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eyes on the U.S.

World Peeks In Biden’s Garage, Files Fire Up International Coverage

"Two Presidents, Two Polemics.." Newspapers from Germany to Italy to Mexico and Lebanon and beyond are trying to gauge the ramifications for the ongoing Biden v. Trump showdown.

Screenshot of a campaign video for Joe Biden that shows him and his Corvette near the incriminated garage

Screenshot of a campaign video for Joe Biden featuring his Corvette and the incriminated garage

Campaign video / Twitter
Bertrand Hauger, Ginevra Falciani and Renate Mattar

The “Garagen-Affäre” — Berlin-based daily Die Welt took a crack at giving a moniker to the accumulating revelations that President Joe Biden had not turned over all classified documents from his time as Barack Obama’s vice president.

The German coverage, along with a flood of articles published around the world on Friday, came after a second batch of documents were discovered in the garage of Biden’s home in Delaware, next to the president’s prized Corvette sports car.

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On Thursday, Attorney General Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the probe of the documents, including an earlier cache discovered at Biden's former office at a Washington think tank on Nov. 2, just days before the midterm elections.

Die Welt warns not to underestimate the political damage, particularly in light of all the finger-wagging the current president has reserved for his predecessor, including criticism after similar revelations of classified documents found stashed in Donald Trump’s private home in Florida.

“Biden is generally not stingy with moral judgements, presenting himself as the epitome of integrity and decency.”

“Biden called Trump's handling of secret documents ‘irresponsible’ and the recent power struggle among the Republicans in the House of Representatives ‘embarrassing,’" Die Welt writes. “It is precisely these same attributes that the Democrat now has to hear from his political competition. Biden is generally not stingy with moral judgements, presenting himself as the epitome of integrity and decency. Anyone who sets such standards risks falling hard.”

French daily Libération alluded to the old dictum that “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” that often drives scandals. “The timing will be criticized, as those documents were found barely six days before the midterms [which leads to] questions of the timing of its revelation (why did we not know anything about it until the last few hours?),” the daily writes. “This could also stir up the calls that have been made in the last two years, by some of the most enthusiastic Trumpists, asking for Biden’s impeachment.”

Coverage elsewhere echoed the comparison (and duel) with Trump, as the pair could very well face off again in the race for the White House next year.

In an editorial for Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera, titled “Two Presidents, Two Polemics,”

Massimo Gaggi writes: “Double standards: the Republicans cleverly use the discovery of top-secret documents from the Obama White House to accuse the president of committing the same violations as his predecessor. The two cases are actually different. However, now, with Biden's top secret papers, prosecuting Trump would mean allowing him to declare himself the victim of a political vendetta by the president against his opponent.”

Meanwhile, another Italian newspaper, La Stampa, notes that Biden was waiting until February to announce his candidacy for 2024. “Now he risks running with the Damocles sword of an investigation on his head.”

Mexican daily El Universal offers an explainer: “How the discovery of classified documents in Biden's offices compares with the Trump case.”

In Lebanon, French-language L’Orient le Jour, acknowledges that Biden “is on the defensive,” but also distinguishes that, unlike Trump, the Democrat is “totally cooperating” with judicial authorities.

Arabic-language outlet An Nahar instead aimed to capture the moment from a different angle. “What happened to Biden’s face?,” it asked, analyzing a video clip of Biden struggling to explain himself: “This video lasts only 10 seconds, in which the face of American president Joe Biden looked very strange, with an unusual expression. This short video has been shared all around the world.”

— Worldcrunch

In other news …

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

French daily Le Figaro’s weekend magazine focuses on the renewed interest in conspiracy theories with the declassification by President Joe Biden of never-before-seen documents on John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.

🦅 SO AMERICAN …

“They drive from one shop to the next, even if it's only a 50-meter walk…" They “walk confidently in the wrong direction,” and “lack an indoor voice,” but you can count on them to“always leave tips" … This Reddit thread has international contributors list telltale signs that a tourist visiting their town or city is from the U.S. Another more subtle sign: The eye contact and “gentle grins” given to strangers as they pass: OK in the Midwest, “but not so much in Germany."

IN BRIEF

Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia laments the “violent awakening from the American dream” as it comments on the social fracture left in the U.S. by the “banana scenes” that took place during the grueling 15-round election of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker.

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Ideas

Why Are Right-Wing Hindu Nationalists So Pro-Israel?

The flood of pro-Israel support from right-ring Hindu nationalists reveals more about the nature of their political project, its aspirations and ideological directions through the decades, than it does about Zionism.

Photo of ​Indian seers at Varanasi’s Ganga Aarti showing support for Israel.

Indian seers at Varanasi’s Ganga Aarti showing support for Israel.

Angshuman Choudhury

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — As Israel attacks Gaza with brute military force in response to a coordinated offensive by Hamas, staged in a manner and at a scale never seen before, Indian X (formerly Twitter) is abuzz with some familiar chatter – widespread solidarity for Israel.

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Mostly emanating from right-wing Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) circles, this wave of support is hardly new. It rears its head every time there is an escalation between Palestine and Israel – and as is the case every time, Tel Aviv deploys disproportionate military force against Palestinians.

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