Send tips and thoughts to [email protected] or follow Ryan on Twitter.
What an inspiring New York weekend that was: from witnessing 9/11 memorials that testified to the city’s enduring resilience, through to the U.S. Open finals, where four teenagers inspired the crowds. Emma Raducanu — born to Chinese and Romanian parents in Canada, but a Londoner through and through, lifted the women’s singles trophy. The women’s doubles final followed with two mixed race teams and victory for a Chinese and Australian pair — all the more extraordinary given an economic and rhetorical war between the two countries. The crowd then backed a Russian victory in the men’s singles. The world is alright, if not all right.
WELCOME TO GLOBAL INSIDER: The newsletter and new podcast that brings you intimate conversations with the world’s most powerful people. The first podcast episode drops Wednesday and features Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
JOIN GLOBAL INSIDER TODAY: Ryan will moderate a panel on “Fixing Capitalism” with Amy Weaver Salesforce President and CFO; Jonas Prising, Chair and CEO of ManpowerGroup; and Manny Maceda, CEO of Bain & Company at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, from 2 p.m. ET. Register here.
Secretary of state Antony Blinken will testify remotely before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Afghanistan withdrawal; tomorrow, Sept. 14, he’ll face the Senate equivalent.
Climate envoy John Kerry is in India for three days, making his big push for New Delhi to ramp-up emission reductions. (India is often forgotten in developing world climate debates, which tend to focus on China’s emissions.)
President Joe Biden is campaigning for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall election Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning local time, the president of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, will deliver her State of the Union speech.
TERRORISM — AL QAEDA LEADER RESURFACES: Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a 61-minute video marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Earlier in 2021, rumors spread that he had died of illness. Al-Zawahri assumed al Qaeda leadership after the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden.
GERMAN ELECTION — SCHOLZ WINS LEADERS DEBATE: A snap poll conducted after Sunday night’s second debate found 41 percent of viewers found Social Democratic candidate Olaf Scholz “most convincing,” compared to 27 percent for Angela Merkel’s chosen successor Armin Laschet and 25 percent for Greens leader Annalena Baerbock.
That result may help firm Scholz’s polling lead. My Berlin-based colleague Matt Karnitschnig has the essential analysis of the debate, and you can relive the whole thing via POLITICO’s live blog from last night. A final debate is scheduled for Sept. 19.
Foreign policy wasn’t a significant factor in the debate, though Scholz made the most significant contribution by distancing himself from the Greens on climate. He said that if he becomes chancellor, Germans wouldn’t have to fear too much rapid change, insisting he has “always resisted” big tax hikes.
Poll of polls: The numbers have stabilized with the Social Democrats ahead on 25 percent, the center-right CDU/CSU at 21 percent and center-left Greens at 16 percent in POLITICO’s poll of polls. Around a quarter of Germans aren’t certain about who they’ll choose.
Laschet goofs again: Laschet appeared on local TV seeking to distance himself from Merkel’s position on same-sex marriage (she only tacitly supported it, in 2017). Laschet claimed that, unlike Merkel, he would have voted in favor of the policy — contradicting his own public position from that debate.
Who’s on Laschet’s speed dial? It took a group of schoolchildren to crack the code. Watch them ask him to call various members of the government, including Merkel, here. The final “OMG” from the kids when he puts health minister Jens Spahn on speaker phone is gold.
UNITED STATES — CALIFORNIA RECALL ELECTION: The world’s fifth-largest economy (more output than India) votes Tuesday on whether to end the governorship of Democrat Gavin Newsom. President Biden will campaign for him at 7 p.m. local time Monday.
NORWAY — NATIONAL ELECTION TODAY: Some have suggested the vote could mark a turning point for the “future of oil” in Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producing country, but as POLITICO’S Charlie Duxbury reported, parties polling over 10 percent remain committed to continued drilling until at least 2050. The bigger fight is over how to regulate drilling — the poll-topping Labor party accepts the oil age is “coming to a close” and the country offers huge green subsidies, which it can afford thanks to its oil and gas industry (which also funds the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund).
By the numbers: POLITICO’s Poll of Polls shows Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s Conservatives trailing behind the Labor Party led by Jonas Gahr Støre. The Greens, with just 5 percent of the vote and the toughest anti-oil message, are a potential kingmaker. The Socialist Left, at 9 percent, is a natural coalition partner for Labor, and also wants to halt continued exploration.
LOL: Neal Freyman points out that Norway is “like a vegan with a beef farm.” It’s hoping for 70 percent of all new cars sold to be electric, but it can’t quit its fossil fuel income.
NORTH KOREA — REGIME SAYS IT TESTED NEW LONG-RANGE MISSILES: The Korean Central News Agency said Monday that the cruise missiles, which had been under development for two years, successfully hit targets 932 miles away, during weekend tests.
AFGHANISTAN — TALIBAN TO ALLOW WOMEN TO CONTINUE UNIVERSITY STUDY … IN SEGREGATION: When is a win a loss? In Afghan gender politics. “Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at postgraduate levels, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the higher education minister in the new Taliban government said Sunday,” per AP.
AFGHANISTAN — U.S. GOVERNMENT UNLIKELY TO FORMALLY RECOGNIZE TALIBAN: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the new Afghan Cabinet a “lineup of thugs and butchers.” A senior Biden administration official bemoaned that the new Afghan administration included “individuals on terrorist lists.”
Any U.S. recognition of Taliban rule is unlikely in the near term, my colleague Nahal Toosi concludes, because it would infuriate Congress and damage the White House politically. But the administration will continue to dangle the prospect, and U.S. military officials have said they may cooperate with the Taliban to battle a common foe, the ISIS-K terrorist group.
“No one is arguing that the state of Afghanistan has ceased to exist, and the rest of the world can’t avoid interacting with it,” said Scott Anderson, a former State Department lawyer who studies the topic of government recognition. “At some point, people are going to have to acknowledge some entity as having the capacity to speak for Afghanistan.”
Putting a number on humanitarian needs: Ahead of a ministerial conference on Monday convened by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on how to avoid humanitarian disaster on Monday, former U.N. humanitarian envoy Mark Lowcock outlines the needs: “the short and long-term security of millions of innocent civilians is on the line.”
IRAN — MINI DEAL DELAYS NUCLEAR INSPECTIONS CRISIS: After weeks of tense discussions, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have reached a deal of sorts. Iran will allow international inspectors to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras and continue filming at its nuclear sites. In the words of Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman, who’s reported on the Iran nuclear deal for nearly a decade, that mini-deal “averted a nuclear deal negotiation crisis at the cost of again giving Iran a free pass on its lack of cooperation with the Agency.”
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi outlined the arrangement at a Sunday press conference, ahead of an IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
Chatham House’s Sanam Vakil emails “it also points to the Raisi administration’s willingness to stave off a bigger crisis and keep the pathway to Vienna negotiations open. These are clearly positive steps on all sides.”
CLIMATE — BIDEN ATTENDING COP26: Biden let his plans slip while visiting Queens last week (h/t Tom Newton Dunn), but the White House hasn’t provided a date yet. Meanwhile a special vaccination program has started for COP delegates not already vaccinated under their national rollouts (that is, most of them).
JOIN GLOBAL INSIDER THIS WEEK: Ryan will moderate “New Rules in the Global Tech Race” during POLITICO’s inaugural tech summit on Wednesday. Confirmed panelists include Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, Carnegie Endowment’s Erica Borghard and Zack Cooper of American Enterprise Institute. Register to attend. Got any questions for the panelists? Shoot me an email.
U.S. CHAMBER MEMBERS PREPARING TO CRITICIZE THE GROUP’S CLIMATE STANCE: Under pressure to live up to their own commitments to drastically cut climate emissions, several members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are preparing to rebuke the wider group’s climate lobbying stance, which includes working to scale back Democrat tax and spending plans. The Chamber is standing firm: “This isn’t a climate bill; it is an everything and the kitchen sink bill,” chief policy officer Neil Bradley said in an emailed statement.
BLOOMBERG’S CLIMATE COUNTDOWN: Michael Bloomberg has started a countdown campaign to COP26. Across his foundation and corporation and work as a U.N. climate envoy, Bloomberg is promising to take 60 specific climate actions in the 60 days leading up to the conference in November. Announcements include an India-U.K. Climate Finance Leadership Initiative and a new report detailing the potential for solar adoption in Indonesia.
SAFETY NET PROGRAMS HELPED PREVENT WIDESPREAD HUNGER DURING PANDEMIC, new federal study finds.
POT BOILS OVER — GIULIANI ASSOCIATE PLEADS GUILTY ON FOREIGN DONATIONS: Igor Fruman pleaded guilty Friday to illegally funneling foreign donations into U.S. political campaigns as part of an effort to win licenses in the booming legal marijuana business.
ANGELA MERKEL’S CULTURAL TOUR: As her potential successors crisscross the country, so is the outgoing chancellor, but this time she’s forging a personal path. Think of it as a kind of liberation tour: Last week she declared herself a feminist on-stage with author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie before heading to a new Vermeer exhibition in Dresden.
MODELS UNITE TO PUT SEX ABUSE CLAIMS IN SPOTLIGHT: In the latest MeToo front, Carla Bruni, the former model and former first lady of France, is backing a growing group of models alleging rapes and assaults spanning decades by a leading model manager.
EURO WATCH — WHICH COUNTRIES ARE CLOSING TO AMERICANS? Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden have restricted all access. Meanwhile, the Netherlands now requires both a vaccine and 10 days quarantine to pass border control.
As usual, GIobal Insider readers are a clever bunch: One flew in for an airside meeting at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on Friday, then promptly turned around for the next flight back to New York.
TRENDING — EUROGAMES: If you can’t get into Europe, try playing one of their board games instead. Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit are now left in the dust by complex “Eurostyle” board games for adults, which are reviving a once-tired industry.
SHORT READ: As Ukraine Continues Its Defense Reform, Lithuania Proves a Lodestar. Ahead of Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis visiting Washington, starting Sept. 14, International Republican Institute experts Michael Druckman and Mark Dietzen write about the need for defense reform in Ukraine and how Lithuania can help play a role.
BOOK — THE NAZIS KNEW MY NAME: 105-year-old Australian-Slovakin Holocaust survivor Magda Hellinger survived three years in Auschwitz and served as camp leader, saving lives including her own, wherever she could. This may be one of the final first-hand Holocaust accounts to be published as a book.
BOOK: The Fight for Climate After COVID-19, by Alice C. Hill. Now at the Council on Foreign Relations, Hill served as special assistant to former President Barack Obama and as senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council staff.
DOCUMENTARY: National Geographic’s six-part documentary, “9/11: One Day in America,” comes recommended by POLITICO Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza.
Thanks to editor Ben Pauker and Florian Eder