Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
Donald Trump’s unexpected announcement that he was suspending joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises as part of negotiations with the North has caused consternation in Seoul as well as at the Pentagon. The greatest alarm, however, will be amongst Washington’s major allies in Asia and Europe, already made nervous by the U.S. president’s rhetoric that Washington spends too much money on defending them.
Meetings of the G8 group comprising the world’s richest nations used to be an exercise in well-choreographed consensus. The largely technocratic, centrist leadership of major countries would discuss how to tweak the global economy, help those they believed were being left behind and generally congratulate each other on their overlapping progressive and largely democratic values.
Over the last two weeks, every household in Sweden received a booklet of instructions on how to prepare for war. Issued by the government and including instructions for every Swedish resident to resist an invader by all means necessary, it was a dramatic sign of just how quickly the recently unthinkable has become something Europe’s Nordic governments in particular feel they must address.
When President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in first agreed to meet in Washington Tuesday, they seemed to genuinely believe they might be on the brink of a major rapprochement with the North. Now, there are concerns over whether the much-touted summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for Singapore on June 12 will happen at all.
In China’s northwest Xinjiang province, the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority have nowhere to hide. Facial recognition software reportedly alerts authorities if targeted individuals stray more than 1000 feet from their homes and workplaces. Residents face arrest if they fail to download smartphone software that allows them to be tracked, according to social media users. Simply wishing to travel outside China can be cause for arrest, with Beijing detaining family members and using its political clout to force extradition of those abroad.
For much of the last few decades, powerful speakers on the South Korean border have blasted propaganda to nearby North Koreans, everything from Korean pop songs to news about the number of cars in the affluent South. On Monday, they stopped – the latest step in a high-stakes diplomatic dance.
The U.S.-led strikes on Syria may be over, at least for now, but the war that produced them – as well as the wider international confrontations that fueled it – is only getting more complex.
In deciding whether and how to strike Syrian government installations following last week’s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. military might once have focused on inflicting real damage on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. Instead, through simple but ruthless plotting, Vladimir Putin has made this crisis – like so many others these days – all about Russia.
On Friday, Russia launched the largest ballistic missile in history. Weighing in at 200 tons, Moscow says the Sarmat rocket – dubbed “Satan 2” by Western defense analysts – is the first with sufficient range to hit any location on earth from a single launch point.
Earlier this month, the USS Carl Vinson became the first American aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Coming alongside the news that a record 23 nations from Southeast Asia and beyond would be joining biennial naval exercises in the eastern Indian Ocean, it was a potent reminder of just how eager the nations surrounding the South China Sea are to embrace powerful allies to fend off a rising China.