The world believes the US can do better but its ability to lead diminishes

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Sum up the world's response to the US Capitol riots.

I'd say two things. The leaders I've spoken to around the world in the last few days, the first is disappointment, shock that something like this could happen in the United States. I mean, on the one hand, really depressing. On the other, a lot of people that really do expect and believe that the United States can do better. And I think that's still the case. I think there is still a lot of belief that the United States is better than what is being reflected in the international news right now, from the activities that are happening in Washington and perhaps across the country over the coming days. The second is people want to know what's going to happen as a consequence. And when I say what's going to happen, I mean, first and foremost, what are the consequences of the behavior that's been taken of President Trump, of all of these members of House and Senate that have been putting forth this disinformation and calling for this insurrection? And on that front, I don't have anything very good to say. I mean, there is no question in my mind that tomorrow Trump will be impeached for a second time. It will be largely a party line vote. People are getting excited because maybe 10 or 20 Republicans will vote their conscience and vote in favor of impeachment. The vast majority of sitting Republicans will vote against, which is an extraordinary thing and sends a very strong message to other countries around the world that impeachment is no longer a part of rule of law in the United States, which of course really diminishes the balance of powers in the US and allows the executive, if the executive controls the legislature, to get away with basically whatever they want.


You could say, "Well, Biden wouldn't do that." Well yeah, but it doesn't matter. You still want to have that balance of power. And that really is eroding. And I think that that's true so broadly in terms of the lack of accountability and responsibility for everyone that is involved. I mean, you can't call for unity when you've just supported an overthrow of a free and fair election. Now, the first thing you do is you say, "That's wrong. The election is legitimate." It was legitimate. There wasn't systematic fraud, and Biden is the incoming President Elect. Yes. And if you said something that was contrary to that, you apologize, you throw yourself on the mercy of everyone you screwed with. Absent that happening, and that is certainly not happening from President Trump and is certainly not happening for those that supported his measures in House and Senate, there is no unity. And absent unity, the ability of the United States to lead effectively around the world continues to diminish. So, there's that.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Beijing friendly leader accused the West of hypocrisy citing US Capitol riot. Does she have a point?

Well, I mean, obviously there's hypocrisy all over the place and certainly historically from the United States, but for the leader of Hong Kong to say that is more than a little rich. There is not moral equivalence between the Chinese government and the US government. As bad and as divided and dysfunctional as the US is right now, the Chinese are systematically abrogating the political rights of Hong Kong citizens. I think you're going to see a mass exodus of a lot of Chinese from Hong Kong to the UK where they can have citizenship and anywhere else they can get, if they care about personal liberties, because they're gone. A lot of Americans do care about personal liberties. And there's no question that President Trump is not one of them. There's no question that if he could have engineered a coup, he would have. His interest in democracy in the US is very limited, but that is not to in any way imply that the American political system is somehow as hypocritical as that of communist authoritarian China. And for the leader of Hong Kong to say that, well she has to. It's her job. And I'm sensitive to that. I mean, anyone in that position is has to say what they say. Having said that, I'm not so sensitive because you put yourself in that position. It's like there are people that are in positions that the position requires them to do and say immoral things. You can justify what they say because anyone in that post will do it, but you'd kind of hope that they wouldn't take that position. And I obviously am prepared to blame her for that.

Why have Merkel and Macron objected to Trump's Twitter ban?

Well, because they think it's arbitrary and they're right. Twitter has not banned Mahathir from Malaysia, despite calling for massive violence against non-Muslims saying that that's perfectly justified. They haven't banned Iranian Supreme leader, Khamenei, despite calling for violence against Israel. But they ban Trump and they ban him permanently, for life. They didn't need to do that. They could have easily done a short-term suspension until after the inauguration and that would have gotten you through the period that's most dangerous in terms of violence and transition in the United States. And they could have also published rules for all heads of state and former heads of state. Very easy to have someone monitor that. And if any of them then breach that rule, then it applies and they're thrown off maybe forever, but they're not doing that. And Merkel and Macron fundamentally object to the idea that arbitrary norms and rules being set by CEOs that are principle shareholders of major corporations is not the way you should engage in governance or deal with free speech. Now, again, they have the legal right to do it because since it's a company, and in the United States a company can decide what its norms and terms for service are. But if they're a monopoly for getting your message out there on social media, then they kind of need to be regulated differently. And the point that Merkel and Macron have, which is a much deeper point and a more obvious one, is that Trump's behavior should be responded to and policed, not by a social media company, but by Congress. And going back to what I said at the beginning, if impeachment has failed, it is no longer a tool of rule of law in the United States. And it's pretty clear that is the case. Impeachment no longer serves the purpose. It no longer functions as a guardrail on abuse of power of the executive in the US, then you've lost something fundamental in a representative democratic system. And I think that the French and German leaders are deeply and publicly concerned about that and they're right to be, I am as well.

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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