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.
"You should see my nuclear stockpile." Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
While Washington prepares for new cold wars, America’s two major rivals are warming up to one another.
Driving the news: Today alone, the Trump administration laid out an Africa strategy that is tied almost entirely to blocking Chinese and Russian influence, and President Trump used the word “China” 20 times in a relatively brief Fox News interview.
I sat down yesterday with Alexander Gabuev, a China expert at Carnegie Russia, who told me the two giants are moving closer together — in part as a response to an increasingly confrontational Washington.
The long-standing issues of tension — like competition for influence in Central Asia or China's copycat approach to Russian military technology — have largely been put aside, Gabuev says.
What it looks like ...
What we're witnessing is not a true alliance, but a partnership defined by pragmatism. Russia may resent becoming the junior partner in its relationship with a rising power, for example, but it also appreciates the economic and diplomatic cover it gets from China as it faces Western rebukes and sanctions.
The bottom line: I asked Gabuev if there's an existential fear of a China-led world in Moscow, as there is in Washington. He said Russian officials tend to view the U.S.-led world order as "finished," but don't believe China will simply replace America, in part because Europe and Japan won't get in line behind Beijing.
Trump and Nigerian President Buhari. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Meanwhile, in Washington ... National Security adviser John Bolton unveiled the Trump administration's Africa strategy on Thursday, Axios' Shannon Vavra writes.
The plan is largely designed to counter China and Russia. Bolton accused them of using "bribes," "opaque agreements" and "corruption" to gain competitive advantage over the U.S. in Africa.
"Africa is incredibly important to the U.S. If we didn’t understand it before, the competition with China and Russia should highlight it for us. Which is why I think it’s a turning point for us."— Bolton, speaking at the Heritage Foundation
The big picture:
Bolton said the U.S. would overhaul its aid and investments in the continent by investing in specific sectors in African nations instead of providing "indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent."
On the one hand ...
On the other hand ...
I asked Axios contributor and Sinocism author Bill Bishop what he makes of it all:
"So far, the Chinese really are trying to keep Huawei and trade separate. The WSJ yesterday and NYT today had stories about China planning to make big concessions to Trump. I am hearing the same thing. [U.S. Trade Rep. Robert] Lighthizer won’t accept warmed-over promises, and I think the Chinese get that, so as long as Trump keeps his resolve there may actually be a chance for some significant concessions on trade, moves that Xi can spin domestically as not due to U.S. pressure but as part of the deepening of reform."
How would the world change if everyone who wanted to move to a different country was able to do so? Gallup asked "nearly half a million adults in 152 countries" whether they wanted to move and, if so, where they'd go. Here's what they found:
Where populations would explode ...
Where they'd decline ...
The population of the U.S. would rise by 46% to 476 million.
Houthi fighters in Sanaa gather to show support for the peace talks. Photo: Hani Al-Ansi/picture alliance via Getty Images
The Yemeni government and representatives from the Houthi rebel movement agreed today to a ceasefire in the vital port city of Hodeidah and the surrounding province.
Why it matters: This could be a major breakthrough in a conflict that has left 60,000 dead and caused the world's worst humanitarian disaster. It follows the announcement of a prisoner swap and comes amid a debate in Washington over support for the Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis.
Al Jazeera's Faisal Edroos spoke to the chief negotiators representing both sides at the talks in Sweden:
What's next: Peter Salisbury of the International Crisis Group told Edroos: "Turning this agreement into a reality on the ground will be a slog and a lot could go wrong. With luck and a ton of hard work, this can build into a peace process but the momentum hasn't yet shifted from war to peace."
Cut out for the job? Gandhi's supporters rally in New Delhi. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images
India's opposition Congress Party won surprise victories this week in three states core to the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Why it matters, from Carnegie's Milan Vaishnav ...
The bottom line: "If the Congress can claw back a sizable share of these seats next spring, the BJP will struggle to win enough seats to form the next government."
The latest: Gandhi hinted at an anti-Modi electoral alliance, saying: "With a resurgent Congress party and a combined opposition, it is going to be pretty difficult for the prime minister to win."
Dr. Catena treats a patient at Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced Dr. Tom Catena, an American and the only doctor based permanently in Sudan’s war-torn Nuba Mountains, as its next chairman. I spoke with him about his work, the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and the prospects for peace.
Mother of Mary hospital, where Catena is based, is the only facility capable of treating patients who require “a high level of care” in an area roughly the size of Austria. He treats up to 500 patients a day.
Because the area is controlled by rebels, no humanitarian aid is allowed in despite the desperate needs of the 750,000 people living there, many of whom have been suffering from food shortages in recent months.
The bottom line: “Overall, people are hopeful,” he says. “But almost everybody here, since they were born, they’ve been in conflict. They’ve been disappointed so many times,” and you can see it in their faces, he says. They know not to get their hopes up too high.
North and South Korean soldiers shake hands during a verification of the withdrawal of guard posts along the DMZ. Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty
"Congratulations to @RichardGrenell, our great Ambassador to Germany, for having the courage to take this horrible issue on!"— Trump on the ambassador's stand against "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski
Have a wonderful weekend — see you Monday evening!