Trump Contradicts Chief Diplomat on North Korea

American secretary of state Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump talks with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phạm Bình Minh, at a state banquet in Hanoi, November 11
American secretary of state Rex Tillerson listens as President Donald Trump talks with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phạm Bình Minh, at a state banquet in Hanoi, November 11 (State Department)

American president Donald Trump has publicly undermined his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, for the nth time.

On Tuesday, Tillerson announced a new North Korea policy when he said the United States were prepared to start talks without preconditions.

“Let’s just meet and let’s — we can talk about the weather if you want,” he said.

The White House immediately put out a statement that contradicted him: “The president’s views on North Korea have not changed.”

The administration has said it won’t speak with North Korea unless the regime is willing to discuss curbing its nuclear program. Read more

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China and Russia: True Love or Marriage of Convenience?

Russian president Vladimir Putin listens to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, making a speech in Moscow, July 4
Russian president Vladimir Putin listens to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, making a speech in Moscow, July 4 (Presidential Press and Information Office)

China and Russia are making common cause at a time when Donald Trump’s America is turning its back on the world. Are we seeing the beginning of a global partnership? Or is this only a marriage of convenience? Experts disagree. Read more

Why There Is So Little Attention for the Islamic State’s Defeat

Two American UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters fly over southern Iraq, April 3, 2003
Two American UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters fly over southern Iraq, April 3, 2003 (Constantino Ruiz Rodriguez)

David French wonders why the defeat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (or ISIS) isn’t a bigger story.

Remember how debates about ISIS dominated the presidential primaries? Remember how Donald Trump and Ted Cruz ratcheted up their rhetoric until they both seemed to promise that they’d commit warcrimes, like carpet bombing and torture, to defeat the deadly threat? ISIS was often the most important and most prominent story in the world.

Now that the wannabe caliphate lies in ruins, though, Americans no longer care. Read more

Trump Accelerates Demise of American World Order

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, American president Donald Trump and British prime minister Theresa May attend a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, American president Donald Trump and British prime minister Theresa May attend a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25 (NATO)

Donald Trump hasn’t ushered in a post-American world yet. But he is accelerating the demise of a benign hegemony that has made the world more peaceful and more prosperous with his policy of “America first”. Read more

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Everything You Need to Know About the Election in Catalonia

The palace of the Catalan regional government in Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2012
The palace of the Catalan regional government in Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons/Andriy Sadivskyy)

Catalans will elect a new regional parliament on December 21. Here is everything you need to know about the election.

Bottom lines

  • The only real issue is whether or not to continue the independence process.
  • Separatist and unionist parties are evenly matched with the balance going to Catalonia in Common, a left-wing party that rejects both independence and Spain’s suspension of Catalan home rule.
  • If the separatists defend their majority and attempt to form another government, there are doubts Spain will let them. Read more