Welcome back to Axios World. Tonight's global tour is 1,569 words (~ 6 minutes).
Situational Awareness: “The Trump administration is preparing to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan in exchange for concessions from the Taliban, including a cease-fire and a renunciation of al-Qaeda,” the Washington Post reports.
Americans are increasingly likely to see China as a threat to the U.S., though they're sharply divided over the dangers from Iran, Russia and climate change according to a new Pew survey.
The share of Americans who consider China’s power and influence a major threat rose from 46% to 54% since 2017, with similar jumps seen among Democrats (now 52%) and Republicans (58%).
The great divides...
Flashback: Fear of terrorism and the fight against ISIS were central to the 2016 election cycle, following major attacks at home and abroad.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
1. Trump surprised markets today by announcing that 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of U.S. imports from China will begin Sept. 1.
2. A boycott of Japanese goods and services is picking up steam among South Koreans as trade tensions between the 2 countries continue to rise, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh writes.
3. Rwanda briefly closed its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is in the midst of an Ebola outbreak, after a 3rd death was reported in the border city of Goma.
Today marks the 1 year mark of the outbreak. Politics, violence and suspicion are thwarting efforts to contain it. Go deeper.
The Trump administration on Wednesday sanctioned Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif.
Between the lines: That decision "makes clear that the means of pressure and sanctions have increasingly become the end goal of Trump's Iran policy," Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council argues for Axios Expert Voices:
The big picture: With no offramp in sight, the prospect of an unintended military escalation remains worrying high, as the International Crisis Group makes clear in a new report.
Flashback: We nearly ended up in such a scenario in June, when Trump claimed to have called off strikes on Iran at the last minute after being told 150 Iranians would be killed.
Adm. William McRaven (ret.), a former U.S. Special Forces commander, says Trump's version of events is "hard to believe." He set the scene on a conference call with reporters, based on "countless" such scenarios he'd been a part of:
The bottom line, per McRaven: "I think the bigger question is, why did we get that far? Again, this was an unmanned drone. Normally you're looking at a proportional strike."
Doing laundry by a spring in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo: Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images
Zimbabwe's economic crisis is deepening, with electricity restricted to 6 hours per day, millions of people going up to a week without running water and more than half the population facing food insecurity.
Context: A severe drought and decades of economic mismanagement under Robert Mugabe, who was deposed in 2017, have contributed to the crisis. But Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is only making matters worse, according to Dzikamai Bere of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum.
What to watch: Bere says labor unions and the political opposition have received death threats for planning mass demonstrations.
Between the lines: According to Bere, while Mnangagwa has attempted to project a positive image to the world, more shadowy figures in the regime could care less about international perceptions.
"During the Mugabe era we knew where power lay. Now, you don't know who is controlling the violence."— Dzikamai Bere, to Axios
The bottom line: "I think there is not any hope in the current establishment. People are convinced that they have no capacity to stop stealing, and they have no capacity to run the country."
The Trump administration is extending for 18 months protections that allow 7,000 Syrians to remain in the U.S. temporarily rather than return to their war-torn country, the Department of Homeland Security announced today.
Why it matters: Syria remains plagued by violence. More than 100 Syrians died in air strikes in just the past 10 days, the BBC reports, and 6.7 million Syrian refugees have been forced to leave the country.
The big picture: This move comes despite efforts by the administration to end temporary protected status (TPS) for several other countries, Axios' Stef Kight writes.
Gina Haspel. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Washington Post's Shane Harris has an enlightening new profile of CIA Director Gina Haspel, who has kept a remarkably low profile and thus far avoided the president's public wrath.
Harris notes that Haspel, "the first career clandestine officer to ascend to the top job," has never done an on-the-record interview.
Harris adds that Haspel spends most of her time at CIA headquarters and has put less emphasis than her predecessor, Mike Pompeo, on "cultivating a personal relationship with Trump."
"Of the 18 jobs the CIA has publicly confirmed that Haspel held, only two were overt: director and deputy director," Harris writes.
An iceberg in the backyard on an unusually warm day in Greenland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
"For far too long he has been indulged as the reasonable and credible face of Iran and today President Trump decided enough is enough."— Senior U.S. official to reporters, on Zarif
“It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran. Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.”— Zarif, on Twitter
Thanks for reading — have a great weekend!