President Donald Trump’s weekend tweet canceling secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghan leaders just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is the latest example of a commander in chief willing to take a big risk in pursuit of a foreign policy victory only to see it dashed. What had seemed like an imminent deal to end the war has unraveled, with Trump and the Taliban blaming each other for the collapse of nearly a year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Doha, Qatar. The insurgents are promising more bloodshed. The Afghan government remains mostly on the sidelines of the U.S. effort to end America’s longest war. And as Trump’s reelection campaign heats up, his quest to withdraw the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan remains unfulfilled — so far. Trump said he axed the Camp David meetings and called off negotiations because of a recent Taliban bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed a U.S. service member, even though nine other Americans have died since June 25 in Taliban-orchestrated violence. But the deal started unraveling days earlier after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed his trip to Washington and the Taliban refused to travel to the U.S. before a deal was actually signed, according to a former senior Afghan official. Trump’s secret plan for high-level meetings at the presidential retreat in Maryland resembled other bold, unorthodox foreign policy initiatives — with North Korea, China and Iran — that the president has pursued that have
As Democrats try to win control of the White House and the Senate in 2020, they face a geographical puzzle — the path to the presidency may conflict with the one to a Senate majority. Democrats’ best shot at the White House is to win back their old turf — the Rust Belt states heavy with working-class white voters who have become increasingly difficult to hold in the party’s tent. But the path to winning the Senate travels through what many believe is the Democrats’ territory of the future. College-educated suburbanites, young people and minorities make up the winning coalition in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina, the states where Democrats will need to pick up seats to wrest control of the Senate from the GOP. The tensions between the two contests — the two paths to two different victories — highlight the geographic concerns that have long bedeviled Democrats. The party has successfully built support in the growing West and Sun Belt states, but not yet enough to put the fight over the Rust Belt in the rearview mirror. “They’re kind of stuck between their past and their future,” said William Frey, a demographer at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “It’s an interesting conundrum.” For Democrats wrestling with picking their nominee, it’s more than just a head-scratcher. Senate races and presidential races are linked — Senate candidates rarely win when their party’s presidential candidate loses their state. If the party wants to win the White House and
Britain hasn’t even divorced the European Union yet, and already a new suitor has come calling: the United States. During a visit this week to the United Kingdom, Vice President Mike Pence brought word from his boss, President Donald Trump: The United States is eager to reach a new trade pact — one that won’t be possible until Britain completes Brexit and moves out of the 28-country EU trading bloc. “Our message is clear: The minute the UK is out, America is in,” Vice President Mike Pence said in a visit with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street on Thursday. Not so fast. Building a new U.S.-U.K. trading relationship atop the wreckage of Brexit won’t be easy. British officials are already vowing to resist an agreement that is lopsided in favor of the more powerful United States, creating potential for disputes over matters such as chlorinated chicken and the divisive Scottish dish haggis. “I know that you guys are pretty tough negotiators,” Johnson told Pence. “So, we’re going to work very hard to make sure that that free trade deal is one that works for all sides.” As a member of the EU, Britain outsourced its trade policy to the bloc’s bureaucrats in Brussels. Before it can pursue an independent course and reach a brand-new trade pact with Washington, London will have to negotiate a divorce with the EU— or crash out of the bloc without a deal and risk damaging its own economy. “Until that gets
U.S. congressional investigators have identified possible failures in Deutsche Bank AG’s (DBKGn.D) money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs, after the lender handed over a trove of transaction records, emails and other documents, three people familiar with the matter said. The congressional inquiry found instances where Deutsche Bank staff in the United States and elsewhere flagged concerns about new Russian clients and transactions involving existing ones, but were ignored by managers, two of the people said. Lawmakers are also examining whether Deutsche Bank facilitated the funneling of illegal funds into the United States as a correspondent bank, where it processes transactions for others, one of the sources said. The congressional probe, whose initial findings have not been previously reported, is at an early stage, and it is not yet clear whether it will lead to any action against the bank, the three sources said. A Deutsche Bank spokesman, Troy Gravitt, said the bank cannot comment on the work of the congressional committees but remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations. Addressing past deficiencies in the bank’s controls, the spokesman said: “We have worked to address them, taken disciplinary measures with regards to certain individuals and reviewed our client onboarding and monitoring processes.” The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee declined to comment. The Democrat-controlled House began examining possible money laundering in U.S. property deals involving President Donald Trump, a Republican, earlier this year. The lawmakers are also looking into whether Trump’s dealings left him subject to the influence
US Vice President Mike Pence is receiving a tongue-lashing from European allies as he plays understudy to the president on the world stage. From the Taoiseach of Ireland to the mayor of Reykjavik, leaders have been publicly confronting Pence on issues such as the U.K.’s exit from the E.U., nuclear disarmament and climate change. The appeals appear part of a desperate effort to try to get through to a Trump administration that follows its own norms and rules, and find someone— anyone — who might be able to change the president’s mind. But again and again, Pence has appeared to brush off the efforts, which spilled into public view before he’d even left the airport in Shannon, Ireland. There, Simon Coveney, the country’s foreign minister, confronted Pence with an urgent message about the potential impact of Brexit. He warned a return to hard borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland would not only disrupt commerce, but could also threaten a fragile peace. “As somebody who understands Ireland well, I think you understand why it’s such an emotional issue,” Coveney said, trying to leverage Pence’s personal connections to the country. “It’s a huge issue for this country right now. It’s dominating politics here. It’s about trying to mitigate against potential damage.” Pence, appearing less than amused by the public confrontation, said he was “grateful” for Coveney’s “candor” and quickly pivoted. But the pleas continued in Pence’s meetings with other Irish leaders, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “All I ask is that you bring
France has proposed offering Iran credit lines worth about $15 billion (12 billion pounds) until the end of the year in return for Tehran coming fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, an offer that hinges on Washington not blocking it, Western and Iranian sources said. European leaders have struggled to calm confrontation between Tehran and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal, which guarantees Iran access to world trade in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them sharply this year. Iran has responded by breaching some of the limits on nuclear material in the deal, and has set a deadline for this week to take further steps. Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions that would bring the sides back to the negotiating table. An Iranian delegation was in Paris on Monday, including oil and finance officials, to fine tune details of credit lines that would give Iran some respite from sanctions that have crippled its economy and cut off its oil exports. “The question is to know whether we can reach this $15 billion) level, secondly who will finance it, and thirdly we need to get at the very least the tacit approval of the United States. We still don’t know what the U.S. position is,” said a source aware of the negotiations. A senior Iranian official familiar with the negotiations said: “France has offered the credit line of $15
“Individuals in the Government of Yemen and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, may have conducted airstrikes in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and may have used starvation as a method of warfare, acts that may amount to war crimes,” it said.
“It is plausible to imagine a scenario where these forces stumble into some type of accidental escalation. While U.S. efforts are intended to deter, Iran may view increased U.S. maritime presence as offensive in nature or as preparation for a larger attack on Iran and respond accordingly,” Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corp. who studies the region said.