The U.N. estimates $6 trillion a year is required to properly address all 17 sustainable development goals, such as providing 800 million people access to clean water. See how Bank of America is aligning its $2.4 trillion balance sheet to the task.
Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?
After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.
<p><strong>Canada. </strong>President Biden, it's Justin Trudeau. Look, it's no secret that there was <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/donald-trump-and-justin-trudeau-the-opposite-of-a-love-story" target="_self">no love lost </a>between me and Donald Trump. He ruined a good thing that Barack and I had going on when he <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38721056" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">withdrew</a> from the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a 12-nation trade deal — while also slapping <a href="https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/trumps-tariffs-on-canada-are-about-more-than-aluminum/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">tariffs</a> on Canadian steel. That was a low blow. Joe, come visit Ottawa. You're our largest trade partner. We can collaborate on human rights, security, trade, and join forces on clean energy initiatives. I'll also use my doe-eyed charm to encourage you to change your mind about the <a href="https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-alberta-canada-jason-kenney-4bb6721d53d8764f8ab8da8d81893543" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Keystone XL Pipeline</a>, which aimed to expand critical oil exports for Canada until you signed an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/world/canada/keystone-trudeau-biden.html" target="_blank">executive order</a> Wednesday aborting the project. </p> <p><strong>UK.</strong> Joe, Boris on the line. I know I got cozy with your predecessor, but I did at least try to distance myself from Donald Trump after the recent insurrection at the US Capitol. I should get credit for that, no? Either way, let bygones be bygones. Now that Brexit is done and dusted, we really need to focus on our "special relationship." We have so much to sort out together: How to tackle China's increasingly bellicose behavior, reforming and refocusing <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/world/europe/nato-live-updates-trump-macron.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">NATO</a>, and tackling climate change now that you've recommitted to the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/world/americas/mexico-trump-amlo.html" target="_blank">Paris Climate goals. </a>And of course, we need to iron out the details of a new UK-US trade pact so that the anti-Brexit crusaders don't have another political mishap to hold over my head. </p> <p><strong>Mexico.</strong> Joe, it's Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador here. As I<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/world/americas/mexico-trump-amlo.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> recently told you,</a> we have many challenges to tackle together — but let's not get too pally. Donald Trump was unpredictable and crass, sure, but he mostly left us alone. He didn't harangue us about human rights or rule of law, because he respects Mexico's "sovereignty." I'm not so sure about you though, Joe. That's why I recently <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210105-mexico-offers-political-asylum-to-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">offered </a>Julian Assange asylum here in Mexico, and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/07/mexico-dea-drug-agents-diplomatic-immunity" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">scrapped a law </a>giving American drug agents immunity on our home soil. It was important to assert myself a little before you came into office, <em>comprendes? </em>We need to come together to address security issues and the immigration crisis (there's already a new<a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/01/18/958092745/migrant-caravan-thousands-move-into-guatemala-hoping-to-reach-u-s" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> migrant caravan</a> heading towards the Rio Grande). But let's work on these issues together — from afar.</p> <p><strong>Germany.</strong> Finally, we're back together again — <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/angela-merkel-is-interviewing-puppet-regime" target="_self">Angela</a> and Joe — albeit <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/europe-minus-merkel" target="_self">briefly!</a> I'm not one for hyperbole, but you really need to prioritize a visit to Berlin pronto. There's urgent work to be done to <a href="https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/18/eu-us-relations-under-biden-won-t-be-the-same-as-before-trump-top-official-says" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">bolster </a>transatlantic relations after four years of chaos: We need to form a unified front on trade grievances with China (I know you're not thrilled about the <a href="https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3118137/china-eu-investment-deal-shows-biden-united-front-trade-will-not-be" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">EU-China investment deal</a> currently in the works, but come to the Chancellor's office, we'll talk.) European <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/09/15/us-image-plummets-internationally-as-most-say-country-has-handled-coronavirus-badly/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">confidence </a>in the US as a reliable partner is at historic lows, and while Emmanuel Macron, my friend in France, thinks Europe should assert itself and stop relying so much on Washington, I know our alliance matters now more than ever. Come to Berlin, Joe. Let me help you help yourself.</p> <p><strong>Iran. </strong>Joe, it's me, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/instant-article/idUSKBN29P0LX" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">President Hassan Rouhani</a>. Long time no see. We worked so well together on that nuclear deal back in 2015, before your predecessor came along and wrecked things. You and I both want to revive it somehow. Let's meet in, say, Geneva? We can try to find some common ground. If you lift those economic sanctions currently strangling the Iranian people, I'll try to get the mullahs to hit the brakes on this <a href="https://apnews.com/article/iran-uranium-enrichment-20-percent-ab0930064c446114506b8d085941cf84" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">rapidly increasing </a>uranium enrichment program. But we better meet quickly: we've got presidential elections in June, and my successor could be a real hardliner who won't be as willing to fraternize with Great Satan. Think about it, Joe.</p>
More Show less
Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:
It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.
<p>So, what do we expect over the next 100 days? Well, Biden's got a lot on his plate. Putting together a COVID response, which is going to include some element of a coronavirus fiscal stimulus to make sure that the vaccine process gets going more smoothly and get more money in the pockets of Americans to avoid further economic dislocation. He also has to get a lot of his cabinet nominees confirmed, which is going to be not impossible to do in a 50-50 Senate, controlled by the Democrats. But it just could take some time to get things going, as inside the Senate, they are still trying to organize the rules to determine how they're going to come to a power sharing agreement. </p><p>The final piece of Biden's first 100 days is going to be undoing a lot of Trump's legacy. And that means a number of executive orders aimed at trade, aimed at immigration, aimed at the environment. You're going to see Biden reenter the Paris climate accord right away. And we're going to see a lot of Trump regulations that were done in the last, say, six months or so of his presidency be undone through something called the Congressional Review Act. So, that's going to take up a lot of time.</p><p>Probably by the middle of the year, Biden will have most of his personnel in place, he'll have done at least one big fiscal stimulus, and he'll be gearing up for longer term investments in both healthcare and energy infrastructure. So, stay tuned. </p>
More Show less
On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.
Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.
<p><strong>At home: the pandemic, naturally.</strong></p><p>As the pandemic rages globally, Biden is taking office in one of the sickest nations on earth. Confirmed cases surpassed 24 million, roughly 4,000 Americans are dying of the virus daily, and the unemployment rate is nearly seven percent. It's no surprise that<a href="https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-pandemics-race-and-ethnicity-immigration-coronavirus-pandemic-7535108288ea054830ff542654c1def5" target="_blank"> polls show</a> 53 percent of Americans see tackling the virus as a top priority, with close to 70 percent saying the same about the pandemic-wracked economy.</p><p>The centerpiece of Biden's response plan is a proposed $1.9 trillion<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/14/politics/biden-economic-rescue-package-coronavirus-stimulus/index.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> stimulus package</a> that includes cash to help state and local governments manage the crisis and their finances, an additional $1,400 in direct assistance to low and middle income Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, and funding for better COVID testing and vaccine rollout.</p><p>Biden needs to start with a bang, and congressional bargaining over this bill will test his ability to get things done with slim majorities in the House and Senate. Some Republicans and moderate<a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533355-manchin-on-proposed-round-of-2k-checks-absolutely-not" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> Democrats</a> are<a href="https://www.vox.com/2021/1/16/22234722/republican-coronavirus-relief" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> already balki</a>ng at the price tag and targeting of the funds. The usual compromises will be made — on the size of the bill and its targeting — but if the haggling drags on while Americans suffer, Biden will pay a political price for it, affecting his ability to move the economic recovery legislation that he's teeing up for later this year, as well as to make good on his pledges to advance legislation on<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-passes-sweeping-anti-discrimination-bill-to-expand-protections-of-lgbt-people/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> civil rights</a>, guns, and immigration.</p><p>One simple benchmark to watch here: Biden has promised that 100 million vaccine doses will be administered by day 100 - that's between now and April 29.</p><p><strong>Abroad: the clock ticks in Iran</strong></p><p>Of all the foreign policy challenges that await Biden — rebuilding ties with European and Asian allies, finding the right balance of confrontation and cooperation with a rising China, and don't forget North Korea! — the most urgent test he'll face early on comes from Iran. Biden has signaled he wants to return the US to the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018. But the clock is ticking. The Iranians — who have stopped abiding by the deal's limits on uranium enrichment since the US walked out — are now<a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-says-it-is-producing-half-a-kilo-of-20-enriched-uranium-every-day/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> ramping up</a> their production of bomb-ready material. </p> <p>For another, Iran holds presidential elections this summer, and a hardliner who is less-inclined to negotiate with the West is likely to win. (The ultimate decision will remain with the Supreme Leader, but a hawkish new Iranian president can complicate the bargaining.) But rejoining any deal will be ultra-contentious on Capitol Hill, where many lawmakers of both parties want Iran to accept tighter constraints not only on its nuclear program but also its conventional war-making and regional meddling capabilities. Biden has argued that a more conventional, multilateral foreign policy can boost US interests in ways that Trump's impulsive unilateralism didn't. Iran will give him an early chance to prove it. </p><p><strong>Immigration: a test approaches</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Dramatically reducing the number of immigrants — both legal and illegal — was one of President Trump's signature, and most contentious, projects. Biden will immediately<a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/17/biden-to-reverse-trumps-muslim-ban-on-inauguration-day" target="_blank"> undo Trump order</a>s that limited asylum opportunities or barred US entry from certain majority-Muslim nations, and he is teeing up a landmark<a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/biden-pitch-year-pathway-citizenship-day-immigration-reform/story?id=75333490" target="_blank"> immigration reform bill</a> that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants already in the US.</p>But the issue could flare up well before that bill enters Congress if large groups of migrants force the issue at the southern border in the coming months. Over the weekend, Honduran police used<a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/01/18/958092745/migrant-caravan-thousands-move-into-guatemala-hoping-to-reach-u-s" target="_blank"> tear gas and batons</a> to turn around one such group, but others will form as people fleeing violence and poverty across Central America anticipate a better chance to reach the US now that Trump is gone. Mexico has already warned that Biden needs to address the issue squarely — after four years of Trump's often cruel and unusual policies along the Rio Grande, a fresh crisis at the border will force Biden to prove he can do things better and more humanely.
More Show less
January 20, 2021
Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.