Europe, offer au revoir to American tourists

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The move will highlight the US's failed effort to suppress the coronavirus pandemic: Charts of new confirmed coronavirus cases on each side of the Atlantic move in exactly the opposite direction. The openings in Europe could still have the same painful effect that they had in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. But European states generally imposed stricter blockades earlier than in the United States, and wearing masks is not the polarized problem here.

If it arrives, the EU's failure will be yet another personal embarrassment to President Donald Trump for his failed management of the pandemic. The president often explodes at perceived slights. But since you're ignoring the Covid-19 crisis in the United States, you could let this happen. Also, as the White House has already pointed out, European entry into the US is already suspended.

The absence of American tourists will harm the closed European tourism industry. Millions bring their dollars across the Atlantic each year, drawn to the continent's history, cuisine, and atmosphere. Italy, France, Germany and Spain welcome most Americans, according to EU data. But until the two-way flow between the Old and New World is restored, the murmur of admiring visitors to Europe's cathedrals and museums will lose that certain je ne sais quoi of the American ear heard.

See you next year, hopefully.

& # 39; Oh my God, don't make that phone call & # 39;

What has Trump learned from state politics after hundreds of "highly classified" phone calls and negotiations with foreign leaders? Not much, according to months of CNN reporting by veteran Washington reporter Carl Bernstein, whose government sources say there is little evidence that Trump has become more proficient with the practice. To the contrary, employees say the president still refuses to read the briefings before the calls, is personally presumed before strong men like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and insults leaders like the German Chancellor Angela Merkel as "stupid" and weak.

Among the revelations: The timing of Erdogan's calls was so perfect that some staff members wondered if he had access to Trump's personal schedule. And Trump's discussion of Merkel was "so unusual" that special measures had to be taken in Berlin to ensure that the specific contents of the calls remained secret, according to a German official. No wonder employees clench their teeth when the president's fingers go to the phone.

Spies who love attention

For an intelligence service that is supposed to operate in the shadows, Russia's GRU seems to attract a lot of headlines. The GRU, formally known as the Main Directorate of the General Staff, has been accused by the West of orchestrating blatant, high-profile attacks, including the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and The 2018 nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England.
Now, the spy agency is back in the international spotlight, following reports that US intelligence concluded that GRU operatives offered cash incentives to the Taliban to kill US and British troops in Afghanistan. But, oddly, the alleged operation could conflict with Russia's declared goal of bringing the warring parties to the table in Afghanistan.
Russia has cultivated contacts with the Taliban and other belligerent parties in Afghanistan as a way to influence results in a region that it considers its strategic backyard. "It has long been known that there were Russian contacts with the Taliban and, at a minimum, a greasing of the benefits relationship as a hedging technique," says Laurel Miller, director of programs for Asia with the International Crisis Group.

However, he added, an operation to reward US troops would be much more provocative and "somewhat different" from their typical behavior. "It is in conflict with official Russian policy," he said. In other words, the alleged GRU operation targeting US and coalition troops could have a setback: potentially undermining US support for the withdrawal, or perhaps triggering new sanctions against Russia.

However, the agency has a reputation for cheek, and has apparently operated opportunistically or independently of official policy before. Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notes that the GRU is aggressively pursuing operations that cause diplomatic consequences.

Intelligence experts say the Salisbury poisoning, which led the Bellingcat investigation center to unmask suspected GRU agents through an open source investigation, showed a pattern of recklessness and overt brutality, rather than a focus. secret to espionage. And that sent a message to the GRU's enemies.

"That was a pattern that we have seen many times in Ukraine," Weiss said, referring to Russian intelligence activities there. "The Kremlin is not a well-oiled machine, but over and over again, Putin, either by denying Russia's blatant misdeeds or by throwing a security blanket over his security establishment, does little to enhance Russia's international image" . – CNN's Nathan Hodge writes to Meanwhile from London

Trump says he was never informed about the GRU's alleged rewards plan. Asked CNN's Jake Tapper, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, replied: "If they had this intelligence, they should have informed the President. Why didn't they? Because they know it makes him very unhappy, and all roads lead to Putin for him, "a phrase he has used before about Trump's election interference scandals in Ukraine and Russia.

In fact, intelligence about the apparent plot appeared in one of Trump's daily reports earlier this year, a US official with direct knowledge also told CNN on Monday, and that he considered himself serious enough that staff The National Security Council will meet to discuss "possible response options," including sanctions, if intelligence develops.

& # 39; If I could build a wall around us … I would & # 39;

Trump is not the only American leader who wants to build a wall. In light of a massive resurgence in coronavirus cases in the United States, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Monday that he would not mind a wall just for his region. "We have lived through hell in this state to get where we are," he said, referring to the New Jersey battle with Covid-19. Frankly, I never thought I would say these words, but if I could build a wall around us or in our region, I would. But we can't, so we have to rely on personal responsibility and correct behavior, common sense for the common benefit ". Visitors from other states must now be quarantined for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey.

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