GZERO Media logo

Ian Bremmer from Munich: "Westless" angst from NATO allies

Ian Bremmer analyzes the discourse from the Munich Security Conference 2020:

It's interesting, a lot of existential angst at this year's conference because you've got all the NATO allies and they're not sure exactly what they want in the region or the world. NATO hasn't really changed all that much since the Soviet collapse, but it also hasn't had to in the sense that the real concern has been Russia and it's been the military balance in the region. If you're sitting in Europe and particularly Eastern Europe, that's been what you've been primarily exercised with. And so even though Trump has said, "ah, it's obsolete" - no, it's not anymore. They're spending more money and there's a lot of forward deployment.


But this year, the focus isn't Russia. The focus is China. It's Huawei. It's technology. Things that NATO isn't really good at. And the Americans, all of them, not just the Trump administration, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, but also Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Democratic side, they're all coming here and saying China's the principal threat. And the Europeans, none of them are saying that. And they're deeply concerned that they're gonna be forced in the middle and squeezed by the Americans and hit hard on sanctions if they decide not to align with the United States.

The UK and the Germans have already said they want to work with Huawei. And Boris Johnson, who's trying to get a new trade deal done with the Americans, just canceled a trip to the White House because of a conversation gone horribly badly with Trump, specifically on China relations with the UK. He's not here today. Neither are any of his ministers. Wasn't at Davos, either. Lot of inward focus. Where is the special relationship if you don't have the United Kingdom?

Where's NATO? Macron is probably the most important leader here, but he's focusing on how Europe needs to have a stronger, more sovereign defense. But he is not leading anyone in particular. Merkel's going to be gone and her preferred successor, AKK, is not going to be there. The rest of the Europeans have different second and third order challenges and priorities. So, as a consequence, it feels like the institutions are increasingly not fit for purpose. That's good for the Russians and good for the Chinese because they have stronger leaders, now for life. And even though they're weaker as countries, they know what they want, and they are able to project their power more internationally.

That's why the theme of this year's Munich Security Conference is "Westlessness." And of course, I feel a bit "westless," but it's also because we don't know exactly what the West wants, who the West is. And while you have the Chinese and the Russians being more assertive in different ways, you have the West with many parts of their populations, not even believing that their own institutions are legitimized. Never mind what they should be doing around the world. So anyway, that's me. That's your Munich In a little more than 60 Seconds. I'll be back again with your World, and shorter, next week.

The role of the public library has evolved over time. As we move online at an even faster rate, knowledge, entertainment and opportunities for education and employment are found on the internet. Those living in well-connected, affluent places may have come to take internet access for granted. But there is a digital divide in the U.S. that has left people at a disadvantage – particularly since the arrival of COVID-19.

Finding ways to overcome that divide in a sustainable, community-led way could help bring the benefits of the internet to those who need it most. One solution is to use technologies such as TV white space to facilitate wireless broadband – as Microsoft's Airband Initiative is doing. To read more about Microsoft's work with public libraries, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

More Show less

"The 'American exceptionalism' that I grew up with, the 'American exceptionalism' of the Cold War…I do think has outlived its usefulness." Those words coming from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama, indicate how much the world has changed in the past few decades. Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

Less than a week out from Election Day, 66 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and many of those are people who are voting "early" for the first time because of the pandemic. In fact, the early vote total alone this year is already equal to nearly half of all ballots cast in the 2016 general election, suggesting that 2020 turnout could reach historic levels. Most important, however, is how things are playing out in key battleground states where the outcome of the US election will be determined. In Texas, for instance, a huge surge in early voting by Democrats this year has raised the possibility that a state which has been won by Republican candidates since 1976 could now be up for grabs. Here we take a look at early voting in battleground states in 2020 as compared to 2016.

In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Cities on the frontlines

Living Beyond Borders Articles