The New York Times puts it well: “Facing protests over use of force, police respond with more force.”
They are being egged on by President Donald Trump, who has described the protests as “acts of terror”, called on governors to “dominate” the streets and threatened to deploy the military; Republican senators, who have suggested the police commit war crimes to suppress the protests; and conservative media, who portray all demonstrators as far-left radicals. Read more “Policing in America Is Broken. There Are Solutions”
There have been some constants in Donald Trump’s otherwise haphazard foreign policy. He will invariably side with Russia and against America’s allies in Europe. He sympathizes more with authoritarian regimes than democracies. He doesn’t believe in multilateralism or free trade.
Anything the president’s advisors or allies can portray as a show of “strength” Trump will support.
Anything his supporters in the Republican Party or the conservative media portray as “weakness”, whether it is consultations, compromises or concessions, Trump will resist.
Seventeen left-wing lawmakers have quit President Emmanuel Macron’s party in France and started their own group, called Ecology, Democracy and Solidarity.
The defections have deprived Macron of his absolute majority in the National Assembly. His La République En Marche is down to 288 out of 577 seats, although it still has the support of the centrist Democratic Movement (46 seats) and the center-right Agir (9).
The defectors accuse Macron of shifting to the right and neglecting income inequality and climate change.
In normal times, being elected as the first female leader of a Spanish political party, on International Women’s Day no less, would be seen as a good omen.
Unfortunately for Inés Arrimadas, she took over the reins of the center-right Citizens just as the coronavirus pandemic spread to Spain. With the country under lockdown, the leadership change in a party that has been reduced to a mere ten seats in Congress drew little attention.
Support for maintaining the coronavirus quarantine is weakening in Spain. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has partly lifted a two-month lockdown, allowing small stores to reopen and restaurants to serve takeaway, but the opposition is calling for a quicker return to normalcy.
Deaths from coronavirus disease have stabilized at under 200 per day. The infection rate is also slowing.
But Spain still has more known cases of COVID-19 than any country except the United States.
First coronavirus itself was going to kill the EU. Now we are told the bloc’s fate was sealed in the first weeks of the outbreak, when creditworthy nations in the north refused to pool their debts with crisis-struck Italy and Spain.
Ulrich Speck, one of Germany’s top foreign-policy analysts, cautioned against jumping to conclusions:
With the corona crisis we see the return of a slightly hysterical discourse about the EU: if X, Y and Z do not immediately happen, the EU will be dead. We should have learned during the crises of the last years that the EU rests on quite solid foundations.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease in the United States has, if little else, given us an encapsulation of Trumpism.
As Patrick Chovanec of Columbia University puts it on Twitter:
According to the president, he has absolute power but absolutely no responsibility.
On Monday, Donald Trump falsely claimed he, not governors, have the power to impose and lift restrictions to contain the spread of the virus:
When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.
Yet when he was asked earlier this month why he hadn’t issued a nationwide stay-at-home order, Trump did remember, “We have a thing called the Constitution,” and said, “I want the governors to be running things.”
Which was accurate, but also an abdication of duty. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez regularly consult with the leaders of German and Spanish states to coordinate the closing and reopening of businesses and schools, even though that is not strictly their responsibility. Trump could have done the same.
Now some neighboring states opposite policies in place and they are bidding against each other, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for medical devices and gear. Trump could have federalized the procurement of medical equipment, but didn’t. He could have distributed medical equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile to the states that need it most, but didn’t.
He has found time to criticize Democratic governors, including Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Andrew Cuomo of New York, from their handling of the crisis.
“Normal” may not be the best word to describe the situation in the United Kingdom, where 60,773 people, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are known to have contracted coronavirus disease and 7,097 with the infection have died.
Yet after years during which Britain’s exit from the European Union overshadowed everything, there are also signs that political life on the island is returning to normalcy.
As the government has tightened restrictions on public life in order to contain the outbreak, communities across the country are helping each other out. Almost every neighborhood now has a “COVID-19 Community Group” that organizes care for the needy and most vulnerable. Bitter divisions over Brexit have been set aside. Read more “British Rediscover Normalcy in Abnormal Times”