Welcome to Axios World. The venerable Dave Lawler has given me the keys to his kingdom while he takes a deserved couple of weeks off. This is my first shot at this whole newsletter thing, so here goes nothing.
And while I've got your attention, let me tell you about some new Axios newsletters heading your way soon.
Jimmy Akesson, leader of the Sweden Democrats, the far-right party du jour. Photo: Michael Campanella/Getty Images
Attempting to discern the roots of Europe's rising populist minority is difficult given the broad range of attitudes and social currents across the continent.
The big picture: While Europe's populist movements get a lot of frenzied discussion in the press, they haven't really gained that much clear electoral success. But they're still managing to seize the political narrative seemingly everywhere — even in countries that vary wildly demographically.
There's no doubt that religious Western Europeans are pushing against immigration and non-minority religions, like Islam.
There are some noticeable outliers, including both Norway and Sweden, where the religiously unaffiliated are more likely to back reducing immigration levels than their non-practicing Christian counterparts. It tracks with a newer, more nuanced strain of populism.
The bottom line: The social currents driving Europe's anti-immigration, anti-Muslim upheaval — attributable to a vocal minority — can't be described by one simple trend. Different European nations have different driving forces behind their populist, nationalist voices — all to varying levels of electoral success.
Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
Sweden's Social Democrats, who led the previous government with a center-left coalition, had their worst election performance since World War I, but are neck-and-neck with a center-right coalition led by the Moderate Party, reports Axios' Zach Basu.
Summing it up, via Politico's Brussels Playbook: "In other words, there’s no winner. The coming weeks will be a Choose Your Own Adventure route to minority government. IKEA doesn’t provide a manual for that sort of construction."
The big picture: The buzzword among analysts today has been "fragmentation," the fact that — across Europe — the biggest political parties are getting smaller and smaller political parties are getting bigger as more targeted options are presented to voters.
President Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem last year. Photo: Fadi Arouri/AFP/Getty Images
"The Trump administration is expected to announce Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, administration officials said Sunday night, widening a U.S. campaign of pressure amid stalled Middle East peace efforts," scoops the WSJ's Michael Gordon.
Trump is using the financial angle to bring the Palestinians to the table for a peace deal, as reported over the past few weeks in an excellent series of stories by Axios contributor Barak Ravid.
Idlib residents flee for the Turkish border. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images
A Reuters news alert this morning: "JUST IN: More than 30,000 people have been displaced in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province by the latest offensive - U.N. official."
Dave wrote about this coming crisis on Thursday, but it's happening now. And an Axios Expert Voices piece from Brookings' Jessica Brandt highlights the incredible, terrifying scale of the humanitarian disaster that is set to unfold.
Photo: Alexander Demianchuk/TASS/Getty Images
North Korea staged a huge military parade Sunday in commemoration of its 70th anniversary, but did not display the country's most advanced missiles as it had in the past, Axios' Zach Basu reports.
It led President Trump to chime in on Twitter: "North Korea has just staged their parade, celebrating 70th anniversary of founding, without the customary display of nuclear missiles. Theme was peace and economic development."
And today, per NBC News' Courtney Kube and Carol Lee: "The newest intelligence shows Kim's regime has escalated efforts to conceal its nuclear activity, according to three senior U.S. officials."
A burned bus in Cameroon. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
"Cameroon says it has deployed additional troops to Bamenda several hours after armed separatists blocked access into and out of the northwestern English-speaking town, attacking passengers and buses," reports Voice of America.
Participants in North Korea's Mass Games. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
"We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution — and handed the detonator to [the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier."— Boris Johnson in the Mail on Sunday
"This isn’t language the prime minister would choose to use. Beyond that, I don’t plan on giving this article further oxygen."— Downing Street's response, per The Guardian
Hope you enjoyed today's edition — and that I made Dave proud. See you again on Thursday!