Europe, bid au revoir to American tourists

The transfer will spotlight the failed US effort to suppress the coronavirus pandemic: Charts of recent confirmed coronavirus instances on all sides of the Atlantic are transferring in precisely the other 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 sporting isn’t 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 tourists will harm the shuttered European tourism trade. Millions convey their {dollars} throughout the Atlantic yearly, drawn by the continent’s historical past, delicacies and atmosphere. Italy, France, Germany and Spain welcome essentially the most Americans, in accordance to EU information. But till the two-way circulation 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 yr, hopefully.

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

What has Trump realized of statecraft, after a whole lot of “highly classified” telephone calls and negotiations with overseas leaders? Not a lot, in accordance to months of reporting for CNN by veteran Washington reporter Carl Bernstein, whose sources in authorities say there’s little proof that Trump has turn out to be 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 excellent that some staffers questioned if he had entry to Trump’s private schedule. And Trump’s haranguing of Merkel was “so unusual” that particular measures had to be taken in Berlin to make sure that the calls’ particular contents remained secret, in accordance to a German official. No surprise staffers grit their enamel when the President’s fingers head for the telephone.

Spies who love the highlight

For an intelligence service that’s supposed to function within the shadows, Russia’s GRU appears to appeal to a whole lot of headlines. The GRU — formally generally known 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 electronic mail accounts in the course of 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 reviews 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 probably battle with Russia’s personal said purpose to convey fighters to the desk in Afghanistan.
Russia has cultivated contacts with the Taliban and different fighters in Afghanistan as a manner 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 put bounties on US troops could be much more provocative and a “different thing” from its typical habits. “It conflicts with what Russian official policy is,” she stated. In different phrases, the alleged GRU operation concentrating on US and coalition troops might have blowback: probably 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 via open-source analysis — confirmed a sample recklessness and overt brutality, reasonably 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 stated, 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.” — CNN’s Nathan Hodge writes to Meanwhile from London

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Trump says he was by no means briefed in regards to the GRU’s alleged bounty scheme. Asked about that by CNN’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 yr, a US official with direct data additionally advised CNN on Monday — and that it was thought of critical sufficient that the National Security Council employees met to talk about “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 gentle of an enormous resurgence in coronavirus instances throughout the United States, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated 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 stated, 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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