China's slowest growth since 1992? Relax.

China's slowest growth since 1992? Relax.

The last time China's economy was growing as slowly as it is today, Sir Mix-A-Lot stood atop the US charts (he liked big butts and he could not lie), a country called "West Germany" was the reigning FIFA World Cup champ, and South Africa still practiced apartheid.

Hard to believe, I know, but that's what the latest data says: annual expansion of China's economy fell to 6.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, the slowest rate since 1992.

Some of that slowdown comes from weaker exports: caused in part by Donald Trump administration's fresh tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports. And some of it comes from the current Chinese government's policy of steadily pulling back on the massive, but financially precarious, infrastructure investments that have helped boost growth in the past. And some of it is just simple math: an economy can't keep growing at 10 percent indefinitely. China's massive economy has been gradually cooling for years now.

So there are three ways to look at this.

The global view: Not all "six percents" are equal. Adjusted for differences in purchasing power, China's GDP is about 25 trillion dollars, according to the World Bank. Even if an economy of that size is growing at "only" 6 percent, that means it adds new output equal to the entire German economy every four years. Within 10 years, it'll have added GDP equal to another United States.

The domestic consideration: The Chinese government's own target is for growth between 6 percent and 6.5 percent, so no one is ringing alarm bells in Beijing just yet. What's more, the job market – which matters more to your average Chinese citizen (and the Chinese government) than a nationwide growth figure – is still looking pretty good. So President Xi Jinping isn't about to pump tons of money into the economy to give things a jolt.

But what if the growth figure drops below that 6 percent target range? Beijing wants the economy to look as robust as possible as the People's Republic celebrates its 70th birthday this fall. And if there's one thing that could pitch the Chinese economy further into gloom it's… you guessed it…

The one guy whose perceptions matter most: Trump immediately seized on news of the Chinese slowdown as evidence that his tough stance on US-China trade is working. If Trump smells blood in the water around China's economy, he'll be inclined – rightly or wrongly -- to hit Beijing even harder as the recently revived trade talks continue. And that could change the picture for the Chinese economy more significantly.

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Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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