Elon Musk, Time Person of the Year? Naftali Bennett visits UAE

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at Naftali Bennett's first official visit to the UAE, China's response to recent US sanctions, and Elon Musk's chances at Time Person of the Year.

How did Naftali Bennett's first official visit to the UAE go?

Went extremely well. This was probably President Trump's largest and most unexpected foreign policy success, The Abraham Accords, which meant opening diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, in addition to other countries in the region. Now we have the prime minister of Israel touching down on an official visit in the UAE, where he met with Mohammed bin Zayed, who is the defacto ruler of all of the Emirates, as well as a lot of other leaders. We're seeing more investment, more tourism, and we're also seeing more intelligence cooperation, especially around issues like Iran, where frankly, both the Arab governments and the Israelis have problems. Big question everyone's watching out for is when are the Saudis going to open up to Israel? The Saudis are really reluctant in part because they feel like that would seed too much ground to Iran on the Palestinian question, and also lead to much more pushback given a much more conservative Saudi population. The UAE is one of the most cosmopolitan populations out there, frankly.


How will China "strike back" responding to recent US sanctions?

Strike back is exactly what the Chinese government said they would do. This was right in advance to the United States announcing it before that Democracy Summit that they hosted, both of which were things that weren't clearly meant to make the Chinese happy. In particular, there were sanctions against SenseTime, which is this Chinese technology company that is involved a lot in data and surveillance, including helping the Chinese Government surveil the Uyghurs, systematic repression that's been going on against them. Look, I think that the Chinese Government clearly does not want to seriously unravel US/China investment and trade relations, especially given big challenges in China in managing zero COVID. They're going to have difficulties meeting reasonable growth targets this year and next year as a consequence of all of that. But they're not going to just sit and stand by idly when the Americans are putting sanctions on very important, indeed technologically strategic Chinese companies. I think they will be tit for tat, and I don't think the Americans are likely to have a second round of escalation as a consequence. Keep in mind that both countries also want to reduce inflation and are trying to see if they might reduce some of the tariffs that came under the Trump administration back and forth with President Xi. Even as the Chinese are escalating their sanctions in response to the United States, there will also be areas of collaboration.

Elon Musk, Time Person of the Year. Thoughts?

I think he's an enormously complicated character. There's some things that I frankly admire immensely about him, the way he's managed to think of entirely new ways of doing global business and make them a reality, both in terms of electric vehicles and supply chain to support that, as well as re-imagining private space and doing so much more effectively than people like Bezos or Richard Branson, who's really just doing high altitude tourism. That really matters. But I also think he's incredibly irresponsible in the way he talks to, engages in the public. He's very narrow in his expertise and interest, which is absolutely great for making hundreds of billions of dollars and horrible for opining on how a political system should run. For that, I wish he had more humility. I'd love to see people who are absolutely brilliant in their space owning that and recognizing where are the areas they're not brilliant. One of the problems that American entrepreneurs frequently have when they become super rich and super powerful is they think that all the people blowing smoke up their ass make them brilliant on absolutely everything. That's an area that I think we could see a lot more support if people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were willing to take a little step back and try to see themselves objectively. But I do think he really should have been Time Person of the Year in the sense that Time Person of the Year is who had the most impact globally. As one individual in the technopolar world, Elon Musk is probably number one in that regard.

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.

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.
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