Sep 26, 2018

Trump's hug-the-thug, flick-off-your-friends worldview

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

Bob Iger stuns media world with sudden departure as Disney CEO

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In a move that shocked the media industry, Bob Iger said Tuesday he would step down from his role as CEO of the Walt Disney Company after leading the entertainment giant to unprecedented success during his 15-year run in the job.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully led Disney through a series of risky but highly-successful acquisitions that not only solidified the company's entertainment dominance, but also ultimately reshaped the entire media landscape.

Sanders hits new stratosphere of online interest

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

For the second straight week, Bernie Sanders has hit the high watermark for online attention in the Democratic primary, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: It's not just quantity. The sentiment of the top stories about Sanders has been more positive than his top Democratic rivals — particularly Michael Bloomberg, whose recent online attention has been overwhelmingly negative.

Global coronavirus cases spread as U.S. soldier tests positive in South Korea

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,146 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 322 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health