Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus; Trudeau assassination attempt

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has coronavirus. What are your thoughts and where does this leave Brazil?

Well, I mean, you know, if coronavirus was karmic, and I don't believe that, Bolsonaro would be the president you kind of expect would get it, right? Because he's been saying, "it's just a little flu, don't worry about it, I don't need to wear a mask, everyone can come out and rally, we can hug, we can hold hands, we can shake hands with no problem." He's been doing that for months now and he's exposed to an awful lot of people, both in Brazil and internationally, including in the United States when he traveled to meet with President Trump in Mar a Lago. And now he's taken the test. The 65-year-old president has coronavirus.


He's saying, "I'm fine. Look at me. Look at my face. There's no problem." I hope he's fine. You don't wish ill health on anybody, but you also kind of hope that someone who has gotten it this wrong, with well over 50,000 dead in Brazil, with some of the worst case load of any country in the world after the United States, Brazil is right there with us, and per capita looks considerably worse and their hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed and his popularity is going down. And, you know, their ability to manage this effectively and also keep the economy going is really, really challenged. So, I mean, I've said it before. I'll say it again, among Democratic presidents, Jair Bolsonaro is by far been the worst in handling coronavirus on the health care side, on the cheerleading side, on the fake news side and on the economic side. He's kind of got everything going against him. He's just not handled this well.

Brazil does have a lot of strong governors that do have a strong and reasonably independent judiciary, which has helped the country a lot. Bolsonaro also now is in the middle of growing impeachment cases surrounding him and his family, some of which involves corruption. That's going to dog him for the rest of his term. It's possible he'll even be thrown out like his predecessors, but if not, it's hard to imagine that he's going to be reelected. Brazil is, after all, still a democracy. So, horrible to see all this news in a country that really should be doing pretty well, all things considered. But poor governance makes a real difference, especially in a crisis.

There was an assassination attempt on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. What's the story?

I'm stunned that the American media has said virtually nothing about this. This was an extremist from Manitoba who gets in his pickup truck, he drives to the prime minister's residence, breaks through the gates with a bunch of, like heavy rifles, like machine guns, and Trudeau is not home, thankfully, and the guy doesn't do great research, thankfully. Turns out to be some QAnon inspired nut job. And the Canadian police, rather than firing on him and killing him, which probably would have happened in the United States and a lot of other countries, actually managed to talk him down and apprehend him. But it's not making much news. I mean, I've talked about it with friends and colleagues here in the United States, it's the first they've heard of it. And I'm honestly a little surprised. I mean, I know that a lot most Americans don't have passports. They don't travel. We don't pay attention to news that isn't in the United States. And Trump dominates everything. But I mean, Trudeau's been covered like America's boyfriend for the last five years by the mainstream media.

You would think an assassination attempt against him would drive coverage in the US. And it really isn't. And it really should. Because, of course, you know, even though we don't have nearly as much of an international terrorist issue in the United States and in Canada as we did say in 9/11 days, we have a very significant domestic terrorism problem in the United States and Canada. And it's been growing. And we're going to need to deal with it. And, you know, thank God that this guy is not only an ideological nut job, but also doesn't know how to plan an assassination, or we could have very, very different news right now from our friendly neighbors to the north.

Finally, Australia resumes lockdown. How are they handling the pandemic?

And the answer is, reasonably well. You know, they are locking down the border between their two largest provinces. They've not done this an enormously long period of time. And it's because there is serious outbreak. But I mean, this is way earlier than you're seeing in the United States. They've largely been following the scientific guidelines from their own health minister, their own government. And that means that when you see an expansion, you shut everything down. And that's helped the Australian numbers overall to be comparatively limited. And it gives them a handle on the spread. They're not doing the job that New Zealand is, much more isolated, shut down their borders completely. All these billionaires that bought their luxury boat holds and now can't even get to the land they own because New Zealand doesn't want a more coronavirus. Australia doesn't have that. They've got economic problems, too, because increasingly there's a trade war happening between Australia and China with an enormous amount of trade and investment going there. But in terms of general governance around coronavirus, Australia not being cheerleader's, not politicizing this overtly, doing a reasonable job. And hopefully that will continue with this response to recent outbreaks.

Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.

Learn more about this rags to riches story in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

In late 2017, Zimbabwe's long-serving strongman Robert Mugabe was deposed by the army after 37 years in power. Amid huge popular celebrations, he handed over the reins to Emmerson Mnangagwa, his former spy chief. It was an extraordinary turn of history: Mugabe, one of Africa's last "Big Men" and a hero of the country's liberation war to end white minority rule, went out with barely a whimper, placing Zimbabwe — stricken by economic ruin and international isolation — in the hands of "The Crocodile."

Mugabe has since died, but almost three years after his departure, Zimbabwe's woes continue.

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As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary since American forces dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global non-proliferation efforts, first codified in Cold War-era treaties, are in jeopardy. While the overall number of nuclear weapons continues to decrease — mainly because the US and Russia have set about dismantling retired weapons — both countries, which account for 90 percent of the world's total nuclear arsenal, continue to modernize their nuclear weapons programs. Meanwhile, the New START treaty, which limits the number of long-range nuclear weapons that each side can deploy to about 1,500 apiece, is at risk of collapsing. Here's a look at which countries have nuclear weapon stockpiles and who's ready to use them.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Happy Monday, we are in August, summer, should be taking it a little easier. Coronavirus not taking the stress levels off but hopefully giving people the excuse, if you're not traveling so much, be close with your families, your loved ones and all that. Look, this is not a philosophical conversation, this is a talk about what's happening in the world, a little Quick Take for you.

First of all, you know, I'm getting a little bit more optimistic about the news in the United States right now. Yes, honestly, I am. In part because the caseload is flattening across the country and it's reducing in some of the core states that have seen the greatest explosion in this continuation of the first wave. Yes, the deaths are going up and they should continue to for a couple of weeks because it is a lagging indicator in the United States. But the fact that deaths are going up does not say anything about what's coming in the next few weeks. That tells you what's happened in the last couple of weeks.

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TikTok, ya don't stop: The wildly popular video app TikTok has been in the crosshairs of American lawmakers for many months now. Why? Because the app is owned by a Chinese company, raising national security concerns that it could funnel personal data on its 100 million American users to the Chinese government. The plot thickened in recent days after President Trump abruptly threatened to ban the app altogether, risking a backlash among its users and imperiling US tech giant Microsoft's efforts to buy the company's operations in the US. Canada, Australia and New Zealand. After a weekend conversation between Microsoft and the White House, the sale negotiations are back on but US lawmakers say any deal must strictly prevent American users' data from winding up in Chinese Communist Party servers. And Trump says that unless a deal is reached by September 15th, he'll go ahead with the ban. The broader fate of TikTok — which has now been banned in India, formerly its largest market, and may be broken up under US pressure — nicely illustrates the new "tech Cold War" that is emerging between China and the United States.

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