Israel-Palestine de-escalation likely by weekend; next space race?

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on World In 60 Seconds (aka Around the World in 180 Seconds) :

Biden says he expects significant de-escalation between Israel and Hamas. Will the conflict end soon?

He wouldn't say that if he hadn't already been told that by Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as well as the fact that Israeli Defense Forces have already been saying that they've engaged in significant deterioration of Hamas's military and leadership capabilities. That means that within days you likely get a ceasefire. It's going to be back and forth. The Israelis saying Hamas have to go first. And even when you get a ceasefire agree, then you get more violence, and you get an outbreak. So it's a bit of a rolling back and forth as opposed to suddenly there's just no more military engagement. But I would be really surprised if in another week we see this level of military conflict and of deaths on the ground, primarily in Gaza. In fact, I'd say really by the end of the weekend, I would think that this is going to calm down significantly. Biden wouldn't be saying that otherwise.


Does Putin have a role in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Not a big one. I mean, certainly Putin has come out and been more assertive in opposing Israel, supporting the Palestinian cause, but there is also a lot of informal political engagement between the Kremlin and a lot of Jews that had emigrated from the former Soviet republics into Israel, particularly on the Israeli right. And that's a reasonably strong connection. Netanyahu has a pretty good line into the Kremlin and Putin himself, and that's not gone away. So I would say it's pragmatic, I wouldn't say it's a very significant relationship.

Has India lost control of the pandemic?

Completely different question. I'm not sure they ever had control of the pandemic. They just didn't have as many cases. And now they have no idea how many cases they have. You've seen 4,500 deaths in the last 24 hours, that they know about, in reality it's probably two to five times greater than that. It's the largest number of known deaths in any country since the pandemic began over a year ago. And of course, with the exception of China, India's got the largest population in the world by a large margin. So the per capita deaths, aren't so large compared to some other countries around the world, but the impact for variants and spread is massive. And that is, of course, a danger. There are going to be a lot more variants by the end of the year, and India just has no capacity to really get a handle on that. The testing levels in India are de minimis, and it's not like they have control of all their borders. So all of that is pretty problematic, though not for the countries that are engaging in rollout of vaccines across the board like we are in the US, and increasingly in Europe.

China successfully landed a Rover on Mars. Another space race for the United States?

Well, I mean, China's investing a lot, but to the extent there's a space race, I'm not sure it's with NASA, as opposed to with Elon Musk and SpaceX. I mean, increasingly the private sector in the United States, they're the ones that are doing the most in terms of the future of space. Is that aligned with American national security? Not necessarily. We'll see where that goes. Certainly SpaceX, I mean, their biggest contracts are with the US government because they've got the ability to get payload up. And so the US is basically renting it from SpaceX. But increasingly Elon Musk is dominating lower earth orbit. That's pretty interesting. He's one guy. What happens if he changes citizenship? What if he leaves? And what's the US government going to do about regulating that? It's going to be an interesting question, but for now, I think I'd be more concerned about things like technology in the US as well as things like Taiwan, South China Sea, the Uighurs, a little bit less so about space.

Ken Burns discusses Muhammad Ali's background and how the journey of boxing's greatest champion is just as relevant today—in sport, culture and beyond.

"He is speaking to us with a kind of force and clarity...that to me is just so enduring." - Ken Burns

In a frank (and in-person!) interview, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, speaks with Ian Bremmer at the UN ahead of the annual General Assembly week. Guterres discusses COVID, climate, the US-China rift, and the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, and does not mince words when it comes to the dire state of the world. "We are standing at the edge of an abyss," Guterres warns. COVID is "defeating" the global community and a climate catastrophe is all but assured without drastic action. Amidst this unprecedented peril, there remains a startling lack of trust among nations. And yet, there is still hope.

No country in the Western Hemisphere is more closely associated with disaster and misery than the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Its latest upheaval centers on news that the country's top prosecutor wants Haiti's prime minister to answer questions about the murder of the president in July. Haiti is again locked in a power struggle among competing factions within its ruling elite.

Why is Haiti still so poor and disaster-prone?

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For Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, the fact that America has not experienced a single attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11 proves that the US was "successful" in its strategy to prevent terrorism. That "was not [an] accident and there was a deterrent effect to be honest — had we been lax, more would have tried." Although he admits the US government wasn't transparent enough about the intelligence it was collecting, Chertoff credits US intelligence agencies with helping to foil the plot to blow up airplanes mid-air from Heathrow to the US in 2006. The US mission in Iraq, or what came after was not clearly thought out, according to Michael Chertoff, who served as the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. The Iraq war made it difficult to focus on the US mission in Afghanistan and absorbed resources that could have been used more effectively elsewhere, he said.

Watch the full episode: Is America safer since 9/11?

Listen: In a frank interview on the GZERO World podcast, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, speaks with Ian Bremmer at the UN ahead of the annual General Assembly week. Guterres discusses COVID, climate, the US-China rift, and the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, and does not mince words when it comes to the dire state of the world. "We are standing at the edge of an abyss," Guterres warns. COVID is "defeating" the global community and a climate catastrophe is all but assured without drastic action. Amidst this unprecedented peril, there remains a startling lack of trust among nations. And yet, there is still hope.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.


"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still." — Harry S. Truman

The former US president's warning feels particularly prescient as world leaders prepare to gather at the 76th United National General Assembly in New York City, the first such in-person event in over 18 months. The importance of apt leadership in determining societies' ability to cope — and survive — has been on full display since COVID-19 enveloped the globe, decimating communities and killing some 4.5 million people.

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As the 76th UN General Assembly gets underway, dealing with the pandemic is still the top priority for world leaders. But for John Frank, vice president of UN Global Affairs at Microsoft, COVID is not the only major challenge the world faces today.

One of them — included in the UN Secretary-General's new Common Agenda for strong, inclusive pandemic recovery — is a different way to measure economic growth beyond the traditional productivity-led GDP model by taking more into account the cost of pollution, one of the main causes of climate change.

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For UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the pandemic has made the world even more divided than it was before COVID. That's especially true on climate, in his view, because rich and poor countries simply don't trust each other anymore. If we want COP26 to succeed, Guterres says we must rebuild that trust — or face the consequences of inaction. "If you are on the verge of an abyss, you must be careful about your next step." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

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UNGA 76: Vaccines, climate, crises

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UN Chief: Still time to avert climate “abyss”

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