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.

Amid the current need to continually focus on the COVID-19 crisis, it is understandably hard to address other important issues. But, on March 31st, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed landmark facial recognition legislation that the state legislature passed on March 12, less than three weeks, but seemingly an era, ago. Nonetheless, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the importance of this step. This legislation represents a significant breakthrough – the first time a state or nation has passed a new law devoted exclusively to putting guardrails in place for the use of facial recognition technology.

For more on Washington's privacy legislation, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Read our roundup of COVID-19 themes and stories from around the globe.

Europe skirts US sanctions to help Iran: While the US insists on tightening the sanctions noose around COVID-stricken Iran, European countries are now sending medical equipment. To do so, they are using for the first time a system called INSTEX, a back-channel financial mechanism created a year ago that allows Europe to maintain trade ties with Iran despite US sanctions. Recall that in 2018 the US pulled out of the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions – the Europeans stayed in the deal and have tried to salvage it. To date, Iran has suffered more than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the highest tolls in the world. Some say that Iran's failure to contain the contagion has been complicated further by US sanctions, which have thwarted the Islamic Republic's ability to fund medical imports. Tehran has urged the US to ease sanctions to no avail, but Ayatollah Khamenei has also, citing some wild conspiracy theories about the coronavirus' origin, refused medical aid from Washington.

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Laid-off hospitality workers tell their stories in their own words.

Ian Bremmer breaks down the massive economic toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on the hospitality and service industries in America and around the globe. In the U.S. alone, millions could face unemployment as businesses struggle to stay afloat.

Over the past decade or so, the European Union has weathered the global financial crisis, a migrant crisis, and the rise of populist nationalism. Sure, it's taken its fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but the idea of a largely borderless Europe united by common democratic values has survived more or less intact.

Then came the coronavirus. The global pandemic, in which Europe is now one of the two main epicentres, is a still-spiralling nightmare that could make those previous crises look benign by comparison. Here are a few different ways that COVID-19 is severely testing the 27-member bloc:

The economic crisis: Lockdowns intended to stop the virus' spread have brought economic activity to a screeching halt, and national governments are going to need to spend a lot of money to offset the impact. But some EU members can borrow those funds more easily than others. Huge debt loads and deficits in southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have been hardest hit by the outbreak so far, make it costlier for them to borrow than more fiscally conservative Germany and other northern member states. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, this imbalance nearly led the bloc's common currency, the Euro, to unravel.

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