Top five US political moments of 2021

Well, I can think of five. The first and most important was probably January 6th. Historically important moment, rioters breached the Capitol building in order to stop the legal counting of the presidential election results, but also, it was an important moment because it created a dividing line for Republicans who had to decide if they were with President Trump, who had a role in instigating the riot, or if they were against him. A lot of Republicans ended up choosing to be with him creating various forms of apologies for the rioters over time, and even to some degree making martyrs out of some of them. This will be a really important defining moment, not just in American history, but also for the Republican party.


Second was the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the spring of this year. A $1.9 trillion bill that piled on top of the already $4 trillion in stimulus that Congress had passed in 2020 in order to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Why was this significant? Because it wasn't necessary. What it ended up doing was overheating an economy that was already starting to recover from the pandemic providing households with $1,400 checks and continuing to pay people not to work and has contributed to the high pace of inflation that's been seen in the second half of 2021, which in turn has hurt the chances of President Biden's Build Back Better bill from passing into law. So this turned out to be a very significant moment even though it wasn't obvious at the time.

Third point, the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is when you really started to see a steep decline in President Biden's approval ratings because the withdrawal got directly at the issue that he had built his campaign around, which is competence. The botch withdrawal, the headlines, the chaotic scenes at the airport really started to make it seem like perhaps the Biden administration didn't know what they were doing. That's been a drop from which they haven't recovered.

Also, something that happened over the summer I want to highlight was the CDC recommending masks indoors in response to the delta wave of the coronavirus. While I don't think this in and of itself was a politically significant moment, the return of the coronavirus in 2021 is going to be one of the defining things in Joe Biden's presidency. It's yet another reason that his approval ratings have been dragged so low and it's something that he just can't shake. This will be an ongoing storyline in 2022.

Finally, I think the fifth significant moment of the year gets at something else that's been hurting Joe Biden politically, which is inflation. He chose to renominate Jay Powell who was President Trump's fed chair because of the credibility Powell's built up as an inflation fighter helping the fed to pull out of the extraordinary measures they took during the pandemic and clear a path towards raising interest rates sometime next year. But his renomination is basically an endorsement of the fed's loose monetary policies and an endorsement of Powell's ability to keep inflation in check starting next year. This is going to be a huge story and it's a really big political priority for the Biden administration fighting inflation, and this is not the last you're going to hear about this.

People working at computers in a room labeled Malware Lab

Microsoft observed destructive malware in systems belonging to several Ukrainian government agencies and organizations that work closely with the Ukrainian government. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) published a technical blog post detailing Microsoft’s ongoing investigation and how the security community can detect and defend against this malware. Microsoft shared this information over the weekend to help others in the cybersecurity community look out for and defend against these attacks. To read more visit Microsoft On the Issues.

President Vladimir Putin

No one knows whether Russian President Vladimir Putin plans on invading Ukraine. But the president of the United States sure seems to think this is a real possibility, saying Wednesday that Putin will likely "move in" in the near term. Biden, prone to political gaffes, was then forced to awkwardly walk back comments that Russia would face milder consequences from the West in the event of a "minor incursion."

The timing of this blunder is... not great. It comes just as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to meet his Russian counterpart on Friday in hopes of lowering the temperature after recent diplomatic efforts in Geneva were deemed a failure by Moscow.

Indeed, with the Kremlin having amassed at least 100,000 troops surrounding Ukraine on three sides, the growing threat is impossible to ignore. So what would a Russian military offensive into Ukraine actually look like, and how might the West respond?

More Show less

Omicron has arrived. It's more contagious, but less severe. Some parts of the world are even looking forward to the pandemic becoming endemic.

Not China. Xi Jinping's zero-COVID strategy has worked wonders until now, but it's unlikely to survive omicron, explains Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

More Show less

Chilling at the beach, retired German Chancellor Angela Merkel is so over politics. Or is she?

Watch more PUPPET REGIME!

Subscribe to GZERO Media's YouTube channel to get notifications when new videos are published.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Happy Tuesday after the long weekend for those of us that had a long weekend. I thought I would kick us off with the first major foreign policy crisis of the Biden administration. And that is of course, Russia-Ukraine. Afghanistan, of course, was a debacle, but not exactly a global crisis. This of course has the potential to really change the way we think about European security and about US relations with the other major nuclear power in the world. So, I would say that the level of concern is even higher and there are a lot of things we can say.
More Show less
What We’re Watching: Xinjiang at the Beijing Olympics, Boris in deep(er) trouble, Indonesia’s new capital

Selling Xinjiang. Xi Jinping — a man well known for both his grand vision of China’s future, and for his willingness to get large numbers of people to do things they might not otherwise do — said in 2018 that he wanted 300 million Chinese people to participate in winter sports. The Chinese government announced this week that this goal has been met in honor of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which open in China’s capital on February 4. Multinational companies are consistently impressed by the commercial opportunities created when 300 million people decide to try new things. But it’s an inconvenient truth that most of China’s most abundant snow and best ski slopes are found in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, a place where Western governments and human rights organizations have accused Beijing of imprisoning more than one million minority Uyghurs in re-education camps. In these prisons, critics say inmates have experienced “torture, and inhumane and degrading treatment.” As China’s government opens new profit opportunities in Xinjiang, multinational corporations will face pressure from multiple directions not to invest there.

More Show less
Hard Numbers: Tongan emergency fundraising, EU docks Poland pay, new Colombian presidential hopeful, Turkey gets UAE lifeline

345,000: As of Wednesday afternoon ET, Tonga's Olympic flag-bearer has raised more than $345,000 online to help the victims of Saturday's volcanic eruption and tsunami. Pita Taufatofua, a taekwondo fighter and cross-country skier, has not yet heard from his father, governor of the main Tongan island of Haapai.

More Show less

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week, discussing Boris Johnson's tenuous status as UK PM, US Secretary of State Blinken's visit to Ukraine, and the volcano eruption in Tonga:

Will Boris Johnson resign?

It certainly looks that way. He's hanging on by his fingernails. He's losing members of Parliament. He's giving shambolic media interviews. In fact, I think the only people that don't want him to resign at this point is the Labour Party leadership, because they think the longer he holds on, the better it is for the UK opposition. But no, he certainly looks like he's going. The only question is how quickly. Is it within a matter of weeks or is it after local elections in May? But feel pretty confident that the days of Boris Johnson are numbered.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

China vs COVID in 2022

GZERO World Clips

COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal