Weekend Reads From Balance of Power

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With U.S. President Donald Trump laying plans for a historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and the leaders of France and Germany both en route to the White House next week, here’s a recap of some of our best political coverage from the past seven days.  

Enjoy!

Macron Wants to Save Europe: He’ll Need to Save France First 
Helene Fouquet and Ben Sills delve into the challenges facing Emmanuel Macron a year after his election. The French president heads to Washington next week for his first official state visit as “the only major European leader to have a working relationship” with Trump, according to Martin Quencez, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. 

Rosenstein Tells Trump He’s Not Target in Mueller, Cohen Probes
Jennifer Jacobs, Chris Strohm and Jennifer Epstein exclusively report on the meeting when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Trump he isn’t a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election meddling or the probe into his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Investors Will Find Cuba Without Castros Is No Island Paradise
Ezra Fieser takes a closer look at Cuba’s struggling economy as nearly six decades of Castro rule comes to an end. Few Cubans say they expect Raul Castro’s successor to launch reforms to spur the economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in two decades. 

Chinese Sorghum Tariffs Will Hit Hard in Trump-friendly Kansas
Joshua Green examines how China’s plans to impose a 178.6 percent duty on sorghum imports from the U.S. – retaliation for the new wave of U.S. tariffs – puts yet another Trump-friendly state (Kansas) and its senior senator squarely in the political crosshairs.

Forget the Nuclear Deal, Iran’s Big Concern Is a Banking Crisis
Iran is flirting with its own version of the credit crunch that crippled Western banks a decade ago, Golnar Motevalli writes. With the deal on its nuclear program failing to deliver promised gains, a banking crisis poses a bigger economic threat to the country than any decision by Trump to rip up the agreement.

Europe’s Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking Loudly in the Baltics
Many of Eastern Europe’s young homegrown workers are leaving for the west, and the populist wave sweeping the region has made it almost impossible for refugees from Africa or the Middle East to take their place, Leonid Ragozin reports. 

Inside China’s $1 Billion Port Where Ships Don’t Want to Stop
Each year roughly 60,000 ships vital to the global economy sail through the Indian Ocean past a Chinese-operated port on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Almost none of them stop to unload cargo. Iain Marlow explains why. 

Populist Power-Broker in Sweden Has No Use for Bannon or Russia
Amanda Billner and Hanna Hoikkala profile Jimmie Akesson, the 38-year-old leader of Sweden’s nationalist party whose star is on the rise ahead of the Nordic country’s election in September.

Xi’s big bang | Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 financial reforms transformed Britain. Is China about to undergo the same? Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait takes a look.

And finally … For years, oil was the major determinant of which countries rose to – and lost – power in the global economy. Today, that commodity increasingly is water. This week’s Benchmark podcast takes listeners to Cape Town, where the water crisis has authorities warning they may need to turn off the taps. 

 

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