Oct 14, 2018

The Kremlin's comeback in the Middle East

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

"Russia has been cultivating ties with the Taliban to increase its influence in Afghanistan three decades after Moscow’s humiliating defeat there helped hasten the Soviet Union’s collapse," Missy Ryan and Amie Ferris-Rotman of the Washington Post report.

Why it matters: "The Russian gambit is a relatively modest political investment that could yet yield outsize dividends as Moscow seeks to prove its global heft."

  • "'Supporting the Taliban in a small way is an insurance policy for the future,' said Artemy Kalinovsky, a scholar of Central Asian history at the University of Amsterdam."

The big picture: "Moscow has ... sought to reclaim its role as regional power broker, convening secret discussions with the United States, Iran, Pakistan, India and China ... It is part of a strategy ... to protect Russia’s southern flank from the Islamic State’s emergence in Central Asia and hedge against the possibility of an abrupt U.S. exit from Afghanistan after 17 years of war."

Go deeper

In photos: Trump visits Taj Mahal after massive rally in India

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Taj Mahal. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump visited India's Taj Mahal on Monday, hours after telling a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad that he hopes to reach a trade deal with his "true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties as India’s location, size and economic growth make it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 11 mins ago - World

Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.