Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Chris Good
July 9, 2019

The Next Phase of Trump’s Foreign Policy

President Trump’s foreign policy has entered its third phase—the “age of reckoning”—Thomas Wright argues at The Atlantic. The first two acts, in which Trump was constrained by an “axis of adults” advising him and then began to defy them and make his own choices, have given way to a new era in which Trump must deal with the contradictions of his policies, Wright suggests.
The new era began when Trump pulled back the planned airstrike on Iran, Wright argues: “Trump wanted to shred the Iran nuclear deal and impose maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. He also wanted to avoid embroiling America in a new conflict in the Middle East. He could not have both.” Led astray first by his initial cadre of advisers and then by National Security Adviser John Bolton, Trump is now facing realities in a new context, according to Wright.
Trump has presented himself as both a dealmaker and as militaristic, but he has revealed that his true preference is for deals and personal relationships, Wright suggests—something world leaders have surely noted.

A Glimmer of Hope in Greece

“If you’re looking for an optimistic story in Europe, try Greece,” Roger Cohen writes in a New York Times column. After its debt crisis and populist swings, the country has elected a new, center-right, technocratic prime minister and voted neo-Nazis out of its parliament. In one fell swoop, Greece has dealt a blow to populism, nationalism, and anti-Americanism, Cohen writes, offering a sign of hope for liberal democracy. The country is “returning to political normality and stability,” as The Atlantic’s Rachel Donadio put it, even as the rest of Europe struggles.

Libya Gets Worse

Libya’s civil war “reached a nadir of human misery last week,” The Soufan Group writes, after an airstrike killed at least 53 refugees. The conflict in that country endures without much end in sight, and refugees seeking to reach Europe are caught in the middle, the group writes.
Noting the UAE’s support for rebel general Khalifa Haftar, and pointing to recent evidence of American-made weapons in the country, the group writes that outside actors are still playing a significant part in the conflict. With Turkey backing the government in Tripoli, regional players are increasingly shaping Libya’s trajectory, as the US has been “marginalized” after previously taking a leading role, the group writes.

What the Developing World Owes China

China’s loans to developing nations total much more than previously known, according to a new study by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. China’s loans to developing countries, to finance Belt and Road infrastructure projects, have drawn local backlash and have sparked accusations of “debt trap diplomacy,” and the group writes that around half of China’s “international lending to developing and emerging countries is not included in official statistics.”
As of 2017, the world owed China more than $5 trillion, and the top 50 borrowers are mostly smaller or developing countries, the group notes. For those countries, “loans from China account for 40 percent of their total external debt, on average.” China has shown itself to be flexible in renegotiating the terms when countries can’t pay, but it’s also made sure to secure the loans with collateral, Der Spiegel points out, noting that the study finds China has “developed a new form of development aid in which state loans are provided at commercial terms.”

Disinformation: An ‘Existential Threat’?

That’s what Stanford’s Herbert Lin suggests in a new paper for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. That organization has designated two threats to humanity as “existential”—nuclear war and climate change—and Lin suggests we might count “cyber-enabled information warfare” among them, too.
Disinformation exacerbates the nuclear and climate threats, Lin argues, as it could inject political pressures and public confusion into a nuclear crisis; it also prevents healthy public discourse on climate change—not to mention other issues, like personal health decisions and product choices. Ultimately, we may be on the verge of an information “dystopia,” Lin warns, writing that “today it is possible to see glimmerings of an anti-Enlightenment that can possibly take root and that would indeed be the end of civilization as we know it.”
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Fwd Fwd
unsubscribe from this list

update subscription preferences 

Copyright © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company., All rights reserved.

What did you like about today's Global Briefing? What did we miss? Let us know what you think:

Sign up to get updates on your favorite CNN Original Series, special CNN news coverage and other newsletters.​
Sign Up for Fareed's Global Briefing