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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.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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Does Cuba belong back on the US's State Sponsors of Terrorism list? The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board showed their support for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision on this issue in a recent opinion piece, "Cuba's Support for Terror." But in this edition of The Red Pen, Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analysts Risa Grais-Targow, Jeffrey Wright and Regina Argenzio argue that the WSJ's op-ed goes too far.

We are now just a few days away from the official end of Donald Trump's presidency, but the impacts of his latest moves in office will obviously last far beyond Joe Biden's inauguration. There's the deep structural political polarization, the ongoing investigations into the violence we saw at the Capitol, lord knows what happens over the next few days, there's also last-minute policy decisions here and abroad. And that's where we're taking our Red Pen this week, specifically US relations with Cuba.

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Watch Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, lend perspective to this week's historic impeachment proceedings.

Impeachment. President Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice this week. And the question on everybody's mind is will he be convicted in the Senate? And I think the answer right now is we just don't know. I'd probably bet against it. There was a really strong Republican vote against impeaching him in the House, with only 10 of the over 100 Republicans breaking with the President and voting to impeach him. And the question now is in the Senate, is there more support for a conviction? Senate Majority Leader McConnell has indicated he's at least open to it and wants to hear some of the facts. And I expect you're going to hear a lot of other Republicans make the same statement, at least until the trial begins.

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They call it Einstein. It's the multibillion-dollar digital defense system the US has used to catch outside hackers and attackers since 2003. But it was no match for what's looking like one of the biggest cyber breaches in US history. Ian Bremmer breaks it down.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Cyber attack: an act of espionage or war?

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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