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President Trump may have squabbled with Western European leaders on a trip to NATO headquarters last month and cast the European Union as a “foe,” but

August 3rd, 2018 | by Richard Paul
President Trump may have squabbled with Western European leaders on a trip to NATO headquarters last month and cast the European Union as a “foe,” but
US NATO War Agenda



• Sloat, writing in Foreign Affairs, offers a useful survey of how other governments have overcome disputes with Erdogan’s Turkey:

“Where do bilateral relations go from here? If Washington fails to reach a negotiated agreement with Ankara on the political prisoners, it will feel compelled to assume a tougher stance. At the same time, Turkey’s strategic geography, NATO membership, and centrality to several U.S. regional objectives make the relationship one worth preserving. As Russia and other U.S. rivals benefit from the rift with Turkey, it is ultimately not in the interest of the United States to turn away from its challenging ally. Any policy response to the current diplomatic crises should take care to prioritize the longer-term potential of the relationship.

“The United States can take a page from Germany’s playbook; Germany experienced a similarly strained relationship with Turkey in recent years. Erdogan accused German authorities of ‘Nazi practices’ after they blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies targeting diaspora voters during the referendum campaign. The Turkish government refused to allow a Bundestag delegation to visit troops at a Turkish air base. It also arrested several German citizens on baseless charges. Berlin responded by implementing policies with economic costs while preserving lines of communication with Ankara, a strategy that has proved successful so far… Following Turkey’s release of German political prisoners earlier this year (including journalist Deniz Yucel) and its recent decision to lift the state of emergency, Berlin announced that it was relaxing its travel advice and lifting sanctions.

“Russia, too, has achieved results in its relationship with Turkey using economic measures. After the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet that violated its airspace in November 2015, Moscow issued sanctions and travel restrictions that ultimately led to an apology from Erdogan the following summer.”

• Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe’s ruling party was declared the winner of the country’s first elections of the post-Mugabe era on Thursday. His main opponent, Nelson Chamisa, has disputed the results, saying the election was rigged and is vowing to lead nationwide protests. My colleague Max Bearak has more:

“Mnangagwa’s election comes amid a tense atmosphere in the capital, Harare, where the military opened fire on rioting opposition supporters Wednesday, killing at least six people, police said at a news conference Thursday. The number of injured remained unknown.

“[Both] leaders traded blame for the violence, and international election observers roundly criticized the lack of restraint from both sides. But it was the military that fired live rounds at unarmed protesters, and it remained unclear whether Mnangagwa played any role in their deployment.”

• A new side effect of Venezuela’s crisis? In the cratering socialist country’s economy, the dollar is king, reports my colleague Rachelle Krygier:

“Long decried as a symbol of imperialism by President Nicolás Maduro, the American greenback is now king in a country broken by mismanagement, corruption and years of failed socialist policies. The dollar’s importance has soared as the local currency, the bolívar, has become nearly worthless.

“This week, for instance, the price of a dozen eggs topped 2.6 million bolívares — equal to two weeks’ pay at the minimum wage. But for a Venezuelan who can exchange dollars at the black market rate, those same eggs are a relative bargain, costing only 60 cents.

“Venezuelans are increasingly being separated into two classes: those who have dollars and those who do not.”

• France-based graphic artist Titwane partnered with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, to produce a portrait of the people in Idlib province, the last redoubt of rebellion. An excerpt follows below and you can see Titwane’s touching illustrations here:

“Some 3 million people—roughly half of them native residents and the other half displaced within the region or from other Syrian war zones—are stuck in Idlib and adjacent areas along with rebel fighters. A showdown will almost certainly cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

“Hundreds of thousands could flee in desperation to Turkish-held areas farther north or all the way to the Turkish border…. Before 2011, when the Syrian civil war broke out, Idlib was the ‘forgotten province,’ a place young people wanted to leave. Today, it’s a refuge for Syrians of all ages and places of origin—the prime destination for the country’s displaced. The war-weary arrivals have nearly doubled the population.

“And now both the natives and the displaced wish they were forgotten: by the rebel groups that rule them and by the resurgent regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Having finished off most rebel enclaves, the regime is vowing to retake all the territory still outside its grasp.”

• Britain’s Stonehenge, the mysterious neolithic rock site, attracted ancient visitors from rather far away. A new examination of cremated bones published by a scientific journal suggested Stonehenge attracted visitors from Wales and lands further afield. My colleague Ben Guarino explains further:

“Christophe Snoeck, a researcher at Vrije University in Belgium who specializes in archaeology and chemistry, helped lead the study of 25 people buried at Stonehenge and found that they were from distant lands. ‘Forty percent of the people who we analyzed could not have lived in Stonehenge for the last decade or so of their life,’ Snoeck said.

“A chemical analysis of their bones indicates that 10 of the 25 people were not locals. This was at a time when, before the invention of the wheeled transport, most people stayed within a few kilometers of their settlements, Snoeck said. ‘I know today everyone moves around, but we’re talking 5,000 years ago,’ he said.

“The beginnings of this study can be traced  to the 1920s, when archaeologists first excavated pits at Stonehenge called Aubrey holes, named after 17th-century natural philosopher John Aubrey. The archaeologists identified 58 Neolithic individuals in 56 Aubrey holes. But those archaeologists reburied bone fragments in a single hole, creating a jumble that Snoeck likened to a mess of ribs charred together in a post-barbecue fire.

“After a team re-excavated the remains in 2008, Snoeck’s co-author Christie Willis, at the University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, began identifying individuals from the jumble. She was successful in 25 cases.”

Young anti-Ortega rebels pray on July 15 in Managua, Nicaragua. (Juan Carlos/The Washington Post)</p>

Young anti-Ortega rebels pray on July 15 in Managua, Nicaragua. (Juan Carlos/The Washington Post)

The disappeared 

Nicaraguans have watched paramilitaries — plainclothes militiamen who appear to be working in close coordination with government security forces — fight pitched battles against protesters since an uprising against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government began three months ago. They have burned homes, businesses and university buildings. But there is a less visible side to the violence: These roving bands of masked gunmen have also quietly kidnapped and tortured dissidents.

Some 600 people have been captured by armed groups and have gone missing, according to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights.

Twenty-six-year-old Marco Noel Novoa, a student activist and U.S. citizen, spent seven days in captivity in late May, where he said he endured regular beatings, electric shocks, mock executions and waterboarding. The torture reached its most severe point, he said, when his captors sodomized him using a metal mortar tube of the type that protesters have been firing at government forces during the past three months of upheaval in Nicaragua.

The Trump administration has been increasingly critical of Ortega’s government, imposing sanctions and holding him responsible for the “pro-government parapolice.”

But Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla during Nicaragua’s civil war who is now in his fourth term as president, has denied collaboration between the government and the paramilitary forces and has referred to these gunmen as “voluntary police.” He has said in televised interviews in recent weeks that these forces are organized by other political parties, including opponents of the government, and receive funding from drug traffickers and the United States.

But, according to security experts, the groups seem cut from the same cloth as the president. Nicaragua’s paramilitary forces are a motley band of current and former soldiers and police, ex-Sandinista combatants from the 1980s civil war, local officials, neighborhood-level party loyalists, and Ortega supporters young and old. They’ve proved loyal to the government, even ransacking Catholic churches in several cities after government supporters accused churches of giving refuge to protesters, whom the government considers criminals and terrorists.

Now that he is out of Nicaragua, Novoa thinks that his status as an American citizen, from an upper-class family, may have been the only thing that saved his life.

“I’m a U.S. citizen, and that’s what I got,” he said. “Imagine just being Nicaraguan.” — Joshua Partlow

For more on Nicaragua, a piece in the New York Times notes that the country’s history is repeating itself, while one in Americas Quarterly says other Latin American countries may follow suit. Elsewhere, The Post’s Jason Rezaian details from first-hand experience how U.S. sanctions will affect Iran’s citizens, and a column in the Diplomat looks at the state of Japanese politics.

A dictatorship is rising in my country, again
Nearly four decades after the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dynasty, Nicaragua is once again in the grip of tyranny.
Unfortunately, others will follow Nicaragua’s path in Latin America
Nicaragua’s explosion into conflict was predictable – and reflects trends common in the region.
I lived in an Iran under sanctions. Here’s what it’s like.
The regime in Tehran will likely press forward, doing little to address the very legitimate concerns of its people.
Can anyone unseat Shinzo Abe?
Despite his scandals, Abe is well-positioned win the LDP’s presidential election this fall.
In May the United Nations published a damning report on the state of U.S. poverty. An investigation by Foreign Policy shows how the administration ignored economic advisers and used misleading data to condemn the report. Meanwhile, Chicago Magazine asks the very good question, how is Hammacher Schlemmer still in Business? And California legislators argue over who will pay for wildfire damages.

Internal documents show how the Trump administration misled public on poverty
Economic advisors questioned the administration’s data but were ignored.
The world’s most peculiar company
How does the catalog-loving retailer, famous for such eccentric and extravagant products as the Navigable Water Park, continue to survive in the age of Amazon?
Who will pay the cost?
California legislators face heated debates over liability for wildfires.

More than 60 years after the last shot was fired in the Korean War, the U.S. military prepared Wednesday to fly home what are believed to be the remains of more than 50 service members. After a solemn ceremony at the U.S. military’s Osan Air Base in South Korea, 55 boxes of remains were taken to a pair of U.S. military planes, which flew them to a military laboratory in Hawaii for analysis and identification. (Ronen Zilberman/AFP/Getty Image)

Manafort’s bookkeeper testifies against him, alleging efforts to inflate income
Heather Washkuhn’s testimony is vital to the government’s case that President Trump’s ex-campaign chairman hid income and lied to banks.
GOP gears up to battle popular ex-governor in Senate race in Tenn.; Bill Lee projected to win Republican primary for governor
Former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen and GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn projected to win their parties’ nominations for Senate on Thursday.
After investigating Clinton White House and Vincent Foster’s death, Brett Kavanaugh had a change of heart
At age 30, the Supreme Court nominee argued that his boss should expand his probe of the Clintons’ finances to delve into Foster’s death.

May you have as much fun this weekend as these parents.

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