Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Russia’s buildup at NATO’s back door

International | Putin plans to place 100,000 troops near the Baltics
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/02/17, 12:17 pm

ESTONIA: Spanish and Finnish warplanes scrambled over Estonia Tuesday to intercept three Russian military aircraft—just hours after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the Baltic state—in a direct violation of NATO airspace. Such Russian incursions aren’t uncommon (backstory here) but come as Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to amass up to 100,000 troops near the Baltic states.

UKRAINE: Related, the number of daily cease-fire violations by Russia in embattled eastern Ukraine is “astonishing.” U.S. envoy Kurt Volker said, “There are more Russian tanks in there than in Western Europe combined.”

VENEZUELA: In a midnight raid, authorities arrested two leading opposition figures, and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday night condemned “the Maduro dictatorship” after the head of state engineered Sunday’s election to replace the democratically elected legislature.

Let U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., explain why the crisis in Venezuela matters to the United States:

AFGHANISTAN: A suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy Wednesday afternoon in Kandahar, with casualties (the Taliban claims 17), one day after an explosion at a mosque in Herat, the country’s third largest city, killed at least 30.

Putting private contractors in Afghanistan in place of U.S. troops is no silver bullet.

VIETNAM: Freedom for Lutheran Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh has come at the price of exile.

BREXIT: On the other hand, an untethered Britain as a global trading partner will benefit the United States.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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