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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Alvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

President Trump's blunt-force diplomacy at the United Nations yesterday reflected one of the quirks of his style on the world stage.

The big picture: He shuns European allies. Stunningly, he made zero mention of Britain or France, and his only mention of the Germans was to say that if they don’t change course, they’ll become "totally dependent on Russian energy." And he saves his sweetest words for individual world leaders — even adversaries, conveying his "great respect and affection" for his "friend" President Xi Jinping of China, and thanking North Korea's Kim Jong-un for his "courage."

  • At the same time, Trump doubled down on U.S. tariffs on China, and said the U.S. would maintain sanctions against the North Koreans until they have denuclearized.

It's Trump's theory of international relations: He praises and flatters leaders by name, while pursuing tough policies against their countries.

  • The effort to preserve personal relations leaves him to pursue a diplomacy that's based, above all, on personal chemistry between leaders.

European allies have lost all patience with this approach by Trump, with one diplomat describing the president's speech to the UN General Assembly as a roster of grievances, sprinkled with bragging about his accomplishments.

  • Trump’s grievances were many, and he described many international institutions as nothing more than scams set up to fleece Americans of their wealth and sovereignty.

Trump attacked the World Trade Organization, the UN Human Rights Council, OPEC, the new Global Compact on Migration, the current system of foreign aid, international peacekeeping, and globalism as a concept:

  • "We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism."

The bottom line: Trump’s speech was a full-throated nationalist war cry. Steve Bannon, who hasn’t talked to Trump in many months, would’ve been proud.

P.S. How they see us ... Cover of today's Guardian (London): "The world's derision halts Trump UN speech."

Go deeper

COVID cases and deaths are on the rise

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising all across the U.S. even before the Omicron variant takes hold.

Why it matters: The holidays — and the inevitable spread of Omicron — will only heighten the risks that unvaccinated Americans face from COVID, in all its forms.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

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