The incompetent, race-baiting fraud (and the man running to replace him as president): Trump is everything the right wing made Obama out to be. Trump officials: He looks more and more like a complete moron. “People here think Trump is a laughingstock”: On the president’s ill-timed world tour. How foreign nations are preparing for a visit from the first toddler-president. Trump isn’t a toddler — he’s a product of America’s culture of impunity for the rich. Developmental psychologists: Trump isn’t a child — children behave better. Alison Gopnik on how 4-year-olds don’t act like Trump. Trump’s defining trait is his insecurity: Jamelle Bouie on why that should frighten us all.

Anastasia Stoyanova (HU Berlin): Economic Correlates of Far-Right Electoral Support. Why liberal democracy only dies when conservatives help: Matt O’Brien interviews Daniel Ziblatt, author of Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy. I saw the decline of a democracy: Patrick Kingsley on what his reporting in Turkey told him about how its autocratic president is seizing power (and more). Trump’s trampling of political norms spurs strongman comparisons. Jacob T. Levy on the shortcut to serfdom: In the face of resurgent right-wing populist and nationalist authoritarianism in the world, it is worth reconsidering the legacy of The Road to Serfdom and of Hayek’s work to bolster liberalism.

Pierre Schlag (Colorado): The American Road to Fascism. Rick Perlstein on fascism for dummies: Will stupidity mitigate despotism? Fighting fascism: Americans in the Spanish civil war have a lesson for today. “We must not be enemies”: Amitai Etzioni on globalist values and community values. So is the wave of populist nationalism finished? Hardly. Pranab Bardhan on understanding populist challenges to the liberal order. Refugee stasis: The camp is the end of the liberal order, the end of the post–World War II world, the end of human rights. The end of globalisation? Don’t be so sure — liberalism in economics and governance may be under attack but reports of its death have been exaggerated.

The inaugural issue of Secrecy and Society is out. Noya Rimalt (Haifa): When Rights Don’t Talk: Abortion Law and the Politics of Compromise. Sure China and Russia are cooperating in the building of a new silk road, but who will win the battle for Central Asia? Emboldened by Rouhani’s win, Iranians seek further reforms. With DHS position, Clarke would be the first “patriot” leader to hold a federal post. An ADL report finds right-wing and “radical Islamic” terror in the U.S. are equally serious threats. How Roger Ailes unleashed a new, misogynistic conservatism. Hoax article in social-science journal gets a rise out of some scholars. Why can’t a woman invest more like a man? Sheila Ohlund on gender differences in investment behaviour.

What Donald Trump needs to know about Bob Mueller and Jim Comey. Joe Lieberman is Donald Trump’s ideal patsy. What does the president owe, and to whom does he owe it? A special counsel can investigate criminal misconduct — but he can’t examine the bigger questions surrounding Donald Trump. Josh Marshall on “financial crimes” and why Trump is right to worry. This Trump-Russia investigation could last for years.

VP Mike Pence was never informed about Flynn. How long can Mike Pence play dumb? The vice president accelerates his efforts to stay above the fray — it’s getting much harder. Pence’s claims of ignorance come with risks. Vice President Pence has a growing credibility problem. In light of Flynn revelations, Mike Pence has some explaining to do. Will Trump’s scandals bring down Pence, or put him in the Oval Office? President Pence: Veep starts fundraising amid Trump scandals. Should we wish for a President Pence? Don’t fear President Pence, liberals — welcome him. President Mike Pence would be in for a world of pain: Being Trump’s No. 2 is hard — replacing him would be far harder.

From NYRB, a review essay on Saudi Arabia by Nicolas Pelman. Low crude prices and the war in Yemen have sent a shock through Saudi Arabia’s budget and forced it to revise its social contract even as it seeks to diversify its businesses. Saudis see writing on the wall, move to get economy off oil before it’s too late. Michael Stephens and Thomas Juneau on Saudi Arabia: Why we need this flawed ally. Daniel Benaim on what we know about Donald Trump’s Middle East policy. Ishaan Tharoor on the surreal strangeness of Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Donald of Arabia: He didn’t do anything embarrassing — but he did commit the United States to a deeper alliance with the very leaders who are part of the problem.

Michael A. Newton (Vanderbilt): An Assessment of the Legality of Arms Sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Context of the Conflict in Yemen. What America’s new arms deal with Saudi Arabia says about the Trump administration: It puts human rights aside to make a buck. To Trump, human rights concerns are often a barrier to trade. How Trump hurts the spying business: When the administration embraces autocrats or ignores human rights, it hurts the C.I.A.’s ability to recruit good spies. Here’s why the Saudis love Trump: As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, Trump’s anti-Muslim rabble-rousing is just red meat for the American rubes.

P.C. Trump abandons “radical Islamic terror”. “I think Islam hates us”: A timeline of Trump’s comments about Islam and Muslims. Kevin Drum on the road to Riyadh, starring Donald Trump. There’s an old tweet to celebrate every occasion. There really is a tweet for everything.