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.
Situational awareness: “Canada’s President of the Treasury Board resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet on Monday, the second minister to leave in the wake of a political scandal that has roiled Trudeau’s tenure months before an October election,” per Reuters.
Police look on as medical students protest against the regime on Saturday in Algiers. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP/Getty Images
Two North African regimes that have ruled for a combined 50 years are facing unprecedented mass revolts and taking desperate steps to cling to power.
In Algeria, huge demonstrations this weekend greeted a letter from President Abdelaziz Bouteflika confirming he would seek a fifth presidential term next month. Bouteflika, who turned 82 on Saturday and has rarely appeared in public since suffering a debilitating stroke in 2013, wrote that he’d oversee a “national dialogue” before stepping down early.
In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir has declared a yearlong national emergency and dissolved national and state governments after three months of protests sparked initially by economic distress. He also stepped down as leader of his party.
The big picture: Leaders around the region who survived the tumult of the 2011 Arab Spring had hoped the disorder and disillusionment that followed would translate into a sort of benign malaise. The scenes in Algeria and Sudan — which follow protests last year in Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Tunisia — might indicate the winter frost is melting.
In the years since the Arab Spring, says Mezran, the Algerian regime “has been able to say, ‘See what happened in Egypt?’ ‘See what happened in Libya?’ And it has worked for a time. But not anymore.”
Meanwhile: “Many in Sudan’s streets see Bashir’s decision in the past week as a classic mistake repeated by desperate dictators in their final throes, and it raises their hopes that his days are numbered,” the Post’s Muhammed Osman and Max Bearak report from Khartoum. However, fears of a wave of violence are also growing.
Where's Guaidó? He was greeted at the airport by a throng of press and supporters. Photo: Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela Monday despite embattled President Nicolás Maduro's warning that he could be arrested for violating a travel ban.
Backdrop: Guaidó left Venezuela on Feb. 22, crossing into Colombia and bringing about a major showdown with Maduro the next day by attempting to bring truckloads of U.S. aid across the border.
"As Mr. Guaidó flew into the country, large military contingents surrounded the Simon Bolívar Airport. A number of European diplomats had come to the airport to offer their support," the New York Times reports.
Expert Voices: Ending Venezuela's stalemate peacefully.
Photo: Pedro Gonzalez Castillo/Getty Images
Nearly 100 days on from his inauguration, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remains immensely popular and on very good terms with President Trump.
Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2016 to 2018, says that's a "bromance that's destined to sour" despite López Obrador's desire to maintain good relations with Washington. Domestically, though, little stands in his way.
Her bottom line: "I'm hoping he doesn't become an authoritarian."
Behind the scenes: Jacobsen spent some time with López Obrador prior to his election. She says he's smart and engaging, but has "a tendency to view any criticism as personal, and I think that could be his Achilles' heel."
MBS, Trump, Pence and Kushner. Photo: Jabin Botsford/Washington Post via Getty Images
A dual U.S.-Saudi citizen may have been tortured in Saudi Arabia after being imprisoned in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s so-called anti-corruption campaign in 2017.
The Trump administration is standing by the Saudis. Jared Kushner was in Riyadh last week to meet with MBS about Middle East peace. Trump has also discussed selling nuclear reactors to the Saudis.
At a panel on the U.S.-Saudi relationship last week hosted by the Arabia Foundation, Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center argued that Trump is both “according the Saudis a level of influence and importance” far beyond reality and sacrificing any U.S. leverage over MBS’ behavior.
"Who are you wearing?" Kim on the red carpet in Hanoi. Photo: Manan Vatsayayan/AFP/Getty Images
The expert consensus seems to be that last week's "no deal" in Hanoi was a decent outcome for Kim Jong-un, who emerges as a more "normal" world leader than ever without having to give anything up.
Jung Pak said Kim's series of summits — with Trump, China's Xi Jinping, South Korea's Moon Jae-in, and potentially Russia's Vladimir Putin — "has the effect of loosening or reducing the appetite for sanctions implementation."
Ryan Hass argued Trump "relinquished all sticks and was only left with carrots," and the carrots on offer "don't seem very appetizing" to the North Koreans.
Michael O'Hanlon said he's actually "relieved that some of these sticks are no longer being deployed," most notably the threat of a "bloody nose" military strike.
77% of Americans think the NATO alliance should be maintained, compared to 19% who think it's no longer necessary, according to Gallup.
66% of Americans think the UN plays a necessary role, compared to 32% who feel it's unnecessary.
Vietnamese policemen sit on stools near Hanoi's Metropole hotel during the Trump-Kim summit. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images
"For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the 'walk.' Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!"— President Trump last night on Twitter
Thanks for reading — see you Thursday evening!