Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the world.
Macron and his wife Brigitte visit the Lincoln Memorial after arriving in Washington. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
Fresh off a Fox News interview in which he described President Trump as a fellow "maverick," French President Emmanuel Macron arrived today for the first state visit of the Trump presidency. He and his wife Brigitte are dining on "rack of spring lamb" and "burnt cipollini soubise" with the Trumps this evening at Mount Vernon.
The visit provides Trump with an opportunity to showcase his strong relationship with a key ally, and perhaps snag a couple positive news cycles. But given Trump's widespread disapproval in France, what's in it for Macron?
French voters are “very pragmatic,” says Celia Belin of the Brookings Institution. “The only thing they’re asking is, even if Macron can’t change Trump’s mind, he needs to state their differences and not appear as an enabler.”
The visit comes nearly a year into Macron’s presidency, and as he trudges through a thicket of difficulties on other fronts.
Overseas, though, Macron is flying high. “He has revitalized the way France is viewed around the world,” says Lightfoot.
Between the lines: Francois Hollande, Macron’s predecessor and former mentor, writes that he “is certain that reality graciously bends to his will as soon as he expresses it.” That sentiment could describe either president at tonight's dinner.
Sri Lankans walk by a Chinese-funded port in Colombo. Photo: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP via Getty Images.
Sri Lanka's rupee hit an all-time low today as the small South Asian country struggles under the weight of massive debts owed to China, Axios' Erica Pandey writes:
There are two big economic problems in Sri Lanka, according to Shailesh Kumar, a South Asia expert at the Eurasia Group:
What to watch: Sri Lanka is freeing itself from its debts by selling Chinese-funded infrastructure projects back to China, giving Beijing influence over strategic ports close to its rival India's shores.
Sebastian Payne, political editorial writer at the Financial Times, emails this update on the state of Brexit:
The bottom line: "May has to fudge a customs union (whatever they call it) while keeping her Brexit-backing colleagues on side. If she resiles too far, she will face a leadership challenge. If no compromise can be found, she may be forced to consider leaving the EU without a formal deal. That means a hard border in Ireland, potential administrative chaos and years of legal wrangling."
Kim Jong-un's nuclear announcement televised in Pyongyang on April 21, 2018. Photo: Kim Won Jin/AFP via Getty Images
Last week, Kim Jong-un set the stage for upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S. by announcing the suspension of North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile tests and the closure of its northern nuclear test site.
Although Kim’s move is clever, we have been here before and it doesn't change the game, Stanford University's Gi-Wook Shin writes:
The bottom line: This most recent declaration is a smart strategic move by Kim, but there is still cause for skepticism: There is no indication that he will dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the thorny question of whether denuclearization will be achieved remains unanswered.
ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir called for attacks against Arab nations on Sunday in an hour-long recording the terrorist group released via the app Telegram, the New York Times' Rukmini Callimachi reports.
Why it matters, per Callimachi:
The latest: 57 dead in ISIS suicide bombing in Kabul.
A woman walks past election posters in Nuuk, Greenland. Photo: Christian Klindt Soelbeck/AFP/Getty Images
Greenland has self-rule, but formally remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Some of its 56,000 residents want full independence, but the country needs Denmark’s cash, GZERO Media's Willis Sparks writes in the latest edition of the Signal newsletter.
"Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland."— King Mswati III on changing his country's name.
Thanks for reading! See you Thursday evening.