Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by guest editor Jonah Bader.
December 3, 2018
Macron’s Tipping Point
Emmanuel Macron’s presidency reached a “tipping point” this weekend, after anti-government protests that were “more virulent than anything we've seen in France since 1968,” writes Jérôme Fenoglio in Le Monde, according to a translation by CNN.
Macron faces “a deeply rooted crisis for which he bears very partial responsibility,” Fenoglio writes. The “failure of successive governments has allowed anger to prosper,” as feelings of “fiscal and social injustice” fester.
“All the principles that made candidate Macron's campaign successful have boomeranged and made apparent the fragility of the president,” Fenoglio argues. “The commando operation of back then is now a man on his own, with only a handful of loyalists placed in key positions. The blank slate on which reforms were to be written has become a deserted scene that the presidential party is unable to fill.”
Although Trump is touting the “incredible deal” on trade that he struck with Xi Jinping this weekend, it’s unclear if the vague deal represents a true breakthrough. Yet Trump does appear to have won a concrete victory on drugs – getting China to classify fentanyl as a “controlled substance,” which should lead to a crackdown on exports.
“Beijing has been tardy in acting on its role in the fentanyl crisis,” writes Shuli Ren for Bloomberg. “But if it now moves quickly, President Xi Jinping will have plucked some very low-hanging fruit in his bid to improve relations with Washington.”
“America now has its own opium war, and China is coming to its rescue.”
Mohammed bin Pac-Man
An exclusive CNN report sheds new light on Riyadh’s possible motivation in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A former court insider, Khashoggi had come to believe that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a dangerous, power-hungry leader. “He is like a beast ‘pac man,’” Khashoggi wrote to Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi activist living in exile. “[T]he more victims he eats, the more he wants.”
Researchers at the University of Toronto believe the Saudi government was spying on conversations between the activists, which contained much more than insults. “Khashoggi and Abdulaziz conceived plans to form an electronic army to engage young Saudis back home and debunk state propaganda on social media, leveraging Khashoggi's establishment profile and the 27-year-old Abdulaziz's 340,000-strong Twitter following,” CNN reports.
“The pair's scheme involved two key elements that Saudi Arabia might well have viewed as hostile acts. The first involved sending foreign SIM cards to dissidents back home so they could tweet without being traced. The second was money.”