Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the globe. Please tell your friends and colleagues to sign up here. Two quick plugs:
Situational awareness: State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is being "strongly considered" to replace Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.
A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro wears a Trump mask at an election celebration. Photo: Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump is going on the offensive against the oppressive regimes in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua — and he sees Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro as an ally in that quest.
That's according to a speech today from national security adviser John Bolton, which was accompanied by fresh sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba and pledge of action against Nicaragua — where President Daniel Ortega has ruthlessly cracked down on protesters demanding his ouster.
Trump is intensely unpopular in Latin America, and his approach to the region has largely been defined by immigration. He recently threatened to cut funding to countries like Honduras, which works closely with the U.S., over the migrant "caravan" heading toward the U.S. border. Hours after Bolton’s speech, Trump gave an address on immigration in which he suggested U.S. troops should fire on anyone in the caravan who throws a rock.
Gang's all here at last year's G-20! They won't be forever. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/AFP/Getty Images
Five years from now, Germany's Angela Merkel and the U.K.'s Theresa May will have faded from the political scene, while Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and China's Xi Jinping will continue to dominate domestically and shape geopolitics.
That's according to Bloomberg's World Leaders’ Political Health Check, which shows France's Emmanuel Macron and potentially Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) slipping over the past six months.
Kushner (center) and Netanyahu (right) have both reportedly supported Mohammed bin Salman in recent weeks. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images
Israel is concerned that the international pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents will destabilize the Sunni kingdom and the Middle East as whole, Senior Israeli officials told Axios contributor Barak Ravid.
The backdrop: In the last few years, Saudi Arabia, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has become a staunch secret ally of the government in Jerusalem against Iran.
"We have to make sure the stability will be maintained in Saudi Arabia. Just imagine what might happen if the kingdom destabilizes — it will negatively affect the whole region."— Senior Israeli officials
A Yemeni youth at a demonstration in September. Photo: Ahmad Al-Bash/AFP/Getty Images
Go deeper: How the war became a stalemate and humanitarian disaster (NYT Mag)
Days before U.S. secondary sanctions against Iran’s central bank and oil industry go back into effect, U.S. officials are conceding that they will allow certain countries to continue to import Iranian oil, Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council writes for Axios Expert Voices:
Why it matters: After six months of fearsome demands that foreign countries completely stop importing Iranian oil by Nov. 5, the Trump administration is bowing to the hard realities of geopolitics and economics. Bolton said Wednesday, “We want to achieve maximum pressure, but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either.”
Between the lines: The more successful the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign is against Iran, the higher oil and gasoline prices will rise, along with the incentives for the EU and others to find ways to work around the U.S. financial system.
The bottom line: Trump's sanctions against Iran will be less successful than those imposed in 2012, when the Obama administration had near universal international support and the sanctions were backed by both the UN Security Council and the EU. Iran will try to wait out the Trump presidency in hopes that a successor will return to the 2015 nuclear deal or seek new negotiations based on more realistic premises.
Supporters of a hardline religious party protest the verdict. Photo: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images
1. Pakistan's top court Wednesday overturned a death sentence for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. The ruling has sparked massive protests in cities across Pakistan.
2. Sri Lanka was plunged into a political crisis after the president tried to fire the prime minister, who said the move was illegal and refused to step down.
3. Malaysia's sprawling 1MDB corruption scandal has resulted in charges against two former senior Goldman Sachs bankers, filed today by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Around the world, governments in countries that are home to large diasporas or immigrant populations face the challenge of expanding inclusion without encouraging the fragmentation that can result when people don’t need to learn the primary official language. Two examples from GZERO Media's Signal newsletter:
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In a controversial bid to blunt the appeal of Islamic extremism in his country, French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration is pushing a proposal to teach Arabic in public elementary schools.
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The tiny Baltic nation of Latvia has courted controversy by banning the teaching of Russian in elementary schools.
A South Korean marine during a drill today on Yeonpyeong Island. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun-Pool/Getty Images
"Europe faces a risk — that of being broken up by nationalist leprosy and of being pushed around by foreign powers, and thereby losing its sovereignty."— Emmanuel Macron today. He warned that the political climate in Europe is similar to the one between the two world wars.
Thanks for stopping by — see you Monday evening!