Good Monday morning, and happy Labor Day. Enjoy the last unofficial day of summer, and thank you for joining Axios on this daily adventure through such a historic and consequential season.
Based on the past U.S. response to major provocations by North Korea, look for a show of force from the U.S. military, in conjunction with regional partners, in coming days. This could include a fly-over of the Korean Peninsula with nuclear-capable bombers, as well as joint training exercises. SecDef Jim Mattis set the tone with his stern statement at the White House: "We have many military options, and the President wanted to be briefed on each one of them. ... Any threat to the United States, or its territories – including Guam – or our allies will be met with a massive military response."Trump used cliffhanger language when asked, as he left church, if he plans to attack North Korea: "We'll see." Trump's dilemma in one paragraph, by the N.Y. Times' Glenn Thrush and Mark Landler: "[T]he crisis lays bare how his trade agenda — the bedrock of his economic populist campaign in 2016 — is increasingly at odds with the security agenda he has pursued as president. It is largely a problem of Mr. Trump's own making. Unlike several of his predecessors, who were able to press countries on trade issues while cooperating with them on security, Mr. Trump has explicitly linked the two, painting himself into a corner."We asked several national-security experts to read between the lines of the administration's response to this global crisis: Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, emails: "trump's lack of foreign policy experience is coming to roost ... if there's a winner here so far, it's kim jong un. there's a reason that much more capable democrat and republican presidents have kicked this issue to their successors."CFR President Richard Haass, author of "A World in Disarray," said Mattis' language ("threat" rather than "capability") suggests the U.S. is focused on a preemptive response (against a threat deemed to be imminent), rather than a preventive attack, "something that would be unacceptable to many Americans and to South Korea."Haass II: "Preemption ... would place the onus on NK not to do something that would trigger a preemptive strike [put missiles on alert, or launch them] rather than on us to undertake a preventive, bolt out of the blue attack."Ned Price, a CIA alumnus and National Security Council spokesman under Obama: "[Y]ou see the pieces of a whole-of-government diplomatic response coming together." But Price said Trump personally "played right into Pyongyang's hands by creating daylight between our partners," South Korea.Be smart: In Trump's hawkish spontaneity and his administration's more deliberate response, we see this White House's enduring tension: Top aides try to erect guardrails around a president who resists them. Until now, the stakes have been smaller. Now? We'll see.
Trump is expected to announce tomorrow that he'll end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, per AP's Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey:
Big businesses have been quietly working to protect workers whose lives and careers could be upended. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted: "250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values."
And N.Y. Times columnist Nick Kristof tweeted: "Dreamers registered their addresses under DACA, so now the government knows exactly where to go to arrest them and their parents."
New Yorker cartoonist Chris Ware "singled out moments of grace as inspiration for this week's cover. Ware, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, reflected on his experience in the Lone Star State":
I lived in San Antonio in high school, in the mid-nineteen-eighties, and attended college in Austin ... I liked Houston for its big buildings, its diversity, and its slack zoning laws, which made neighborhoods unpredictable and surprising.
One night, my cartoonist friend John Keen and I stopped at a restaurant-bar that was about halfway to Houston, in the very Texas-sounding town of Winchester. The parking lot was locked and loaded with about two dozen pickup trucks, and, as scrawny liberal Austinites, we braced ourselves and pushed open the saloon doors, only to find black and white farmers talking and laughing, playing poker, and shooting pool together. In a corner, an interracial couple quietly ate barbecue. This Winchester bar, we realized, was more integrated than the University of Texas we'd just left.
Houston Chronicle banner, "Houston 'open for business' ... CITY OF CONTRASTS: As many residents return to life as normal, crisis continues for those displaced by Harvey." (Read the digital paper free.)
N.Y. Daily News goes with: "STOP THE KIMSANITY." (See the page.)
The A.I. arms race ... "Secretive Apple Tries to Open Up on Artificial Intelligence: Tech giant launches a blog, participates in conferences as it seeks to draw attention to its AI efforts," by the Wall Street Journal's Tripp Mickle:
P.S. Apple got the N.Y. Times to add a correction to its "The Great American Janitor Test" tour de force: "An earlier version of this article misstated a difference between Apple today and Kodak decades ago. Apple, like Kodak, has created tens of thousands of working-class jobs; it has not failed to do so."
Stat du jour, from a N.Y. Times piece about the "master class in marketing" for Taylor Swift's new album, "Reputation," which — believe it or not — doesn't drop in full until Nov. 10:
"In 2014, when Ms. Swift released her last album, '1989,' streaming accounted for only 23 percent of music consumption in the United States ... Now, streaming [including Spotify, Apple Music] is 63 percent of the market."
Static for Netflix for the movie theater ... "Earlier this month, New York- based MoviePass slashed its prices and launched a program allowing subscribers to watch one movie a day in its partnered theaters for less than $10 a month. The response was instantaneous: On the first day, heavy traffic crashed the website. By the second day, more than 150,000 people had signed up," per the San Jose Mercury News.
"The Vietnam War," a 10-part, 18-hour documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, premieres on PBS on Sunday, Sept. 17. Watch the trailer. Two great preview pieces that are worthy of your time:
"Ken Burns's American Canon: Even in a fractious era, the filmmaker still believes that his documentaries can bring every viewer in," by The New Yorker's Ian Parker:
There are more Vietnamese voices in "The Vietnam War" than Burns at first thought necessary. ... It has animated three-dimensional maps and foreign-language interviews. There's rock music, as well as a score commissioned from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross; Erik Ewers, a longtime editor at Florentine, who has worked on dozens of hours of film chivvied along by ragtime and bluegrass, told me, with feeling, that the opportunity to use "Dazed and Confused," by Led Zeppelin, was "a dream come true."
The film includes striking sequences in which well-known black-and-white photographs, always central to Burns's work, coëxist with color film and color photography. The subject, being recent and contested—and its traumas sometimes evident in the stiffness around the mouths of witnesses—has its own narrative potency. ... Still, when the narration begins, its liturgical phrasing, and its reach for a negotiated settlement among viewers, will seem familiar.
In "Ken Burns Tackles a Different Civil War," N.Y. Times ideas reporter Jennifer Schuessler says the film "offers an uncannily well-timed reflection of our current societal fractures — a kind of origin story for the culture wars."