Wong Maye-E / AP

After a reprieve over the weekend with the bellyflop of the North Korean missile test, experts warn that tensions with the U.S. will "remain dangerously high for the indefinite future."

Why it matters: Just 12 days from Trump's 100-day mark, his biggest test (including of his vow to both talk and act tough) is unfolding in real time — with massive global consequences.

The New York Times captures it most memorably in a front-page analysis by David Sanger and Bill Broad: "What is playing out, said Robert Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, ... is 'the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion,' but the slow-motion part appears to be speeding up."

We can hear that unmistakably in remarks today by Vice President Pence inside the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea — at Freedom House, a few meters from the military demarcation line, which he described as a "frontier of freedom," per a pool report by AFP's Andrew Beatty:

"Asked his message to the people of North Korea, VPOTUS said: ... 'the era of strategic patience is over.'"

Go deeper

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Doubts over fair election results

SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

One in four Americans is worried their ballot won't be accurately counted this year, and four in 10 worry mail-in voting could yield less reliable results, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

The big picture: Partisan identification is a massive driver of distrust in both categories — and the stakes are huge this year.