Welcome aboard for another edition of Axios World. Tonight's journey will take 1,627 words (~ 6 minutes).
Situational awareness: Two Trump tweets in recent minutes...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Several of America's key strategic partners are at each other's throats — and the U.S. seems powerless to prevent further escalation.
Why it matters: “None of these crises was made in America,” says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “That said, we have made it worse in each case either by what we’ve done or what we haven’t done.”
Pakistan is suspending bilateral trade with India, stopping cross-border train service and downgrading diplomatic relations — all over India’s revocation of the longstanding special status of Jammu and Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority state.
Meanwhile, as North Korea fires missiles and the trade war with China heats up, Washington’s two crucial East Asian allies have turned on one another.
In London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is insisting the deal Theresa May negotiated with the EU is dead and it’s up to Brussels to “show flexibility” to avoid a damaging crash exit on Halloween. Hostility and distrust are flowing across the English Channel in both directions.
The bottom line: “All of these situations argue for quiet American involvement,” Haass says. “You need the United States, behind the scenes, encouraging people to say and do things that are constructive and avoid saying and doing things that are not.”
Pro-government protestors in Caracas. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called off talks with the opposition today after the U.S. imposed a full economic embargo on his regime.
Why it matters: It has been six months since the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president and three months since a U.S.-supported coup attempt on Maduro failed.
Between the lines: “We’re poking the Chinese and Russians in the eye and telling them that we’re taking Venezuela very seriously,” says Fernando Cutz, who served as the National Security Council's South America director earlier in the Trump administration.
In a speech Tuesday in Peru, National Security Adviser John Bolton insisted that Maduro will fall once he runs out of funds needed to sustain his regime.
Bolton noted repeatedly in his speech that U.S. sanctions don't target the people of Venezuela.
Out for delivery. Photo: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
In several emerging markets, entrepreneurs are using the Amazon playbook to bring e-commerce to their own countries — but they're finding that demand for online shopping is expanding faster than the infrastructure needed to support it, Axios' Erica Pandey reports.
By the numbers: Asia's e-commerce market, led by India, is expected to grow 25% this year; Latin America, 21%; Middle East and Africa, 21%.
In Africa, the dominant player is Jumia, a pan-African e-commerce platform that recently filed for an IPO as the continent's first tech unicorn.
In Russia, around 60% of Russian e-commerce orders are paid for upon delivery, usually in cash.
India's population also relies heavily on cash. Nonetheless, it's the second fastest-growing e-commerce market, behind Mexico.
Because China leapfrogged credit cards and went straight from cash to mobile payments, e-commerce has boomed there. It accounts for 30% of all retail, compared with 10% in the U.S.
Salvini on the move. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
Matteo Salvini — Italy’s interior minister, deputy prime minister and populist provocateur — today declared the governing coalition between his League party and the anti-establishment Five Star movement unworkable and demanded fresh elections.
17 countries use more than 80% of their available water supplies every year, meaning droughts or increased water demand for agriculture and growing cities could leave them at risk of crisis, according to the World Resources Institute.
Zoom in and more pockets of concern emerge. States like New Mexico in the U.S. and cities like Cape Town, South Africa — which nearly ran out of drinking water last year — have "extremely high" stress levels.
Where things stand: A dangerous combination of hot and dry weather, poor water management and rising demand is leaving cities including Chennai, India, and Harare, Zimbabwe, without water for days on end, Tanvi Nagpal of Johns Hopkins writes for Axios Expert Voices:
What to watch: The pressures on municipal water supplies are likely to worsen with the effects of climate change.
Obama and Suu Kyi in 2014. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Ben Rhodes first met Aung San Suu Kyi when he was Barack Obama’s foreign policy adviser and the Burmese Nobel Peace laureate was the “world’s most prominent dissident.”
Writing in The Atlantic, Rhodes reflects on Suu Kyi's journey, and on several meetings with her, to examine what went wrong.
The bottom line: Rhodes writes that he agonizes over whether the Obama administration could have done more to prevent the atrocities in Myanmar, before suggesting it couldn’t have. There’s no easy way for the Trump administration to improve the situation either, he concludes, but it hasn’t really tried.
Pilgrims gather at the Grand Mosque in Mecca ahead of the Hajj. Photo: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty
"We are very respectful of what other governments decide, but we think that these unfortunate events in the U.S. should prompt reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of guns."— Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Thanks for reading — have a wonderful weekend.