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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be mastering the art of dealing with Donald Trump.
In a stunning policy reversal, the White House announced after a phone call between the two leaders yesterday that the U.S. would stand aside and let Erdogan proceed with an incursion into northern Syria. Erdogan wants to create a buffer zone there to keep Kurdish militants at bay and have a place to resettle Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.
The Turkish leader has been trying for months to get Trump to accede to his operation against the Kurds, who were U.S. allies in the fight against Islamic State. Top Trump advisers (some since departed) and the president himself had warned of the risks of abandoning the Kurds.
Erdogan’s ability to win over Trump is remarkable, given growing frustration in Congress and the Pentagon with the Turkish leader’s actions. So far, he’s been able to evade threatened penalties over Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile-defense system and a multi-billion-dollar scheme to skirt sanctions on Iran.
But Trump also gets what he wants: Turkey’s pledge to take responsibility for all Islamic State prisoners captured in the area.
So as he gears up for the 2020 election, he can tell his voter base that Islamic State doesn’t pose a threat to the U.S. and America has now washed its hands of the whole Syrian mess.
Ensemble piece | Trump faces new peril — and not just from the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. There are now at least two whistle-blowers coming forward to talk about his actions. It’s unclear if the administration will let several witnesses speak to House panels this week as planned, and there are signs some Republican lawmakers are growing restive about what else might surface regarding Trump’s requests of foreign leaders.
Read how Trump’s latest explanation for his July conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — that he made the call at the behest of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — is undercutting a stalwart loyalist.
Narrowed scope | Chinese officials are signaling increasing reluctance to agree to a broad trade deal with the U.S., ahead of talks this week that have raised hopes of a potential truce. Vice Premier Liu He said he’d bring an offer to Washington that won’t include commitments on reforming Chinese industrial policy or the government subsidies that have been the target of longstanding U.S. complaints, Shawn Donnan and Jenny Leonard report.
Subscribe to Bloomberg’s Terms of Trade newsletter to get the big developments each weekday.
Taking notes | Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren made a mark with her “I have a plan for that!” slogan. But, on the crucial 2020 issue of health care, she’s borrowing from rival and fellow progressive Bernie Sanders. Warren is the only one of the five top-polling Democrats without a sweeping proposal of her own.
Click here for more on how Joe Biden is seeking to reassure his donors after a lackluster fund-raising quarter.
Empty-handed | North Korea left its first direct nuclear talks with the U.S. in eight months over the weekend discouraged by what it saw as an “empty-handed” offer, showing how far apart the two sides remain. More than a year of historic contact between leader Kim Jong Un and Trump that failed to lead to a deal to end Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program.
AMLO’s party troubles | Since its formation five years ago, Mexico’s ruling party, Morena, has revolved around one politician: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who it helped propel to the presidency in a landslide victory last year. But now, as Eric Martin explains, ahead of Morena’s first scheduled leadership contest, it’s gripped by fierce infighting that will have a major impact on the 2021 mid-term election and the course of AMLO’s government.
What to Watch This Week
With just over three weeks until the Oct. 31 deadline, prospects for a Brexit deal have faded. European leaders signal they want progress by Friday. Violence in Iraq between security forces and protesters demonstrating against unemployment and corruption has killed about 100 people and left Adil Abdul-Mahdi with the biggest test of his short premiership. China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi will meet Friday and Saturday in India, with an agenda expected to include defense and trade issues, along with New Delhi’s move to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, a decision Beijing has criticized. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa clinched a second term even as he faces stiffer economic headwinds. Tunisia is counting votes from yesterday’s parliamentary elections, as an exit poll suggests the moderate Islamist Ennahda party will get the most ballots while falling short of a majority.
Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congrats to reader Bill Brown, who was the first to correctly name Austria as the country where the Green party saw its support triple at elections last week. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally … In southern China they’re breading giant pigs as heavy as polar bears. One animal weighed in at 500 kilograms, or 1,102 pounds, and some can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399). The idea that bigger is better is catching on in China, home to the world’s most voracious pork consumers. With African swine fever by some estimates cutting the nation’s hog herd in half, pork prices have soared to record levels.
–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter, Karen Leigh and Jon Herskovitz.
To contact the authors of this story: Benjamin Harvey in Istanbul at email@example.comJuan Pablo Spinetto in Mexico City at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at email@example.com, Rosalind Mathieson
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