By the middle of the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency, the Washington Post front-page story on his activities was refuting his claims of what the weather had been like less than 24 hours earlier.
By the end of this week, what could well be one of the most unorthodox, idiosyncratic presidencies in American history will be underway. The gap between Donald Trump and Barack Obama – in temperament, worldview and techniques – could scarcely be wider. At best, the new administration could deliver a much-needed blast of fresh air – but it could also prove profoundly, perhaps dangerously destabilizing.
It would be comical if not so serious. Or perhaps serious if not so tragicomic. Certainly, had an author or screenwriter suggested what American politics has seen this week, it would have been judged unbelievable.
With barely a single working day left until Christmas, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump appeared to unexpectedly announce an intensified nuclear arms race.
The killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey on Monday evening might have prompted knee-jerk comparisons to the 1914 assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, but it almost certainly won’t spark a World War One-type conflict. The lethal truck attack that killed 12 in Berlin a few hours later, however, could ratchet up the prospect of yet another political shock in Europe.
In its 7,000 years of existence, Aleppo has been fought over by Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. The modern battle for the ancient Syrian city, however, may yet be as significant for the future of the Middle East as those fought by the kingdoms and empires of the past.
When it comes to managing relations with China, Donald Trump is tearing up the rulebook. First by using Twitter to announce his telephone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and then in his Sunday afternoon complaints over Beijing’s economic and military policy.
Every morning in the Philippines, a handful of bodies are found littering the streets. Their faces are often covered in black plastic tape. Sometimes there are signs of torture. Usually, they have been shot in the head. Few bother police – they are usually suspected of being responsible.
As the U.S. election results trickled in in the early hours of Nov. 9, Syrian government forces began yet another assault on Aleppo – with humanitarian workers and medical centers again in the line of fire.
As Donald Trump takes up residence in the White House next January, one of the most powerful NATO forces in years will be preparing to move into Eastern Europe.