Politico – Cristina Gallardo / Brexit talks not-so-over – yet
- Britain and the EU will carry on talking Brexit despite the shade-throwing. Brussels issued an olive branch to London on Monday in the form of an offer to intensify talks in London this week, on all subjects and based on legal texts.
- The offer was made during a call between chief negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost and appeared to meet one of the U.K.’s key demands for talks to continue. The lack of engagement by the EU had been one of the U.K.’s main complaints leading to last week’s European Council.
- This came along with a perception in Downing Street that Brussels was expecting the U.K. to be the only one giving ground. London had also accused Brussels of not engaging on all of the issues still to be resolved, and refusing to negotiate using legal texts, slowing down progress.
- The U.K. government remains under pressure to deliver a deal, amid increasingly vocal calls from businesses worried by the economic risks of Britain leaving the EU without a trade deal. Barnier’s offer on Monday triggered a lukewarm response in London, which considers it insufficient.
- Financial Times – Jim Brunsden, Sam Fleming and George Parker / Britain and EU begin to repair rift and restart stalled Brexit talks
The New York Times – Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Noah Weiland / Trump calls Fauci ‘a disaster’ and shrugs off virus as infections soar
- President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as “a disaster” on Monday and said, despite signs that the nation was headed toward another coronavirus peak, that people were “tired” of hearing about the virus from “these idiots” in the government.
- In increasingly vocal terms, Dr. Fauci has been separating himself from the White House and warning Americans to “hunker down” and brace for a difficult winter — a message at odds with Mr. Trump’s repeated, if false, assurances.
- Dr. Fauci’s cautionary words are borne out by the numbers. More than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Friday, the highest figure since July 24, according to a New York Times database. More than 900 new deaths were recorded.
- “Biden wants to lock it down. He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci,” the president added, referring to coronavirus-related restrictions on the economy. Over the weekend, Twitter removed a post in which Dr. Atlas, Mr. Trump’s pandemic adviser, questioned the efficacy of mask wearing, decreeing it misinformation.
- The Washington Post – Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey / Trump attacks ‘Fauci and all these idiots,’ says public is tired of pandemic, public health restrictions as infection rates rise
The Economist / Sweden embarks on its largest military build-up for decades
- “An armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out,” warned Peter Hultqvist, Sweden’s defence minister, shortly after he introduced a new defence bill on October 14th. It promises the country’s largest military expansion for 70 years.
- The reason is not hard to discern. Russia’s assertive behaviour across Europe, from invasion to assassination, has alarmed Swedes. In recent years, Sweden has accused Russia of violating its airspace and waters several times, most recently with a pair of warships south-west of Gothenburg in September.
- Sweden has accordingly deepened military ties with NATO (though it is not a member of the alliance), America and its Nordic neighbours. If the new bill is passed, as is likely, the defence budget is set to rise by SKr27.5bn ($3.1bn) between 2021 and 2025, a 40% boost that will bring expenditure to around 1.5% of GDP.
- The new cash will pay for a 50% increase in the armed forces to 90,000 people, a figure that includes regular soldiers, conscripts and local reservists in the Home Guard (no longer the Dad’s Army of yesteryear). The army will grow from two mechanised brigades to three, each of around 5,000 soldiers, with a smaller additional brigade for the Stockholm area.
- The Guardian / Sweden to increase military spending by 40% as tension with Russia grows
Foreign Policy – Adam Tooze / Welcome to the final battle for the climate
- China’s unilateral commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060 took the West by surprise. If President Xi Jinping’s words can be taken at face value, the country which emits more carbon dioxide than the United States, Europe, and Japan put together is embarking on a radical program of decarbonization.
- Climate change politics at a global level thus shift into a new gear. There were no doubt tactical motives behind the timing of Xi’s announcement. But to imagine that China’s strategy is a propagandistic diversion or a concession to Western diplomacy is both to overestimate Western leverage and to underestimate the climate problem.
- It is precisely because the Communist Party regime is bent on shaping the next century that its leader takes climate change seriously. In the calculus of the regime, Yangtze river floods are, like Hong Kong rights protestors, a threat to its grip on power.
- Xi’s move may scramble Western preconceptions, but it has been obvious since the beginning of this century that China would have the decisive voice in the future of the global climate. A quarter century before it is expected to overtake the United States in terms of GDP, China surpassed it in terms of carbon emissions.
- Euractiv / High stakes for Earth’s climate future in US vote
Today’s ‘what if’:
- Foreign Affairs – Reuben E. Brigety II / If America were in Africa