Quick Take

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, happy to be back in the offices, of course, in New York City. And by the way, and what do I have at my desk here? A fan sent me a Moose the dog cookie, which how does one eat that? You can't eat that because it's Moose, you just keep it! But that's pretty awesome, a Norfolk Terrier in a cookie right there, very talented. Thank you so much.

And let's get started. So what I was thinking about as I saw over this weekend, today. Not only is the United States today the most economically-unequal of the G7 advanced industrial democracies, and the most politically divided, but we're also now in terms of first jabs of the COVID vaccine, we are the least vaccinated of the G7, which is annoying because we were the most vaccinated of the G7 months ago. And of course, all of this speaks to the fact that the United States is enormously wealthy, enormously powerful, there are so many great things about this country, but the politics are deeply, deeply screwed up. And the problems we have are self-inflicted.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It's the 20th anniversary of 9/11 coming up real soon, and I thought I'd give you a few thoughts about it. I was here in New York, like so many of us, when the planes flew into the towers. It was shocking. I was in our offices in Midtown at the time. At first, of course, everyone thought it was an accident. And then suddenly it became quite apparent it was not. And it was a gut punch. It was a feeling that the world had changed inextricably even if you didn't know exactly how.

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Ken Burns discusses Muhammad Ali's background and how the journey of boxing's greatest champion is just as relevant today—in sport, culture and beyond.

"He is speaking to us with a kind of force and clarity...that to me is just so enduring." - Ken Burns

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here with the Quick Take. Back in the office, we are functioning and open after a year and a half which is absolutely insane. 80 new employees since the pandemic who haven't met each other in person, most of the time. So God, we're happy to be back here. And wanted to kick it off by talking about Brazil.

Haven't talked about Brazil in a while, but it is their Independence Day. And wow, what an Independence Day it is. President Bolsonaro, who is in the cellar, popularity wise, the lowest popularity he's had since he's been president. And for lots of reasons, mishandling of COVID, economic problems, energy shortages, even a little bit of corruption scandals. Seen as not an effective president of the country and presidential elections next year. So, a combination of things that are setting him off individually. And has said quite famously in the past few days, that in upcoming elections, he's either going to win, or be arrested, or be killed. That those are the only three options.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Now that the war in Afghanistan is just about concluded, less than 24 hours before all of the remaining American troops wrap up their mission in Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, after over 100,000, mostly Afghan civilians, as well as American and coalition partners evacuated from the country. One thing to point to is just how much the United States and the American people have changed in interests, in what presence, what the role, what the mission of the United States globally is and should be.

As everyone now is very keenly aware, this war became very, very unpopular among Democrats, among Republicans. If there was anything you could find people agreeing on in foreign policy, it's, "We're angry at China, we want to end the wars. The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, why are we doing all this stuff?" In other words, the idea that the United States is the global policeman. A role that the Americans had accepted to a great degree during the cold war, accepted to a significant degree after 9/11, really doesn't accept any more. And so, I think one of the reasons why people give such a hard time to this America is back idea of Joe Biden is that, there are many things about America's history that a lot of Americans increasingly aren't up for. The idea of being the global policeman. The idea of being the architect of global trade. The idea of being the promoter of common values, of an open society and rule of law and human rights.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here opening your week, and of course, yes, we're still talking about Afghanistan. I really wanted to talk about the international angle. It's been so much criticism of the United States from outside the US, including most disturbingly, from core US coalition allies in NATO that had been of course, have been fighting with the Americans on the ground in Afghanistan. Why did we get that wrong?

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Ian Bremmer here, and the unceremonious end to the longest military adventure, longest war in American history. Plenty of blame to go around for how this war started, was pursued, the money that was spent, the human lives that were cost, and certainly many, many books will be written about that. But for today, we have to look at the close, at the staggering incompetence of execution, to bring this war to a close, to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. A policy that I agree with, the actual strategy, that you have to either expand the presence or you have to pull out because the Taliban were gaining and were likely to take over with the status quo ante. But the execution has been an extraordinary failure. This is by far the most consequential foreign policy crisis that we have witnessed, I would say, since the Iranian hostage crisis and then the failed rescue. So, it's quite something. We've seen bigger domestic policy crises in the United States, heck, on January 6th. But from a foreign policy crisis, this is an extraordinarily big deal.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Before we head off to the weekend I thought, given all of the news happening very quickly around Afghanistan and the imminent Taliban takeover of the country, the collapse of the existing government and the impact that's going to have on the United States Biden administration, certainly the biggest foreign policy crisis they will have experienced to date under their administration, worth a few moments from me on what the hell is going on.

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