Ian Bremmer: Trump vs the WHO & Political Distractions from Effective Crisis Response

The big news has been the Americans getting into a fight with the World Health Organization, with the Chinese for the original cover up, complicity. We don't want to be beating up on the World Health Organization. They are there to fight a pandemic. As Rumsfeld said about war, you don't fight a pandemic with the W.H.O. you want. You fight a pandemic with the W.H.O. you have. This is the W.H.O. we have.


And are they as capable as I'd like? No. Do they have strong leadership that I'd like and independent? No. Overly bureaucratic, willing to defer to power, covering up for the Chinese, refusing to even talk to the Taiwanese. All bad, right? Would I defund them right now, when we really need their frontline capacity, especially on the ground in the poorest countries that don't have access to the health care and doctors that we do here in New York City? Yes, we absolutely need them. Trump picking a fight, withholding funding in the middle of this pandemic is unconscionable and will undermine American leadership with a lot of those countries. But then again, we. I really care about a lot of those countries. And that's true of Americans at-large. And it's obviously true of Trump, who's our president.

This is not a surprise. It's disappointing. Trump has been on the back foot in terms of investigations and hearings for years. From the Mueller investigations, to the impeachment proceedings, all of the hearings have been against Trump. He doesn't like that. With the elections coming up, we're going to have hearings against the World Health Organization, China. They'll talk about how maybe, not only was there a cover up, but maybe coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan. Not engineered, zoonotically from bats and pangolins, but they didn't have suitable security constraints in this lab, and it escaped.

It's not inconceivable. There is no hard evidence. But the possibility is one more thing that can be used politically to divert attention away from the Trump administration and the 60,000 or more deaths that we'll see in the United States on the back of coronavirus. The 15 to 20 percent unemployment. I understand why the politics of attacking the W.H.O. and China in an election cycle is a valuable, even vital thing for President Trump to do.

We see this with the early campaign ads against Biden, calling him Beijing Biden. Same playbook. Is that a reasonable thing to do? Is it useful for the country? Is it useful for US-China? Absolutely not. Is that the concern? No. If we weren't playing politics, both inside the United States as well as other democracies and China and globally, we could respond much more effectively to this crisis. We would have fewer deaths on our hands. We would have less economic dislocation. The politics are maximally dysfunctional, in part because of a very divisive leadership in the US, in part because it's an election cycle, in part because of the disenfranchisement and anti-establishment sentiments across both sides of the political spectrum in the US and among advanced industrial democracies and in emerging market democracies, and because the Chinese have no trust for the Americans, the Americans have no trust for the Chinese, and they don't want an American led global system, they promote state capitalism and authoritarianism - the political dysfunctionality in responding to the coronavirus crisis is massive.

It's going to cause a lot more hardship. We could be in such better shape if we could get the politics out. It's hard. We're in a GZero world, I don't want to be the GZero world. That's where I think we are. How do we get out of it? My answer is, we're not going to get out of it in the near term. It's going to intensify because inequality and mistrust is going to intensify. The lack of interdependence between the US and China in particular, is going to intensify. That does lead to much more political dysfunction domestically and globally.

I am deeply grateful that we are getting through this in terms of human cost of the virus directly in the United States and in Europe. I'm deeply grateful that the health care system isn't falling apart. But the economic impact, which is also real human impact that we're going to experience for a very long time, everywhere, is going be a lot greater.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, for instance, which is shut out from COVAX due to US sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power — following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars — in a bid to exert its superpower bonafides.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cyber issues took center stage at the G7 summit. Is there a consensus among world leaders on how to handle cyberweapons?

Well, depending on who is included, there is a growing consensus that the escalations of conflict in cyberspace must stop. And G7 leaders that are now all representing democracies did call on Russia to hold perpetrators of cybercrime that operate from within its borders to account. So, I guess hope dies last because laws in Russia prevents the extradition of suspects to the US, even if Vladimir Putin answered positively when Joe Biden asked for cooperation on that front. And when it comes to limiting the spread of tools that are used for hacking, surveillance and infiltration, the EU has just moved ahead and adopted new dual use regulations which reflect the concerns for human rights violations when journalists are targeted the way that Jamal Khashoggi was. So ending the proliferation of systems that are used to attack would be an urgent but also obvious step for democratic nations to agree on.

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Frequently called Europe's last dictator, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Lukashenko has sailed smoothly to victory in all six elections he's stood in, despite widespread corruption and fraud in each one. But in 2020 the biggest threat so far to Lukashenko's tight grip on government came in an unlikely package—a former schoolteacher and stay at home mom, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. After the election result was finalized, Lukashenko claimed victory, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets, and Tsikhanouskaya leads the opposition in exile. Lukashenko recently took his boldest move yet, diverting a plane en route from Greece to Lithuania to arrest another Belarusian dissident. Ian Bremmer discusses whether a democratic transition is remotely possible in Belarus on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: The fight for democracy in Europe's last dictatorship

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