Happy Thursday World readers. Thanks for joining me for tonight’s 1,656-word (6-minute) journey.
Kissinger and Trump- two men who know a thing or two about impeachment. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Historical analyses of President Trump's impeachment will note that it coincided with a tumultuous four months in U.S. foreign policy.
Between the lines: It’s impossible to evaluate exactly if and how impeachment affected Trump's calculus along the way — but it certainly affected his predecessors.
Richard Nixon withdrew almost entirely from foreign policy as impeachment closed in, historian Timothy Naftali writes in Foreign Affairs, delegating arms control negotiations and “shuttle diplomacy” in the Middle East almost entirely to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Bill Clinton also wanted a win during impeachment — in particular, a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians — but he leaned into his role as commander in chief rather than pulling back.
The big picture: Past impeachment sagas have raised questions about the collision of foreign policy and domestic politics. Trump has never really drawn a distinction between the two.
Flashback: Impeachment got underway as Trump was in New York for the UN General Assembly. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and revealed a partial transcript of the call that launched the scandal.
The State Department has placed U.S. diplomatic staff and their families in China on "authorized departure," meaning they are permitted to evacuate the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, Axios’ Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian scoops.
Driving the news: The World Health Organization today declared the outbreak a global health crisis, its highest threat level.
The big picture: The collision of urbanization, population growth and the rapid movement of people and goods across borders is heightening global pandemic risk, Axios’ Erica Pandey writes.
Two news flashes from the past few days...
Trump and Netanyahu at the White House, Jan. 28. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The Trump administration and the Israeli government appeared aligned in the hours following President Trump’s peace plan rollout — Israel could annex territory granted under President Trump’s peace plan within days.
Why it matters: Annexing Israeli settlements and the West Bank’s Jordan Valley would be steps of enormous consequences for peace with Jordan (which staunchly opposes annexation), for security in the Palestinian Territories, and for Israel’s upcoming election.
The message has changed.
It’s unclear how exactly the message got so muddled.
A wall separates East Jerusalem (left) and Palestinian city Abu Dis (right). Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
The proposed capital of a future Palestinian state is just one reason why Palestinian officials and activists oppose President Trump's peace plan.
Why it matters: Palestinian negotiators have long demanded a capital in East Jerusalem. In unveiling his plan, Trump said the capital would be in "eastern Jerusalem." In fact, it's just outside the Old City in the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, writes Axios' Rashaan Ayesh.
Zoom out: Palestinians around the world were quick to reject Trump's plan, which they played no role in crafting.
Zoom in: "Palestinians in Abu Dis have been cut off from Jerusalem neighborhoods to the west by a high concrete wall that Israel built to stop suicide bombers and gunmen entering the city," Reuters notes.
1. A verdict three years in the making came down this week in Abuja, Nigeria: The suspect in a high-profile murder case was guilty of killing her husband and would be put to death by hanging.
2. Civil rights groups in Kenya are challenging a plan to use a biometric system to track the identities of all citizens.
3. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, today made the case for a continued U.S. military presence in Africa ahead of expected troop cuts.
4. Encircled by South Africa and home to 2 million people, Lesotho has recently made a rare foray into international headlines.
Brussels lit up to say farewell to the U.K. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images
1,317 days after voting to leave the EU, the U.K. will formally depart on Friday.
Why it matters: For the U.S., that decision showed there are clear limitations to its sway over a key ally.
Go deeper: Huawei's trial by "what if"
Shopping warily in Macau. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
"One guy’s dealing with impeachment, another with an indictment, and Abbas is 85 years old."— Dimitri Diliani, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. He's not particularly optimistic about Middle East peace