Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,445 words ... ~ 6 minutes.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
All signs point to a decades-long cold war with China, one reshaping global alliances, politics and economies, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei reports.
The big picture: Beyond trade, the two superpowers are competing on intellectual property and technological mastery, political influence across the developing world via economic assistance (China's Belt and Road Initiative), diplomatic agreements, multinational institutions (Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank) and military sales (missiles, subs, drones, training).
Now, China is blaming Washington for its own economic and internal strains:
What's next: In November, it'll be 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989. For most of that time, the U.S. had no real rival for global supremacy. Now, America is in a fight it could lose.
The bottom line: The U.S. lost its way after the Cold War, creating a crossroads similar to the one after World War II: a multi-decade civilizational struggle.
"The Trump administration ... announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law," the N.Y. Times' Lisa Friedman reports.
Placido Domingo performs "Spanish Night" in Orange, France, last month. Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images
Opera legend Placido Domingo has tried for decades to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing them professionally when they refused his advances, AP's Jocelyn Gecker reports.
But his accusers and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to Domingo — one they say has long been an open secret in the opera world.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) poses for selfies with supporters of his presidential campaign last night at a $25-per-person campaign fundraiser at the nightclub Slate in Manhattan.
The cover story of the September issue of WIRED is senior writer Nitasha Tiku's 11,000-word (!) look at Google's changing culture:
[I]n many respects, Google’s most vexing threats ... came from inside the company itself. ... [T]he company [found] itself in the same position over and over again: a nearly $800 billion planetary force seemingly powerless against groups of employees — on the left and the right alike — who could hold the company hostage to its own public image. ...
Google found itself and its culture deeply maladapted to a new set of political, social, and business imperatives. To invent products like Gmail, Earth, and Translate, you need coddled geniuses free to let their minds run wild. But to lock down lucrative government contracts or expand into coveted foreign markets, as Google increasingly needed to do, you need to be able to issue orders and give clients what they want.
Americans are slightly more likely now (57%) than in December (51%) to support allowing refugees from Central America into the U.S., Gallup's Justin McCarthy writes.
Ivanka Trump at a workforce development event in Iowa last week. Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via Reuters
Ivanka Trump has quietly been calling lawmakers since the El Paso and Dayton massacres to gauge their openness to movement on gun legislation when Congress returns, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
Behind the scenes: Ivanka Trump spoke last Wednesday to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), while he was vacationing in Hawaii, to get an update on the bipartisan background checks bill he proposed with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).
The backdrop: Following the mass shootings, Ivanka Trump posted a note on her Instagram story calling on Congress to "enact Red Flag laws/Extreme Risk Protection Orders in every state, increase resources dedicated to mental health support nationwide and close background check loopholes."
A White House official said Ivanka "has trusted relationships on both sides of the aisle and she is working in concert with the White House policy and legislative teams."
Articles about Joe Biden generated 3.8 million interactions on social media last week — more than any other candidate since June — but they were overwhelmingly about his recent blunders, Axios' Neal Rothschild writes from exclusive NewsWhip data.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose writes in the September/October issue that the leaders of Russia, China, Turkey, the Philippines and Hungary all "fought their way from obscurity to the throne and then took a hard authoritarian turn":
Historical eras tend to have characteristic leadership types: the fledgling democrats of the 1920s, the dictators of the 1930s and 1940s, the nationalist anticolonialists of the 1950s and 1960s, the gerontocrats of the 1970s, the fledgling democrats (again) of the 1980s and 1990s. Now we’re back to dictators.
The leading figures on the world stage today practice a brutal, smash- mouth politics, a personalized authoritarianism. Old-school strongmen, they do whatever is needed to grasp and hold on to power.
Once on the cutting edge, hybrids are losing favor with some automakers, The Wall Street Journal's Mike Colias reports (subscription):
But Ford plans to add a hybrid version of its F-150 pickup.
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