It’s Wednesday, December 4. In today’s newsletter: NATO, impeachment, and what came after the poisoning of the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal.



(Peter Nicholls / Reuters)

NATO was supposed to represent shared Western values.

This year, disagreements rankled. Our London-based writer Tom McTague reports:

… as the leaders of the world’s most enduring military alliance have gathered in London these past two days, amid petty rows and great philosophical disputes, the very notion of this spiritual union is being called into question.

Read the rest.

+ All of President Donald Trump’s predecessors “have generally followed a golden rule” in their interactions with allied leaders, a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO writes.



(Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo / AP)

Looking Back on a Year of Unrest

For the final month of 2019, our photo editor Alan Taylor reviews some of the major news events and moments of 2019.

In the photograph above, a girl stands before police blocking the road leading to the governor’s mansion in San Juan on July 18, 2019. Massive protests rocked Puerto Rico this summer, resulting in Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation.

See more.



(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

1. Nobody expected today’s testimonies to change minds on impeachment.

But the way the hearings were structured seems to have made things even worse, Russell Berman writes:

Exercising their rights in the majority, Democrats chose three witnesses and allowed Republicans to choose one.

Read the rest.


2. What’s it like to draft actual articles of impeachment?

Elaine Godfrey spoke with someone who recalls the late-nights-and-takeout work of it intimately:

James Rogan: It was physically exhausting, for a number of reasons, aside from the political beating I was taking back home every day.

Read the rest.

(Tom Brenner / Reuters)

3. Trump’s earliest and most fervent supporters in Congress have something problematic in common, David Frum argues:

The first House member to endorse Donald Trump, Chris Collins of New York, pleaded guilty to insider-trading charges on October 1, 2019.

The second House Trump endorser, Duncan Hunter of California, pleaded guilty to criminal misuse of campaign funds yesterday.

Read the rest.

(John Locher / AP)

4. “Progressives have short memories,” Peter Beinart argues.

A bitter irony underlies Kamala Harris’s exit from the presidential campaign.

…Had Harris—especially as a black woman—been the crusading criminal-justice reformer that Democrats now want to see, she would likely never have been in a position to run for president in the first place.

Read the rest.



(Illustration by Ricardo Santos*)

Britain’s Secret War With Russia

In 2018, a former Russian spy living in retired exile in Britain “was found alongside his daughter, who was visiting from Russia, foaming at the mouth on a park bench in Salisbury, 90 miles southwest of London.”

A dizzying disinformation war followed.

The aftermath of the Skripal poisoning illustrated not only a PR offensive waged by outlets sympathetic to Moscow, but also the breadth of the Russian state’s capabilities and efforts to include its diplomatic corps as well as its intelligence agencies.

Read the rest.


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