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.
Americans are sharply divided over the role the U.S. should play around the world, and even over who America's top adversaries are, according to a report from Pew.
The big picture: Two years into Donald Trump's pugnacious and unpredictable presidency, polls show the world's view of U.S. leadership falling sharply. Democrats' top foreign policy priority is now repairing the alliances that have been fraying under Trump. Republicans, meanwhile, tend to want more of the same.
The competing visions...
The growing divide...
The generation gap...
What Americans don't care about...
The bottom line: Americans generally agree that the president should focus on jobs, protecting against terrorism and preventing countries from getting nuclear weapons. As for the rest, it depends who you ask.
Protesters gather outside the Ebola center in Beni. Photo: Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images
The Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission has postponed voting in three opposition strongholds — officially because of concerns over Ebola and insecurity — ahead of Sunday's vote, sparking a furious reaction from an opposition convinced the election is being rigged.
Why it matters: The DRC, a massive country in the heart of Africa and home to 83 million people, has never had a peaceful transfer of power.
The big picture: Kabila faces constitutional term limits and should have given up power in 2016. He didn't, and elections have been continually delayed. His hand-picked successor, Shadary, faces a divided opposition deprived of two leading candidates who were ruled ineligible. Still, his election is not a sure thing.
2019 lookahead: Four of the world's eight largest countries by population — home to 2 billion people — will hold general elections in the next few months, starting with Bangladesh on Sunday. Nigeria, Indonesia and India will follow early next year.
Ernest Shackleton and two members of his expedition mark a spot 111 miles from the South Pole, then a record, in 1909. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
After an astonishing 32-hour sprint to the finish that covered nearly 80 miles, American Colin O'Brady yesterday became the first person to complete a solo, unaided crossing of Antarctica.
Smoke billows from the Krakatou volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Photo: Nurul Hidayat/AFP/Getty Images
Five days after a tsunami that killed at least 430 people in Indonesia, the volcano that triggered the disaster continues to erupt.
Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for early elections in April. Despite corruption allegations swirling around him, polls show his Likud party taking a plurality of seats.
Why it matters, from Axios contributor Barak Ravid: This high-stakes political drama is connected to the attorney general's upcoming decision on whether to follow police recommendations and indict Netanyahu on three separate cases of bribery. Last week, the state prosecutor said a decision on the Netanyahu cases will be made in the next several months.
Supporters of Armenia's then-opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan gather in Yerevan in May. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images
Most of what counts as "news" is bad — a flood is news, a sunny day isn't. But this year has been filled with grim events and trends and, as many of you have pointed out in your emails, so has this newsletter.
So I've decided to zoom in on a few cases where the geopolitical winds seemed to blow in a more positive direction.
The bigger, brighter picture: Extreme poverty and illiteracy keep falling worldwide, and life expectancies are on the rise.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
... on the other hand: The Council on Foreign Relations' annual survey of experts identified nine "top conflicts" that pose the gravest threat to U.S. interests in 2019.
Frosty, eat your heart out. Sculptors hard at work ahead of the annual snow sculpture exposition in Harbin, China. Photo: Tao Zhang/Getty Images
"You know, when you think about it, you're fighting for borders in other countries, and they don't want to fight — the Democrats — for the border of our country."— President Trump to troops stationed in Iraq, on his hardline stance on illegal immigration and the need for the wall.