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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This week, the US Senate passed the so-called Endless Frontier Act, a $250 billion investment in development of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the manufacture of semiconductors, and other tech-related sectors. The goal is to harness the combined power of America's public and private sectors to meet the tech challenges posed by China.

In its current form, this is the biggest diversion of public funds into the private sector to achieve strategic goals in many decades. The details of this package, and of the Senate vote, say a lot about US foreign-policy priorities and this bill's chances of becoming law.

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What do America's policies around the world mean for jobs, the economy, and the future of the country's future? This Tuesday, June 15. at 11 am ET, GZERO Media presents a a live discussion on trade, immigration, and how domestic issues like racism and deep partisan divides impact America's standing in the world. Our event, which is sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York, is free and open to the public. Please register to attend.

Judy Woodruff, anchor of the PBS NewsHour, will moderate the conversation with:

  • Donna Edwards, Member of Congress (2008-2017)
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
  • Miriam Sapiro, Managing Director, Sard Verbinnen & Co. (SVC) and Former Acting and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
  • Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Advisor, New America

Special appearance by Governor Thomas H. Kean, Chairman of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 | 11 am - 12:30 pm ET

Register to attend

Add to Calendar


Listen: Is there a path to democracy for Europe's last dictatorship, Belarus? Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses her hopes and fears for the country with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World Podcast. President Alexander Lukashenko has maintained a tight grip on power in Belarus for the last 26 years and rigged the results of his last election which led to widespread protest and unrest in his country, though few consequences globally. But will he now be held accountable after diverting a flight between two European capitals to arrest a dissident journalist? And just how close are he and Vladimir Putin?

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.

Nigeria's federal government earlier this month blocked Twitter from the country's mobile networks, after the social media company deleted a controversial post from President Muhammadu Buhari's account. The move by Africa's largest and most populous economy comes as many governments around the world are putting increased pressure on social media companies, with serious implications for free speech.

So what actually happened in Nigeria, and how does it fit in with broader trends on censorship and social media regulation? Eurasia Group analysts Amaka Anku and Tochi Eni-Kalu explain.

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

What's the significance of the US-China bill, competition bill that passed the Senate earlier this week?

Well, the bill is a major investment in American technology, research and development, semiconductor manufacturing, and it's designed to push back on the China Made in 2025 push that lawmakers have become increasingly worried about in recent years. The opinion in Washington has shifted from seeing China as a strategic competitor to a strategic rival. And you're seeing what's now likely to be one of the only bipartisan bills in Congress now pushing back on that. Significant money for semiconductors in this bill, even though some of it was set aside for automotive purposes. That money's not going to come online fast enough to really make a difference to the current global semiconductor shortage, but it will help build up US long-term spending capacity and manufacturing capacity in semiconductors.

Other aspects of the bill, banned the application TikTok from going on government devices out of security concerns, created new sanctions authorities around Xinjiang and Hong Kong for human rights abuses, and mandated a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, which is probably going to happen anyway once the Biden administration is able to align with its allies. Let the athletes play. Don't let any high level delegations go. This is probably the only bipartisan bill to happen this year, yet still, half of Senate Republicans voted against it because they were opposed to the kind of industrial policy they think this represents, but it does show the area where there's bipartisan agreement in a city that's very, very divided right now. China is the bad guy and Congress is moving in that direction.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What do you expect from President Biden's first European trip since taking office?

Well, first, it will be sort of reconnecting with Europe, reconnecting with the European Union, with NATO, with the partners in the G7, and going really from the initial message, which was, "we are back," to a more concrete message, "here is what we could potentially do together." That is the expectations. And let's see how it turns out.

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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:

When President Biden and President Putin meet, will cybersecurity will be a key issue that they discuss?

Now, I'm sure that there will be many thorny issues on the table. But after American fingers pointed to Russia and hold it responsible for the SolarWinds hack, it's likely. Criminals in Russia were also not hindered when they held the Colonial Pipeline Company ransom through a ransomware attack. And really, when journalists and opposition leaders cannot speak a single critical word without being caught, how come cybercriminals can act with impunity in Russia? So the need for prevention and accountability really is significant. And I hope the President Biden can push and persuade Putin to change the confrontational and aggressive course that he is on.

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Watch "Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans" live on Tuesday, June 15 |  11 AM – 12:30 pm ET

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Watch "Far Away and Close to Home: How US Foreign Policy Impacts All Americans" live on Tuesday, June 15 |  11 AM – 12:30 pm ET

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal