Speaking of President Trump’s demagoguery, my colleagues report that he has taken the rather unprecedented step of asking the Pentagon to plan a giant military parade. Trump, a keen fan of military pomp, became particularly excited about the idea after attending France’s Bastille Day ceremonies last year. From Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker:

“Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning…

"‘The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,’ said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. ‘This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.’

"American shows of military strength don’t come cheap. The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.

"A White House official familiar with the planning described the discussions as ‘brainstorming’ and said nothing is settled. ‘Right now there’s really no meat on the bones,’ said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

"Still, the official said Trump is determined to have a parade. ‘The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,’ the official said.”

 Poland’s president signed a controversial Holocaust bill, criminalizing speech that refers to “Polish death camps” during World War II. The law, which — as we explained last week — has drawn criticism both from the United States and Israel, will now be subject to a review by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. But that likely won’t change much.

“The constitutional tribunal in its current composition serves the goals of the ruling party . . . It is definitely not independent,” said Piotr Buras, the head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, to my colleague Rick Noack. “But referring the bill to the tribunal was probably still the best available option to the Polish president.”

Buras added: “To the international audience, especially the U.S. and Israel, it signals that the Polish side sees the seriousness of the case and is perhaps ready for some changes. But it also signals to the ruling party’s most conservative domestic supporters that the government is not ready to back down.”

 My colleague Liz Sly reports on the “dramatic deterioration” of conditions in Syria, where spiraling violence is intensifying an already-bleak humanitarian crisis. The United Nations called for an immediate cease-fire on Tuesday.

“The appeal coincides with the collapse in recent weeks of a year-old Russian effort to tamp down the violence through so-called de-escalation zones, which had helped contribute to a perception that the war in Syria finally is winding down,” wrote Sly.

“Instead, the first weeks of 2018 have turned into one of the bloodiest periods of the conflict yet, with hundreds killed in airstrikes, nearly 300,000 displaced in northwestern Syria and 400,000 at risk of starvation in a besieged area east of Damascus that has not received food since November.”

 A Washington Post analysis of Trump’s immigration proposals, which involve significant cuts to legal immigration, estimates that they will delay the moment the United States becomes a majority non-white country by a projected half-decade or so. It seems like a particularly telling indication of what Trump's immigration policy is truly intended to do. From the analysis:

“The Census Bureau projects that minority groups will outnumber non-Hispanic whites in the United States in 2044. The Post's analysis projects that, were Trump's plan to be carried out, the date would be between 2045 and 2049, depending on how parts of it are implemented…

"All told, the proposal could cut off entry for more than 20 million legal immigrants over the next four decades. The change could have profound effects on the size of the U.S. population and its composition, altering projections for economic growth and the age of the nation's workforce, as well as shaping its politics and culture, demographers and immigration experts say.

"‘By greatly slashing the number of Hispanic and black African immigrants entering America, this proposal would reshape the future United States. Decades ahead, many fewer of us would be nonwhite or have nonwhite people in our families’ said Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, a think tank that has been critical of the proposal. ‘Selectively blocking immigrant groups changes who America is. This is the biggest attempt in a century to do that.’”

A bullet hole&nbsp;in a shop window&nbsp;in&nbsp;Macerata, Italy, after a spate of&nbsp;drive-by shootings of immigrants there&nbsp;on Feb.&nbsp;3, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)</p>

A bullet hole in a shop window in Macerata, Italy, after a spate of drive-by shootings of immigrants there on Feb. 3, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

Boiling over

Kofi Wilson heard gunfire every day of the 15 months he spent in Libya during his harrowing journey to Europe — but not once since he arrived in Macerata, a tranquil little city in the craggy central-Italian hills, more than a year ago.

So when Wilson heard a loud crack ring out on Saturday, he told a friend: “It’s not a gunshot, not here." But after the second crack, he was crumpled on the pavement, his chest and back spilling blood.

Wilson, a 20-year-old from Ghana, was one of six African immigrants shot here Saturday in drive-by attacks that have stunned both the city and the nation as Italy prepares to vote in elections next month.

The shooting was carried out by a failed local candidate for the Northern League — an anti-immigrant party that could soon be part of Italy’s government — who confessed to what police call a racially motivated rampage. The man, 28-year-old Luca Traini, wore the Italian flag over his shoulders when he was arrested on the steps of Macerata’s Fascist-era war memorial. He said he was seeking revenge for the gruesome murder days before of an 18-year-old white woman, whose killing was allegedly carried out by a Nigerian immigrant.

The killing and the shootings have traumatized a city unaccustomed to violence of any kind, while laying bare the combustibility of Italy’s reckoning with immigration. Even in a place such as Macerata, which has long welcomed newcomers, the strains of an influx that has brought more than 620,000 migrants to Italy in the past four years have become all too apparent.

Alberto Forconi, the 74-year-old priest at Macerata's Santa Croce chruch, ominously hinted at the growing depths of the resentment among native residents. Most people in Macerata, Forconi said, would never condone Saturday’s shooting spree. But “in some ways, it was expressing their thoughts.”  

Traini's former party, the Northern League, has hardly been repentant in the days since the shootings, either. Party leader Matteo Salvini has said that “violence is never the solution,” but also blamed “out-of-control migration” for causing “chaos, rage, social clashes.”

Immigrants, meanwhile, cannot relax. Eugene Offor, a Nigerian priest who ministers to the city’s African immigrants, said he braced for a backlash the moment he heard about Mastropietro’s murder.

“The way she was killed was just so barbaric,” he said. “Since it happened, no Nigerian in Macerata has been happy.” — Griff Witte and Stefano Pitrelli


Muslim residents of Saint-Etienne, France, walk past racial slurs painted on the walls of a mosque there in 2010.&nbsp;(Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press)</p>

Muslim residents of Saint-Etienne, France, walk past racial slurs painted on the walls of a mosque there in 2010. (Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press)

The big question

For many French people, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in last year's presidential election seemed to herald a new, more inclusive society. But few of them were likely members of France's minority groups, for whom race and religion are still defining features of everyday life. The case of Rokhaya Diallo, a writer of West African descent, has become a prominent example: Diallo spent just 36 hours on a government panel in December before being removed for, according to Diallo, speaking out forcefully against systemic racism in France. “Many people from the elite are comfortable being surrounded only by white people,” she said. So we asked Post Paris correspondent James McAuley: Does France need its own reckoning with identity politics?

"That's an an age-old question for France, but it’s one being posed more frequently these days. For one, French society is exceedingly diverse, and getting more so. There are no official government statistics kept on ethnic groups, but independent analyses suggest France has one of present-day Europe’s largest Muslim and African immigrant populations.

"But what’s more interesting are the generational divides. Generally speaking, members of earlier immigrant generations bought into the notion of 'republican' citizenship much more than their younger descendants do.

"You will find no more eloquent opponent of affirmative action in France than Christiane Taubira, who was born in French Guiana and who ultimately became a government minister under François Hollande — one of the highest positions ever held by a black person un France. As she told me in an interview last year: 'I’m not convinced we can make progress that way.'

"Members of the next generation — Rokhaya Diallo is an excellent example — aren’t willing to put so much faith in the institutions of the Republic to function as they say they will. These younger people of color are increasingly communitarian in their outlook, inspired by what their critics love to call 'the Anglo-Saxon world,' a slight meant to invoke what many in France see as British and American excess on the question of identity politics.

"The concept of 'state racism,' as Diallo calls it, is fairly well established in American discourse about race and power. From the French perspective, the idea is nothing short of scandal. But the few figures available suggest there is real institutional racism at work in much of French society. Whether or not the French are ready for it, the 'reckoning' is already here — and Diallo is just one of millions eagerly awaiting it."


In the wake of the Trump administration's new nuclear strategy, a piece in the Globe and Mail argues President Trump is too enamored with the idea of more weapons, while Foreign Policy's Stephen M. Walt argues that nuclear strategy is usually bad strategy. Speaking of nuclear weapons, Slate's Joshua Keating writes that the Iran nuclear deal may have made things worse in the Middle East, and The Post's Josh Rogin wonders if Vice President Pence will call another audible on his trip to South Korea. 

A new nuclear arms race is upon us
The Trump administration seems bent on reverting to the old way of nuclear one-upmanship
The world doesn't need any more nuclear strategies
The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review answers questions nobody should be asking.
I supported the Iran Deal. What if it was a mistake?
No country in the world should have nuclear weapons, but the situation we have now might just be worse.
Is Pence going to meet with the North Koreans?
"I have not requested a meeting, but we’ll see what happens,” the vice president said.


As the Justice Department cracks down on legal marijuana, Colorado is singing a different tune. The Denver Post reports that the state's governor is considering commuting dozens of marijuana-related sentences. Elsewhere, the Anchorage Daily News looks at the financial toll of dog sledding ahead of peak race season, while the California Sunday Magazine has a piece on the state's farming history and a family that reaped its bounty. 

Colorado governor is considering the release of nearly 40 inmates with marijuana convictions
The move would be a policy statement on pot and overcrowded prisons.
Mushers gotta mush, but the price for long-distance races is steep
How do mushers finance their dog dreams? Most run up their credit cards and hope for good days to come.
A kingdom from dust
A story of power, drought, migrant labor and an insatiable drive to expand.

An earthquake in Taiwan killed at least two people, injured dozens and left an entire hotel tilting over a street in the city of Hualien. The 6.4-magnitude quake struck on the island's east coast just before midnight local time Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It followed another quake over the weekend off the coast of Hualien, which lies along the famed "Rim of Fire" in the Pacific. (Tian Jun-hsiung/Associated Press)

Hero or hired gun? How a British former spy became a flash point in the Russia investigation.
Christopher Steele struggled to navigate dual obligations — to his private clients, who were paying him to help Hillary Clinton win, and to a sense of public duty born of his previous life
Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp
Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget agreement that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.
They considered themselves white, but DNA tests told a more complex story
As more people learn of their genetic makeup, unexpected African roots emerge.

The world's most powerful rocket in action.