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SPOTLIGHT: THE WORLD TUNES IN TO VEGAS

It's a favorite trope in U.S. presidential campaign coverage to say "the world is watching." In this campaign, it comes with a heavy dose of close-the-shades embarrassment, between Donald Trump's treatment of women and Hillary Clinton's treatment of her emails. But as the two candidates prepare for what promises to be a fiery final debate, tonight in Las Vegas, it's worth remembering that specific things will change for countries and people far away when a new tenant arrives at the White House:

  • Starting, of course, with Mexicans. As economist Fernando Chavez noted in a piece for América Economia (translated here by Worldcrunch), their contribution to the U.S. economy is huge. But a Trump president is determined to deport scores to the other side of a wall Mexico will be asked to pay for. For Muslims, it's a matter of whether they'll be banned from entering the U.S. (or is it "extremely vetted"?).
  • Which side China is on is anybody's guess, but perhaps the correct answer is: none. From Beijing's perspective, they're either faced with someone who threatened to "ring China with missile defense" and increase U.S. presence in the South China Sea, or with someone who threatens to unleash an all-out trade war.
  • In Europe, a quiet but diffused preference for Clinton is countered by those who are clearly rooting for Trump, hoping that his victory will spell a wave of anti-establishment successes across the continent. With crucial elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany next year, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and the Alternative für Deutschland party respectively, all see Trump as a model to emulate. His victory, on top of the Brexit referendum, would put wind in all sails heading sharply to the right.
  • Perhaps the foreign leader with the most at stake in this election is Vladimir Putin. Between Clinton, an interventionist who saves her toughest words for Russian foreign policy, and Trump, an isolationist who boasts that he can work together with the Kremlin, the choice appears quite clear for the Russian president. For further proof of where Putin stands, one need only look at the number of reports in the Russian media about risks of nuclear war between Moscow and Washington if Clinton wins.
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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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