Ian Bremmer on US-Iran implications for ISIS

Ian Bremmer answers your most burning questions on the World In 60 Seconds!

How does the US-Iran escalation change the fight against ISIS and terrorism?

Well, it makes it a little harder. I mean, if we're focusing on Iran, which is largely a geopolitical menace to the United States, it's them and it's their proxy fighters inside different states, whether it's the Houthis in Yemen or it's Hamas in Gaza. But when we think about terrorism, it's the Sunni radical Islam forces that are mostly an issue, al-Qaeda and ISIS. And the US is spending less time focusing on that. And indeed, they suspended their fight just now against ISIS in Iraq. Long term, that's going to bite us. Though, it bites the region and the Europeans a lot more given the numbers and the geographic contiguity.


Will the Senate subpoena John Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial?

They may, though ultimately, it's up to McConnell. And I don't yet see a significant number of Republican senators saying that they want that to happen. Mitt Romney has said he'd be open to it, but he's not saying he's going to try to force it. We'll see. But I also will say the fact that Bolton is now saying, right after this Iranian strike, this "decapitation" strike that he's very pleased about, that he's prepared to testify, sounds to me like he's not going to be as problematic for Trump as a lot of people believe. And let's keep in mind that a lot of the stuff that he was aware of and privy to is stuff that we've already heard about through the initial testimony. So, it's going to be exciting for MSNBC and CNN, but I don't actually think it's going to move any votes in terms of impeachment or sway popular opinion in the United States.

What's happening with Venezuela's National Assembly?

Well, Guaido, the nominal president who is recognized right now by the United States and many other countries, doesn't have an assembly home. He had to basically get votes outside as Maduro shut the doors and said, you're not - you're no longer able to govern here, we have a parallel assembly. Maduro is going to work very hard to have new elections and split the opposition to get people to run and vote in his process. The lack of support for the Venezuelan opposition inside the country and the fact that the US and other countries aren't likely to do very much about that means that Maduro isn't going anywhere. Very aligned with what we've said in our Top Risks, where Venezuela is a herring unless you happen to be Venezuelan.

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Watch Ian Bremmer's State of the World 2021 speech live on December 6

WATCH LIVE: Join us today at 8 pm ET to hear Ian Bremmer's unique perspective on the most pressing geopolitical events shaping politics, business, and society in our "GZERO" world.

Ian's State of the World speech will examine:

  • Are the US and China engaged in a cold war?
  • How powerful have tech companies become on the global stage?
  • Is there hope for the world to unite to fight climate change and other shared challenges?
A Q&A session with Ian follows, moderated by Julia Chatterley, anchor and correspondent at CNN International. Tweet your questions for Ian to @gzeromedia using the hashtag #SOTW.
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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I want to talk about Russia. And you will, of course, be hearing all of the stories about Russia gearing up for a war with Ukraine, taking more territory. The Americans saying don't do it, but not setting up any clear red lines. What's actually going on here? Well, it's worth going back to the last that Biden and Putin met with each other. That was in Geneva back in mid-June. And you'll remember that Biden snapped at the end of the meeting and the press conference. He was asked by someone, "How come you trust Russia, you trust Putin?" And he said, "I don't trust Putin. We'll see what happens over the coming months." Now at that point, Ukraine was not the big topic that was being discussed.

This was on the back of the attacks, the cyberattacks against Colonial Pipeline in the United States, clearly coming from criminal gangs in Russia, operating with the full knowledge of the Kremlin. And the big takeaway from the meeting, from the summit, from Biden was telling Putin, "look, you need to put a stop to this because if you don't, they're going to be direct consequences." A stop to what? A stop specifically to cyberattacks emanating from Russia, even if not directly from the Kremlin against critical infrastructure in the United States. Not espionage, which the United States does as well, of course. Not attacks, malware attacks against noncritical infrastructure, which is an annoyance, which the American would like to put an end to. But which Biden was not saying was a red line, but specifically critical infrastructure. And indeed, it's been several months now, almost six months and there has been movement. There has been some progress.

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What We’re Watching: Biden and Putin chat, Scholz takes the reins in Germany, Remain in Mexico returns, Pécresse enters the French fray, Suu Kyi learns her fate

World War III or nah? US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to speak by phone on Tuesday, as the crisis surrounding Ukraine gets dicier by the day. Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops along its border with the country, and the US is warning that Putin is gearing up to invade soon, though the underlying intel isn’t public. No one is quite sure what Putin’s up to with this stunt. Is he trying to pressure Kyiv into moving ahead with the lopsided (but probably best possible) Minsk peace accords of 2015? Or is the Kremlin seeking a broader NATO commitment not to expand further? Or does Putin actually want to invade Ukraine? Either way, Biden has his work cut out for him. Putin is clearly more comfortable risking lives and money to preserve a sphere of influence in Ukraine than the West is, so the US president has to be careful: don’t set out any red lines that NATO isn’t willing to back, but also don’t push the situation into a broader war that no one (ideally) wants.

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 The Beijing 2022 logo is seen outside the headquarters of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, November 10, 2021

US government reps will boycott Beijing Olympics. The US announced Monday that American government officials will not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics. China responded to reports of the diplomatic boycott by saying that the move is a “naked political provocation” and an affront to China’s 1.4 billion people. For months, the Biden administration has toyed with whether to skip the Beijing Games because of China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. Washington, however, has not banned US athletes from competing, which would be a major escalation at a time when US-China relations are at their lowest point in years. Still, from Beijing’s perspective, the move is humiliating and a blow to its prestige on the world stage, particularly if other countries follow suit and pull their representatives, too. Beijing vowed Monday to hit Washington with “countermeasures” if it goes ahead with the diplomatic boycott, though it’s unclear what the CCP might whip up as payback.

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 President Hakainde Hichilema presents his national statement as a part of the World Leaders' Summit at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 1, 2021

A harrowing debt default, cinema-worthy corruption cases, and a controversial attempt to change the constitution all provided the backdrop for Hichilema Hakainde’s election as Zambia’s president earlier this year. Despite attempts by incumbent president Edgar Lungu to rig the vote, Hichilema won a landslide victory by promising to boost jobs and crush corruption. But does Hichilema, a businessman-turned-politician, have what it takes to fix the faltering fortunes of Africa’s second-largest copper producer, a country that was once one of the continent’s fastest growing economies?

We sat down with Eurasia Group analyst Connor Vasey to find out how things have gone during the new president’s first few months in office.

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Hard Numbers: Indian Kalashnikovs, Evergrande stock crashes, Gambian president re-elected, UK citizenship law
600,000: Russian President Vladimir Putin met Indian PM Narendra Modi in Delhi on Monday. The two leaders inked a few bilateral defense deals, including one for India to produce more than 600,000 Kalashnikovs to replace old local military rifles.
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The Taliban may have allowed “cosmetic changes” - like allowing younger fighters to take photos with iPhones – but their governing style hasn’t truly changed, renowned author Ahmed Rashid told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. In fact, not much about the group has actually reformed since he wrote his groundbreaking book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia.

“We thought for a long time that the Taliban would be educating and training their younger generation to become bureaucrats and handlers of civil society, but we were wrong,” he said. In fact, the moderate faction of the Taliban have been losing out to the hardliners, which includes members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terrorist organization.

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Can “cattle boy” fix Zambia?

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