US donates vaccines to India; Macron v Le Pen; EU tourism

Ian Bremmer answers this week's questions on the biggest stories in global politics:

The United States says it will now donate 60 million COVID doses. Who are they going to?

Well, they're not COVID doses, because we don't want to give people coronavirus. They're vaccines. It's AstraZeneca, which we don't need in the United States. We haven't even approved yet. They are somewhat less effective than Moderna and Pfizer, but they're damned effective and you should take them, and they're going almost exclusively to India. And that is fully appropriate because India, we know about 350,000 cases a day. In reality, if you look at the positivity rates and level of disclosure, it's probably five to 10x that. This is by far the largest epicenter of the coronavirus crisis to date in the world. But they're not going to be getting these doses until probably June. And meanwhile, they're under very serious trouble right now. And there's a lot of recrimination, central government, local governments. The US has been slow. We should've made this announcement frankly a month ago, but I'm glad we're doing it.


Should Macron be concerned about the rise of the right a year out from election in France?

He should be a little concerned because his approval ratings are horrible on the back of the gilets jaunes crisis, and now you've got the coronavirus crisis and yeah, he's not doing well. But that doesn't mean that he's going to lose. He is behind in polls right now to Marine Le Pen a little bit, but in the second round, everyone that isn't pro Le Pen is against Le Pen, and he gets all of those votes and Le Pen gets the core Le Pen votes and she loses. And that is almost certainly what is going to happen. So I wouldn't be all that worried, even though the far right in France, on the back of a lot of Islamic extremism and recent attacks, a lot more than the United States, is a problem.

Is the EU ready to welcome American tourists back? What will that look like?Well, I mean, they're ready to start opening borders to American tourists. There will be vaccine passports certainly, will require that you show that you've had a vaccine, at the very least, that you have a negative test, and Americans will be able to travel to Europe. And I think that's a big deal. About 80% of the countries in the world right now the US is not recommending travel to, and the developing world, much of it around the world is going to take a lot longer to roll out effective vaccines, and never mind herd immunity, just get to the point that you don't have these massive spikes in cases, South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, India, as I already mentioned. Europe is about two to three months behind the United States. They need the tourism, they need the money. They're going to open the borders, and Americans will be able to travel, showing that they are either immune through vaccine or have taken a negative test. And so we'll get there, and hopefully we'll get a little closer as a consequence.

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When Zoe Marshall decided to switch careers in her forties and become a fishmonger, she was scared. After leaving her job of 23 years, Zoe was forced to pivot in order to keep her family's home. Despite challenges, she forged ahead, opening Sea-Licious. Accepting Visa payments in her fishmonger shop, this access to commerce helps Zoe provide convenience to her customers and confidence in their transactions. Though she's one of the only women in the fish market each morning, her business and its place in the local community are flourishing with Visa's help.

Learn more about Zoe and her story.

Listen: Can Big Government still rein in Big Tech or has it already lost control? Never before have just a few companies exerted such an outsized influence on humanity. Today's digital space, where we live so much of our daily lives, has increasingly become an area that national governments are unable to control. It may be time to start thinking of these corporations as nation-states in their own rights. Ian Bremmer speaks with Nicholas Thompson, CEO of the Atlantic and former WIRED editor-in-chief, about how to police the digital world.

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.

In the lead-up to this year's COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, much of the attention has been focused on last summer's wildfires across the US and Europe, and more recently skyrocketing European energy prices. But what about Asia, the world's biggest and most populated region, which also has the highest share of global carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming? Asia has unique climate risks but also many opportunities for solutions, and whatever happens at COP26, Asian countries led by China and India are primed to lead the world in the struggle to make the planet greener before it's too late. In a live discussion moderated by Shari Friedman, Eurasia Group's Managing Director of Climate and Sustainability, global experts discussed these and other topics during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit sponsored by Suntory.

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We're just days away from COP26, the landmark global climate conference that's been dubbed the last chance to get the climate crisis in check. In the lead-up to the event in Glasgow, dozens of countries have released new ambitions to reduce their future carbon footprints. For years, climate activists and experts have called on governments to introduce carbon pricing schemes – either through taxes or emissions-trading schemes. So who's heeded the warning? We take a look at the top ten carbon emitters' share of global emissions and details about their respective national carbon pricing schemes.

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:

Do cryptocurrencies make it harder to enforce foreign policy sanctions?

Well, that is exactly what the Biden administration worries about. As part of growing concerns of whether unregulated currencies undermine a whole host of policies, sanctions and foreign or trade policy should be a priority area. And just like others who wish to evade tracing of their wealth or transactions, the very states or their sanctioned entities should be assumed to resort to all options to evade restrictions while continuing to do business. So having cryptocurrencies undermining the ability to enforce strategic goals logically raises eyebrows in Washington.

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Back in August, when the Taliban took over, we asked whether anyone in the international community would recognize them. Now it looks like things are heading that way.

This week, the Kremlin hosted a summit with the Taliban that was attended by China, India and Pakistan, as well as all five Central Asian Republics.

The domestically-focused US, however, wasn't there. The US continues to maintain that the Taliban can't be trusted. But does it matter? In 2021 does a Taliban-led government even need American recognition to function and thrive?

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For Kevin Rudd, former Australian PM and now CEO of the Asia Society, the science on climate change is pretty much done, so the only unresolved issues are tech and — more importantly — lack of political leadership. He can't think of a single national political leader who can fill the role, and says the only way to get political action on climate is to mobilize public opinion.

Rudd joined for the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here and register here to watch part two Friday 10/22 at 8 am ET.

Taking place on October 21 and 22, the Sustainability Leaders Summit will go beyond preexisting narratives and debate priorities for governments and industries ahead of COP26. Placing the spotlight on Asia's role in the global sustainability agenda, the event will address whether Asian countries and companies can achieve shared sustainability goals, and what is needed to help get them there. The summit will be co-hosted by Tak Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, and Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. We will address three key questions: How can Asian countries, with the help of the private sector, achieve shared Sustainability Goals? Why does this matter? And what are the policy changes needed to bring it about?

Attendance is free and open to the public. Register to attend.

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