World Leaders’ Frenzied Week: Weekend Reads from Balance Power

(Bloomberg) --

It was a week in which world leaders came under intense pressure.

  • As Donald Trump met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Vietnam for a summit that ultimately collapsed, back in Washington his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress the president is a “con man.” 
  • In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced calls to resign after the former attorney general said he and top aides pressured her to end prosecution of a Quebec construction company.
  • Tensions between India and Pakistan were raised by the most serious military exchange in decades.
  • And protests across Algeria continued, posing the greatest challenge in years to the leader of the North African oil producer and key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in the region.

We’ve got those stories, and some others, too, in this edition of Weekend Reads.

World Leaders’ Frenzied Week: Weekend Reads from Balance Power

Trump Had His Own Wealth Tax in 1999 - But the Math Was Wrong
In 1999, the president proposed a 14.25 percent tax on the net worth of the rich. He conducted a media blitz to get the idea on the front pages, but nobody could figure how it worked, why he proposed it or whose it was. And as Joe Light writes, the math just didn’t add up: Trump was off by trillions of dollars.

Big Plans of 2020 Democrats Risk Getting Buried in the Senate
The Senate threatens to become the graveyard of progressive Democrats’ dreams. Some sounding warnings about the expectations being raised among the progressive voting base that helped the party gain control of the House and will be crucial to any chances of winning the White House, Sahil Kapur and Steven T. Dennis write.

Even Officials Used Banned Platforms in Iran Resignation Saga
Ladane Nasseri reports on how the strange tale of Iran’s foreign minister resigning – but not really – played out almost entirely on banned or nearly banned social media platforms.  And Golnar Motevalli looks at the dynamics of a power struggle over his fate.

World Leaders’ Frenzied Week: Weekend Reads from Balance Power

For more on the crisis in Venezuela, see:

Europe Is Just Glad May Didn’t Shoot Herself in the Foot Again
European Union leaders now hold Prime Minister Theresa May in such low esteem, Ian Wishart reports, that their private targets for her latest summit appearance were minimal: Please, just don’t mess it up again.

Netanyahu’s Bid for Reelection Hit By Legal Storm
This year could see Benjamin Netanyahu surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. It also could be the year he steps down in disgrace. With elections approaching on April 9, David WainerJonathan Ferziger and Ivan Levingston unpack the challenges facing his bid for history.

What China’s Middle Class Says About Trump, Trade and Tomorrow
Karen LeighXiaoqing Pi and April Ma visited 12 cities in nine provinces that reflect a cross-section of China’s economy and spoke to dozens of people to ask how much the gloomy outlook has damped their optimism. The answer in most cases — it hasn’t.

World Leaders’ Frenzied Week: Weekend Reads from Balance Power

State Capitalism Returns to Europe With a Nasty Shock for Macron
Political intervention is increasing as the continent looks to challenge China. But inevitably there are conflicts. Ben SillsGeraldine Amiel and Helene Fouquet report on a sense of panic.

How a `Giant Ponzi Scheme' Destroyed a Nation's EconomyAlmost two decades of profligate monetary policy has destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy and fueled rampant inflation, decimating the savings of its people twice. Now,  Antony Sguazzin writes, Zimbabweans face shortages of everything from bread to fuel -- and the money to buy them.

Watch this:

And finally …  Whispers about the potential auction of a major painting by Robert Rauschenberg primed the market for one of the most important postwar American artists, Katya Kazakina writes. And the mystery is now over: A collage-like canvas of President John F. Kennedy shortly after his assassination is going up for auction with an estimate of $50 million. “Everyone has been waiting for this painting,’’ said Sara Friedlander of Christie’s. “It’s the very best of the silkscreen paintings that’s left in private hands.’’

World Leaders’ Frenzied Week: Weekend Reads from Balance Power

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.