Jupiter Visits the Sun

French President Emmanuel Macron isn’t exactly Donald Trump’s type, to say the least. Macron is a “globalist” who sees himself fighting for the future of liberal democracy, while Trump is a hero to precisely the illiberal politicians and nationalists Macron detests. Where Macron embraces high culture and history, Trump is a creature of cable TV and the eternal present. Macron married a woman a quarter of a century older than him, Trump’s age gap with Melania runs in the other direction.


Yet in many ways Trump and Macron, who arrived yesterday for the first state visit granted by the Trump White House, are on the same wavelength. They’re both businessmen who rode anti-establishment waves to the presidency. They both hate politics as usual but share a love of pomp and parades. In their affect(ion)s there’s the sense of the mutual admiration you find in the tussle of two alpha dogs.

Will that understanding yield concrete results for either? For Trump, a decent photo-op with the rare friendly European head of state is probably a win — particularly ahead of a brief, and likely chillier, visit from German Chancellor Angela Merkel later this week.

But for Macron, the stakes are higher. His economic reforms have left him unpopular at home. His ambitious vision for a more powerful EU has provoked skepticism across the continent.

Close ties with Trump, who is deeply disliked in much of Europe, are a big gamble, and now he’s got to show that he can convince the US president to do three big things for Europe: keep the US in the Iran deal, leave American troops in Syria to keep ISIS at bay, and grant the EU permanent exemptions from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

If Macron can’t bring home something on at least one of those areas, the man who came to office promising a Jupiterian presidency will look like he’s gotten burnt by the sun. He wouldn’t be the first.

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It looks like China's leadership has finally had enough of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

In a speech on Thursday to the national people's congress, a symbolic confab of the country's ruling elite, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new national security law that would outlaw secessionist activity and criminalize foreign influence in Hong Kong. The measure, an explicit response to recent pro-democracy protests there, would also permit mainland China's security agencies to operate openly in the city.

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Indonesia becomes an epicenter: Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is now considered an epicenter of the pandemic, after it suffered its biggest daily surge in cases Thursday with over 900 new infections. The country of 260 million has the largest outbreak in Southeast Asia, recording about 20,000 cases and 1,300 deaths, though a recent study suggested that as few as 2 percent of the country's coronavirus infections may have been reported. When pressed on why Indonesia is experiencing a surge in cases while the curve appears to be flattening in neighboring countries, Indonesian health authorities blamed the public's flouting of social distancing guidelines. But critics say the government has sent wishy-washy messages on how to stop the disease's spread, as demonstrated by the fact that only four of Indonesia's 34 provinces have applied widespread social-distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, as the country's 225 million Muslims prepare to celebrate the end of Ramadan this weekend, popular markets have been overwhelmed by shoppers buying food and clothing, with little guidance or enforcement of large-scale social distancing measures. Indonesia's public health system is grossly underfunded, and experts warn that given the shortage of hospital beds, medical equipment and staff, the situation could deteriorate fast in the coming weeks.

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This is not the 2020 that Vladimir Putin had in mind.

As the year started, Russia's president was crafting plans for changes to the constitution that would permit him to stay in power for (at least) another 16 years. A rubber stamp public referendum was to be held in April. Then, in May, he was to welcome foreign leaders to Moscow for a grand celebration (parades, concerts, fireworks, and a reviewing stand atop Lenin's Mausoleum) marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War.

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Have you ever read a major op-ed and thought to yourself, "no! no! no! That's just not right!" Us too. This week, Ian Bremmer is joined by analysts Kelsey Broderick and Jeffrey Wright to take the Red Pen to former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick's Wall Street Journal op-ed.

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