, to Europe

Chinese investment in Europe is soaring. European leaders should be mindful of Beijing's political intentions, The Economist suggests. But America needs to play its part to ensure the continent doesn't slip away, too.

"Ideally the Trump administration would stop treating Europeans as free-riders on American power who deserve a good kicking. On trade, especially, the EU is a powerful potential ally in getting China to abide by global norms. America should also work more closely with European governments to set up common standards of transparency, graft-busting and the prevention of influence-peddling…At a time when standards for IT and artificial intelligence risk splitting into a Chinese camp and an American one, Europe can help find a middle path," The Economist argues.

Speaking of Tough…

"The Pentagon released a report Friday accusing China of seeking to undermine the US military's industrial base," CNN reports, a day after Vice President Mike Pence warned of Beijing's "malign" influence. But China's state-backed Global Times suggests in an editorial that such criticism is all about domestic politics.
"Pence's speech is intended to help the Republicans and the president win elections. It aims to help Trump get rid of Russiagate by shifting attention from Russian interference to Chinese meddling, which not only tallies with Washington's current China policy but also could mobilize Americans' hatred against foreign intervention to win votes for Republicans. Except for slogans, it's noteworthy that Pence didn't put forward the countermeasures the US may introduce," the paper says.

Why Pompeo's Trip Is Doomed Before It Begins

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday. Don't expect any breakthroughs, suggests Fred Kaplan for Slate
"Kim will likely hold off playing any cards until his next summit with Trump—which Trump has been keen to organize, possibly in Washington, for some time," writes Kaplan. Indeed, Trump may even "welcome Pompeo's empty-handed return as a chance to display his own prowess at the 'art of the deal.'"
"In their one-on-one session at the previous summit, Trump gave Kim some tangible favors—including the suspension of US-South Korean military exercises—for nothing in return. Kim, who has proved quite shrewd at pushing the buttons of allies and adversaries, has reason to hope for a reprise at the Trump summit to come."

This Year's Nobel Peace Prize Winners Are…

"The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict," CNN reports.

Fareed was joined last year by Murad and her lawyer, Amal Clooney, to discuss Murad's treatment by ISIS after she was held as a sex slave by the group and also why they believed ISIS should be investigated for genocide committed against the Yazidi community.
  • Watch the full interview again on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.



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