Boris Johnson's Three Plates of Cake

Boris Johnson's Three Plates of Cake

Later today, the eccentric, gaffe-prone, artfully disheveled master political operator Boris Johnson will learn he's going to be the United Kingdom's next prime minister. Having won a majority of votes among the 130,000 members of the Conservative party – a 0.3 percent slice of the population that's older, whiter, and more favorable to Brexit than most Britons – he will take office tomorrow.



Johnson once famously said he's "pro cake and pro eating it too" – so here's what'll land on his plate on day one:

Tensions with Iran: Last week, Iran seized a British tanker that it said had entered its territorial waters, a claim that London denies. Johnson will have few good options to respond: there isn't much left to sanction in the Iranian economy, while a more robust military response in the region risks further escalation or unintended consequences.

But the broader question is whether Johnson will continue to align the UK's position with other European powers that want to preserve, somehow, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Donald Trump walked out of, or to run the risk of open conflict with Iran by adopting Washington's more confrontational policy of "maximum pressure."

US-UK relationship: The so-called "special relationship" between the US and UK is under pressure. Johnson and Trump—successful, unconventional provocateurs both—share a mutual admiration, but Washington has signaled that London won't get special treatment when it comes to pressuring Iran, post-Brexit trade deals, or the UK government's decision about whether to use technology supplied by Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that the Trump administration has sanctioned as a security threat. Washington has even signaled that it's not keen on protecting British ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. With "Special" friends like these…!

And of course… Brexit: Johnson inherits precisely the same dilemma that brought down his predecessor, Theresa May. The UK is – at the moment - committed to leaving the EU, but when it came to hammering out an agreement on how to do that, the best deal that London could get from Brussels failed three times to win a vote of support in the House of Commons.

The Brexit question must be resolved by October 31 or the UK will be stuck with an economically perilous "no-deal" scenario that sends the UK crashing out of the EU with no new agreement on the future of their relationship. Johnson, for his part, has embraced that possibility much more enthusiastically than May, even if only because he believes it will boost his negotiating leverage with the EU. He seems to be betting that a game of chicken will force Brussels to reopen negotiations.

The last bite: Boris Johnson has shown that he is wily and formidable politician – can he now be a successful statesman?

Yau Abdul Karim lives and works in Garin Mai Jalah, located in the Yobe State of northeastern Nigeria. Essential to his work raising cattle is reliable access to water, yet environmental degradation has led to fewer water sources, severely impacting communities like his that depend on livestock. In 2019, with the help of FAO, Eni installed a special solar-powered well in Yau's town that provides water during the day as well as light at night.

Watch Yau's story as he shows how his family and community enjoy life-enhancing access to both water and light.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. And I thought I'd talk a little bit today about the latest in Israel, Palestine. It's obviously been driving headlines all week. And of course, on social media, there's no topic that we all get along and agree with each other more than Israel, Palestine. It's an easy one to take on. Yeah, I know I'm completely full of crap on that. But I thought I would give you some sense of what I think is actually happening where we're going. So first point, massive fight, big conflict between Hamas in Gaza and the Israeli defense forces. Not only that, but also more violence and a lot of violence breaking out between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. Extremists on both sides taking to the streets and fairly indiscriminate violence, in this case, worst since 2014.

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Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister, says another independence referendum for Scotland is now a matter of "when not if," and that after leaving the UK, Scotland will launch a bid to rejoin the EU. But there are formidable obstacles ahead.

Getting to a vote will force a complex game of chicken with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. If a majority of Scots then vote for independence — hardly a sure thing – the process of extricating their new country from the UK will make Brexit look easy. Next, come the challenges of EU accession. In other words, Scotland's journey down the rocky road ahead has only just begun.

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Cyber is a tool, and sometimes a weapon. Whether espionage for commercial gain or indiscriminate attacks on critical infrastructure, actions taken in cyber space affect you directly, potentially upending even the most mundane realities of everyday life.

Join GZERO Media and Microsoft for a live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens in a Munich Security Conference "Road to Munich" event on Tuesday, May 18.

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According to Delhi-based journalist Barkha Dutt, while the Indian government has finally started to mobilize in response to the COVID crisis, there's still a lot of denial about the severity of the ourbreak. "Our Health Minister, for instance, made a statement in the last 24 hours saying that India is better equipped to fight COVID in 2021 than in 2020. That's simply rubbish. We had India's Solicitor General telling the Supreme Court that there is no oxygen deficit as of now. That's simply not true." In an interview on GZERO World, Dutt tells Ian Bremmer that only the connection between fellow Indians, helping each other when the government cannot, has been a salve.

Watch the episode: India's COVID calamity

Listen: Ask national security experts how they view China today and they'll likely the use a term like "adversary" or "economic competitor." But what about "enemy?" How close is the world to all-out-war breaking out between United States and China? According to US Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), who served as Supreme Allied Commander to NATO, those odds are higher than many would like to admit. In fact, Stavridis says, the US risks losing its military dominance in the coming years to China. And if push comes to shove in a military conflict, it's not entirely clear who would prevail. Admiral Stavridis discusses his bestselling new military thriller 2034 and makes the case for why his fictional depiction of a US-China war could easily become reality.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What's the issue with the letter in France talking about the "civil war"?

Well, I think it is part of the beginning of the French election campaign. We have some people in the military encouraged by the more right-wing forces, warning very much for the Muslim question. That's part of the upstart to the election campaign next year. More to come, I fear.

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When asked about where a US-China war may start, US Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) doesn't hesitate: Taiwan. He suggests that China may believe the US is distracted by internal politics: "I think it would be a miscalculation on the part of the Chinese, but they may calculate that now is the moment." How would a move against Taiwan play out? Stavridis speculates how the Chinese military may plan to invade the island on the upcoming episode of GZERO World, which begins airing on US public television Friday, May 14. Check local listings.

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Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace. Watch on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 10am PT/ 1pm ET

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Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace | Watch on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 10am PT / 1 pm PT

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