Blooming Candidacy

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to enter the Democratic presidential primary race later this week. According to an adviser, the billionaire businessman has been contemplating a 2020 run for the past few weeks but has not yet made a final decision.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Common

Bloomberg has dispatched staffers to Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the state’s primary. Alabama’s deadline for candidates to formally enter the race is November 15, the earliest qualification date of any primary.

Bloomberg initially stayed out of the race because of Biden’s strength, but now, Bloomberg is skeptical that Biden will win the nomination. Bloomberg’s wealth, centrist views and access to resources could be disastrous to Biden, who is currently struggling to raise money and is on the defensive for his ideological moderate base.

Senator Sessions

On Thursday, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would run for his old Alabama Senate seat. His announcement comes a year after President Trump fired him from his position in the administration, and their relationship will most likely be a determining factor in the race’s outcome.

In a video launching his campaign, Sessions gave Trump “strong support.” He further emphasized his loyalty by noting that, as per Trump’s public criticism, he did not attack the president.

Despite Sessions’ popularity in Alabama —  his last Senate campaign went unopposed — Trump has even stronger approval ratings, more than in most other states. Trump has spent the past few months criticizing and condemning his former attorney general, and these personal attacks may very well turn tides against Sessions in the March 3 primary.

“Brain Death”

During an interview with The Economist published on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that he does not know if NATO’s commitment to collective defense remains valid and that it was experiencing “brain death” due to the lack of leadership and coordination on from the U.S.

Under Trump, Macron said, the U.S. was “turning its back” on its allies by pulling troops  out of Syria without giving notice. Trump then again said that Europeans need to do more for their own defense.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed disagreement with Macron’s “drastic words.” In her remarks, Merkel said that such broad judgements are not necessary despite the current divisions and problems among NATO allies.

On Dec. 3 and 4, NATO leaders will gather in London to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary.

Syrian Protester Killed

On Friday, a Syrian protester was killed after a Turkish military vehicle ran him over as it plowed through a crowd of protesters.

This occurred shortly after Turkish and Russian forces agreed to jointly patrol northern Syria following American withdrawal from the area. Many Kurdish residents strongly oppose Turkish invasion and patrols, which they equate to ethnic cleansing of the region.

The man killed was with a group of Kurdish residents who had chased and thrown stones and shoes at a Russian-Turkey convoy. Turkish soldiers responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

Ten other people were hospitalized following the incident.