President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly eyeing Cindy McCain to serve as ambassador to the U.K., according to The Times of London.
Politico: “President-elect Joe Biden has promised to host a gathering of the world’s democracies next year, hoping to show that a post-Donald Trump America will be committed to democracy abroad and at home. Biden’s pledge, though, has left many foreign officials pondering a thorny question: Will their country be invited?”
“It’s of special concern for nations such as Turkey, Hungary, Poland and the Philippines — all U.S. allies or partners with leaders who have taken notable steps away from democracy. Even a country like India, which boasts of being the world’s most populous democracy, may not make the cut given recent anti-democratic trends there.”
Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday called for the “definitive punishment” of those behind the killing of a scientist linked to Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear program, a slaying the Islamic Republic has blamed on Israel, the AP reports.
New York Times: “In late May, the American ambassador in Geneva, Andrew Bremberg, went on a rescue mission to the World Health Organization headquarters. He told its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that despite weeks of threats that President Trump would quit the health organization, the relationship could still be salvaged.”
“Mr. Bremberg hand-delivered a list of seven demands that American officials saw as the beginning of discreet discussions. Hours later, Mr. Trump took the lectern outside the White House and blew it all up, announcing that the United States would leave the W.H.O. The announcement blindsided his own diplomats and Dr. Tedros alike.”
“When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew into Saudi Arabia last weekend for a secret nighttime rendezvous with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he and his allies in Washington hoped to win assurances that a normalization deal between the two longtime Middle East rivals was in reach,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“But Prince Mohammed pulled back from a deal, according to the Saudi advisors and U.S. officials, largely because of the U.S. election result. Saudi aides said the prince, eager to build ties with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, was reluctant to take the step now, when he could use a deal later to help cement relations with the new American leader.”
“An Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program until its disbanding in the early 2000s was ‘assassinated’ Friday,” the AP reports.
“Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: ‘Remember that name.’ Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.”
“Lawmakers in Taiwan got into a fist fight and threw pig organs at each other Friday over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of U.S. pork and beef,” the AP reports.
One lawmaker wrestled another lawmaker to the floor in the scuffle.
“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing at sea and locked down the capital, Pyongyang, as part of frantic efforts to guard against the coronavirus and its economic damage,” the AP reports.
“Kim’s government also ordered diplomats overseas to refrain from any acts that could provoke the United States because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s expected new approach toward North Korea.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.
“In his congratulatory message, Xi Jinping pointed out that promoting the healthy and stable development of China-US relations not only conforms to the fundamental interests of the two peoples, but also is the common expectation of the international community.”
“The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office,” Axios reports.
“The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate ‘a very sensitive period’ ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized members of President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration, saying they’ve lived in a “fantasy world” and “led from behind,” Politico reports.
Said Pompeo: “I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind, they appeased. I hope they will choose a different course.”
“On its way out the door, the Trump administration is enacting new rules, regulations and orders that it hopes will box in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration on numerous foreign policy matters and cement President Trump’s ‘America First’ legacy in international affairs,” the AP reports.
“Yet, the push may not work, as many of these decisions can be withdrawn or significantly amended by the incoming president when he takes office on Jan. 20.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s ready to work with any U.S. leader, but still isn’t ready to recognize the election victory of Joe Biden,” Bloomberg reports.
Said Putin: “We will work with anyone who has the confidence of the American people. But that confidence can only be given to a candidate whose victory has been recognized by the opposing party, or after the results are confirmed in a legitimate, legal way.”
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy “will make history on Monday afternoon when he goes on trial accused of corruption and influence peddling for allegedly trying to bribe a judge for information,” The Guardian reports.
Washington Post: “At the outset of the pandemic, Italy’s immense daily death tolls — 919 at the peak — froze the country in fear and put much of the world on alert. But as the tolls again approach those heights, Italy is becoming emblematic of a far different point of the pandemic, when the dangers continue unabated even as so many are desensitized, fatigued and preoccupied with economic survival.”
“In Italy, the scale of death no longer registers as a consuming national tragedy. But the tragedy is there nonetheless — playing out more quietly, in specific nursing homes, hospitals and living rooms. Some 10,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy this month — a per capita rate more than double that of the United States.”
Nic Robertson: “As stage exits go Donald Trump’s departure was something of a whimper, the US President leaving the top table of global G20 leaders to play golf. As his time in office draws to a close, despite his refusal to publicly accept the reality of the US election results, the combined unspoken message from the world’s leaders is: don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled in secret Sunday to the city of Neom on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” Axios reports.
“Israel and Saudi Arabia had a secret relationship for many years, but this is the first time such a high level meeting has been reported — even though neither side confirmed it officially.”
“Democrats close to President-elect Biden expect him to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, looking to a Black woman and respected diplomat to restore morale,” Axios reports.