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Ian Bremmer: The World's Geopolitical Recession

Ian Bremmer, in the midst of a serious global crisis, explains what a geopolitical recession is - because we're in one. And it makes the ability to respond to coronavirus a lot more difficult than it normally would be.

We have economic recessions, boom and bust cycles, every seven years on average since World War II. We have tools to respond in terms of stimulus and fiscal expansion and monetary easing. And we even can identify and define a technical recession as when you have two consecutive quarters of negative growth.


Geopolitics have boom and bust cycles, too. We've been in a geopolitical boom cycle for a long time. We're now in a bust cycle. The end of the US led global order - a GZERO World, not a G7 or a G20. This geopolitical recession makes it a lot harder to respond to a crisis. The political institutions are less resilient. There are three different ways that that plays out, three different components of the geopolitical recession:

First is inside the United States, inside our democracies. We have a lot more feeling of illegitimacy, feeling that the system is rigged against the citizens. And therefore, less willingness to support leaders who need to lead. There's no willingness to work together. And it's not just in the United States. We see this playing out in Brazil today with President Bolsonaro and forces against him. We see it playing out in other countries across Europe with real challenges internally for those governments. So a geopolitical recession, first and foremost, weakening and de-legitimizing democracies around the world.

Secondly, a geopolitical recession in the alliances around the world and the ability of international politics to be run in a stable and consistent way. Not only do you have a lack of coordination in responding globally to a global crisis, but you also have global leaders actively blaming each other.

Then you have the institutional side, which is the institutions themselves are increasingly not aligned to the geopolitical order, so they can't respond very effectively. This is geopolitical recession, a bust cycle in the geopolitical order: the institutions are not aligned with the geopolitical balance. Because the alliances and the relations between countries are increasingly focusing not on coordination, but instead on what they need for their own national interests. Every nation for itself. And also, inside democracies around the world, both advanced industrial democracies and emerging market democracies, you increasingly have political polarization, blames-man-ship and a sense that the system and its establishment is rigged against the average citizen. If you have all three of those things, there should be no surprise that the ability to respond the coronavirus, effectively to the biggest global crisis we've had since 2008, and maybe larger than that, is going to be very, very severely lacking.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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Join us tomorrow, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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