Listen: In the span of just 48 hours in early September, the United Kingdom got a new prime minister, Liz Truss, and a new monarch, King Charles III. Both face big challenges in their new roles. For Truss, the Tory leader: a range of issues from inflation to the ongoing fallout of Brexit. For Charles: the relevance of the monarchy itself, now that Britain's longest-serving and much-beloved queen is gone. The United Kingdom also faces staggering inflation and a looming energy crunch. On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer talks with a man who occupied 10 Downing Street for a decade - former prime minister Tony Blair - about the road ahead for his country. Blair believes there will be a lot of uncertainty over the next year or two if Truss insists on big tax cuts and big borrowing. He also looks back at the queen's legacy and the future of the monarchy, explains why Brexit will hurt - but probably not fragment - the UK, and argues that we need to return to his comfort zone of the political center to fix today's problems.
Podcast: How we avoid irreversible damage & "total disaster": The UN chief's warning for a world experiencing multiple crises
Listen: The UN's blueprint for making the world a better place is on life support. The pandemic wiped out years of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and right now there's no way they'll be met by 2030. On the GZERO World podcast, Ian speaks with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the United Nations headquarters just ahead of this year’s General Assembly. Their one-on-one conversation ranges from rescuing the SDGs, the war in Ukraine to global food insecurity, climate change, and authoritarianism on the rise; but Guterres sees signs of hope amid these converging crises. Guterres is known for bluntly stating the dangers we’re facing—and the need for immediate action.
Listen: The Biden administration has pushed through the single largest climate spending package in US history. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to discuss how the new law could help the United States and the world respond to climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act is Biden's biggest legislative win since the American Rescue Act early in his term in office. It is intended to fight climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power generation and transport. According to Granholm, it will help by giving Americans incentives to use renewable energy in their cars and homes. And that, in turn, will lower the cost of energy prices at home. She also shares her perspective on Europe's current energy woes and hopes for an opening on climate cooperation with China.
Listen: The anniversary of the end of America’s war in Afghanistan is a reminder of what many see as a staggering US defeat. It was also a victory for a long-time US adversary, the Taliban, who remain in control as the country faces a humanitarian crisis and a crumbling economy. Their brutal rule has also led to worsening conditions for women and girls in the country. Ian Bremmer speaks to former Marine and author Elliot Ackerman on the GZERO World podcast about his view of the war and his new book “The Fifth Act: America's End in Afghanistan.”
Ackerman believes the US military could have done a much better job at leaving the country, without leaving so many Afghan allies behind. The war, he explained, had come to define our military thinking and intelligence capability because the US was involved there for such a long time. And that long involvement clouded American judgment as it left. He also shares his thoughts on leaving no man behind honor code and whether an all-volunteer military is what America needs amid deeply dysfunctional domestic politics.
While Russia is the more urgent cyber threat, says Easterly, China could do more damage in the long term. As for non-state actors like ISIS carrying out major cyberattacks, there is "low probability, but high impact.” The bigger problem, she adds, may be nations that use cyber to do somewhat lawful things like collecting intelligence, but then use such practices for nefarious purposes. The US government has finally gotten serious about protecting itself from cyberattacks, but still needs cooperation from the private sector to drive down risk to the nation, Easterly explains, noting that the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act will now require whoever operates critical infrastructure to report attacks coming from state and non-state actors.
Listen: Did US inflation come from supply, or did it come from demand? On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer speaks with economist and University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee about the causes of the current high levels of inflation in the US and around the world. If inflation is being driven by too much stimulus, as economists like Larry Summers believe, Goolsbee believes the Federal Reserve is doing the right thing by raising interest rates to cool demand. But if inflation is mostly due to the war in Ukraine or supply chain disruptions, rate hikes might result in stagflation.
Goolsbee, who served as an adviser under President Obama, also shares his thoughts on why some economic trends from the last two years - like making more products domestically and remote work - may be short-lived "pandemic blips," whether the Biden administration gave out too much stimulus for the recovery, and why Americans feel glum about the economy - yet still have cash in their pockets.
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Listen: Frances Haugen blew the whistle against Facebook because she believed her employer wasn't doing enough to stop its outrage-driven algorithm from spreading online misinformation and hate, which led to offline violence. Haugen speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast about the major role that social media companies play in politics in the US and around the world, and the life-or-death consequences that can come from their actions. She believes governments need to rethink how they regulate social media, as the EU is trying to do with a new law mandating data transparency.
Haugen still believes social media companies can change for the better, but the gap between fast-changing tech and slow-moving governments will continue to widen. To narrow it, we'll need more whistleblowers — and better laws to protect them.