Trump’s Day of Chaos Fuels Global Tension

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It started with a tweet boasting he could whip former Vice President Joe Biden in a schoolyard brawl, escalated with $50 billion in tariffs on China that rattled markets and may have touched off a trade war, and ended with a snap decision to fire his national security adviser.

Somewhere in the middle of Donald Trump’s roller coaster of a day, the lead attorney representing the U.S. president in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian election meddling probe resigned.

As the dust settles, questions are emerging about how Trump’s reconfigured foreign policy team — which will now include 2003 Iraq War advocate John Bolton as national security adviser — will affect his approach to an upcoming Iran nuclear deal deadline and plans for a historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Both Bolton and new Secretary of State pick, Mike Pompeo, are more hawkish than their predecessors. Each has advocated regime change in Iran and North Korea.

And with China’s ambassador explicitly warning of a trade war, annoying China may not be the best way for Trump to forge a united front on North Korea ahead of the proposed summit with Kim.

Global Headlines

The plot to reverse Brexit | The U.K.’s anti-Brexit movement is sensing for the first time that it can win. Tim Ross and Kitty Donaldson profile Chuka Umunna, the 39-year-old Labour member of Parliament leading the effort, and reveal how, with intelligence on the negotiations supplied by EU officials, it's lobbying lawmakers to defeat the final deal a weakened Prime Minister Theresa May puts to a vote in October in order to force a new referendum.

Disillusioned Eastern Europe | Protesters who jingled their their keys in the main square in Slovakia’s capital for three weeks to demand the government’s ouster got their wish yesterday: The president named a new leadership after protests over a journalist’s murder prompted the resignation of three-time Prime Minister Robert Fico. The shakeup is the latest example of the increasing volatility in Europe’s east, with its nations clashing with the EU over the rule of law and its citizens taking to the streets to oppose graft and misuse of power.

Abe’s diminished charm | After 16 months of warm words, lavish gifts and rounds of golf, Japan’s Shinzo Abe may be discovering the limits of personal rapport with Trump as the U.S. leader reshuffles his administration and upends his North Korea and trade policies. The blows come at a sensitive time for Abe, who's caught up in a land-sale scandal.

Facing farmers’ fury | Pushing back against claims that his ruling party is “on the back foot,” Indian leader Narendra Modi is pulling out all the stops to win the southern swing state of Karnataka and smooth his way to re-election in 2019. But the vote is said to turn on the vote of 8 million farmers, many of them furious with Modi’s government over its rural failures.

Turkish clampdown | Already the world’s leading jailer of journalists, Turkey is squeezing the last remaining independence out of its battered media by widening the radio and television censor's powers to include the Internet. As Benjamin Harvey reports, the moves come as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in power for 15 years, prepares to cement his control with elections next year that will abolish the post of prime minister and codify what is essentially one-man rule.

What to watch:

  • Trump is expected to sign a $1.3 trillion government spending bill that Congress passed early this morning. Current funding expires at midnight.
  • Italian parliament to pick speakers this weekend in the first test of new alliances.

Click here for Bloomberg’s week in photos. 

And finally... A commercial airliner flying to Tel Aviv crossed through the skies of Saudi Arabia for the first time yesterday, ending an era during which a direct route was impossible because of Middle East tensions. Air India flight 139 took off from New Delhi and passed over Oman before entering Saudi airspace. The seven-hour flight landed in Tel Aviv shortly after 10 p.m.

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