Welcome back to Axios World,. Tonight we're winding our way around the globe in 1,524 words ( ~ 5 minutes).
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
By Wednesday afternoon, Boris Johnson will almost certainly be prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Why it matters: Now, the man is meeting the moment he helped create. He'll have 99 days to fulfill his promise to bring the country out of the EU by Halloween, with or without a deal.
What's next: Johnson will (almost certainly) be announced tomorrow morning as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership race.
How he got here: Johnson's rise to the pinnacle of British politics has been fueled by sheer force of personality and made possible in part by the fact that no one, least of all Johnson, takes him entirely seriously.
When May's position became untenable, the job was Johnson's to lose. Rather than offer alternative proposals, though, he has offered alternative emotions.
Between the lines: Johnson's political appeal blends humor with Churchillian grandeur, often unencumbered by reality.
The bottom line: All of this means a collision is coming between now and October. Johnson argued in today's column, as he has throughout his career, that what's missing from the top ranks of British politics is "can-do spirit." We'll soon see if it makes all the difference.
Zelensky casts his ballot. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
1. Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's TV star-turned-president, is set to "become Ukraine’s first leader since the fall of communism to command a single party majority in parliament," per Reuters.
2. Police in Hong Kong are being accused of turning a blind eye as "masked men wielding sticks" beat unarmed protestors last night after a rally, per the BBC.
3. The government of Kazakhstan has started intercepting all of the secure HTTPS traffic within its borders, Axios' Ina Fried writes.
4. U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said continued provocations from Iran, like the seizure of a British tanker last Thursday, would necessitate a "larger Western military presence" in the Gulf. He also called for European cooperation to protect shipping.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Axios' Jonathan Swan had an inside look at why Trump keeps John Bolton around in yesterday's Sneak Peek newsletter. Excerpts:
The bottom line: It's true that Trump has been frustrated with Bolton — sometimes deeply so. But even some who most want Bolton gone grudgingly concede that the hawk who Trump once said would "take on the whole world at one time" may survive for a while yet.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: Ashley Pon/Getty Images
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's tour through the Caribbean reflects Taiwan's imperative to reinforce relationships with allies vulnerable to poaching by China, writes Daniel Erikson of the Penn Biden Center for Axios Expert Voices.
The big picture: Only 17 countries continue to recognize Taiwan instead of the People’s Republic of China, and the majority are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Tsai's 10-day trip follows two years of bad news, as Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have all broken decades-long diplomatic ties with Taipei in order to extend official ties to Beijing.
What to watch: Taiwan’s Caribbean campaign is likely to buy time as China continues making economic inroads across the region. However, the emphasis on photo ops, symbolism and warm words over substantive new projects leaves an opening for deeper Chinese engagement that will likely irritate Washington when it comes to pass.
Ahead of a vote tomorrow, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told parliament it was its “responsibility” to keep him in his post.
But, but, but: The pro-independence Catalan parties that helped Sánchez come to power last year won’t back him this time. Alfred Bosch, foreign minister of the autonomous region, told me last week that while there was once “hope in the air,” Sánchez hasn’t been “brave enough” to continue dialogue.
Flashback: A 2017 Catalan referendum ended in police violence and led to a high-profile trial of 12 pro-independence politicians that has gripped Catalonia and inflamed Spanish nationalism.
That's unlikely to happen any time soon.
How you hold a puppy if no one ever tells you you're wrong. Photo: Maxim Shemetov/AFP/Getty Images
"Like Schrödinger’s cat, the president of Turkmenistan spent the weekend hovering between life and death, with neither outcome certain," Reid Standish writes for Foreign Policy.
Why it matters: When rumors began to spread online that dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had died, the regime seemed unable to extinguish them.
A scene from the Yadnya Kasada festival at Mount Bromo in eastern Java, Indonesia. Sacrifices are thrown into a volcano to appease the mountain gods. Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/ Getty Images
"So I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, 'would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' He said 'Kashmir.'"— Trump today in the Oval Office, with Pakistani PM Imran Khan
"No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally."— India's Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement. Go deeper.
Thanks for reading — see you Thursday evening