Why it matters: The U.S. has responded to standoffs with North Korea, Russia, Iran and Venezuela in unorthodox and unpredictable ways. Alliances are rupturing, authoritarians are rising, and China is steadily becoming the most powerful rival America has ever faced.
President Trump has 48 hours left to either follow through on his threatened ban of TikTok, or accept a proposed tech partnership with Oracle.
Axios Re:Cap digs into how the TikTok user community has reacted to this political drama, and what comes next, with New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz.
The Trump administration has renewed its push for opening direct talks between Israel and Lebanon on the demarcation of their maritime borders in order to find a solution for the dispute between both countries over natural gas explorations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Israeli and U.S. officials told me.
Why it matters: Israeli officials say the Trump administration hopes to launch Israeli-Lebanese diplomatic talks before November's election. There have been no such talks between the countries in 30 years, and renewing Israeli-Lebanese negotiations would be a big achievement for the White House.
GNC Holdings, the Pittsburgh-based nutritional supplements retailer, received bankruptcy court approval to sell itself to China’s Harbin Pharma for $770 million, although the deal still faces U.S. political pressures over how GNC customer data is protected.
Why it matters: It's a reminder that the U.S.-China merger mess goes well beyond smartphone apps, with Sen. Marco Rubio asking for a CFIUS review.
The Commerce Department issued Friday an order blocking new downloads of WeChat and TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 20.
The state of play: President Trump has been in a standoff with TikTok, threatening to ban the app if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, does not relinquish control to a U.S. company. A deal is in the works with the American tech company Oracle, but would need to go through before Sunday to prevent TikTok from being ousted from app stores.
When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.
Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.
Joe Biden described Russia as an "opponent" of the U.S. at a CNN town hall on Thursday, while identifying China as a "serious competitor."
Flashback: The former vice president opened himself to attacks early in his campaign last year when he said China was "not competition" for the U.S. — a comment that drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.