Mr. Juncker Goes To Washington

Today, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who oversees the bloc’s executive body, heads to Washington for a last ditch effort to resolve the EU’s ongoing trade dispute with the US. After President Trump’s disruptive performance at the NATO summit in Brussels two weeks ago, America’s European allies aren’t holding their breath for a grand bargain.


But as Gabe explains, unlike security, where the US is by far the world’s leading power, trade is one area where America no longer holds an unequivocal upper hand.

The global economy is more of a three-sided contest between the US, EU, and the China — who, respectively, make up around 15, 16, and 19 percent of global GDP in 2018 (accounting for purchasing power).

What’s more, the US is more vulnerable to EU retaliation than President Trump likes to think. The EU plays an important role as the world’s biggest consumer of services, a sector that has become crucial to US growth. In 2017, US services exports to the EU were more than four times larger than those to China. The decision to move ahead with proposed tariffs on European automobiles could spark serious economic blowback against portions of the US economy so far unscathed by Trump's trade actions. The administration’s recent move to tee up $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by the ongoing trade spat with China shows the US isn’t invincible.

While Juncker arrives in DC with a plan for progress, he’s also likely resigned to the prospect that a breakthrough may well not be forthcoming. For his part, President Trump tweeted out yesterday that “tariffs are the greatest!”

But for average Americans, the outcome of today’s discussion is far more consequential than haggling over NATO spending quotas or European fines on Google. They could soon be forced to confront the painful reality that, at least economically, America is no longer the unrivaled top dog.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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