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If you were scouring the world for counterpoints to the global march of populism you would, at various points over the past few years, have singled out Justin Trudeau in Canada, Mauricio Macri in Argentina and Pedro Sánchez in Spain.
1. Trudeau's popularity was already deflating under the disillusionment that hampers many incumbents, particularly on the idealistic left, before 2 controversies that seemed almost unimaginable given his high-principled public image: first an ethics breach, and now a racism scandal.
The big picture: Trudeau’s Liberals had been neck-and-neck with the Conservatives ahead of the Oct. 21 election.
What to watch: If 1–2% of Liberal-leaning voters in swing districts switch to the left-wing New Democrats that could tilt the election toward the Conservatives.
2. Macri, a centrist reformer, was also elected in 2015 on a wave of optimism that has since evaporated. Argentina's Oct. 27 election comes amid a deep economic downturn.
3. Sánchez won what appeared to be a thumping victory in April's election, but after failing to cobble together a coalition, he'll now have to contest another on Nov. 10.
The bottom line: A breath of fresh air can turn stale pretty quickly.
Netanyahu addresses supporters on election night. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images
If the Benjamin Netanyahu era is coming to an end, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister is going out swinging.By the numbers: Netanyahu’s Likud party is on course for 31 seats after Tuesday’s election, with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party winning 33, per Haaretz. But Gantz’s center-left bloc (57 seats) and Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc (55) are both short of the 61 seats needed for a majority.
What’s next: After consultations with the parties, President Reuven Rivlin will select a candidate to attempt to form a government. If no solution is reached, new elections are possible.
Crossing the Simon Bolivar bridge into Colombia. Photo: Schneyder Mendoza/AFP/Getty Images
Colombia expects the number of Venezuelan refugees within its borders to rise to 3 million by 2021 if the current crisis continues, Ambassador Francisco Santos told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday, adding, “to be very sincere, if it goes to 3 million, we don’t have the money.”The big picture: Venezuela’s exodus now rivals Syria’s, and countries including Ecuador and Peru are taking steps to stem the flow of refugees. Not Colombia. “With this government, with this president, that’s going to be the policy: open doors,” Santos says.
The bottom line: “We don’t know,” Santos admitted when asked how Colombia will handle this in the longer term. He said more aid was needed from the U.S. and in particular from Europe, as well as from international organizations.
1. It emerged during Santos’ briefing that Trump had selected a new national security advisor, Robert O’Brien. Santos was elated at the news, saying he’d worked with O’Brien in his capacity as Trump’s hostage negotiator and found him “very diplomatic. A big change [from John Bolton].”
2. A U.S. drone strike targeting the Islamic State Wednesday in Afghanistan instead “killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day’s labor in the fields” and injured at least 40 more, per Reuters.
3. Trump’s communications with a foreign leader over the summer included a “‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint,” the Washington Post reports.
4. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the former Tunisian dictator toppled in the Arab Spring, died today in Saudi Arabia at the age of 83.
Pompeo with MBS Wednesday in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who labeled recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities an “act of war” and placed the blame squarely on Iran — appeared to soften today, saying President Trump had tasked him with building an international coalition to seek a “peaceful resolution.”
The big picture: The attacks proved Iran's destructive capabilities while testing American resolve to remain militarily active in the Middle East, Amy Myers Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations writes for Axios Expert Voices:
What to watch: The U.S. would need to spring into diplomatic hyperdrive to build a coalition at the United Nations and beyond for a unified approach.
Greta sails into New York. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Why it matters: Flying is a massive contributor to carbon footprints in developed countries, but based on the total number of travelers, air travel has increased this year in 38 of 42 European countries, the Telegraph notes.
Zoom in: The number of air travelers in Sweden dropped by 4.1% in the first half of this year. The trend "first manifested itself at the beginning of 2018 but really kicked into gear at the end of last year," per the Telegraph.
Zoom out: Air travel across Europe increased by 4.3% in the first half of this year. The smallest increases came in Sweden's Scandinavian neighbors — Denmark and Norway. The biggest jumps were in Ukraine and Austria.
Pro-democracy protesters wave laser pointers in Hong Kong. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
"They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that, ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys.' We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.' It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us."— Rex Tillerson on Netanyahu using "misinformation" to influence Trump