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.
Thanks for joining me! Please tell your friends and colleagues to sign up here, and I'd love your tips and feedback: email@example.com.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Peter Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images
With the Brexit deadline approaching and breakthroughs proving elusive, U.K. officials today released a contingency plan for crashing out of Europe without an exit deal.
Between the lines: The immediate consequences of a "no-deal Brexit" include possible shortages of medicine and benefits losses for British pensioners living in Europe. A bad breakup between the world's 5th largest economy and a bloc that accounts for nearly half its trade would also have long-lasting consequences that stretch across the continent and beyond.
Sebastian Payne, political editorial writer for the Financial Times, emails from London that negotiations remain deadlocked:
The bottom line: "The chances there will be no deal by March are around 50/50 right now. Ultimately, however, a deal is in everyone’s interests. It would risk so much disruption that nobody — especially Theresa May — is willing to let it happen. Instead, if progress is still lacking throughout the fall, the Brexit negotiations would most likely be extended until a smooth Brexit deal is in sight."
What they're saying: U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who campaigned for "remain" during the Brexit battle, has been warning far and wide of the consequences of "no-deal" for European relations.
But when I interviewed him on Tuesday evening, he insisted that the U.K. would be better off outside of Europe even if no deal is reached.
"I think, geostrategically, it could be hugely damaging. But in terms of Britain’s narrow self-interest, our ability to prosper and survive and thrive economically, I’m totally confident we can do it.”
Q: If we're having to talk about survival, surely you'd be better off in Europe?
“If the only variable in your equation is the degree of friction with your neighboring markets... the lower the friction, the faster you’ll grow. But it isn’t the only variable. ... We’d have to make sure we make other reforms to other parts of the economy that meant that we’d more than made up for it."
Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing Street after a cabinet meeting. Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images
During our interview, which took place at the U.K. ambassador's residence in Washington, Hunt defended President Trump's approach to trade — including over looming auto tariffs — and Russia. Those highlights here.
I asked Hunt how history will remember David Cameron, whose cabinet he served in for six years:
I also asked whether Trump is right that his predecessor as foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make "a great prime minister."
Between the lines: Johnson resigned over Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit, and has since been stirring up controversy and keeping himself in the headlines. It's pretty clear he wants to make a play for the top job at some point. Rather than dismiss the question ("we already have a prime minister..."), Hunt elected to praise him. That's getting some attention back in the U.K.
A farm worker in Bothaville. Photo: Wikus de Wet/AFP via Getty Images
South Africa is accusing President Trump of a "misinformed" and divisive act which "reminds us of our colonial past" after the president — spurred on by Fox News coverage — tweeted that white farmers were having their land seized and falling victim to "large scale killing."
Axios' Haley Britzky helps sort out what's really going on...
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has widespread approval among Democrats, but just a 27% favorable rate among Republicans, according to new data from Gallup. That's on par with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Between the lines: Merkel’s approval with both parties would likely be higher, but for the fact that 25% of Americans said they’d never heard of her, while 10% said they had no opinion.
By the numbers (% favorable):
Worth noting: Putin's approval ratings among Americans were as high as 41% in the early 2000s, when relations with then-president George W. Bush were relatively warm.
Venezuelan migrants at the Rumichaca International Bridge in Ipiales, Colombia. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images
Venezuela's regime-driven economic collapse has hollowed out public services and accelerated hyperinflation, worsening its humanitarian crisis and fueling one of the largest mass migrations in South American history, American University's Michael McCarthy writes for Axios Expert Voices:
The bottom line: International actors are now trying to rush in to help. Yet, like President Maduro's recently announced measures to stabilize the economy, such assistance may be too little too late.
What to watch: Washington accepts that the Venezuela crisis is a top concern, but President Trump has yet to articulate the global stakes or define U.S. interests — as he has with China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. For now, expect more sanctions and further debate about how to time them around the next disaster event.
A Danish cargo container vessel is about to set out on a voyage that will be a milestone in the opening of Arctic waters to marine shipping — and it's a direct result of climate change, Axios Science Editor Andrew Freedman writes.
Why it matters: The Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and sea ice has declined sharply since 1979. As the ice melts, Arctic shipping routes are becoming more attractive as an alternative to sailing through the Suez Canal.
The details: Danish shipping giant Maersk will send the first cargo container vessel unaided through the Arctic's Northern Sea Route, departing from Vladivostok this week and passing the Bering Strait on Sept. 1.
What we're watching: According to Maersk, the company doesn't have a timetable for when routine Arctic shipping runs will be feasible, and experts told Axios that the idea that such routes will be heavily traveled in a decade or two are flawed.
Muslims attend a prayer service yesterday to celebrate Eid al-Adha on Indonesia's Lombok island, which was hit by two deadly quakes on July 29 and August 5. Photo: Fred DufourAFP/Getty Images.
“Our position in Europe did not change because of a wedding."— Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on the wedding dance-seen-round-the-world between his foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, and Vladimir Putin.
Thanks for stopping by — see you Monday evening!