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.
"So, how're things?" Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images
The storm whipping up political chaos across Europe is engulfing the leaders of the continent’s three powers.
The bottom line: No one knows what's coming next.
The end is near for Merkel ...
1,001 CDU delegates will elect their, and likely Germany’s, next leader tomorrow after Merkel — who has been chancellor for a remarkable 14 years — agreed to cede the role following a string of electoral embarrassments.
Why it matters: Five of the seven party chairs in the CDU's 73-year history have served as chancellor. And while Merkel says she’ll stay in office through 2021, Sudha David-Wilp of the German Marshall Fund writes for Axios Expert Voices that may depend on what happens on Friday:
May on course for an epic defeat ...
Downing Street says May is not backing down from the planned vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday, despite the fact that she appears headed for a defeat so significant that it could bring down her government.
An existential challenge to Macron ...
Macron's decision to first delay, and now fully abandon, a proposed hike on fuel taxes in an attempt to quell to the worst riots Paris has seen since 1968 appears to have been too little, too late, Axios' Zach Basu writes:
What to watch: Merkel, May and Macron are different politicians at different points in their careers in different domestic political atmospheres. But they lead Europe's three most powerful countries. And rather than bringing stability in the face of the political chaos on the continent, they look likely to be consumed by it.
Don't look over your shoulder, pal. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images
Vladimir Putin has threatened to begin developing missiles banned under the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty if the U.S. withdraws from the pact. According to every NATO country and both the Obama and Trump administrations, he already has.
Why it matters: President Trump tweeted this week about meeting with Russia and China to "halt what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race." It seems more likely that the arms race is about to heat up.
So if we're entering into a new cold war, where does the world stand? According to a new report from Pew ...
Worth noting: Much of this is leader-driven. Views of the U.S. have fallen off a cliff in the Trump era, and even most countries that tend to view Russia favorably take a dim view of Putin.
Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei (and the daughter of the company's founder), was arrested in Canada in connection with possible violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Here's an excerpt of Axios contributor Bill Bishop's take from his Sinocism newsletter:
Orbán (L) and Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Photo: Debbie Hill/AFP/Getty Images
Israel is negotiating with Hungary's government over the future contents of a new revisionist Holocaust museum to be opened in Budapest, Axios contributor Barak Ravid scoops.
Flashback: After Poland passed a controversial law in February making it illegal to attribute crimes committed during the Holocaust to Poland, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended the ensuing diplomatic crisis by cutting a deal with the Polish government and accepting its revisionist narrative.
The big picture: This is another example of a populist government in central Europe trying to rewrite the history of World War II and distance themselves from any history of anti-Semitism or cooperation with the Nazis. Netanyahu's government is accommodating those steps because it needs the support of the central European governments — mainly Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic — inside the EU.
Go deeper: Read the full report.
Moroccan authorities are using force and committing human rights violations amid efforts to block migrants from crossing into Europe, migrants and rights groups told Al Jazeera correspondent Faras Ghani:
"These 'preventive measures' include routine police raids to move migrants from the country's north to the south. ... According to Amnesty International, at least 5,000 people have been 'swept up in the raids' around Morocco, 'piled onto buses and abandoned in remote areas close to the Algerian border or in the south.'"
Go deeper: Read the full Al Jazeera report
A protest, supported by Vox, against Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Photo: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Meanwhile, in Spain ... Local elections in Andalusia on Sunday gave the fiercely nationalistic and socially conservative Vox party 12 of the provincial assembly’s 105 seats.
Why it matters: Alex Kliment of GZERO Media writes in the latest Signal newsletter that the victories make Vox the first Spanish far-right party to win office since the country’s dictatorship ended in the 1970s:
What to watch: The party is still a relatively small organization, limited to one part of the country where its anti-immigrant message is especially resonant. But as municipal and regional elections approach in 2019, Vox is looking to make broader gains with its “Spain first” message. As the party’s own website promises: “Soon we will be in your province.”
García in 2011. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images
A dramatic and ultimately failed attempt by former Peruvian President Alan García to claim asylum in Uruguay to avoid corruption charges didn't get much attention in U.S. media (or this newsletter). But Martin Aguirre, editor-in-chief of Uruguay's El Pais newspaper and a former Axios fellow, emailed me this week with two reasons why it matters:
1. "García is probably the last of a dying breed of Latin American politicians — highly educated and well-read, an extremely successful populist, an amazing speaker."
2. "I asked some journalist friends why is he being prosecuted now, after decades where everyone knew he was corrupt and did nothing about it. They told me there is a new type of judge in the courts, very influenced by what happened in Brazil with Judge Sergio Moro, that believes is their duty to clean up the country and have no regard for political consequences."
Fisherman on stilts, a traditional method of fishing in Sri Lanka. Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images
“I’m going to hold my government accountable for publicly calling me a criminal."— Maria Ressa, a journalist facing trumped up tax evasion charges in the Philippines. Her news organization, Rappler, has been put under severe pressure by Rodrigo Duterte's government.
Thanks for stopping by — see you next week!