Hong Kong security law; Putin & the White House; India's TikTok ban

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

What does Beijing's new security law mean for Hong Kong?

It means the end of one country, two systems. A lot of people are going to say, "Oh, well, it's only about certain cases and it's not getting rid of the entire independent judiciary. The Chinese government says it's not going to change the way you do business in Hong Kong." It is going to immediately put an immensely chilling effect on anyone that might want to utter a word opposed to Hong Kong democracy, communist party control, one state, two systems. It is going to be defined by the Chinese government. It's been completely written by them. The Hong Kong government didn't even see it. And it has less to do with how they're going to apply it as their ability to use it as a threat against anyone that might otherwise want to demonstrate, want to write or speak about something that's problematic for China.


If you are an investment type or a corporate type, and you've set up your business in Hong Kong to have access to the Chinese market, but you want to make sure your expats and your business are in a place that has rule of law and an independent judiciary, the idea that you're going to be able to do that going forward in Hong Kong is really not the case. And so, it's a question of when you decide to reduce that exposure, as opposed to whether this is the tipping point for Hong Kong relations with the West and with China.

Second, will we see a Putin White House visit before the United States election?

I don't expect so. I mean, it's possible, but Trump isn't gaining any support by cozying up to Putin right now. Of course, this issue about whether he did or did not know personally about the Kremlin providing direct cash payments to members of the Taliban for targeting and killing American soldiers on the ground there, is only making the Russia issue worse. Even some Republicans in the House and Senate have raised some questions around that. None of America's allies want Russia to be invited to the G7 Summit, which Trump is trying to host. And if he's not welcomed, then Putin is not just going to show up to be on the sidelines. And the idea that Trump's going to have a separate White House meeting with Putin in the next few months, seems to me one that would be shat upon by pretty much every Trump advisor around him. And so I would say, no, that's probably not going to happen.

What does India's TikTok ban mean for the social media company?

Well, I mean almost 60 apps banned overnight by the Indian government. All Chinese apps, all the result of the confrontation in the border zone, in the Himalayas between the Indians and the Chinese. The Chinese killed some 20 Indian soldiers. They've tried to deescalate, and the Indians are not going to engage militarily because they have nowhere close to the capabilities militarily the Chinese do. They'd get pasted, but this is a response. It's a strong economic response. And the Indian government is also looking to promote their own tech firms.

TikTok in particular, something like almost A hundred million downloads since the beginning of the year in India. It's an extraordinary explosion of success for that company, but also one that is more than happy to censor anti-Chinese content. But when the Indian government requests them to censor anti-Indian content, they don't do it. Very different from Facebook. All of that put together is why TikTok got banned. And it's not clear that the Chinese have anything useful to do against the Indians, because if they hit them back economically India is critical for a lot of key pharmaceutical ingredients that the Chinese particularly need right now in a pandemic. I really don't think the Chinese want to go that route, so it may well be that a that they get away with this. And that's where we are.

Finally, what are the odds that you, meaning me, will be visiting Europe before the end of the year?

I think pretty low, honestly. Certainly, there are a bunch of events that are still, people trying to tell me they'd like to have me come various places by the end of the year, but we're probably going to see a second wave in the United States and in Europe. I think that as that occurs, the idea that people are going to be getting on planes in large numbers, attending events in large numbers, especially when Zoom and Microsoft products and all the rest seem to be working perfectly well, I think it's well until next year before you see significant international travel. And yeah, I'm going to be a part of that.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent COVID-19 policy developments:

The Biden administration extended an eviction moratorium even after the Supreme Court said they couldn't, what's next?

Well, the CDC imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium in light of increased risk from evicted people because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court in June ruled that they (CDC) overextended their authority in doing so and mandated that the moratorium expire on schedule in July. A group of progressive activists weren't happy about this and raised a huge stink in Congress, but Congress recessed for their August vacation before they could solve the problem, putting big pressure on President Biden to extend the moratorium even though he said he didn't think that it would pass constitutional muster. The CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October 3rd, which is a time that's short enough to probably avoid it being overturned by lawsuits, but long enough that Congress has time to figure out how to either extend it on a bipartisan basis or put more money into a rental assistance fund that few people have taken advantage of so far. This whole incident shows the power of progressive activists in the Biden administration who were able to elevate the profile of this issue and potentially prevent millions of people from losing their homes this summer.

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This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

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Iran was involved in two naval incidents in the Gulf of Oman in recent days. The US, UK, and Israel have blamed Iran for a drone attack that killed two European nationals. Iran has rejected the accusations. Iran is also suspected in the "potential hijack" of a tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

These provocations are happening just as Iran inaugurates a new president, Ebrahim Raisi, and as talks continue over the possible US re-entry into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. What's the connection between these events? We asked Henry Rome, Eurasia Group's deputy head of research and a director covering global macro politics and the Middle East.

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Whenever Burkina Faso is in the news, it's often about how the crisis-ridden country has got caught up in the crosshairs of horrific jihadist violence plaguing the Sahel.

But this week, the nation of 20 million was celebrating because Hugues Fabrice Zango won its first-ever Olympic medal after finishing third in the men's triple jump in Tokyo.

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Should people get COVID vaccine booster shots? Not yet, says the World Health Organization, which is pushing for rich nations or those with access to jabs to hold off until at least the end of September so all countries get to fully vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations before some jump ahead with boosters. But the WHO's call has fallen on deaf ears in nations like Israel, France, Germany and Russia, which are already planning to offer boosters, in part to better protect people against the more contagious delta variant. What's more, mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are recommending supplemental doses for the same reason. The problem is that, beyond the obvious moral imperative for equal access to vaccines, if the rich continue hoarding jabs while vaccination rates stay low elsewhere, the virus will continue to thrive — and mutate into new, potentially even more infectious variants that sooner or later will reach every corner of the planet.

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80: If polar ice caps continue to melt at their current pace due to climate change, 80 percent of all emperor penguins will be wiped out by the end of the century because they need the ice for breeding and keeping their offspring safe. American authorities want to list emperor penguins, which only live in Antarctica, as an endangered species so that US fishing vessels will be required to protect them when operating in their habitat.

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On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer takes a look at the yin and the yang of alcohol's role in high-level diplomacy and society at large. Alcohol can bring people together just as easily as it can tear them apart. From a 1995 Clinton/Yeltsin Summit where a drunk Yeltsin almost derailed Bosnian peace talks, to Obama's Beer Summit and the recent G7 Summit, booze plays a part in how world leaders interact. Globally, alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing, by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to one report. . Low and middle-income nations like Vietnam, India, and China are a driving force behind that trend, with drinking in Southeast Asia rising by over 34 percent between 2010 and 2017. And yet, amidst this global booze boom, the world has only grown more and more divided.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

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