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Fareed: The Crucial Thing Trump Has Squandered

Whatever happens in the wake of President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin yesterday, and despite the President’s efforts at clarifying his remarks Tuesday, one thing is already clear, Fareed says. America has lost one of the greatest assets underpinning its global influence: trust.

“International relations are based on power, but also on credibility. And the reality is that US allies who have long depended on the United States for their security are starting to doubt whether they can trust America to have their backs,” Fareed says.

“The American-led international order after 1945 was built not just on American power, but on American credibility. Words have mattered because no country should want to keep going to war to prove that it is willing to deliver on its promises. People need to trust you. And I think that trust has been shattered.

“As I wrote in The Washington Post last week, President Trump has turned Republican foreign policy on its head by recognizing that the party’s base doesn’t see things the way the party’s elite do. If we are to see any change in direction, then that fever has to break. But it’s not clear whether even some of the sharp criticism we have seen from some senior Republicans like John McCain will have any impact.

“The president’s performance will be perhaps the best test you could imagine of how much has really changed with the party and US policy, because this appears to be a very real example of the president not fulfilling his constitutional duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Why Putin ♥’d Helsinki

Vladimir Putin might not have secured recognition of his country’s Crimea claims during his meeting with President Trump. It was still worth the trip to Helsinki, suggests Anton Troianovski in The Washington Post.

“The summit represented a personal triumph for Putin, who faces the prospect that the burst of patriotism that boosted him at home after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine is wearing off,” Troianovski. “His approval rating has dropped about 20 percentage points to around 50 percent in recent months amid continued economic stagnation and a government effort to lower the retirement age. The summit sharpened Putin’s image as a leader rebuilding Russian influence on the world stage, one who solves global problems face to face with the leader of the world’s most powerful country.”

The Bizarre Thing About Russia Policy? There Are Two of Them

The Trump-Putin meeting underscored a “bizarre” reality that has gripped US policy toward Russia, Peter Bergen argues for CNN Opinion, namely that there are two policies. That can’t go on much longer.

“There is the policy of the administration, which has taken a fairly hard line on Russia, for instance, expelling 60 Russian diplomats in March after Russia's attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a nerve agent,” Bergen writes.

“Then there is the policy of the President, who continues to embrace Putin and to deny the assessments of his own intelligence agencies. How long is this really sustainable for the members of Trump’s war cabinet? Or put another way, at what point should it no longer be tolerable?”

Why Europe Can’t Quit Turkey

It’s understandable that Europe has soured on Turkey as its policies have taken on an increasingly authoritarian bent. But the European Union would be making a mistake if it completely shut the door on the country’s membership aspirations, suggest Dimitar Bechev and Nathalie Tocci for Politico EU. After all, the EU needs Turkey, too.

“Notwithstanding the election results, the European Council agreed on June 29 to release the second tranche of €3 billion in financial assistance for Syrian refugees. Imperfect as it is, the EU-Turkey refugee deal reached in March 2016 to stem the tide of asylum seekers has stuck. With migration remaining a burning political issue in key EU countries like Germany, the partnership with Ankara is set to endure,” they write.

“If the EU were to pull the plug on membership talks, that would be a gift to the Turkish president. He will whip up nationalism and lay blame for whatever problems the country confronts…at Europe’s feet.”

The Global Economy Has Some New Heroes

The United States might be turning its back on free trade, but new champions are already stepping into the breach, the Nikkei Asian Review editorializes. Look no further than a trade deal inked Tuesday that covers around a third of the global economy.

The pact between Japan and the European Union “comes at a pivotal moment for global trade. The UK is set to leave the EU at the end of March 2019, by which time Japan and the EU look to have ratified their agreement -- a wise course of action to avoid the unpredictable disruptions that parting may cause. The US and China, meanwhile, are embroiled in an escalating trade war,” the paper says.

“Japan and the EU must not only guard their own interests amid the US’s protectionist turn, but also take the opportunity to claim global leadership.”

The Other Climate Change Danger? The Climate

Rising sea-levels are usually at the center of discussions on climate change. But in South Asia, especially, rising temperatures are literally making some areas physically unbearable, writes Somini Sengupta in The New York Times.

“Extreme heat can kill, as it did by the dozens in Pakistan in May. But as many of South Asia’s already-scorching cities get even hotter, scientists and economists are warning of a quieter, more far-reaching danger: Extreme heat is devastating the health and livelihoods of tens of millions more,” she writes.

“Indeed, a recent analysis of climate trends in several of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continued, by the end of the century, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity that can indicate the point when the body can no longer cool itself — would be so high that people directly exposed for six hours or more would not survive.”

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

July 17, 2018

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