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Newspaper front pages via the Newseum

The world is watching the grief and anger, violence and pain in America's streets.

The big picture: The U.S. accounts for nearly one-third of the world's deaths from COVID-19. The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police has sparked days of protest and nights of chaos in America's major cities.

  • Rather than uniting in the face of trial and tragedy, America's divisions feel only more raw.
  • The president warned this evening that he was sending "heavily armed soldiers" into the streets.
  • It's worth considering how the United States appears to observers around the world right now.

Zoom in: I occasionally click through the gallery of global front pages compiled by the Newseum to see how major events in the U.S. are being covered.

  • Often, including during President Trump's impeachment, America's news takes a back seat to developments closer to home.
  • Not this morning.

Paper after paper from country after country was splashed with images of American cities filled with demonstrators or, in some cases, in flames.

  • "Protests and looting throughout the U.S." was the headline in Clarín, Argentina's largest newspaper.
  • Folha de Sao Paolo, a major Brazilian paper, wrote that "protests against racism" had devolved into "repression and barbarism."
  • "Looting, fighting and curfew: the U.S. at war," was the headline that greeted readers of Italy's La Stampa.
  • "USA at War with Itself," agreed the West Australian, out of Perth.
  • Mexico's Diaro 24 Horas led with an image from Washington: "Anti-racist Anger at the Gates of the White House."

There were scenes of solidarity around the world over the weekend, with large protests taking place in London, Berlin and Toronto.

  • Soccer stars in Germany displayed the message "Justice for George Floyd" after scoring goals. English Premier League leaders Liverpool took a knee at midfield.
  • The U.K. Foreign Office called for journalists to be allowed to do their jobs — following the arrest of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez — and for a "de-escalation of tensions," in comments more often associated with fragile states or dictatorships.
  • Still, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was criticized at home for declining to comment on Trump's rhetoric, including Trump's tweet that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

The other side: Authoritarian governments that have long bristled at American criticism over human rights and respect for press and protesters sensed hypocrisy and opportunity.

  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded to State Department pressure over Beijing's actions in Hong Kong with a three-word tweet: “I can’t breathe.”
  • Russia's Foreign Ministry lamented the history of "unjustified violence" by U.S. police, while Dmitry Kiselyov, known for spouting the Kremlin line on state TV, declared "a new world order" in which "shaming will no longer work," per the Infodemic newsletter.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bemoaned the "racist and fascist approach" of U.S. police and "the unjust order we stand against around the world."
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi made a rare English-language statement "to the American people," saying Iran stands with them against "state oppression."

Between the lines: These messages are clearly not motivated by a belief that protesters must be heard and oppression must stop.

  • They are coming from governments that see opportunity in America's current crisis.

Go deeper

Trump says Pentagon won't cut funding to 159-year-old newspaper, Stars and Stripes

The Pentagon. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

President Trump announced Friday that the Defense Department "will NOT be cutting funding" to the military's historic independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes.

Driving the news: The Pentagon had ordered the shutdown of the military's independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, despite objections by Congress, per the AP.

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

39 mins ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.