By cracking down on the Tiananmen Square protesters 30 years ago, China's leadership bet that the country could successfully marry strict one-party rule with economic liberalization. That gamble appears to have paid off – in the years since, China has gone from bit player to driving force in the global economy, while lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Here's a look at China's economy then and now.
All businesses have a role to play in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.
That's why Bank of America is part of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials, a group of financial institutions working to assess and disclose the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their loans and investments.
Betrayal. Treason. Duplicity. These are some of the words used by the French government to describe the US' recent decision to freeze Paris out of a new security pact with the UK and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, which nixed a contract for Australia to buy French submarines.
Macron's subsequent tough stance against one of its oldest and closest allies is unusual, including his decision to briefly recall the French ambassador from Washington, the first time a French president has done so. But this headstrong strategy is also a deliberate diplomatic choice.
Politics is personal. At least on some level, Macron is lashing out because America has embarrassed France and left Macron's own ego badly bruised. Biden could have kept the France-Australian sub deal alive while moving forward with the AUKUS security agreement under the cloak of secrecy. But instead, the US chose to tear it all up, sending a clear message to Paris: you're not that important.
For Macron, who became France's youngest-ever president at age 39, thanks in part to a large dose of self-belief, this diss cuts deep.
Strategic autonomy. Since coming to power in 2017, Macron has been a strong advocate of Europe pursuing a defense strategy independent from the US. (You may recall the kerfuffle that ensued after Macron called NATO "braindead.")
Macron has long said that France — and Europe — should deploy its military might to defend its own interests abroad, regardless of what America's priorities are. And asserting France's independence as a key player in the Indo-Pacific by selling arms to Australia — which in turn would help safeguard Paris' own strategic interests in the region — is exactly what Macron was trying to do when the US recently pulled the rug out from under him.
What's more, with Germany's Angela Merkel preparing to exit the stage in mere days, and the post-Brexit UK out of the EU, Macron has been vying to fill the bloc's leadership gap, but this snub scuttles his plan.
Looking inwards. France is just six months away from a general election that's shaping out to be a close race between the incumbent and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Le Pen, for her part, has already capitalized on France's recent diplomatic snafu with Washington to cast Macron as pandering to the Americans and unable to stand up for French interests on the global stage.
Macron, who has increasingly veered to the right on certain issues as centrism in France has lost its appeal, knows that he can't afford to look toothless, and that taking a hard line on the US could reap political benefits come election day (only 44 percent of French adults now view the US favorably).
Because close French presidential elections go to a runoff, Le Pen is still a long shot to go all the way to the top. But a string of political crises in the months ahead would increase the likelihood that another candidate, perhaps a political outsider, takes center stage — just as Macron, a former political newbie, won in an upset for the establishment in 2017.
Is Macron out in the cold? Macron took a punt in forcefully going after the US. And it's reasonable to assume that he thought EU partners would back him up more emphatically. But so far, the response has been mostly muted. (The EU's Ursula von der Leyen said tepidly in an interview that "one of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable," while outside the EU, British PM Boris Johnson told Macron to "prenez un grip.")
Clearly, Paris felt ditched: after the sub snub, France's foreign minister said that EU nations need to stick together because it's the only way for Europe to "remain part of history." But as has been the case on a range of geopolitical issues, including the bloc's relations with Russia and China, the EU's 27 member states have divergent priorities.
Macron's gamble. Macron is saying all the right stuff to prove that he's nobody's lackey. And he plans to give President Biden a piece of his mind on a call in the days ahead. But if Macron fails to follow through on his threats and enforce any real consequences, he risks being perceived as a softy — exactly what he's been trying to avoid.
Eighteen months later, some countries are already recovering from COVID, while others are still in the thick of it. What's the current state of play on vaccines, what's holding up distribution, will the world emerge stronger or weaker, what should the private sector do, and has Biden delivered on US leadership expectations?Top leaders from the United Nations, the WHO, the World Bank, and Microsoft weighed in during a Global Stage virtual conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft during the 76th UN General Assembly, moderated by The New Yorker's Susan Glasser.
"Science needs to succeed over politics" — WHO's Dr. Mike Ryan | GLOBAL STAGE | GZERO Media youtu.be
For Dr. Mike Ryan, head of emergencies at the World Health Organization, one big obstacle is vaccine hesitancy. And the worst part about it is, in his view, powerful people who weaponize misinformation to serve their own political or economic needs. We need to have a healthy debate about vaccines and their safety, he says, but ultimately "science needs to succeed over politics."
World Bank Chief: Developing Countries Need to Know When Vaccines Coming | GLOBAL STAGE | GZERO youtu.be
For his part, World Bank President David Malpass says that wealthy countries and more recently India's Serum Institute are producing so many vaccines that there will likely be enough stocks to inoculate the entire world by the end of the year. However, to accomplish that, he warns, the nations that need jabs must know when they'll get them so they can prepare the groundwork to get the shots in people's arms.
Michelle Bachelet: Building back better is not going back to 2019 | GLOBAL STAGE | GZERO Media youtu.be
Even if we are able to vaccinate the world in time, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, says that building back better after COVID shouldn't mean returning to the same world we had before the pandemic. What we had back then, she explains, were political, social, and economic systems that didn't respond to people's needs — now we can either break through them, or break down to become an (even more) unequal world.
Why Public & Private Sectors Should Work Together| GLOBAL STAGE | GZERO Media youtu.be
Building back better is also about the private sector. The question is not if but rather how corporations will get involved. Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, believes the private sector has a big role to play in helping to roll out COVID vaccines. But the most important thing it can do, he says, is collaborate effectively with the public sector — with a clear understanding of each side's role "so we each do what we're equipped to do and what we do best."
Biden's International Leadership "All Focused at Home" | GLOBAL STAGE | GZERO Media youtu.be
Many countries are disappointed about a multilateralist like Joe Biden not delivering on US vaccine exports that the rest of the world desperately needs. But it doesn't surprise Ian Bremmer, who says Biden upset his allies the same way by withdrawing so abruptly from Afghanistan or leaving the French out of the AUKUS loop. For Bremmer, Biden, initially viewed as way more competent and trustworthy than Donald Trump, is now one of the least trusted US presidents in recent history — apart from Trump himself — because whatever he says, his international leadership is "all focused at home."
What We’re Watching: UK wants to be North American, Sudanese foil coup, Haitian refugee crisis grows
Can the UK join a North American trade deal? The acronym for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement was never all that elegant, but now London wants to throw two more letters into that soup. That's right, the UK wants to join USMCA, the trade pact brokered by the Trump administration in 2020 as an update to the 1990s-era NAFTA agreement. London had hoped that Brexit would free it up to ink a bilateral free trade deal with the US, but as those talks have stalled in recent months, PM Boris Johnson now wants to plug his country into the broader three-party deal. The fact that the UK already has deals with Canada and Mexico should help, in principle. But it would doubtless be a complex negotiation. And there's at least one huge hurdle: US officials are reportedly unaware of any mechanism at all for bringing aboard additional countries.
Haitian migrant crisis at US border: In recent days more than 15,000 Haitians fleeing political violence, economic crisis, and natural disaster in their home country have journeyed to the US southern border in hopes of gaining asylum. No such luck. The Biden administration is deporting them as fast as it can, and US border patrol officers have even sent agents on horseback to capture them. Earlier this week, a horrific image of a border patrol horseman using what looks like a whip against a Haitian refugee went viral. While the White House has given protected status to Haitians already in the US, that does not apply to new arrivals. And although Biden is seeking to raise the cap of refugees accepted by the US overall, he has left in place the Trump administration's Title 42 provision, which permits the US to deport asylum seekers, without a hearing, on public health grounds. Human rights groups say Title 42 is discriminatory, but Biden may be keeping an eye on the polls here: 80 percent of Americans think of immigration as a "serious problem," and 55 percent are against Biden undoing some of the most stringent Trump-era immigration policies.
Sudan thwarts coup: Sudan's civilian PM Abdalla Hamdok says the military has foiled a coup attempt by "forces of darkness" linked to Omar al-Bashir, the deposed former dictator. Details are sketchy, but there at least 21 military officers and civilians have been arrested for their role in the failed coup, considered the most serious of multiple previous attempts. The possibility of a military takeover by al-Bashir loyalists has haunted the country since the longtime autocrat — now pending trial in The Hague — was ousted in 2019, giving way to a shaky democratic transition. Although the military has mostly stayed loyal to the the transitional civilian-military government that has run the country for more than two years, many disgruntled officers remain in their jobs, and could become a bigger problem in November, when power is supposed to rotate from the military side of the transitional government to the civilian sided headed by Hamdok.
Hard Numbers: US Dems cut Israel military aid, Taliban want UN rep, Lithuanians told to ditch Chinese phones, Boris the dad
1 billion: US House Democrats this week voted to cut $1 billion worth of military aid for Israel. The money — which was stuffed into a larger appropriations bill meant to fund the US government and raise the debt ceiling — was supposed to go specifically to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. The move sets up a showdown between progressives who want to slash US aid to Israel and the pro-Israel moderate wing of the party.
9: It'll be up to the nine members of the UN's credentials panel to decide whether to approve the Taliban's nominee to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations, who wants to speak next week on the last day of the 76th UN General Assembly. Afghanistan's UN seat is currently occupied by an official who was appointed by the previous, US-backed Afghan government.
449: Lithuania's government is asking its citizens to get rid of their Chinese-made cell phones. The Baltic country's cyber experts have found that one model has software blocking 449 search terms related to democracy in Hong Kong, Tibet or Taiwan independence, and that another is highly vulnerable to cyber attacks.6: Ending years of speculation in the UK media, Boris Johnson has finally admitted the number of children he has: it's six, with a seventh on the way. The thrice-married British PM dropped the bomb during an interview about fatherhood, in which he also said he changes "a lot of nappies" for his 16-month-old son.
Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:
How will the QUAD leaders address the microchip supply chain issue during their meeting this week?
Well, the idea for leaders of the US, Japan, India, and Australia, is to collaborate more intensively on building secure supply chains for semiconductors, and that is in response to China's growing assertiveness. I think it's remarkable to see that values are becoming much more clearly articulated by world leaders when they're talking about governing advanced technologies. The current draft statement ahead of the QUAD meeting says that collaboration should be based on the rule of respecting human rights.
Will AI dominate the future battlefields?
Well, we've already seen new uses of AI-powered arms, but also new opportunities for cyberattacks from the increased use of AI, which leads to growing and vulnerable attack surface. The New York Times recently investigated how Iran's top nuclear official was executed with an AI-assisted, remote-controlled killing device. The gun, equipped with intelligent satellite systems, used AI to verify when and at whom to fire the lethal shots. So there are new weapons, but also new opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities in AI. It is safe to say that warfare is already changing and that in many ways, conflict and cyberattacks, as a result of both, the specific use in arms as well as the broad uptake in society will change dramatically.
On the one hand, UN Secretary-General António Guterres believes COVID has fractured trust between mainly rich and poor countries, especially on vaccines, as the pandemic "demonstrated our enormous fragility." On the other hand, it generated more trust in science, especially on climate — practically the only area, Guterres says, where the US and China can find some common ground these days. Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.
Well, we're in the thick of "high-level week" for the United Nations General Assembly, known as UNGA. As always, the busiest few days in global diplomacy are about more than just speeches and hellish midtown traffic in Manhattan. Here are a few things we are keeping an eye on as UNGA reaches peak intensity over in Turtle Bay.
Biden's COVID Summit: The US president wants to "vaccinate the world" — but who precisely is going to do that? On the sidelines of UNGA, Biden is holding a virtual COVID summit on Wednesday in hopes of hashing out a more coordinated global pandemic response. That includes expanding the production and distribution of vaccines and medical equipment, investing in healthcare infrastructure, and establishing global benchmarks for pandemic progress. One target is to vaccinate 70 percent of adults in the world by September 2022. A lofty goal, as the current mark is barely 30 percent. Part of the problem is that wealthy countries have bought up lots of shots to vaccinate their own people first. And although the US has donated more vaccines globally than any other country, Biden's own administration is now weighing whether to recommend boosters at home. If the US does so, it'll be hard for other rich countries' governments to say no to boosters for their own people — meaning fewer shots available for billions of unvaccinated folks in poorer countries. Can Biden square all of these circles?
Hustling to revive Iran nuclear talks: Talks between the US and Iran have stalled since Iran's hardline president Ebrahim Raisi took power in June. But there are signs that side hustles aimed at getting negotiations back on track are afoot at UN HQ this week. On Monday, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss met with her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian — both are new to their posts — to chart a path forward on the nuclear front, as well as to discuss the release of arbitrarily detained British nationals. US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, told the General Assembly that Washington won't allow Tehran to build a bomb, but he is willing to return to compliance with the deal if Iran does the same. Tehran seems game to start talking again: Iran state TV confirmed this week that the long-stalled talks could resume negotiations in the coming weeks. This development comes just weeks after Iran, which has breached most of the nuclear deal's terms since former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, agreed to allow UN inspectors to monitor various sites linked to its nuclear program, sidestepping a threat of formal censure from the US, UK, France, and Germany if it failed to comply. Still, chasms remain between the two sides. Can sideline work at the UN narrow the gap?
Climate (in)security: Just a month ago, a new UN report called climate change a "code red for humanity." This week, there are two high-level meetings dedicated to doing something about it. First, the Security Council will hold a meeting Thursday morning on "climate and security." That's because climate change now threatens peace itself by heightening conflicts over increasingly scarce water and crops, and by exacerbating political tensions through forcing larger migrations of people fleeing war, famine, or flooding. Then, the UN hosts a high-level dialogue on Energy, where countries will try to hash out more detailed approaches to cutting carbon emissions. All of this is really just a warmup for the UN's COP 26 meeting in November, the critical forum for addressing that Code Red alert. Outside of the meetings, a big announcement from Xi Jinping: China, the world's top polluter, will stop building coal-fired plants everywhere... except in China.
Should governments set limits on the use of artificial intelligence? Definitely, says UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who's asking member states to hold off on further development of AI technology until all the "negative, even catastrophic" risks that come with it can be ironed out. But it's hard to imagine strong agreement from countries like China, the US, or Israel which already have powerful AI industries and are wary of handcuffing them with global regulation. Still, there's no question that AI can cause harm in a number of ways, from algorithms that codify harmful biases all the way up to AI-driven killing machines (Israel recently built a doozy to kill Iran's top nuclear scientist). UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres mentioned AI specifically in his speech on Tuesday, let's see if it crops up elsewhere in the next few days.