Vladimir Putin has held power for twenty years now, alternating between the prime minister's seat and the presidency twice. He has made himself so indispensable to Russia's political system that even the speaker of the legislature has mused that "without Putin, there is no Russia." The constitution says he can't serve as president again after his current term ends in 2024 – but he'll find a way to keep power somehow. As he starts to lay those plans, here's a look back at his approval rating over the past two decades.
Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.
As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.
US forces on Thursday night killed General Qassim Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force. The assassination, carried out via a drone strike in Baghdad, was framed as a response to recent attacks by Iran-backed militias on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and the killing of a US contractor in northern Iraq last week. The Pentagon said it believed Major General Suleimani was planning further attacks on US interests in the region.
Donald Trump just became the third president in US history to be impeached.
In a vote along party lines, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved impeachment on two counts: abuse of power, for Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his political rival Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress, for preventing key White House witnesses from testifying in the impeachment hearings.
It's late. People are tired. No one can agree on what to say, and everyone wants to go home, so you decide to just pack it in and leave the details for next time. We've all been there, yes, but probably not in a situation where the future of the planet is at stake.
That was the scene early on Sunday morning in Madrid where, despite an extra two days of haggling, the 25th UN climate summit broke up without a substantive agreement on how the nations of the world plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In the end it wasn't even close. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a stunning victory in the UK's snap elections yesterday, taking at least 364 seats out of 650, delivering the Tories their largest majority since 1987.
Johnson read the public mood correctly. After three years of anguish and political uncertainty over the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union, he ran on a simple platform: "Get Brexit Done." In a typically raffish late-campaign move, he even drove a bulldozer through a fake wall of "deadlock." Despite lingering questions about his honesty and his character, Johnson's party gained at least 49 seats (one seat still hasn't been declared yet).
"The NATO states are not paying their fair share," the American president said. "We have been very generous to Europe," he continued, "and it is now time for us to look out for ourselves, knowing full well that the Europeans will not do anything for us simply because we have in the past helped them."
So said John F. Kennedy during a national security meeting with his staff in 1963.
At the time, NATO was just 14 years old. The issue of burden-sharing in the alliance was already a divisive topic, but the Soviet threat held things together. This year the alliance turned 70 – and as leaders of the bloc's 29 member states meet in London today to mark that anniversary, NATO's purpose and future are more uncertain than ever.
There are upsets. There are watersheds. There are landslides. And then there is the Hong Kong election that happened on Sunday.
In a vote that showed the largest turnout in the territory's history, candidates who want a more democratic system won 85% of Hong Kong's 452 district council seats, flipping hundreds of those seats from incumbent council members who support the status quo.