Balance of Power: Barcelona's Impact Stretches Far Beyond Spain

(Bloomberg) -- Nice, Berlin, London, Stockholm, and now Barcelona.

It reads like a list of top European tourist destinations rather than the scene of terrorist attacks claimed or inspired by Islamic State and carried out using cars, trucks or vans.

Among the horrifying aspects of yesterday’s rampage that left 13 dead and some hundred injured on the Ramblas is that social media makes this sort of carnage very immediate in the modern age. 

For governments, the reality that vehicles are fast becoming the weapon of choice means little can be done to prevent them.

It all feeds into a siege atmosphere in parts of Europe that anti-immigration, anti-Islam populists can tap into at will. Just ask Angela Merkel, who is being confronted by far-right protests over her refugee policy during her re-election campaign.

While the populists were beaten back in the Netherlands and France this year, the anger they feed on isn’t going away -- and neither is the terrorist threat. A recent report by the EU’s Radicalisation Awareness Network found that as Islamic State is degraded in its one-time strongholds of Syria and Iraq, the number of terrorist fighters returning to Europe is set to increase.

Balance of Power: Barcelona's Impact Stretches Far Beyond Spain

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Global Headlines

Gore tells Trump to resign | Republican Senator Bob Corker, who once considered taking a Trump administration post, yesterday called for “radical changes” and said the president hasn’t shown he has what it takes to serve. Former Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat, urged the president to resign. The new remarks are part of the intensifying backlash to Trump’s suggestions that both sides were to blame for the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Another White House business panel scrapped | The Trump administration has abandoned plans for an infrastructure advisory council in the latest fallout over Charlottesville, Bloomberg’s Mark Niquette reports exclusively. The move underscores questions about the president’s ability to govern as once-supportive corporate executives distance themselves. 

Top U.S. chiefs brainstorm on Afghanistan | Trump summoned top officials to Camp David to try and hammer out an agreement on America’s future role in Afghanistan. While the president has long questioned the 17-year U.S. commitment to the war-torn state, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are pushing to add troops to train Afghan special forces and curtail the encroachment of Islamic State. 

Brexit plan details | U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is moving to address grumbling that it isn’t clear what it wants from Brexit. As Ian Wishart and Alex Morales report, next week it will lay out positions in at least three different areas before a fresh round of talks on divorce from the European Union at the end the month. 

Merkel heckled over immigrants | The group of protesters that jeered the chancellor and waved signs of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party in the town of Annaberg-Buchholz yesterday was the largest yet of her election campaign. As Patrick Donahue reports, Merkel defended her open-borders refugee policy and chastised right-wing demonstrators as people who do nothing but shout. The impact on the election remains to be seen. 

And finally... The Economist and the New Yorker have both depicted Trump bellowing his message into items repurposed as hoods of the Ku Klux Klan, while Time magazine ran a headline saying “Hate in America,” complete with a flag draped across a Nazi salute. This may end up being a difficult weekend for a president who loves to collect magazines emblazoned with his image.

Balance of Power: Barcelona's Impact Stretches Far Beyond Spain

To contact the authors of this story: Alan Crawford in Berlin at, Brendan Scott in Singapore at