US global reputation a year after George Floyd's murder; EU sanctions against Belarus; Olympics outlook

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

On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, have race relations in the United States tarnished its reputation globally?

Sure it doesn't help. There's no question in the United States is one of the most racially divided and violent countries among advanced industrial democracies. And to the extent that the United States attempts to talk about human rights globally, it has a harder time doing that than other G7 countries would. And the Russians historically, and increasingly the Chinese, are trying to propagandize pretty hard by pointing out American hypocrisy. So I think it matters, but I would still argue that what the United States does internationally probably matters a lot more in terms of the way the US is perceived by those countries. So, no question it's important. And the legacy one year in, so far in the United States in terms of improving race relations, the state of that trajectory does not look great right now.


The EU levied sanctions against Belarus. Now what?

Well, the EU responded collectively and quickly, that we can definitely say, in terms of preventing Belarus' flag carrier from traveling to points in Europe, as well as stopping European airlines from flying through Belarus airspace, that's a good first move. They've said there'll be additional sanctions, let's see what they are. Let's see if they're significant, if they're against Belarusian oil or potash, where they make their real money. Let's see if they really hurt the economy, which would also have knock on effects for Russia, which exports a lot of energy into Belarus, they'd be unhappy about that. So we'll see. For the first 24 hours, I give the EU, the United States, the UK, all pretty strong marks for the way they've responded. But this is an unprecedented act of state criminality on the part of a very illegitimate Lukashenko, who should not be president, was not legitimately elected, and he's not going anywhere anytime soon. I want to see what next sanctions come from the Europeans. I also want to see the Putin meeting in Sochi with Lukashenko next week, very important.

Finally, with the US adding Japan to the, "do not travel list," what's the outlook on the Olympics?

Not great. Over 80% Of Japanese now say that they actually don't want the Olympics to go forward, that's a pretty staggering number. The Japanese prime minister says, "It's not up to me, it's the IOC. And the IOC has the decision. They say it has to go forward." Look, the prime minister has sovereignty, if he wants to cancel it, he can cancel it, though clearly there will be costs for the Japanese government, major economic costs, major political costs for the prime minister either way. It's really staggering to see just how much the Japanese have lagged every other advanced industrial democracy in terms of a vaccine rollout. And, and I still think there's a good chance they do end up canceling this, but it's going right down to the wire. And my heart goes out to everybody involved, the Japanese people, the athletes that have been prepping; this is not the kind of Olympics that you really want to be hosting.

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Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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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:

Cyber issues took center stage at the G7 summit. Is there a consensus among world leaders on how to handle cyberweapons?

Well, depending on who is included, there is a growing consensus that the escalations of conflict in cyberspace must stop. And G7 leaders that are now all representing democracies did call on Russia to hold perpetrators of cybercrime that operate from within its borders to account. So, I guess hope dies last because laws in Russia prevents the extradition of suspects to the US, even if Vladimir Putin answered positively when Joe Biden asked for cooperation on that front. And when it comes to limiting the spread of tools that are used for hacking, surveillance and infiltration, the EU has just moved ahead and adopted new dual use regulations which reflect the concerns for human rights violations when journalists are targeted the way that Jamal Khashoggi was. So ending the proliferation of systems that are used to attack would be an urgent but also obvious step for democratic nations to agree on.

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