The deadly drone strike on American forces in Jordan on Sunday marks an escalation in fighting in the Middle East. For the latest, tune in to 'The Globalist' on Monocle Radio at 07.00 London time.
Last week’s international media coverage focused heavily on the prospect of a second Trump presidency and what that would mean for the world. That’s because, after the New Hampshire primaries, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Donald Trump’s remaining challenger for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley. Since the former president also leads the incumbent, Joe Biden, in the polls, this was an obvious time to focus on a seemingly inevitable future. And yet there’s one thing that we need to see before we get there: a debate between Trump and Haley.
Trump hasn’t participated in any debates this campaign season. But listening to the speech he gave in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening, I think that he might be just about angry enough with “imposter” Haley to be goaded into facing her before the South Carolina primaries.
And what an important debate that would be: aside from issues such as the Capitol attack and democracy (obviously important), the two candidates couldn’t be further apart on foreign policy. Haley is a rather traditional Republican hawk in a volatile world; she’s warning of war with China and urging her party to continue backing Ukraine or risk Vladimir Putin invading the rest of Europe. Trump has embraced an isolationist approach that is big on talk (he claims that he could end the Ukraine war in one day) but small on details.
Before the rest of us waste any more energy delving into what a second Trump presidency would mean for the world, perhaps it’s time for him to be challenged by his own party about exactly what he wants. Though I haven’t had much time for the ones between the also-rans in the Republican Party over the past year, presidential debates play an important role in elections. A Haley-Trump face-off is one that I would definitely tune in to.
Christopher Cermak is Monocle Radio’s senior news editor. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will visit Pakistan next week, signalling an effort to normalise relations between the countries. This rebuilding of diplomatic ties comes after a tense start to the year. Earlier this month, Iran conducted a deadly strike on Panjgur in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, allegedly targeting the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl. Pakistan retaliated by recalling its ambassador and striking what it claims are separatist hideouts in Iran. As the first attack on Iranian soil since 1988, the events have raised alarm about further instability in the region. The 900km border between the two countries has long been a source of conflict due to the presence of armed groups, which Pakistan and Iran both say threaten their national security.
Rafael Viñoly Architects’ plans for a new international terminal at Florence’s Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci are a novel twist on green urban design. The terminal, which is expected to be completed by 2035 and serve as many as 5.9 million passengers through six hubs, will be covered by a 7.7-hectare vineyard. This will root the airport in the Tuscan landscape and celebrate the region’s wine as one the most recognisable Italian exports. The grapes will be cared for by a local winemaker who will have a cellar in the airport.
Travellers need not worry: the terminal will also have more conventional amenities, such as shops and a train connecting it to the city. Though visitors passing through the Florentine airport might have to wait some time before they get a taste of the airport’s wine, they will soon be able to see the first section of the new terminal. If the experiment lives up to the region’s reputation, we hope to see more boozy airport collaborations in wine regions elsewhere.
China’s Ministry of Transport expects more than nine billion domestic trips to be made in the country over the Lunar New Year holiday period. New Year’s Day falls on 10 February but the celebrations will extend through the month. In 2023 a record 4.7 billion trips were made during the holiday, which marked the country’s first major event after coronavirus-related restrictions were eased. With the ministry bracing for double that figure this year, the country’s infrastructure will be tested.
Despite long queues and high ticket prices, travellers are unlikely to be deterred. “It’s the Year of the Dragon so it will be huge,” Isabel Hilton, founder of China Dialogue, tells The Monocle Minute. “In addition to domestic travel by those returning to their family’s villages from the cities, record numbers will be returning from overseas.”
The first stage of Azabudai Hills, a sprawling “city within a city” in the Japanese capital, is open. Monocle explores its shops, offering everything from fashion to furniture, and sees how the mixed-use development could provide a template for elevating urban life.
Ursina Beerli is co-founder of the Zürich-based company that specialises in creating unique, playable records made from recycled silver, gold and platinum. Beerli talks about the manufacturing process in Bavaria, the craftsmanship of the records and Precious Sound’s first official collaboration, with the band Third Eye Blind.