Keystone XL halt is no threat to US-Canada ties under Biden; Brazil's vaccine shortage

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.


Biden has promised 100 million COVID vaccine doses in 100 days. Meanwhile, Brazil is experiencing a shortage. What is happening?

Well, the president of Brazil has not taken coronavirus seriously at all. At least in the United States even though Trump was downplaying coronavirus, Operation Warp Speed was really significant, a major effort to build up and invest and acquire vaccines, the administration did a very significant job around that. In Brazil, the entire Bolsonaro administration basically abdicated on coronavirus. So, they've got well over 200 million people, they've got 6 million vaccines they've acquired so far. That's really been the result primarily of the governor of Sao Paulo not the Bolsonaro administration. This is an enormous problem for Brazil, it's an enormous embarrassment for Bolsonaro. You see calls impeachment that are rising yet again, his approval ratings are now in the low 30s. If they start slipping towards the 20s, he could start peeling off a lot of congressional support and impeachment could become a real issue. Certainly, elections coming up in Brazil, presidential elections in a year are going to be very, very challenging. And I watch that space pretty closely, brazil is going to suffer on the back of this more than a lot of other countries.

A video of Navalny posted after his arrest is going viral. He calls for supporters to "take to the streets" on January 23rd. What is going on?

Well, Alexei Navalny is the most well-known and popular of opposition figures in Russia. The biggest mass demonstrations against Kremlin we've seen in years was the last time Navalny called for mass protests, was mostly Moscow, but you got cities across the country, urban intellectuals, primarily younger people, elites. But Navalny is still quite popular, he still has a significant social media following. Nothing close to a majority, this is not a threat to President Putin, it's nothing close to what you've seen experienced in Belarus for example in the past six months. But nonetheless, it is a significant aggravant for Putin, and that's why Navalny has been detained. I suspect that with the show trials that will go on, he'll probably be given a more significant sentence. I think given he's upped the ante by calling for these demonstrations and by releasing a bunch of videos that are embarrassing to Putin personally, and all of that, the Kremlin has the power. Even though Navalny has a strong international support base, the willingness of Americans or Europeans to significantly and meaningfully increase sanctions against Moscow in a way that would matter to Putin, just isn't there. There just really isn't a stick to hit the Russians that would matter enough. Navalny doesn't matter enough, human rights in Russia don't matter enough to move the needle, especially given the level of economic, trade, and energy dependence that many of the Europeans have with Russia, the East Europeans have with Russia. The ideological orientation of Hungary in the EU, for example, towards Russia, they've just announced that they're getting the Sputnik V vaccine for their people, even though only 11% of Hungarians say that they would take a Russian or Chinese vaccine, over 50% would take Pfizer or Moderna, but they're not that one, and the fact that the United States is focused mostly domestically. So, all of that makes it a lot harder to move the needle on Putin when it comes to Navalny. And very sad for Navalny as a consequence, an incredibly courageous man who has faced, is facing, and will face an extraordinary amount of personal peril.

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?

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

India’s COVID crisis hits home

GZERO World Clips
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal