FROM THIS EPISODE
Republicans in Congress threw more uncertainty into America's future today. The lame duck session won't even try to pass any full spending bills, which is especially bad news for the Pentagon. But Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, who met with the GOP’s House Caucus behind closed doors, emphasized that President-elect Trump would bring together "a great team" to work with leaders of the House and Senate "to rebuild our military -- revitalize our economy." David Hawkings is senior editor of Roll Call, which keeps track of Capitol Hill.
On his last visit to Germany as President, Barack Obama reassured Chancellor Angela Merkel: Donald Trump is committed to the NATO Alliance. But the two leaders also issued a statement on climate change, free trade, international "norms" and Vladimir Putin's Russia.
It's being construed as a "joint rebuttal" of some controversial positions Trump's taken during his campaign and since the election. With the rise of right-wing populism and a new generation of strongmen, will Merkel become the leading defender of European Unity and democratic values?
Hockenos on 'the dawn of Pax Germanica'
Sanger on Trump's 'America First' approach and its first tests
Rachman on Trump, Putin, Xi and the cult of the strongman leader
John Feffer on the case for non-cooperation with Trump
The International Criminal Court has lost a powerful charter member: Russia is pulling out.
The International Criminal Court of the United Nations was established to investigate and prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Its ability to put sitting officials on trial depends on their countries’ participation. George W. Bush withdrew the US some years ago, and now, Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia to pull out, too. Somini Sengupta, UN reporter for the New York Times, says the action was largely symbolic.