Welcome back to Axios World.
- We’ve got a jam-packed edition for you tonight (1,895 words, 7 minutes).
- Let’s start with a look at where in the world Biden’s team has (and hasn’t) been traveling.
New arrival? Subscribe
Welcome back to Axios World.
New arrival? Subscribe
The travel itineraries of the Biden administration’s top foreign policy officials show a clear pattern:
Breaking it down: With the pandemic still a concern, President Biden has traveled only for summits: NATO in Belgium, the G7 in the U.K., and Vladimir Putin in Geneva. He’s expected to return to Europe for the G20 in Italy (Oct. 29–Nov. 1) and the UN climate summit in the U.K. (Nov. 1–3).
For an administration that is trying to shift attention and resources away from the Middle East, there have been quite a few high-level visits to that region (some came in the context of the Afghanistan withdrawal).
State of play: The administration has not ignored the continent entirely.
Yes, but: “As long as aid and not investment is the basis of the relationship, making the case for Africa’s strategic importance will be difficult,” says Gyude Moore, a fellow at the Center for Global Development. “It is a bit disappointing since Biden was supposed to be an improvement on Trump.”
The bottom line: “It’s difficult to convince the U.S. government that Africa is important enough to warrant these exchanges,” says Moore, who is also a former government minister in Liberia. “This is not a Biden problem. This is an American government problem.”
Editor's note: In addition to Biden, Sullivan, Blinken and his deputy Wendy Sherman, we tracked the travels of Vice President Harris, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. We also included climate envoy John Kerry, who has Biden’s ear and is keeping a particularly busy travel schedule.
Erdogan (left) and Putin in Moscow. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Fresh off his first visit with Vladimir Putin in over a year, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused a top Biden official of "supporting terrorism" and demanded the U.S. pay $1.4 billion for kicking Turkey out of a stealth fighter jet program, Axios' Zach Basu writes.
Driving the news: Speaking to reporters on his way back from Sochi, Erdoğan condemned Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa and former anti-ISIS envoy, for allying the U.S. with Kurdish militias in Syria who Turkey considers a top threat to national security.
For the U.S., a far more pressing issue is Erdoğan's purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defense system, a move that triggered sanctions and Turkey's removal from a program that develops F-35 fighter jets.
How we got here: Biden's relationship with Erdoğan began with a "cold shoulder" for a man he called an "autocrat" on the campaign trail.
"In my 19-year-long life as a ruler, as prime minister and president, the point we arrived in our relations with the U.S. is not good,” Erdoğan told reporters Wednesday. "I have worked well with Bush Jr., with Mr. Obama, with Mr. Trump, but I can’t say we have a good start with Mr. Biden."
What's next: They'll see each other at the G20 next month.
1. The WHO was aiming to have at least 10% of the population of every country vaccinated by the end of September, but 55 mostly African countries still haven’t hit that mark.
2. Ethiopia announced today that it would expel seven UN officials for “meddling” in the country’s affairs after the UN’s aid chief accused the government of intentionally blocking aid to starving people in the war-torn Tigray region.
3. Japan’s next prime minister is Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister and the consensus pick of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He isn’t a particularly popular (or well known) choice with the public.
4. Tunisia’s new prime minister is Najla Bouden Romdhane, the first woman to hold the job. For now, President Kais Saied is still ruling by decree.
5. Germany’s far-right AfD party says it will pursue legal action against the firm it hired to distribute millions of fliers ahead of last Sunday’s election — but which turned out to be a group of activists that now describes itself as “the world market leader in not distributing Nazi fliers.”
Screengrab via Apple Maps
I'm in the mood for a trip to the coast, so let's visit two islands (1,2) and two capital cities (3,4) at the intersection of two continents.
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
Erika Mouynes. Photo: Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press via Getty Images
Panama Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes told Axios' Stef Kight that the Biden administration shouldn't have been caught off guard by the Haitian migrant crisis, because "we sounded the alarm when we should have."
Why it matters: Mouynes said there are as many as 60,000 migrants — mostly Haitian — still poised to make their way north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mouynes expressed her exasperation to Axios after spending months warning leaders across the hemisphere of the impeding Haitian wave.
What to watch: Pro-migration messaging from the U.S. and some South American nations has played a role in the uptick in people moving north.
According to a new survey from the Eurasia Group Foundation, significant majorities of 18- to 29-year-old Americans...
Other key findings:
Methodology: The survey was of a geographically and demographically diverse national sample of 2,168 voting-age adults between Aug. 27–Sept. 1.
Photo: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
A little-known club from Moldova shocked Real Madrid 2-1 on Tuesday in Europe's most prestigious club soccer competition, the Champions League.
What a wonderful Cinderella story, right? Well, as Axios Sports author Kendall Baker explains, it's more complicated than that.
The club, Sheriff Tiraspol, is based in the capital of Transnistria, a pro-Russia breakaway state with its own currency, flag and government. It's part of a conglomerate run by a former KGB agent who has a local monopoly on everything from supermarkets and gas stations to TV channels.
The other side: The money might only widen the gap.
Autumn arrives in the Lesser Khingan Mountains in northeastern China. Photo: Zhao Yonghui/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty
“It’s very low. My antibody level, for example, is above 1,000."— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today to Vladimir Putin, who had boasted that his level was "around 15 or 16"
“Specialists told me mine was high. I spent a whole day with an infected person and didn’t get sick. ... So if you’re going to get re-vaccinated, do it with Sputnik V."— Putin to Erdoğan, saying the scales of measurement must be different.
“I took BioNTech for that."— Erdoğan
"Next time then."— Putin
Answers: Sicily, Malta, Tunis and Tripoli.