Another thing they agree on: US President Donald J. Trump’s intention to walk away from the treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 has created the impression that it is the United States that is at fault.
The agreement, which banned both countries—and the USSR’s successor nations—from keeping ground-based nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, became untenable, US officials argued, after evidence emerged of Russian violations and continued build-up of Chinese missiles within this range.
US President Donald J. Trump has warned this “caravan” not to enter the United States. In a tweet on October 22, he claimed that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.”
Trump also threatened to cut off, or substantially reduce, aid provided to the countries of the Northern Triangle—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—which are the chief source of these migrants.
The notion that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had himself relayed to the world via his Apple Watch evidence of his own torture, killing and dismemberment was quickly replaced by a more compelling story line.
The fragile security situation in Afghanistan was underscored on October 18 when Gen. Austin Miller, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, escaped unharmed in an attack by a Taliban gunman in Kandahar. Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar’s police commander, and Abdul Momin, the provincial intelligence chief, were killed in the attack. The Afghan government has postponed the vote in Kandahar province by a week.
In the rest of Afghanistan, voters will head to the polls on October 20 to elect candidates to the lower house of parliament. The election is three years overdue. Around 2,500 candidates are standing for 250 seats.
‘The return of great nation competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time,’ says US Assistant Secretary of State Wess MitchellThe United States’ rivals are “expanding their political, military, and commercial influence” in Central and Eastern Europe to the detriment of the Western alliance, A. Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary responsible for the US State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on October 18.
“The return of great nation competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time,” Mitchell said, adding the warning that “for far too long the West did not take competition seriously” in Central and Eastern Europe. Content with the success of the post-Cold War period, officials in Europe and the United States have allowed growing Russian and Chinese influence in the region to “sneak up on us,” he contended.
Despite warnings from Brussels, the ruling Italian coalition of La Lega and the 5 Star Movement submitted its 2019 budget proposal to the European Union (EU) on October 15. A combination of tax cuts, increased social spending, and a roll back of pension reforms will cause the deficit to jump from 0.8 percent to 2.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the government’s calculations. The proposal, which creates a deficit that is more than triple the level desired by the EU, has left investors jittery about the trajectory of the Italian economy.