What We Are Watching

Michael Cohen Goes to Washington – Donald Trump's long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is testifying before three congressional committees this week, one of them publicly. He'll tell lawmakers the president of the United States has committed felonies. Cohen must report to prison on May 6 because he's been convicted of, among other things, lying to Congress. So, beyond the salacious details, we'll be watching to see what evidence he'll offer to support his claims—evidence Democrats might use to try to impeach the president and that state prosecutors might one day use to indict Trump when he's no longer in office.

Iranian Foreign Minister's (Attempted) Resignation – Iranian President Rouhani has rejected the resignation of his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. As a key architect and backer of the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Zarif has come under pressure from hardliners in Iran who see little point in sticking with the agreement now that the US has left. As a result, the prospect of Zarif's departure immediately raised concerns that Tehran itself may ditch the deal. For now it seems like Zarif is staying put, but we are watching for signs of further political infighting in Tehran.

What We Are Ignoring

Russian nuclear threats – During an encore performance at its Defender of the Fatherland Day holiday concert last weekend, the St. Petersburg Concert Choir broke out into a satirical 1980s tune about Soviet submariners and bomber pilots preparing to launch a nuclear attack on the US. We're ignoring this musical tomfoolery, along with the recent, more serious step-up in official Russian nuclear rhetoric, including a state TV broadcast explaining how a new hypersonic missile developed by Moscow could hit the Pentagon and Camp David in under five minutes, because India and Pakistan have already given us enough to worry about.

The orders of the Brazilian education minister – Earlier this week, the Brazilian government asked schools to film students singing the national anthem and repeating the campaign slogan of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro: "Brazil above everything, God above everyone." Bolsonaro, elected in part as a reaction to years of corruption and mismanagement by the leftwing Workers Party, has said he wants to "purge" leftist ideas from the classroom. Critics point out that schools were ideologically policed under Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship, a period that Bolsonaro has spoken fondly of. We are ignoring this story – for now – because we are unruly students and also because the education minister rescinded the order amid criticism. But the left-right polarization in Brazil will continue to deepen.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

More Show less

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

More Show less

In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

More Show less

When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

More Show less

YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

More Show less

Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

More Show less

28: The UK and the EU have again failed to agree on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In a 28-page document, the British government had suggested further changes to trade rules that were already negotiated as part of the Brexit settlement, but Brussels was not having any of it.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal