Compiled by Ana Ramic
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to be suffering from unrequieted love for President Trump. The President, whom the Japanese Prime Minister is currently visiting at Mar-a-Lago, has been playing the “will they won’t they” game with TPP. It seems he has ruled out participation in the treaty, but has since ruled it out, which comes as bad news for Japan, but follows the administration’s preference for bilateral trade agreements. Another big fan of the President is Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer. The FBI raided his offices in an ongoing investigation led by Robert Mueller, for specific reasons still unknown. Trump claimed it an attack on the country, and in return, Cohen claimed he’d take a bullet for the president. Let’s see what he really will do as the details unfold.
And then there’s the rest of the base: a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found GOP voters are lining up behind Trump’s position on trade. That support comes from specifically non-college-educated whites who favor Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods, and rural voters; while every other subgroup is opposed. The GOP will never be the same.
In slightly more amusing news, last week Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was faced with all kinds of…interesting…questions as he testified in front of two different Congressional committees. To put it diplomatically: he cleared a very low bar. What also stood out was the lack of questions regarding specific tactics and purpose of Russian information operations (the purpose of the hearings). It was clear that members of Congress were not well-versed on the subject, did not understand the responses, and thus could not ask useful follow-up questions. To say that Congress wasted this opportunity would be an understatement; and that’s a shame.
Those are some of the biggest news in transatlantic affairs this week and we need to highlight them. But we should also highlight that the objects of those news lack a certain gender diversity (gasp!). So to balance that out, we would like to give a special mention to Beyoncé who authored an homage to black culture at the Coachella music festival last weekend. That’s important because she is seen to be increasingly speaking for a whole generation of Americans.
POLICY & SECURITY
- The US, alongside UK and France, carried out precision strikes against the Syrian government last week. It seems that President Trump and Secretary Mattis disagreed over the need for congressional approval. But not only that – Trump also disagreed with his new National Security Advisor John Bolton; and won. For his part, Bolton – one of the hawks who led the Bush administration into war in Iraq and Afghanistan – is working to build up a permanent Arab force in Syria to replace the existing US troops, primarily with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
- Yascha Mounk writes an open letter to Chancellor Merkel, condemning her silence on Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán.
- New German Ambassador to the US, Emily Haber is about to begin her role this summer, while current Ambassador Peter Wittig gets new spot as the top man in London.
- Joe Nye considers the American role in an era of Asian leadership.
- Trump runs risks in Syria that Obama never would have – but he has a point. Kori Schake explains.
- Paul Ryan is stepping down and with him the era of a strong Speaker of the House.
- Nikki Haley announced more sanctions against Russia…
- But was promptly contradicted by the president…
- Preparing his book, Anthony Scaramucci explains Donald Trump: “The President made me as famous as Melania and Ivanka — and I didn’t have to sleep with him or be his daughter. So it’s all good.”
- Georgia’s Stacy Abrams is running for Governor. She’d be the first Democrat in 15 years and the first female governor in the country.
TECH & BUSINESS
- Are all the German eggs in a Chinese basket?
- Jeffrey Sachs weighs up online ethics, Facebook’s lobbying power, and personal data markets.
- Is Facebook GDPR-compliant?
- White House cybersecurity coordinator departs, returning to the NSA. But who will get the job next?
- The Valley has gotten this from the Zuckerberg Congressional hearing: Washington politicos are no match for Silicon Valley.
- A Facebook-case appears before a Berlin court, adding to the debate about the effectiveness of Germany’s Network Enforcement Law
CULTURE & MEDIA
- Former FBI director James Comey, whose book „A Higher Loyalty“ came out this week, stresses in an NPR interview: “The FBI isn’t on anybody’s side.”
- Rapper Kendrick Lamar wins this year’s Pulitzer Prize in music, and hip hop is officially America’s favorite genre.
- The Washington Post also shares this year’s Pulitzer Prize in journalism. The paper’s owner Jeff Bezos faces off with Trump.
- Beyonce is larger than Coachella: #Beychella.
- Madeleine Albright’s new book, “Fascism: A Warning,” rings the alarm bells against submission.
- With the workings of the nation (pick one) in question, Rana Dasgupta looks for the post-nation-state revolution.
- Cities expert Richard Florida explores the rise of the “metropolitan elite,” the future of jobs, and concentration of arts and culture in urban spaces, in his new book “The New Urban Crisis.”