Welcome back to Axios World for tonight's 1,453-word journey. Seven global stops in about 6 minutes.
Trump decouples from Xi in Beijing. Photo: Artyom Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images
The U.S. and China may be on course for a “phase one” deal to prevent further trade war escalation — but a hardening between the world's two biggest economies could last far beyond the tariffs and truces of the Trump era.
Why it matters: Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister and current president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, fears talk of “decoupling” — in which the U.S. and China disentangle their economies and erect new barriers — will become a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” with drastic consequences.
"A fully ‘decoupled world’ would be a deeply destabilizing place, undermining the global economic growth assumptions of the last 40 years, heralding the return of an iron curtain between East and West and the beginning of a new conventional and nuclear arms race with all its attendant strategic instability and risk."— Kevin Rudd
Where things stand: In a speech delivered at the University of California San Diego and shared with Axios, Rudd notes that there are already some signs of decoupling, even if a complete severing of economic ties is unlikely.
The Chinese view: Facing slowing economic growth, Rudd says, Chinese President Xi Jinping is willing to offer some concessions in the short-term to limit the trade war damage. But he's also "rapidly diversifying Chinese export markets" and focusing more on domestic consumption.
"[W]hereas the Trump administration may indeed be genuine when it says it doesn’t want to embark on economic decoupling with China, it may well be Xi Jinping’s administration that initiates and accelerates the process in the name of national self-reliance."— Kevin Rudd
What to watch: "After an 18 month-long trade war, it appears that both sides have stopped, stared into the abyss, concluded that its a very long way down there and a lot people on both sides could get seriously hurt — and without any real lasting benefit to anybody," Rudd writes.
Riot police mass today in Hong Kong. Photo: Ivan Cheung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Hong Kong endured one of the most violent days in five months of protests today, with police shooting a protestor at close range, protestors lighting a man on fire, and Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam denouncing "enemies of the people."
The big picture: Chris Johnson, a former top CIA China analyst now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Michael Morell on the Intelligence Matters podcast that protest leaders realize violence by more "hardcore" elements risks sapping western support.
1. There's a narrative in Beijing that to send in the troops would play "into a U.S. trap" to isolate China "just as our rise is hitting its stride," Johnson says.
2. Chinese leaders reluctantly concede that the situation in Hong Kong will strengthen nationalists in Taiwan and virtually guarantee the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen in January.
3. Chinese elites know what's happening in Hong Kong, but many mainlanders only know the party line and buy the idea of Hong Kongers as "spoiled children who don’t understand the beneficence of China."
4. Chinese overreach isn't the only factor here. Johnson also cites a property crisis driven by "the greed of Hong Kong's tycoons."
Photo: Alexis Demarco/APG/Getty Images
Mexico will grant asylum to Evo Morales, who stepped down as Bolivia's president yesterday after 14 years in power, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced this evening.
Why it matters: Bolivia has been engulfed in violent protests since an Oct. 20 election which Morales claimed to have won by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff, but which observers said was marred by irregularities.
The big picture: Morales is a giant of recent Bolivian history. The country's first indigenous president, he's been credited with reducing poverty and overseeing strong economic growth.
Driving the news: Pressure on Morales increased after the Organization of American States reported widespread electoral fraud. He promised a new vote, but Williams Kaliman, commander of the armed forces, urged him to resign in a televised address.
What to watch: The next three officials in the line of succession have resigned, leaving the country without a president.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez casts his ballot. Photo: Juan Carlos/Xinhua via Getty
Spain's fourth general election in as many years solved little, with the ruling center-left Socialists finishing first but falling well short of a majority — a repeat of their performance from April.
Meanwhile the far-right Vox Party surged in Sunday's vote, doubling its parliamentary representation and jumping from fifth-largest party to third.
What to watch: "In the short term, parliamentary gridlock will characterize the months to come, as forming any government will be a feat in this fragmented landscape," emails Gustavo Flores-Macías of Cornell University.
Immigrants have helped protect America through U.S. military service throughout most of the nation's history. But it's becoming harder for non-citizens to enlist — and to gain citizenship after their service, Axios' Stef Kight reports.
He's seen better millenia. Photo: Andrew Hasson/Getty Images
Some 15,000 years ago, prehistoric humans dug at least two large pits in what is now Tultepec, Mexico. Their aim: to capture and kill woolly mammoths.
Flash forward: The pits were discovered, along with the bones of about 14 mammoths, on the site of a planned landfill.
More, from the NY Times:
"Recently, scientists have discussed plans to revive the elephant-like animals through genetic engineering. One scientist even dreamed of creating 'Pleistocene Park,' a preserve in Siberia where they could roam. So far, no births have been reported."
An autumn's day on on the Stever River in Haltern am See, Germany. Marcel Kusch/dpa/AFP via Getty Images
"It's a serious mistake — we've made mistakes too with self-driving. ... People make mistakes, it doesn't mean that they can never been forgiven."— Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by agents of Saudi Arabia (a major Uber investor), in an interview with Axios on HBO. Khosrowshahi expressed regret for the remark soon after the interview.