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Finally, (some) closure. Joe Biden will be the next US president.

Art by Gabriella Turrisi

The race has been called, and although President Trump says he will dispute the result with lawsuits in several battleground states, America's presidential election is (finally) a done deal.

What happens next? President-Elect Joe Biden will now go through an uncertain lame-duck period before he takes the oath of office. Once he's sworn in on January 20th, Biden will have Vice President Kamala Harris, the former Senator from California, at his side to help wade through a slew of pressing domestic and international challenges. Here are some reflections and observations on an historic day.


History in the making. In 11 weeks, Kamala Harris will become the first female vice president in US history. She will also be the first Black and South Asian person to assume this role, a momentous breakthrough — and an emotional milestone — for people of color in the United States. It is a particularly meaningful occasion for Black women, the backbone of the Democratic base. They were instrumental in ensuring Joe Biden's victory in the Democratic primaries and his clinching of the presidency. It's fair to say they felt the weight of this heated election on their shoulders.

The domestic landscape. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will have their work cut out for them. President Trump has already made clear that he will not be a willing participant in the traditional handover of power, making for an excruciating transition period over the next 11-weeks. Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak in the United States is worsening by the day, and millions of Americans are still feeling deep financial pain because of the pandemic-induced recession. Republicans are also likely to retain control of the Senate, which would make it very difficult for Biden to pass ambitious legislation on climate change, immigration and healthcare.

Foreign policy. Biden's victory comes just days after the US — the world's second largest emitter of carbon — officially exited the Paris Climate Accord, the first country in the world to formally withdraw. Biden has said he will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord from the get-go (according to the accord's terms rejoining requires one month's notice), however there are compliance issues Biden will have to address in order to rejoin.

When it comes to China, Biden is not expected to be soft on Beijing. He has said he will focus on getting all US allies in Europe and Asia on the same page to counter China's global aggression. Biden also wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, another major Obama administration international agreement that President Trump walked away from. However, he said this is contingent on Tehran's willingness to comply with all of the deal's terms.

The American people remain bitterly divided. But it's also clear that many are sick and tired of political drama, toxicity, and chaos. Can Biden and Harris unite a fractious nation — one that voted in record-breaking numbers on both sides?

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

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In the fall of 2019, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic would change the world, Ian Bremmer asked Dr. Fauci what kept him up at night and he described a "a pandemic-like respiratory infection." Fast-forward to late February 2021 and Dr. Fauci tells Ian, "I think we are living through much of that worst nightmare." Dr. Fauci returns to GZERO World to take stock of the nightmare year and to paint a picture of what the end of the pandemic could look like—and when it could finally arrive.

Catch the full episode of GZERO World, where Dr. Fauci discusses the latest in vaccine roll out, schools re-openings, and plenty more, on US public television stations nationwide, beginning Friday, February 26. Check local listings.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take