produced by the Council of American Ambassadors on American Ambassadors Live!
1. Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe dies

What's going on
Former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe died early Friday morning at 95 years-old. Mugabe took power in 1980 as the first leader of an independent Zimbabwe. For 37 years Mugabe ruled as Zimbabwe's strongman with leadership known for corruption and an economic crisis that plagued Zimbabwe as the elite accumulated more wealth. In 2017 he was ousted by his country's military and replaced by President Emerson Mnangagwa in a controversial election process.
What Ambassadors are saying
"After 25 meetings with Robert Mugabe from 1997 to 2001, I came to know him well and learned to despise his oppressive conduct toward his own black people of Zimbabwe. His thugs even beat up a few of my FSN employees working at American Embassy Harare in 2000. Whatever good he did in the early years of his service to the country was greatly outweighed by the intimidation and violence he authorized to be conducted by his government, police, military and CIO especially starting in 2000 until he was ousted from power in November 2017. I would often say that through Mugabe, his government supported thugs who perfected the art of torturing or killing Zimbabweans one or two at a time. Not enough to demand a real response from the world. During his rule, President Mugabe had absolute power and hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans suffered as a result." -Ambassador Tom McDonald, former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Council of American Ambassadors
2. U.S. reaches a deal with the Taliban

What's going on
Having reached an agreement with the Taliban, American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told Afghan leaders on Monday that the United States would pull 5,400 troops from Afghanistan within 135 days of signing the agreement. The deal includes a timeline for withdrawing remaining U.S. troops in return for the Taliban breaking with international terrorist groups and starting direct negotiations with Afghan officials. Western officials have said full withdrawal could be in about 16 months. The Afghan government has expressed concern that the Taliban will not honor their agreements once American troops leave. The deal is not final until President Trump agrees to it.
What the Ambassadors are saying
"One important consideration is notably missing from the deliberations: What will happen to our Afghan partners who served the U.S. mission after we leave?...The proposed U.S. troop withdrawals would mean that some Afghan partners awaiting visa processing would lose their jobs and therefore lose the right to live on a protected U.S. base. The Taliban cannot be trusted to protect civilians, let alone the Afghan interpreters whom they have targeted as traitors. As part of any planning for a reduction in forces, the U.S. government has a responsibility to protect those who served the United States who worked tirelessly at great personal risk to protect U.S. personnel and advance the U.S. mission." -Ambassador Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon, The Washington Post
3. U.S.-China talks to resume next month

What's going on
On Thursday officials announced that U.S.-China trade talks will resume in early October when a delegation from Beijing will meet with U.S. officials in Washington. The announcement sent stocks higher with an almost 400 point jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 1.3% rise in the S&P's 500-stock index. Mid-level discussions will begin mid-September in the lead-up to October's negotiations.
What Ambassadors are saying
"On both sides Xi Jinping and Donald Trump are really playing to local audiences. There's no separating the economic and political, even though we focus too often on the economic side. The reality is that there are domestic audiences at play that both leaders really have to address first and foremost...My fear is that there will simply be a face-saving deal. At the end of the day, we will need a face-saving deal, but let's hope that deal also includes real progress on the fundamental underlying issues that have brought these two great nations to this point and time." -Ambassador Curtis Chin, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, Bloomberg
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