International Roundtable: Brexit, Khashoggi And Saudi Arabia, APEC Summit

Nov 21, 2018

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Our global roundtable returns, with the top news you need to know from around the world.


Rob Watson, BBC World Service U.K. political correspondent. (@robwatsonbbc)

David Herszenhorn, chief Brussels correspondent for POLITICO. (@herszenhorn)

Ishaan Tharoor, foreign affairs reporter for The Washington Post. (@ishaantharoor)

From The Reading List

Politico: “Theresa May’s Brexit deal: That was the easy bit” — “Theresa May has a draft Brexit deal.

“It’s taken a year and a half of tortuous negotiations in Brussels to get here. But in hindsight, it might look like this was the easy bit.

“A draft deal is not a done deal and there are still major tests that the text must pass before it can become a legal withdrawal treaty.

Cabinet approval — so far

“Ministers discussed the deal at a specially arrangement Cabinet meeting in Downing Street that began at 2 p.m. local time and lasted for five hours before May emerged to say that they had backed the deal.

“That’s a major obstacle that’s been overcome — but it’s not all over for May yet and although no one resigned that doesn’t mean they won’t at a later date. But May has experienced Cabinet resignations before now (her Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quit in July) and lived to tell the tale.”

Washington Post: “China’s road to global leadership gets bumpy” — “On Sunday, an annual meeting of Pacific Rim countries ended with a clash between two behemoths. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, saw Chinese and American representatives continue their countries’ battles over trade. For the first time in the bloc’s history, there was no joint communique issued at the summit’s end.

“The impasse echoed the rancor at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec this summer, where a spat with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prompted President Trump to reject a joint statement agreed to by key U.S. allies. But this time, it wasn’t the White House that was blamed for the breakdown.

“Citing an official from the American delegation, the Wall Street Journal reported China balked at a single proposed sentence in the communique: ‘We agreed to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.’ Beijing has refused to acknowledge one of Washington’s main grievances — its alleged coercing of U.S. companies to transfer technology to Chinese counterparts — and believed the proposed wording was too direct a jab at China.”

USA Today: “Trump still scrambling to resolve foreign policy crisis over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder” — “Seven weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration is still scrambling to come up with a cohesive response to the Washington Post columnist’s death and resolve a vexing foreign policy crisis.

“Despite unrelenting domestic and international pressure to punish Saudi Arabia for its role in Khashoggi’s killing, President Donald Trump has continued to play up the kingdom’s status as a key U.S. ally – and play down evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have ordered the American resident’s murder.

“‘Their strategy has been to hope that the truth doesn’t come out,’ said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and national security adviser in the Obama administration, now with National Security Action, an advocacy group critical of Trump’s foreign policy agenda.”

The Economist: “The case for another vote on Brexit is gaining strength” — “A year ago the case for a second vote on eu membership looked like the definition of a lost cause. At the general election in 2017 both major parties promised to ‘deliver Brexit’. The only party that wanted to hold another referendum, the Liberal Democrats, got 8% of the vote. Support for a so-called People’s Vote on the terms of Britain’s exit from the eu was confined to a motley group of die-hards, no-hopers and eccentrics who spent more time feuding over technicalities (should 16-year-olds be given a say this time round?) than they did making their case to the people.

“Today there is a significant chance that Britain will end up having a vote on whether to accept the Brexit deal that Theresa May presented to the cabinet on November 14th. Over the past few months the no-hopers have racked up a succession of victories. In October the People’s Vote campaign organised a march of 670,000 people in London. On November 9th Jo Johnson, a transport minister and brother of Boris, resigned from the government and argued that, given Britain now faced a choice between ‘vassalage’ and ‘chaos’—that is, remaining tied to the eu without a say on its rules or leaving without a deal—the only reasonable choice was another vote. On November 12th Gordon Brown became the third former prime minister to call for another vote. And Mrs May herself admitted this week that Britain faced a three-way choice: her deal, no deal, ‘or no Brexit at all.’ “

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