This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump agreed with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly when he said the U.S. is in the middle of a "world war scenario."

(Steve Helber/AP)

The time when America stopped being great

Nick Bryant

BBC News

A year ago Donald Trump produced the biggest political upset in modern-day America, but were there historical clues that pointed to his unexpected victory?

Flying into Los Angeles, a descent that takes you from the desert, over the mountains, to the outer suburbs dotted with swimming pools shaped like kidneys, always brings on a near narcotic surge of nostalgia.

This was the flight path I followed more than 30 years ago, as I fulfilled a boyhood dream to make my first trip to the United States. America had always fired my imagination, both as a place and as an idea. So as I entered the immigration hall, under the winsome smile of America’s movie star president, it was hardly a case of love at first sight. (Read more)

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The cast and the story so far: how Mueller’s drama is unfolding

Courtney Weaver and John Murray Brown

Financial Times

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday offered the first clues to where his Russia investigation is heading. He indicted Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, senior Donald Trump aides in the 2016 presidential campaign. Charges were also levied against a junior foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, who has admitted lying to FBI agents about the nature of his communications with people he believed to be close to Vladimir Putin.

The indictments offer a preview of the scope of Mr Mueller’s investigation, which extends far beyond the 2016 campaign. Here is a look at the individuals involved and what we know so far. (Read more)

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European arrest warrant issued for ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

Sam Jones and Daniel Boffey

The Guardian

A Spanish judge has issued an international arrest warrant for Catalonia’s ousted president a day after she jailed eight members of the region’s separatist government pending possible charges over last week’s declaration of independence.

In the latest twist in Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades, a national court judge on Friday issued a European arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont in response to a request from state prosecutors. (Read more)

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A tsar is born

The Economist

Seventeen years after Vladimir Putin first became president, his grip on Russia is stronger than ever. The West, which still sees Russia in post-Soviet terms, sometimes ranks him as his country’s most powerful leader since Stalin. Russians are increasingly looking to an earlier period of history. Both liberal reformers and conservative traditionalists in Moscow are talking about Mr Putin as a 21st-century tsar.

Mr Putin has earned that title by lifting his country out of what many Russians see as the chaos in the 1990s and by making it count again in the world. Yet as the centenary of the October revolution draws near, the uncomfortable thought has surfaced that Mr Putin shares the tsars’ weaknesses, too. (Read more)

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Brexit: Government refuses to publish ‘secret studies’ amid calls for ‘safe space’ for EU talks

Lizzy Buchan

Independent

The Government has refused to publish key details from a raft of secret studies into the economic impact of Brexit, as they claim negotiations need to be concluded in a “safe space”.

Officials turned down freedom of information requests from Labour MP Seema Malhotra to publish the intensive analyses of how the EU withdrawal will hit 58 different sectors, which critics claim are being hidden out of fear the findings will embarrass the Government.

Brexit campaigners have threatened the Government with legal action over the failure to make the studies public, while more than 120 cross-party MPs signed a letter urging ministers to share the information with Parliament. (Read more)

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