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There’s plenty of grim news this morning across a range of conflicts and autocratic regimes. Meanwhile, Liz Truss is staggering on for another day in Downing Street: but those days seem numbered.
Check out this profile in courage: Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi who represented Iran at the Asian Climbing Competitions finals in Seoul, competed without hijab, disobeying Tehran’s rules.
U.K. — TRUSS, NO LONGER IN CHARGE, IS FIGHTING TO SAVE HER JOB
Conservative MPs have started to publicly call for Liz Truss to resign, and are privately holding talks about how to crown a new leader — but no Cabinet minister went out in morning “media rounds” to defend Truss today.
No joke: There's a strong chance a now infamous lettuce will outlast Truss.
RIP TRUSSONOMICS: The new British finance minister Jeremy Hunttoday set out new tax and spending measures, two weeks earlier than scheduled, in an effort to turn around the lack of investor confidence that has been sinking Truss for the last two weeks.
Truss will gather Cabinet ministers this evening to ask their views on the government’s new economic strategy, which does seem to be an unusual way of doing things — once again consulting after the key announcement, rather than before it.
What’s saving Truss at the moment? There is no unity of who to replace her.
While Truss’s defeated rival Rishi Sunak is the surface-level logical alternative, here’s two pieces of food for thought.
— The government has become a soap opera, which voters detest.
— Nature abhors a vacuum, meaning that power must be exercised by someone with ministerial authority.
The person who can most easily address those two realities is Hunt. He’s the most experienced minister left in the government, and the one who now has the power to calm markets. He may have been quickly bundled out of the summer Conservative leadership race, but watch him suddenly appear more attractive to Conservative MPs.
ITALY — BERLUSCONI HURLS INSULTS AT MELONI: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi called Italy’s prime minister-in-waiting Giorgia Meloni“patronizing” and “bossy” after she would not support his party running Italy’s justice ministry (which could defer or drop legal action against Berlusconi).
SWEDEN — NEW CENTER-RIGHT PM CONFIRMED: Sweden’s parliament narrowly approved center-right Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Monday by a 176-173 vote. The Moderates finished third in the election, behind the far-right Sweden Democrats, but Kristoffersen was the only candidate from a right-wing bloc that could win majority support in parliament.
IRAN PROTESTS CONTINUE AND TURN VIOLENT
Deadly prison violence is another sign that the month-long protests are spiraling out of the religious regime’s control. Oil workers have also started to join in.
The protests are decentralized and not supported by any organized civil or religious groups, but they are proving durable, including because they’ve managed to bridge economic, gender and generational divides.
The EU will today approve sanctions on Iran over its deadly protest crackdown, which in turn could finally end efforts to revive the deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program.
The regime in Tehran is targeting Iranian celebrities who have backed the protests, via arrest and confiscated passports.
IS ETHIOPIA NOW SCENE OF WORLD’S BIGGEST LIVE CONFLICT?
Russia's invasion of Ukraine gets most of the attention, but Ethiopia's Tigray conflict is turning — again — into a civilian bloodbath.
Tigray residents say food and medical supplies are running out, while Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Tigray-born World Health Organization chief, says cities are being carpet bombed.
An International Rescue Committee worker was killed Friday while delivering emergency food to women and children. The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed horror at the violence. Samantha Power, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, is worried about refugee camps coming under attack.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was joined on stage Sunday by former party leaders at the opening of China’s 20th Communist Party Congress: including Xi’s predecessor as party leader, Hu Jintao, and former Premier Wen Jiabao, in a sign that there is no threat to his effort to receive a lifetime appointment as party leader. Jiang Zemin, 96, who served a term as party leader until 2002, was absent.
Xi reserves the right to invade Taiwan: "We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and best efforts, but we will never promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option to take all necessary measures.”
Digital life sentence: WeChat users who shared a protest image were banned for life.
What democracy? British MPs are demanding an investigation after a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was filmed on Sunday being dragged into the Chinese consulate grounds in Manchester and beaten up.
In a new special report from The Economist, the magazine’s Beijing bureau chief David Rennie argues that the price of Western governments avoiding clashes with China is rising.
RUSSIA AND UKRAINE
Russia is continuing it’s bombing and suicide drone campaign (Iranian devices that fly into their target and detonate) across Ukraine, but we’re yet to see what will happen with the thousands of Russian reservists that are now mobilized in Belraus.
Another suspicious death: Military commissar Lt. Col. Roman Malyk, in charge of Putin's military mobilization, was found dead under suspicious circumstances.
Post-Putin world: POLITICO’s Lili Bayer looks at the planning for a post-Putin world, and finds a lot of risks: from a Russian knife-fight for power to unleashed regional leaders and a nuclear arsenal up for grabs.
Government red flag: Russia's allies China and Kazakhstan have begun warning their citizens to leave Ukraine. The question is: Why now?
Billionaire red flag: Elon Musk’slatest Ukraine musing is that he’ll keep subsidizing the Starlink satellite internet service that much of the country depends on. It doesn’t seem wise to leave Ukraine communications at the whim of someone who likes to chat with Vladimir Putin and wonders if Ukraine should just cut a peace deal.
EU support: The EU will today agree to launch a new mission to train around 15,000 Ukrainian forces, and an additional $500 million for weapons.
WEAPONS REALITY CHECK: The U.S. isn’t giving Ukraine long-range missiles (such as ATACMS with a 190 mile range) to avoid Ukraine targeting Russia deep into its territory. Yet Iran is supplying Russia with missiles with ranges up to 700km, pointed out Yaroslav Trofimov, the Wall Street Journal’s chief foreign affairs correspondent.
Will Israel get off the sidelines? The prompt would be Iran’s willingness to arm Russia, if Nachman Shai, Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, gets his way.
HUMANITARIAN REALITY CHECK: The Saudi regime is promising $400 million in Ukraine assistance. That’s about 10 hours worth of Saudi oil exports.
ENVIRONMENT — FOREVER AND EVERYWHERE: A study from Northeastern University researchers identified more than 57,000 sites that are likely to be polluted with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to cancer and other illnesses.
That's far higher than the 2,858 sites that EPA and the Defense Department have previously reported. And the new study’s authors say its findings are likely an underestimate. The biggest problem area categories are: 49,000 locations around industrial facilities, more than 4,000 wastewater treatment plants, about 3,500 current or former military sites and 519 major airports.
CONGRESS MEETS WORLD
PERVASIVE ELECTION DENIAL AMONG REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES: Journalists Judd Legum and Rebecca Crosby tally $35.6 million in corporate donations to 291 candidates.
Their donation tally draws on a Washington Post list of 291 candidates on ballots in November’s midterm elections for for House, Senate and four top statewide elected positions (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state) who have outright denied or questioned the Nov. 2020 election results.
ALLEGATION OF MISTREATMENT: The acting director of the African CDC, Ahmed Ogwell,alleged Saturday that he’d been mistreated by immigration officials at Frankfurt airport when arriving in Germany for the World Health Summit. After claiming he preferred to return to Africa than fight — “I’ve decided to go back to my beautiful continent” — the president of the World Health Summit, Axel Fries, said Ogwell would be participating in the summit, after all. Frankfurt Airport publicly apologized to Ogwell.
STARTING: Canadian journalist Evan Solomon starts as publisher of GZero Media today.
ELECTED: Institute of International Finance elected Ana Botín as board chair.
COOK THIS:7 cook books for foreign policy wonks, by Foreign Policy’s Jennifer Williams
THE RISING GEOPOLITICAL POWER OF NON-STATE ACTORS: Big tech companies are hardly the first non-state entities to reshape globalization, as Al Qaeda showed to devastating effect. But Big Tech is delivering a pervasive rivalry to state power, and we lack the language to describe it and respond, writes Ian Bremmer. “Even though technology companies, like countries, resist neat classifications, there are three broad forces that are driving their geopolitical postures and worldviews: globalism, nationalism, and techno-utopianism,” he argues.
PRESERVING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Knox Thames and Peter Mandaville have a report out today for the U.S. Institute of Peace, looking at how to embed U.S. commitments to international religious freedom in long-term policymaking. The key global risk is identified as “the rise of authoritarianism and extremism,” requiring “new alliances among rights-respecting nations,” and the key domestic risk is a fraying of bipartisan support.
BELLIGERENCE: Former Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev — who resigned in May 2022 over Russia’s war conduct — writes about his 20-year journey towards resignation. “It was apparent from my earliest days that Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was deeply flawed. Even then, it discouraged critical thinking, and over the course of my tenure, it became increasingly belligerent,” he wrote.
LEVERAGE: How to leverage the Abraham Accords for progress on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Four perspectives from Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine.
Thanks to editor Louis Nelson, Eleni Courea, Stuart Lau and producer Hannah Farrow.
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