Europe, bid au revoir to American vacationers

Europe is building defenses against Chinese takeovers of key industries

The transfer will spotlight the failed US effort to suppress the coronavirus pandemic: Charts of latest confirmed coronavirus circumstances on either side of the Atlantic are transferring in precisely the wrong way. Europe’s openings might nonetheless have the identical painful impact that they did in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. But European states usually imposed earlier, tighter lockdowns than within the US, and masks carrying is just not the polarized issue it’s right here.

If it comes, the EU ruling shall be one other private embarrassment to President Donald Trump over his botched administration of the pandemic. The President usually explodes at perceived slights. But since he is just about ignoring the Covid-19 disaster within the US, he would possibly let this one slide. Plus, because the White House has already identified, European entry into the US is already suspended.

No-shows by US vacationers will harm the shuttered European tourism business. Millions deliver their {dollars} throughout the Atlantic yearly, drawn by the continent’s historical past, delicacies and atmosphere. Italy, France, Germany and Spain welcome probably the most Americans, in accordance with EU knowledge. But till the two-way stream between the Old and New Worlds is restored, the murmur of admiring guests in Europe’s cathedrals and museums shall be lacking that sure je ne sais quoi of the overheard American twang.

See you subsequent 12 months, hopefully.

‘Oh my God, do not make that cellphone name’

What has Trump realized of statecraft, after a whole lot of “highly classified” cellphone calls and negotiations with international leaders? Not a lot, in accordance with months of reporting for CNN by veteran Washington reporter Carl Bernstein, whose sources in authorities say there’s little proof that Trump has change into extra competent with follow. Rather, staffers say the President nonetheless refuses to learn briefings earlier than calls, boosts himself personally to strongmen like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and insults feminine leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel as “stupid” and weak.

Among the revelations: Erdogan’s timing for calls was so good that some staffers puzzled if he had entry to Trump’s private schedule. And Trump’s haranguing of Merkel was “so unusual” that particular measures needed to be taken in Berlin to make sure that the calls’ particular contents remained secret, in accordance with a German official. No surprise staffers grit their tooth when the President’s fingers head for the cellphone.

Spies who love the highlight

For an intelligence service that’s presupposed to function within the shadows, Russia’s GRU appears to draw lots of headlines. The GRU — formally referred to as Main Directorate of the General Staff — has lengthy been accused by the West of orchestrating brazen and high-profile assaults, together with the hacking of Democratic Party e mail accounts through the 2016 US presidential election and the 2018 nerve agent assault in Salisbury, England.
Now the spy company is once more on the heart of worldwide consideration, after stories that US intelligence concluded GRU operatives offered cash incentives to the Taliban to kill American and British troops in Afghanistan. But unusually, the alleged operation might doubtlessly battle with Russia’s personal acknowledged aim to deliver fighters to the desk in Afghanistan.
Russia has cultivated contacts with the Taliban and different fighters in Afghanistan as a technique to affect outcomes in a area it considers its strategic yard. “It’s long been known that there were Russian contacts with the Taliban and at minimum some greasing of the relationship with benefits as a hedging technique,” says Laurel Miller, program director for Asia with International Crisis Group.

However, she added, an operation to place bounties on US troops can be way more provocative and a “different thing” from its typical conduct. “It conflicts with what Russian official policy is,” she mentioned. In different phrases, the alleged GRU operation concentrating on US and coalition troops might have blowback: doubtlessly undermining US help for withdrawal, or maybe prompting contemporary sanctions on Russia.

Yet the company has a fame for brazenness — and has operated seemingly opportunistically or independently of official coverage earlier than. Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, factors out that the GRU does aggressively pursue operations that trigger diplomatic fallout.

Intelligence specialists say the Salisbury poisoning — which led to the investigative outlet Bellingcat unmasking the alleged GRU operatives by way of open-source analysis — confirmed a sample recklessness and overt brutality, moderately than a secretive method to spycraft. And that despatched a message to the GRU’s enemies.

“That was a pattern we’ve seen many times in Ukraine,” Weiss mentioned, referring to Russian intelligence actions there. “The Kremlin is hardly a well-oiled machine, but time and again, Putin — either by denying blatant Russian misdeeds or throwing a safety blanket over his security establishment — does little to improve Russia’s international image.” — Source’s Nathan Hodge writes to Meanwhile from London

Trump says he was by no means briefed concerning the GRU’s alleged bounty scheme. Asked about that by Source’s Jake Tapper, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, “If they had this intelligence, they should have briefed the President. Why didn’t they? Because they know it makes him very unhappy, and all roads for him lead to Putin” — a phrase she’s used earlier than about Trump’s Ukraine and Russian election interference scandals.

In reality, intelligence about the apparent plot did appear in one of Trump’s daily briefs early this 12 months, a US official with direct data additionally advised Source on Monday — and that it was thought of critical sufficient that the National Security Council employees met to debate “possible response options,” together with sanctions, if the intelligence developed.

‘If I might construct a wall round us…I’d’

Trump’s not the one US chief itching to construct a wall. In mild of an enormous resurgence in coronavirus circumstances throughout the United States, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy mentioned Monday that he would not thoughts a wall only for his area. “We have lived through hell in this state to get to where we are,” he mentioned, referring to New Jersey’s battle with Covid-19. “Frankly, I’d never thought I’d say these words, but if I could build a wall around us or around our region I would. But we can’t, so we have to rely on personal responsibility and the right behavior, the common sense for the common good.” Out-of-state guests must now quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey.

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