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.

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Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

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