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.
The nation's top election-security official warned the House Intelligence Committee last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected, continuing to attempt to sow discord among the American electorate, the AP reports.
Why it matters: The warning raises questions about the integrity of the presidential campaign and whether Trump's administration is taking the proper steps to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. saw in 2016.
The State Department confirmed Friday morning the U.S. and Taliban have "reached an understanding" that starts a 7-day "reduction of violence" to be followed by a signed U.S.-Taliban agreement.
Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is the longest war in U.S. history. President Trump has previously pulled out of talks at the last minute, only to restart them.
Two U.S. senators are urging the Federal Transit Authority to clarify a ban on Chinese rail manufacturers and to warn local transit authorities of potential national security threats from China, in a letter obtained by Axios.
The big picture: The ban highlights a growing expansion of national security risks to include economic security, as the U.S. responds to Chinese government economic policies that many perceive as exploitative.
The narrowing of Iran's political spectrum will be demonstrated on Friday in parliamentary elections dominated by hardline candidates.
Driving the news: An estimated one-third of sitting parliamentarians were disqualified from participating, reformists were barred en masse, and boycotts are expected from portions of the increasingly disenfranchised population.