GZERO Media logo

Cold-Blooded Politics

Cold-Blooded Politics

Alex's big story of 2018: The murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Not only did the killing of this Saudi journalist capture and hold the world's attention, it threw a harsh light on some larger themes now reshaping global politics.


First, the government-backed killing of a prominent writer underscored the growing dangers that journalists face all over the world. That's a problem not only in autocracies like Saudi Arabia or China, but in increasingly precarious democracies too. This threat to the press is part of bigger trends: plummeting public trust in institutions, a growing "war on truth," and flagging faith in liberal democratic norms.

At the same time, his murder – by all indications ordered by a crown prince with close ties to the White House – also raised legitimate questions about whether Donald Trump's nakedly transactional foreign policy will expand authoritarian governments' perceptions of what they can get away with.

A potentially positive legacy of Khashoggi's murder: The intensified scrutiny of Saudi Arabia threw fresh light on the war in Yemen and helped push the US Senate to cut support for Riyadh's military campaign there. That's partly why a ceasefire became possible for the first time last week. That's a glimmer of hope for an end to "the world's worst humanitarian crisis."

His big question for 2019: Can the world's newly empowered nationalists keep from cutting each other up?

Discontent with the status quo has propelled nationalist politicians to electoral victory in seven of the world's ten largest economies in recent years. And while Italy's Salvini, Hungary's Orban, Austria's Kurz, India's Modi, Mexico's Lopez Obrador, America's Trump, and Brazil's Bolsonaro can agree on what they're against, their interests will clash when they must deal with one another directly.

We see this problem everywhere: Italy and Hungary have migration battles. Italy and Austria have a border dispute. So do India and China. Trump and AMLO have plenty to fight about. AMLO and Bolsonaro are ideologically at odds. And of course, the two biggest economies on earth are now governed by nationalists. Can all these tough guys keep tensions under control?

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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?

More Show less

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.

UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

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

UNGA Livestream