What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
A New Arms Race – The US and Russia have now both officially pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). A key piece of the global arms control regime constructed by Moscow and Washington during the Cold War, the INF Treaty prohibits land-based missiles with ranges between 300 and 4,000 miles. The US signaled its intention to pull out last year, saying Russia was violating its terms, and noting that China isn't even party to the pact. Now Moscow has bolted as well, and we are watching, with no small degree of unease, to see whether this prompts a new global arms race. Remember the 1950s civil defense drills in New York? We don't either, but these photos from the era are chilling.
A New Wiosna (Spring) in Poland? – An openly gay LGBT activist is leadinga new leftist party breaking ground in conservative Poland. Robert Biedron, a former mayor from the Western border town of Slupsk, hopes that the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May can be a springboard for his Wiosna (Spring) party to launch a domestic political movement. He has growing support among young city-dwellers disenchanted with the conservative nationalism of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party. But Wiosna may struggle to expand its base in Europe's most Catholic nation. We're watching to see whether a political spring has sprung for Poland.
WHAT WE'RE IGNORING
Curbing Germans' Need for Speed – Germans love driving fast almost as much as Americans love their guns. It's no surprise then that a recent proposal to limit speeds on the country's famously freewheeling Autobahn (to an oozing 75mph) didn't go over well. Proponents of the idea say it would close one-fifth of the current gap in Germany's 2020 carbon emissions goals. But when a German transport minister imposed similar restrictions in the 1970s, they lasted just four weeks. We're ignoring this story because we're confident Germans will put their foot down – and then speed off into the sunset.
Trump-Churchill comparisons – A new report suggests 60 percent of President Trump's day is consumed by unstructured "Executive Time," much of which is spent watching cable news, reading newspapers, and making phone calls. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the report by comparing the president's habits to those of the famously misanthropic UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill. We're ignoring the comparison though because Churchill wrote 17 books during his lifetime and won World War II.