Macron’s Gamble

Monday, April 23, 2018Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 9.51.35 AM

Good Monday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Emmanuel Macron, the French president leaves for a state visit to Washington, where he will try, once again, to close the gap with President Trump on climate change, Iran and trade.
  • Even as private employers have rebounded from the recession, the public sector’s ranks have withered, and pay and benefits have lagged.
  • China is concerned that a grand deal with North Korea’s longtime enemiescould diminish its influence over Pyongyang, experts said.
  • Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, is confronting the political fight of his career, battling sustained criticism from the president and Republican demands. But in trying to deflect those attacks, some say, Mr. Rosenstein hasrisked eroding the Justice Department’s historic independence from political meddling.
  • Greg Pence, the vice president’s brother, is running for Congress on his business record and famous name. But both have raised questions.
  • An examination of Scott Pruitt’s political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington as head of the Environmental Protection Agency have echoes in his past.
  • Republican candidates all over are parroting the president, spouting his catchphrases and donning his hats as they try to show loyalty.
— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

What Does Kim Jong-un Want? U.S. Fears Answer Is ‘Give a Little, Gain a Lot’

Meeting rooms that straddle the border between North and South Korea in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone are one possible location for a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

Meeting rooms that straddle the border between North and South Korea in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone are one possible location for a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As North Korea’s reclusive ruler, Kim Jong-un, prepares for a landmark meeting with President Trump, he has seized the diplomatic high ground, making conciliatory gestures on nuclear testing and American troops that have buoyed hopes in South Korea and won praise from Mr. Trump himself, who called it “big progress.”
But Mr. Kim’s audacious moves are unsettling officials in the United States, Japan and China. Some suspect he is posturing in advance of the summit meeting, as well as a separate meeting this coming week with South Korea’s president, and has no real intention of acceding to demands that he relinquish his nuclear weapons.
They worry that his gestures could put Mr. Trump on the defensive in the difficult negotiations to come, by offering symbolically potent but substantively modest concessions in place of genuine disarmament — what one senior American official labeled a “freeze trap.”
The sudden offer of olive branches, from a leader who only four months ago warned the United States that he was ready to launch missiles from a nuclear button on his desk, is sharpening a question that has long bedeviled North Korea watchers: What does Mr. Kim want?
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