Ian Bremmer from Davos: Trump's speech; impeachment trial; Putin 2024

Ian Bremmer joins us from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to provide his analysis on the news of the day in global politics:

What stood out in President Trump's Davos speech and how is it received?

Well, I mean, you know, his victory lap stuff. I mean he's talking a lot about how amazing the economy is and the trade deals is getting done that are better than ever. Look, he has some actual accomplishments to trumpet now. His exaggerations were pretty great. How it was received as interesting; In the crowd, some tittering, people shaking their heads. But the reality, we're talking privately, is they like a lot of what he's doing compared to a lot of the Democrats that are running. Remember, these are CEOs of industry. These are financial titans. They're much more aligned with Trump than they are say, Greta on the environment. Important to know that when you think about how people make decisions.


The Senate impeachment trial has begun. What are your expectations?

Expectations? That he's going to get acquitted, the president, on an almost perfectly party line vote. That's going to anger the Democrats immensely, will make them feel like the electoral process itself is delegitimized. If it's a tight election, it's going to be a contested outcome. I fear that that is where we are heading.

What is going on with Russia and Putin's proposed constitutional changes?

Well, you got a new government in Russia. It looks a lot like the old government, but Prime Minister Medvedev is gone. You've got this new entity that is potentially one that Putin will end up running. It's a Kazakhstan type thing. What do you do when you want to stay president for life, but you're stuck at the end of this term in 2024? He's just setting up for the long term and Putin's going absolutely nowhere.

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We've written recently about how the COVID-19 pandemic will hit poorer countries particularly hard. But the burden of the virus' spread also falls more heavily on working class people even in wealthy countries, particularly in Europe and the United States. This is exacerbating the divide between rich and poor that had already upended the political establishment in countries around the world even before anyone had heard of a "novel coronavirus."

Why?

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For much of the world, the rapidly expanding coronavirus pandemic is the worst global crisis in generations. Not so for terrorists, traffickers, and militant groups.

Efforts to fight coronavirus are diverting government attention and resources away from militants and gangs, creating huge opportunities, particularly for transnational terrorist groups who thrive in vacuums of security and political power, says Ali Soufan, founder of the Soufan Group, and a leading authority on global terrorist organizations.

ISIS, for example, has recently called on its followers to intensify their jihad against governments in the West and in the Muslim world, particularly in Iraq. (Though they also issued a travel advisory against heading to Europe right now, which we imagined here.) The jihadists of Boko Haram have stepped up strikes againstweak governments in West Africa. And even as Iran grapples with one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, its Shia proxies inside Iraq are continuing to attack US bases there as Washington withdraws troops from the country over coronavirus concerns.

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The coronavirus is likely to hit poorer countries particularly hard, but it is also laying a bigger burden on working class people even in wealthy ones. As less affluent people suffer disproportionately not only from the disease, but also from the economic costs of containing it, we can expect a worsening of income inequalities that have already upended global politics over the past few years. Here is a look at inequality in some of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 so far.