Welcome back to Axios World. Tonight's global tour is 1,580 words (6 minutes).
Daily life in locked-down Srinagar. Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
India and Pakistan are sliding toward potential nuclear war, according to the president of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. The warning comes as Pakistan attempts to rally global outrage against its neighbor and rival.
Catch up quick: On Aug. 5, India revoked the constitutional autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir — the state it controls within the disputed Himalayan territory — while instituting a communications blackout and a curfew enforced by hundreds of thousands of troops.
Masood Khan, the president of Azad Kashmir and a longtime Pakistani diplomat, told Axios this week in Washington that India’s actions constitute a “declaration of war,” not just against the local population but also against Pakistan.
The other side: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week said the special status of Jammu and Kashmir — India’s only Muslim-majority state — “was meant as a bridge that became a barrier.”
While Jaishankar downplayed the severity of the lockdown and insisted it was being gradually loosened, Masood Khan accused India of “brutalizing” Kashmiris.
What to watch: India recognizes that as soon as it lifts the lockdown, the “prospects for violence and threats to the lives of Indian security forces escalate significantly,” Kugelman says. Thus, he wouldn't be surprised if it's still in place in another 2 months.
Trump and Modi in Houston. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Masood Khan told Axios that President Trump has effectively “endorsed” India’s crackdown.
Flashback: Days before India's constitutional change, during an Oval Office meeting with Imran Khan, Trump offered to mediate the dispute over Kashmir. That offer was embraced by Pakistan but rejected by India, which opposes international mediation.
As Masood Khan told Axios, "When Modi and Donald Trump were holding hands together in Houston at the Howdy Modi rally, Modi was seeking endorsement of the actions he had taken in Kashmir from the most powerful nation on Earth." Khan concedes that he got it.
Between the lines: Despite Trump's attempts to "play both sides," Kugelman says, the long-standing U.S. policy is to treat Kashmir as a bilateral matter to be worked out by India and Pakistan.
The big picture: Pakistan is attempting to focus the eyes of the world on Kashmir in part by framing it not just as a human rights issue, Kugelman says, but also a global security threat.
Back to the Maidan. Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty
1. At least 25 people have been killed and 1,000 wounded in protests that spread across Iraq over corruption, joblessness and poor government services.
2. Hong Kong’s leader is expected to invoke emergency powers to ban face masks like those worn by many protestors, per NPR.
3. Thousands of protesters gathered in Kiev after President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to a peace plan for the east of the country, which is currently controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
A confused pedestrian in confusing times. Photo: Manuel Medir/Getty Images
The standoff between Peru's president, Martín Vizcarra, and Congress is putting the country's weak political institutions to a once-in-a-generation test, Daniel Erikson of the Penn Biden Center writes for Axios Expert Voices.
Why it matters: Peru finds itself in new and uncertain political territory — bringing the specter of instability to what has been one of the steadiest economies in Latin America.
Driving the news: Vizcarra's tense relations with Congress came to a head when he moved to dissolve the legislature and call for new elections after having failed to gain a vote of confidence for his Cabinet.
Background: Vizcarra has positioned himself as an anti-corruption avatar seeking greater transparency and accountability in the wake of several graft scandals that ripped through the country’s political elites like wildfire.
The latest: Vizcarra won this round. He swore in a new Cabinet today, indicating the crisis may be over — for now.
Pompeo tours the Vatican. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Getty Images
1. Just in, from the NY Times: “Two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine drafted a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations sought by Mr. Trump into his political rivals, three people briefed on the effort said.”
2. Asked today what he wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do after their July call, Trump said: “If they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens.”
3. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo belatedly acknowledged yesterday that he was on the July call with Zelensky. He dodged a question on whether he found the discussion appropriate.
Worth noting: Pompeo's trip includes stops in Montenegro, NATO’s newest member, and North Macedonia, which is set to join.
Go deeper: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine. (Thanks for the reader emails on this topic — I really do take your advice!)
1. Alcohol consumption in Russia decreased by 43% per capita from 2003 to 2016, according to the World Health Organization.
Both of these stories brought to you by Axios' Jacob Knutson.
A herd of horses in Zhangye, China. Photo: Wang Chao/VCG via Getty Images
"Nobody explained to Greta that the modern world is complicated and complex."— Vladimir Putin says he wasn't enthusiastic about Greta Thunberg's climate speech. Our data shows a lot of people were.