Welcome to round two of the Axios World newsletter, where two evenings a week we'll break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the world.
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Syrian Army soldiers advancing in an area on the eastern outskirts of Douma, where the chemical attack took place. Photo: Stringer/AFP/Getty
The world is waiting to see whether President Trump takes military action in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians in Syria, now that he's said he'll decide in the next 24 to 48 hours.
“If it’s Russia, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out and we’ll know the answers quite soon,” he told reporters before a cabinet meeting. “So we’re looking at that very strongly and very seriously.”
Between the lines: Trump’s next move could be a preview of things to come now that National Security Adviser John Bolton has taken the reins from H.R. McMaster. Bolton has written thousands of words of op-eds, but it’s unclear what course he might advise in this specific situation.
Axios’ Jonathan Swan emails, “While Bolton is an interventionist hawk, he doesn’t favor interventions on humanitarian grounds. He regards his foreign policy views as ‘pro-American’ and says he views intervention entirely through that lens.”
Trump's range of options, according to Jennifer Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War...
The bottom line: Cafarella says if Trump chooses option number 3, Russia, Iran, and Assad might limit their response to attempting to shoot down the U.S. missiles or aircraft. More dangerous is the possibility of a counter attack, perhaps on a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean.
The big question: Will Trump shift from his goal of getting out of Syria ASAP to a broader policy of constraining Iran, Russia and Assad?
Bolton sat behind Trump at the cabinet meeting, and did not speak. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center writes that Bolton's biggest challenge "may not be the bureaucracy, but the all-important presidential constituency of one."
The bottom line: "Bolton will face a challenge in creating and sustaining a functional relationship with a president who's even even more combustible and unpredictable than he is. The real question is whether he has the personal skills and emotional intelligence to handle the president."
A stranded traveler in Castelnaudary. Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images
A showdown with rail workers is shaping up as a make-or-break moment for French president Emmanuel Macron, with “another wave of crippling transport stoppages” hitting France yesterday, per France 24. Rolling strikes are due to continue through June.
Somalia’s government has seized three bags of money worth $10 million from a plane that landed in Mogadishu from United Arab Emirates, Voice of America reports, citing a source that says a UAE envoy was at the airport "to receive the money" when it was confiscated.
The big picture: Somalia’s interior ministry says security agencies are investigating where the money was going. So why would $10m in cash from the UAE show up in Somalia? As the BBC notes, a crisis in the Gulf is "playing out in dramatic form in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa. Some argue it could tear the whole region apart."
Go deeper: Axios' Shannon Vavra breaks it down.
A couple looks out from an overpass in Taipei. Photo: Ashley Pon/AFP/Getty Images
As the U.S. and China gear up for a trade war, Taiwan is stuck in the middle — and worried it'll become a bargaining chip, Axios' Erica Pandey reports.
The bottom line: The U.S. is stoking Beijing’s ire by increasing its engagement with the self-governing island. Things could heat up quickly if the U.S. backs away from the One-China policy, which prevents Washington from recognizing Taiwan’s independence. While he’s unlikely to abandon the policy entirely, President Trump could raise the issue if China won’t give in to his trade demands, Richard Bush, a Taiwan expert at Brookings, tells Erica.
Go deeper: Read Erica's full report.
Lula tells supporters at a mass on Saturday, "I will comply with their warrant." Photo: Victor Moriyama/Getty Images
Hundreds of supporters have camped outside of prison where Lula, who was leading polls ahead of October's general election, is being held, per the BBC. He's not the only former leader in legal trouble...
Fighters from the Jaysh al-Izza, affiliated with the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, train in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images
"In the world’s perception, the U.S. is overshadowed by an anxiety disorder and is very keen to show its anxiety."— The People's Daily, a Chinese state newspaper, on tariff proposals.
Thanks for reading, and see you Thursday!