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President Donald Trump burned through his third national security adviser in three years with John Bolton’s departure, setting up a potential shift in the U.S. approach toward a range of global hot spots.
As the potential chaos of a no-deal Brexit was revealed, Britain’s Parliament was suspended and Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened to ignore the law to leave the European Union by Oct. 31. In Israel, embattled leader Benjamin Netanyahu is set to face a second election in five months and may be forced to rely on one of the country’s most divisive politicians for his survival.
Dig into these and other aspects of the latest political developments in this edition of Weekend Reads.
Can You Tell the 2020 Democrats Apart?The Democratic presidential contenders have ideas — lots of them. The crowded field has offered dozens of plans on climate change, the student debt crisis, income equality and more. Take this short quiz and see if you can tell the difference among the proposals from Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and the rest of the 2020 candidates. And click here to read everything the candidates discussed at the debate.
Bolton’s Out. Here’s How That Will Affect Trump’s Foreign PolicyJohn Bolton’s dismissal as U.S. national security adviser removed the most vocal hardliner from Trump’s inner circle. The president has carved out an unorthodox approach to global crises, and as Benjamin Harvey reports, Bolton’s departure leaves Secretary of State Michael Pompeo standing astride his foreign policy agenda.
Netanyahu’s Survival Is in the Hands of a Fickle Former FriendBenjamin Netanyahu’s political survival may depend on the support of a one-time ally who’s turned on him. Avigdor Liberman, the blunt-talking hardliner who was instrumental in the Israeli prime minister’s rise to power in 1996, is shaping up to be the kingmaker of the Sept. 17 election, Gwen Ackerman writes.
Brexit Is Making English Civil War Comparisons Hard to DismissThe U.K. is witnessing an historic period of upheaval that’s invited comparisons with the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642. Even the Queen has become embroiled in the standoff. And violence is brewing, Alan Crawford reports, with a government document warning of public disorder from food and fuel shortages should the country crash out of the European Union without a deal.
Silicon Valley’s Worst Enemy Returns With Even More PowerThe regulator who’s made a name for herself by cracking down on tech giants is about to get even more power. Margrethe Vestager is the new EU Commission executive vice president in charge of the bloc’s digital affairs — a post that will hand her oversight of artificial intelligence, big data, innovation and cybersecurity, Aoife White and Natalia Drozdiak write.
Afghan Taliban Stronger Than Ever After U.S. Spends $900 BillionFor many Afghans like Zohra Atifi, whose husband was killed under Taliban rule, the American invasion in 2001 marked a chance to start over after living under an oppressive regime. Yet as Eltaf Najafizada reports, 18 years later, after the U.S. spent nearly $900 billion and more than 147,000 people died, the Taliban are growing more confident of returning to power.
Bombs, Bloodstains and Power Cuts: Libya’s Slide Into Civil WarGeneral Saleh Abuda’s orders to the troops besieging Tripoli came early on July 22. “Destroy the enemy, advance on the capital,” was the message, and with it another operation to break the stalemate in Libya’s conflict had begun, only to unravel within hours. The North African country is now more divided than ever, Samer Al-Atrush writes.
In Hong Kong’s Leaderless Movement, Officials Don’t Know Who to Negotiate WithAs a top adviser to Hong Kong’s government, Bernard Chan is searching for any protester who can strike a deal to end more than three months of unrest. But as Blake Schmidt reports, nobody he meets can guarantee him that others will no longer hit the streets.
Taiwan’s Tsai Rises From Ashes With a Hand From Hong KongHeading into 2019, Tsai Ing-wen looked at risk of becoming Taiwan’s first one-term president. Then came the unrest in Hong Kong. The mass demonstrations there against China’s deepening encroachment have given her a noticeable boost ahead of Taiwan’s presidential elections in January, Cindy Wang and Miaojung Lin report.
Mystery Shadows Prince’s Enforcer in Year Since Khashoggi DeathSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a trusted enforcer inside the Royal Court until the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Since then, Saud al-Qahtani disappeared. His name resurfaced in recent days in speculation about whether he was dead, Glen Carey writes.
The Plot to Scrap Germany’s Balanced Budgets Has Already BegunGermany’s worship of fiscal discipline is being challenged by a looming recession and tantalizingly cheap credit. A silent revolution is under way to encourage civil servants to shed that economic dogma, Birgit Jennen writes, as the new chief economist Jakob von Weizsaecker works to introduce the idea of scrapping the country’s zeal for balanced budgets.
And finally … The world must invest $1.8 trillion by 2030 to prepare for the effects of global warming. A new report said the payoff could be four times that. The chief priority, as Eric Roston reports, is avoiding the costs of waiting too long.
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