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Effective COVID-19 responses; Danger in China's anger at Trump; UBI

Ian Bremmer takes (slightly) more than 60 seconds to share his analysis:

Which country is combating the COVID-19 pandemic best? Who's doing worst?

Best? Clearly, Singapore, Taiwan. Got out early. Had tests. Incredibly transparent. They got clear information to their people and the people actually listened to their government. Relatively small, wealthy, and homogeneous populations, also with health care systems that actually work. So, I would say they're doing it the best. Who's doing it the worst? Got to be Iran, where you have lack of capacity, lack of information, no trust in government, massive and early explosion of cases, awful lot of people getting killed. Beyond that, though, there are a lot of leaders out there that are doing it badly. Leaders that early were basically telling a great story to their people and as a consequence, weren't able to respond effectively. Effectively lying to their people and here, I mean, it doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, you need to get facts out there early and not just what your gut tells you. In the UK, Boris Johnson. In the United States, Donald Trump. In Mexico, Lopez Obrador. In Brazil, Bolsonaro. I mean all have really mishandled this for their own populations and as a consequence, the impact of coronavirus, it's going to be a lot worse.


Why is China expelling American journalists?

A big deal, saying they're expelling Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post from China and Hong Kong. And, you know, by the way, The New York Times coverage of China has been, if anything, very positive. The Chinese don't care. They're angry at the Americans, particularly now that President Trump has on a couple of days started beating the drum on the "China virus" as opposed to coronavirus. And by the way, yes, it initially came from China. And yes, the Chinese government absolutely clamped down on transparent information. So as a consequence, this thing exploded. They are ultimately responsible for that. But calling it the China flu, especially in the context of where US-China relations are right now, is incendiary. And they are absolutely feeling very confident about their relations with other countries in the world. They're hitting the Americans back. This is a dangerous place for these two countries to be.

Is UBI a realistic solution for our current economic situation?

UBI being universal basic income? I don't think that ongoing permanent UBI is realistic because we haven't tested it. We don't have a system for it. It'd be incredibly expensive. And we don't know if it works. But certainly, near term, I firmly believe you're going to see something that feels like UBI for now. In other words, direct stimulus where every American gets a check. That is a more efficient way to get money deployed into the economy, to get consumers less worried and spending, than other more indirect fashions of benefits. And I also think that the amount of total stimulus you're going to see in the US by spring is going to be well over a trillion dollars. It's not for want of money that the Americans are going to be unable to fight this if we have problems. It's much more about political leadership and the comparative port development of our health care system.

Chapter 5 of Eni's Story of CO2 is left unwritten, as the world must decide how to move forward with the use of fossil fuels. Though doing nothing is not an option, using natural gas is. A safer alternative to fossil fuels that releases half as much CO2, natural gas can meet the world's energy needs as we wait for renewable technologies to advance and scale.

Learn more about the future of energy in the final episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

Call it a counter-counter-revolution at the ballot box. One year after mass protests over election irregularities drove Bolivia's long-serving leftist populist President Evo Morales from office, his preferred candidate has won the presidency — possibly by a landslide.

But can the country's new leader, a soft-spoken economist named Luis Arce, move the country beyond the political trauma of the past year?

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Yet another exciting week in the run-up to the US elections. Not the only thing going on, though, not at all. I mean, first of all, coronavirus continues to be by far the biggest story in the US, in Europe, as we have a major second wave, and indeed in many countries around the world. Also, we're seeing a lot more instability pop up. I mean, we've had every Sunday now for about three months massive unprecedented protests in Belarus. They're not slowing down at all. We see major demonstrations, including anti-royal demonstrations in Thailand, Pakistan. You've got significant instability right now, of course, we'd seen in Lebanon over the past months. Why is this all going on? Is this a GZERO phenomenon?

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Build that wall... in Greece: The Greek government has finalized plans to build a wall along part of its eastern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from staging mass crossings to reach European Union territory. The move follows a March standoff between Athens and Ankara when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared he was "opening" the border because Turkey could no longer cope with so many migrants fleeing Syria. Since then, migrant flows via Turkey to the EU have declined dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic and tougher policing, but Greeks and Turks (as always) remain at odds over what to do with the migrants: Greece wants Turkey to do more to stop migrants crossing, while Turkey says Greece is sending back migrants who arrive at Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. As the two sides continue to bicker over this issue — and over energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean — the only thing that's clear is that Greece won't demand that Turkey pay for the wall.

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Three years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, a different kind of virus spread around the world: a piece of malicious software code launched by a nation state. It paralyzed computer networks in hundreds of countries, disrupted global shipping, forced pharmaceutical factories to shut down, and inflicted an estimated $10 billion of economic damage.

On the physical battlefield, a widely accepted set of rules, backed by international law, governs conduct, with the aim of protecting soldiers and civilians. Establishing common rules or guardrails is much harder in cyberspace, where borders can't be easily defined and the tools and tactics of combat are always changing. But it has never been more urgent.

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