Israel's election results, US-Iran nuclear talks, and vaccine passports

Ian Bremmer discusses Netanyahu's challenge, the US-Iran nuclear talks, and why vaccine passports are a good idea on this edition of World In 60 Seconds.

Will Israel's Netanyahu be able to successfully form a new government?

Well, he's been given the charge to. I guess he has 28 days to do it. It's a really, really tight equation. He'd have to get both an ultra-right party that's got a bunch of serious Islamophobes in it and a Muslim party to join. I think they're heading for no-such-luck, and the fifth election in just a couple of years. Israel just keep getting it done. Not as much to worry about, given that the pandemic's been handled with all those vaccines, but still quite a problem.


What's the latest on renewed US-Iran nuclear talks?

Well, they're happening. Not together. They're moderated. And, you know, the Americans and Iranians are in separate rooms, but they are engaging. There's a big question about who goes first. Do the Americans have to open sanctions first? The Iranians have to start getting back in the program. How do you sequence it? The Iranians need the Americans a lot more than the Americans need the Iranians. They are moving back towards the old JCPOA that everyone in power would basically like to see back in place. Even though you get criticism domestically against Biden in the US. By the end of the year, latest beginning of next year, you get back into the Iranian nuclear deal. I'll make that call and you'll see another million-ish barrels of Iranian crude on the markets.

Are vaccine passports a good idea?

Yes. Yes, they are. And it is true that this is an additional level of privacy that you won't have. That ship has sailed. The most important thing is that we have a way to track people that are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, and therefore can't transmit the virus and allow the global economy to pick up much, much faster, which is more important to me, frankly. And Lord knows, I've been traveling to a bunch of countries historically that have required me to get jabs. Places like India, Nigeria, Ethiopia. It's not a problem. You get a jab, you show them your vaccine passport. The fact that technologically enabled right now means that the surveillance is going to be more significant.

While residents of wealthy countries are getting ready for hot vaxxed summer — COVID is still ravaging many low- and middle-income countries. The horrifying scenes coming out of India in recent weeks have gripped the world, causing governments and civil society to quickly mobilize and pledge support.

But on the other side of the globe, Brazil is also being pummeled by the pandemic — and has been for a year now. Yet thus far, the outpouring of aid and (solidarity) hasn't been as large.

What explains the global alarm at India's situation, and seeming passivity towards Brazil's plight? What are the politics of compassion?

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Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

A Green Party-led government for the world's fourth largest economy? That's no longer far-fetched. As Signal's Gabrielle Debinski wrote last month, most current polls now show Germany's Greens in first place in federal elections set for September 26. And for the first time, the Greens have a candidate for chancellor. Annalena Baerbock is vying to replace Angela Merkel, who has led Germany for the past 16 years.

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India and Brazil are currently the world's top two COVID hotspots. But while India's crisis is — at least according to official statistics — a relatively recent one, Brazil's COVID disaster has been an ongoing train wreck. Where India seemed to have kept the pandemic under control until some bad missteps about two months ago, COVID has been wreaking havoc in Brazil almost constantly for over a year now. And President Jair Bolsonaro's macho-posturing and COVID denialism has clearly not helped. We take a look at average daily new cases and deaths in both countries since the pandemic began.

US reverses course on vaccine patents: In a surprise move, the Biden administration will now support waiving international property rights for COVID vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Until now the US had firmly opposed waiving those patents, despite demands from developing countries led by India and South Africa to do so. Biden's about face comes just a week after he moved to free up 60 million of American-bought AstraZeneca jabs — still not approved by US regulators — for nations in need. It's not clear how fast an IP waiver would really help other countries, as the major impediments to ramping up vaccine manufacturing have more to do with logistics and supply chains than with patent protections alone. But if patent waivers do accelerate production over time, then that could accelerate a global return to normal — potentially winning the US a ton of goodwill.

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28: Yair Lapid, leader of Israel's opposition Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, has 28 days to form a new government. President Reuven Rivlin tapped Lapid after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition by Tuesday's midnight deadline, further prolonging Israel's political stalemate.

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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:

How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?

The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.

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India’s COVID crisis hits home

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